A Romantic, Rustic DIY Wedding on a Ranch in California
Tara and Nick
Tara and Nick wed exactly five years and five days after they began dating. The duo who met in California during college but now live in Portland, Oregon, where they run Brown Butter Photography, a wedding and portrait photography business. Their November 20, 2011, wedding, was big on DIY details, sustainable elements -- and lots of heart.
Tara and Nick chose a local ranch in Grass Valley, California, for its proximity to the summer camp where they first met as 9-year-olds. It made the ideal setting for the weekend of events which included a rehearsal dinner and welcome bonfire.
The groom sported a J.Crew vest and jacket, Old Navy pants, and Timberland shoes. His autumnal tones complimented the bride's "Oysters and Pearls" gown by Elizabeth Dye of The English Dept. Tara added a pop of color with her Asos shoes, and borrowed her grandmother’s pearl bracelet as a finishing touch.
The Flower Girls
The littlest attendants donned dresses and leggings from H&M.
Nick’s groomsmen wore the same chocolate-brown Old Navy pants, with different-colored shirts, vests, sweaters, and suspenders.
The groomsmen's boutonnieres were made of cotton blooms, succulents, and lavender.
Tara’s bridal party chose their own berry-colored dresses and added neutral accessories.
A Novel Idea
Instead of bouquets, the bride collected books for each of her bridesmaids. Assisted by her mother and a friend, she decorated them with flowers and ribbon handles.
A Festive Entrance
Eucalyptus branches were woven together and draped around the frame of the ceremony site’s entrance.
Small vignettes of greenery and other decorative elements were set around the property.
The early afternoon service took place in the barn, under a simple draping of fabric.
For Tara, the best part of the ceremony was when Nick read his self-penned vows. "He made everyone cry," she says. "It was beautiful."
A Photo Op
As a nod to "Anne of Green Gables" -- where Anne reads the aldred Lord Tennyson poem "The Lady of Shallot" about the rowboat -- the bride and groom took a spin around a pond while their photographer, Ryan Ray, snapped away.
Dinner was held at the nearby Miners Foundry, in Nevada City, California. The 115 guests sat at long tables set with burlap runners, centerpieces made by the bride’s mother and a friend, and props and glassware collected by Tara.
The Escort Cards
Tag-shaped cards with guests’ names and table numbers were strung between two ladders.
A Warm Welcome
The newlyweds lit the fireplace in the reception room before guests entered.
Other groupings of succulents and roses were scattered among old film reels and candles, many of which now populated the pair's home.
The Guest Book
Since travel is one of their shared interests, the couple set out a vintage map for guests to sign.
Unable to narrow down their favorite desserts, Tara and Nick opted to serve them all: caramel apples, scones, baklava, pies, pastries, and donuts. The confections came from Whole Foods Market and Apple Hill or were baked by Nick's mom.
The banner above read, "These are a few of our favorite things."
A Surprise Treat
Tara and Nick, huge cereal fans, set up a summer-camp-style breakfast during the reception. Large Mason jars full of milk and nibbles, and spoons and bowls from Susty Party made up the buffet.
A friend surprised the couple with a delicious cream cheese-frosted carrot confection. It was crowned with a rustic bird cake topper and rested on an old stove-turned cake stand.