A Ballet-Inspired Wedding in California

kathryn ian wedding bouquet
Photo: Corbin Gurkin

A soft pink color palette set the tone for this couple's fall wedding.

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kathryn ian wedding couple
Corbin Gurkin

Kathryn and Ian were guests at a wedding in Los Angeles when they caught each other's eye. They first connected on Facebook, but then saw each other in person when Kathryn visited her sister (who just so happened to be Ian's friend). That's when she says she developed a crush—but it was one-sided at first. In fact, Kathryn had nearly given up on the idea of romance when Ian finally decided he was interested and invited her to a movie and dinner. "I'm still not sure he intended it to be a date at first, but he kissed me goodnight and we've been together ever since," Kathryn recalls. After two years of dating, he popped the question while on a walk along the Silver Lake Reservoir. "I proposed to Kathryn on the front lawn of an abandoned mansion in the Los Angeles hills that we had always joked about buying. She said yes—but we still haven't gotten around to buying the mansion," he jokes.

A year later, on November 4, 2017, they found themselves at another picturesque property. Kathryn's sister had been to a wedding at Klentner Ranch, a private estate in Carpinteria, California, and thought the location was beautiful. The couple agreed after seeing its view of the mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Highlighting everything they love about the California landscape, the venue also allowed them to have the effortless and organic wedding they desired—as if they'd invited everyone over to a gathering in their backyard. Their biggest priority was that the guest experience be a great one. With 115 guests from near (Southern California) and far (the East Coast), it was important that that everyone enjoy themselves. They tapped Tory Smith of Smith + James to help them pull it off, and to craft a subtle theme to carry through on the details and color palette. Kathryn, being a retired ballerina (she's now a Pilates instructor, and Ian is a television writer), has never tired of ballet pink, so that was the main color of the day. From there, fall hues and the shades of the California sunset were added into the mix. The event was full of texture, and fun—lively music, an abundant cocktail hour, and lots of dancing.

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A Pink Save-the-Date

kathryn ian wedding save the date
Corbin Gurkin

A ballet pink paper was used for the save-the-date cards, which were printed with copper script by Anne Robin Calligraphy + Design. Amber Moon Design stitched the top of the paper (and the envelopes they went in) and added a dried pressed flower across the top of each piece.

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One Pretty Invitation

kathryn ian wedding invite
Corbin Gurkin

Three talented women collaborated on this lovely stationery suite: Karina Puente created the illustration of autumnal leaves and botanical elements, Anne Robin calligraphed the invite's text and spot calligraphy on other paper elements, and Amber Moon brought it all together as the designer. The fall foliage pattern was debossed onto the invite paper and printed onto a cameo page above the invitation, and the pair was wrapped together with pink ribbon. A stitched booklet was also tucked in to the envelopes, which were mailed using a collection of vintage postage.

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Their Nontraditional Attire

kathryn ian wedding couple
Corbin Gurkin

A two-piece Carolina Herrera wedding dress just happened to be hanging on the mannequin in the fitting room when Kathryn went to try on some gowns. "Everything I thought I wanted was just wrong on my body," she says of the two dozen options she considered. "I had seen a couple separates in magazines, but this was the first one I actually tried, and I loved it as soon as I put it on." The soft tulle sat atop a painted and embroidered silk taffeta for fullness without heft. She added on a veil by the same designer, and earrings that belonged to her mom, a few bracelets, a pink ring, and a necklace Ian gave her as a wedding gift.

Ian sported a blue Ted Baker suit that was chosen for its fit and because it brought out the color of his eyes.

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Loose and Lovely Flowers

kathryn ian wedding bouquet
Corbin Gurkin

Kathryn wanted a loose, wild bouquet and Kate Holt of FlowerWild delivered by using muted colors that matched the painted details on the wedding dress. "I was so in awe of Kate's work that I took a floral design workshop after our honeymoon," the bride adds.

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Matching Accessories

kathryn ian wedding shoes
Corbin Gurkin

Kathryn chose her Loeffler Randall shoes because they looked like ballet slippers, and Ian and the groomsmen tied on floral-print ties from BeauTieUK.

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The First Look

kathryn ian wedding first look
Corbin Gurkin

The first look was both Kathryn and Ian's favorite part of the wedding, since it was the only quiet time they had together before the chaos of the day. Photographer Corbin Gurkin set Ian up in the garden and brought Kathryn up to see him. "It was so special to be able to see each other for the first time without a hundred pairs of eyes watching us," says the bride.

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Pretty in Pink

kathryn ian wedding bridesmaids
Corbin Gurkin

The bridesmaids (who were all friends) and the maid of honor (Kathryn's sister) chose a selection of different dresses from Jenny Yoo Collection in shades of blush.

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In the Navy

kathryn ian wedding groomsmen
Corbin Gurkin

The groomsmen and best man wore navy suits, and the same tie and pocket square as Ian.

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Tiny Dancers

kathryn ian wedding flower girls
Corbin Gurkin

The flower girls (Kathryn's cousins, Rosie and Poppy) wore dresses that looked like tutus and ballet slippers as shoes. They tossed rose petals from metal baskets and wore fresh flower crowns down the aisle.

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The Rings

kathryn ian wedding rings
Corbin Gurkin

"We had a few friends get engaged within a month and Ian admitted to being nervous about choosing a ring. I told him whenever the time was right, he should look at Catbird because he wouldn't be able to go wrong. And he chose a beautiful ring," Kathryn says of the rose gold ring with pear-shaped side stones.

Both of their wedding bands also came from the Brooklyn store, but they sized Ian's completely wrong and he almost lost it at the wedding. He currently wears a ring made out of a California quarter that he bought at a craft fair.

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A Floral Arch

kathryn ian wedding ceremony structure
Corbin Gurkin

What's a better backdrop for a ceremony than the Pacific Ocean? A simple arch was decorated with flowers, which also dressed up the aisle alongside the whitewashed cross-back chairs.

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An Epic Entrance

kathryn ian wedding processional
Corbin Gurkin

With the ceremony positioned on the lawn, the couple lucked out with the proximity of the ranch's stone staircase, which was used for the processional. The families entered to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," then the bridal party followed to "In My Life" by the Beatles. When it was time for Kathryn and her father to make their debut, the guitarist played an acoustic version of "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles.

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The Ceremony

kathryn ian wedding ceremony
Corbin Gurkin

A pal officiated the ceremony, which wasn't religious, but during which the couple exchanged a few words in addition to traditional vows. When it was official, the newlyweds recessed to George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" on the guitar.

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Cocktail Hour Fare

kathryn ian wedding appetizers
Corbin Gurkin

As the couple had taken portraits before the ceremony, they were able to join guests and enjoy cocktail hour, during which mini fish tacos and mini margaritas were passed, as well as chicken and waffles. "Ian loves appetizers so cocktail hour was very important to him," Kathryn explains. There was also a charcuterie spread and raw bar.

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The Live Music

kathryn ian wedding musician trumpet
Corbin Gurkin

Tory Smith found an eight-piece mariachi band to perform during cocktail hour—which was one of Ian's only requests and one of Kathryn's favorite moments of it all. Ian chose the mariachi musicians so that the out-of-town guests got a little taste of Southern California in unique way. "I did not expect it to be such a large band, but it was perfect," he says. Plus, it was a fun nod to their first date at a Mexican restaurant.

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Elevated Escort Cards

kathryn ian wedding escort cards
Corbin Gurkin

Calligraphed escort cards with monogrammed embossed velvet tabs sewn on to the upper right corners were arranged in a tray of moss and fresh flowers using small copper stakes.

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Baby Love

kathryn ian wedding family
Corbin Gurkin

Ten-week-old August (the bride's nephew) was the youngest guest in attendance.

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In the Tent

kathryn ian wedding tables
Corbin Gurkin

For the reception, a clear tent was erected on the ranch, with long rectangular tables mixed with a few round ones for variety. In addition to bistro bulbs strung across the width of the structure, geometric lanterns were hung and cast reflections on the clear panels above—making it look like there were twice as many stars in the sky that night.

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Layered Place Settings

kathryn ian wedding place setting
Corbin Gurkin

The components of each place setting were rented from the ARK: etched stemware, copper chargers, and white textured dinnerware. Taupe taper candles in slender hurricanes, as well as tea lights and votives, reflected off the surfaces, and surrounded the petite centerpieces of ranunculus and eucalyptus.

Amber Moon Design created the menus, which boasted a long ribbon that resembled a pointe shoe ribbon plus a calligraphed place card sewn on. The meal included halibut, tri-tip beef, and seasonal vegetables prepared by Pure Joy Catering.

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Their First Dance

kathryn ian wedding first dance
Corbin Gurkin

The happy couple entered the reception to "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates and it was another classic tune that provided the soundtrack to their first dance: "Strange Magic" by Electric Light Orchestra. When it came time for the parent dances, Kathryn and her dad swayed to "Ballerina" by Van Morrison, and Ian and his mom took a spin to Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are." As the party wound down, the DJ spun "Modern Love" by David Bowie as the last tune of the evening.

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A Sweet Wedding Cake

kathryn ian wedding cake
Corbin Gurkin

Chooket prepared a spice cake for two of the layers and chocolate for the middle one, but all three were enrobed in the same buttercream icing and then decorated with fresh flowers.

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Riding Off

kathryn ian wedding getaway car
Corbin Gurkin

"The whole thing was magical and I wish we could do it again," Kathryn says in hindsight. Magic indeed. The weather forecast called for heavy rain on the wedding day, and as it rarely rains in November in Southern California, most of the event was to occur outside. But after talking about the weather and rain plans, it didn't rain until after the last guest had left that night.

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kathryn ian wedding couple
Corbin Gurkin

Photography, Corbin Gurkin

Location, Klentner Ranch

Event planning, Smith + James

Catering, Pure Joy Catering

Flowers, FlowerWild

Stationery, Amber Moon Design

Illustration, Karina Puente Arts

Calligraphy, Anne Robin Calligraphy + Design

Cake, Chooket

Music, Jason Sulkin (guitarist); Mariachi Las Osas de Santa Barbara; DJ Gary Ames

Rentals, the ARK; Bright Event Rentals; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

Bride's gown and veil, Carolina Herrera

Bride's accessories, Loeffler Randall shoes

Engagement ring and wedding bands, Catbird

Hair and Makeup, Jess Wilcox

Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo Collection

Groom's suit, Ted Baker

Groom's accessories, Hugo Boss shirt; Magnanni shoes

Groom's and groomsmen's ties, BeauTieUK

Lighting, Spark Creative Events

Transportation, Classy Chassis Rentals

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