One Couple's Spirited Wedding on a Ranch in Santa Cruz, California
As the old adage goes, the couple that builds a booming hot sauce business together, stays together. At least, that's how it goes for Amanda and Chase Heyse, founders and co-owners of Burn Hot Sauce, an organic, fermented hot sauce company operated out of Santa Cruz, California.
Hot sauce seems an appropriate industry for these self-proclaimed hippies, who had a fiery connection right from the start. "I was walking along the beach and stumbled onto a huge drum circle," says Amanda. "All of a sudden I noticed this happy man dancing and he comes straight over and asks me to join him. I said yes and we danced for hours." But that was just the start of their story. The two knew there was a certain spark between them, so it was only fitting that they crossed paths again two months later, when Amanda found herself at a Venice Beach skate park with a friend and saw Chase sitting just a few feet away. "We haven't really been apart since that moment," says Amanda.
When it came time to pop the question, Chase seamlessly intertwined both their business and that memorable first meeting. With a three-piece folk band playing, Chase asked Amanda to dance at the farmer's market booth where they were selling their goods. After a bit of fun, he got down on one knee and presented her with a turquoise ring—but that wouldn't be the only proposal of the day. On the way home from a celebratory drive to Big Sur, the two would stop to snap photos of the beautiful views and have a little fun. "When tourists stopped by us I would get down on one knee and ask Amanda to marry me again," explains Chase. "Every time the tourist freaked with excitement, taking photos on their phones! It was hilarious."
After a year-and-a-half-long engagement, Amanda and Chase tied the knot at Hidden Hill Ranch on June 9, 2018, in front of 176 friends and family members, a group of people Chase says they focused on throughout the planning process. "We wanted to throw an amazing party for everyone that we love and have it be a reflection of the love that they have given us." And ,as a nod to how they met, three pals started a drum circle late in the reception.
A Backyard Like No Other
Residing on a friends' farm in the Santa Cruz mountains, the couple literally had the perfect wedding venue in their backyard. The Hidden Hills Ranch made Amanda and Chase's dream location a hometown celebration for them, but a destination wedding for most of their guests who came from all over the country. "It's such a magical place it's hard to describe," says Amanda. "We couldn't think of anywhere more beautiful or special to us to celebrate our love." With the advantage of being innately familiar with the land, the couple was able to mastermind the design of the day over a long period of time, ensuring every aspect of the celebration would be up to snuff.
A Sweet Suite
The pair worked with Prim & Pixie as well as their planner, Wild Heart Events, to create an invitation suite that would match the rest of the celebration's natural elegance. The stationery featured embossed gold type and plant motifs, as well as a geometric pattern that would pop up again later in the bride's day-of style. A tie-dyed envelope liner provided a hint of color without overpowering the understated design.
The black hole of the internet isn't often a great place to be during wedding planning, but luckily for Amanda, it was exactly where her future wedding dress was hiding. "I found one that had intricate geometric beading and came with a beautiful sparkly sheer cape that would be perfect for the ceremony," she remembers. Immediately, she called to see if the dress was available and the rest was history. The Berta gown featured a see-through halter neckline and dazzled from top to bottom with iridescent beading.
The body-hugging number was simple and elegant, but there was still something missing. "A month before the wedding I found myself still dreaming of another dress by Berta that I had seen," she says. "A lace bodysuit with waist-high slits." Torn between the two looks, Amanda did what any bride might do: she got both. "I figured, I'm only doing this once and just went for it!" The second look make its debut on the dance floor, a comfortable number that lent itself well to all-night revelry.
The bride walked down the aisle in these white Halogen boots.
Instead of falling in love with a particular flower, Amanda let nature lead the way, asking to see organic, in-season blooms. From there, she chose a selection of chocolate cosmos, ranunculus, peonies, roses, and dahlias. The loose, hand-tied arrangement felt perfectly in place with the rest of the carefree celebration and set the stage for the color palette that would work its way into the rest of the décor.
Hats Off to the Groom
Chase curated his day-of look by thinking of what his bride would like. With help from a Hugo Boss tux, a cannabis bud boutonnière, and his grandfather's black bow tie, Chase was well on his way to style superiority, but there was one accessory that truly pulled it all together: A big fan of hats "when it's the right occasion," Chase chose to finish his outfit with a Goorin Bros. top hat adorned with wild feathers from the farm.
Swinging Into Action
After their first look, Amanda and Chase took portraits around the property. "It was so nice walking around the farm together before the wedding and taking a moment to just be together," remembers Amanda. The playful moment captured here was due to both a skilled photographer and a fearless groom. "The tire swing was a little risky," adds the bride. "We really wanted to use it but were worried about getting dirty before the ceremony. Chase offered to jump up there and the photographer told him to give me a kiss. It ended up being such an amazing shot."
The Bride's Processional
When it was time to walk down the aisle, Amanda was escorted by both her mother and father as a cover of "La Vie en Rose" by Louis Armstrong played. At the end of the aisle, it was the happy couple on their own—which is exactly what they wanted. "We have been together so long and lived in a couple different places that the idea of picking some of our friends over others was just too much," Amanda explains of not having a wedding party. "We decided it would be best to not have any so that everyone could watch the ceremony and enjoy the magic."
Surrounded by natural beauty, there wasn't much Amanda and Chase needed to do to achieve jaw-dropping ceremony views. One detail they did add was created by the groom himself—an arch made from reclaimed wood found around the property, that was then studded with wildflowers. With the ocean in the distance and impressive redwoods all around, it was the perfect touch to an already elegant space.
A Spiritual Ceremony
In front of 176 of their closest friends and family, the couple exchanged vows they had written themselves during a ceremony led by close friend and yogi goddess, Hannah Muse. "We decided to have a spiritual wedding that celebrated love, without any religion involved," says Chase. As any good yogi would, the officiant encouraged guests to focus on being present and feel the love. "She invited everyone to close their eyes and drop into the moment," adds Amanda. "It was everything we wanted."
After they were officially declared Mr. and Mrs., a jazz band played "Sweet Georgia Brown" for the recessional. The newlyweds were so overcome that they paused for this spontaneous end-of-aisle kiss.
The guests looked on in their "farm fancy" attire, a dress code Amanda felt was imperative to the celebration. "Chase and I are both hippies at heart and really just wanted to throw a fancy party with a sexy bohemian vibe," she explains. "I wanted all of my friends to wear sparkles—I wanted their beauty to shine."
A Trio of Signature Drinks
Three delicious signature cocktails in mason jars kept guests hydrated throughout the evening. The Berry Good, the Rock 'n' Roll, and the appropriately named Burnarita: a spicy spin on a margarita with silver tequila, ancho chili liquor, lime juice, and agave nectar rimmed with Burn cayenne probiotic chili powder. The gypsy jazz quintet continued their set from the ceremony into the cocktail hour.
This unique seating display was proof of a planner worth her weight in gold. After combing through the couple's Instagram page to better understand their style, wedding planner Jamie Kostechko noticed a shot of pickles and ferments in a rainbow of colors. Inspired by this, she created a seating chart from colorful jars with handwritten assignments on each. To top it off, a hand stitched "spicy wife, spicy life" banner hung above the table announcing the couple's hashtag and drawing guests' eyes to the cheerful setup. Later in the night, the banner made its way to the back of the couple's chairs.
The jars arrived the morning of Amanda and Chase's rehearsal dinner. "I'll never forget making those 18 gallons of different colored rainbow pickles with two of my favorite ladies. It was the perfect thing to keep me distracted while Chase and our friends helped bring everything else together," Amanda says.
A Night Under the Stars
What else but a farm table to seat guests at for a wedding on the ranch? The group dined on a multi-course meal that showcased what the Santa Cruz farmers' market had to offer.
Adorned with macramé runners, iridescent wine glasses, and blush napkins, the simple yet charming table décor allowed guests to focus on the beauty surrounding them. Low centerpieces by Willi Wildflower were comprised of chocolate cosmos, ranunculus, peonies, roses, and dahlias spotted the tables in vintage brass containers, while letterpress table numbers in the same style of the invitation suite brought it all full circle.
An Epic Finale
With such a gorgeous night from start to finish, you might think it would be difficult to choose one memorable moment, but you'd be wrong. "It was performing 'Wild Thing' for Amanda and pretty much everyone I've ever known—Hendrix style—with the Half Moons" says Chase much to his wife's agreement. "That was my favorite part, too! It made me melt," she added.
Dancing the Night Away
Chase's performance was just the beginning of an all-night dance party. "When planning a wedding, everyone wants to make you feel like it's about the bride," explains Amanda. "But for us, it was about all the people that have been there for us our whole lives."
Photography, Anna Delores Photography
Location, Hidden Hill Ranch
Event planning, Wild Hearts Events
Flowers, Willi Wildflowers
Stationery, Prim & Pixie
Calligraphy, Sophia Loves Letters
Music, Dart Collective
Bride's gown, Berta Bridal
Hair and Makeup, Kaelin Bovee
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss
Lighting, Chic Event Rentals
Transportation, Sub Shuttle
Photo booth, California Photo Party
Hot sauce for seating display, Burn Hot Sauce