You Can Feel the Love Through the Photos of This Classic Vineyard Wedding in California

bride and groom laughing together
Natalie Bray

Ashley and Ben met at a dive bar in New York City in October 2015 while out with a group of their respective friends. "I bought her a Bud Light and the rest was history," Ben says. The two shared their first date a week later at a bar that their current East Village apartment overlooks. In November 2019, the couple was planning a party for Ben's birthday. He took the distraction as an opportunity to plan the ultimate proposal. "I proposed under Washington Arch in Washington Square Park, which is one of our favorite parts of the city," Ben says. "Not many people knew about my plan, so we loved sharing the news with our friends when they came over that night."

The couple originally planned to host their wedding on a Saturday in June at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California. "It had the exact combination of winery meets ranch meets countryside estate," Ashley says. The pandemic caused them to push back their wedding date, and based on the venue's availability, the couple selected Thursday, October 21, 2021. They invited 119 guests and asked them to be fully vaccinated for the event.

The couple hired a month-of coordinator, but they relied on their family members to help plan most of their big day. One of Ashley's sisters works in the events industry, so she led the charge, with Ashley's oldest sister and mom helping with DIY projects and planning logistics. The result was a joyful celebration with a neutral color palette and traditional elements and personal touches. Although Ashley admits that planning was a rollercoaster ride, she's glad that there was only one argument between her sisters—and says the family would gladly do it all over again.

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Simple Suite

wedding invitation suite with champagne colored accents and flowers
Natalie Bray

Ben and Ashley wanted their wedding invitations to feel timeless, so they worked with Sydney Beth Designs to create a simple suite on handmade paper. "​​We really enjoyed working with a small business for the invites versus a big printing company," Ashley says. "It felt personal and we would much rather support an independent, women-run brand." Ashley spent hours making the belly bands with chiffon ribbons and sealing them with a wax monogram. For a fun touch, she sourced stamps that spoke to their California venue; they showed off Big Sur scenery, the state flower, and grapes.

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Ready to Go

bride wearing simple cowl neck wedding dress with a-line skirt with long veil
Natalie Bray

Ashley wore a weighted satin crepe Lela Rose wedding dress with a low back and button details. "I knew it was the one because when I put it on, I felt like I could have walked right out of the shop and gotten married right then and there—no fussing of I need to 'change this' or 'do that'—I just felt ready!" she says. Ashley accessorized her look with a veil from BHLDN, Loeffler Randall shoes, and her grandmother's ring and tennis bracelet. She also wore a pearl necklace the matriarch gave her as a child, adding a new pearl each birthday.

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Organic Bouquet

bride wearing simple cowl neck wedding dress with a-line skirt holding white floral bouquet
Natalie Bray

The bride held a classic round bouquet made of locally sourced flowers including gumfrima, scabiosa, dusty miller, bunny tails, and garden roses. The arrangement was finished with eucalyptus, ranunculus, and tweedia for a touch of nature.

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Classic Tux

groom wearing black tux with champagne colored bow tie
Natalie Bray

Ben wore a traditional black tuxedo with a white shirt, black suspenders, patent leather shoes, and his grandfather's cuff links.

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Neutral 'Maids

bride with bridesmaids wearing neutral-colored bridesmaid dresses
Natalie Bray

Ashley asked her bridesmaids to choose their own dress in the nude, champagne, or beige color scheme. The result was a mix of dress styles and fabrics from Show Me Your Mumu, Lulus, BHLDN, and Revelry. The groomsmen matched Ben in black; some wore tuxedos they already owned, while others bought new ensembles for the big day.

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The First Look

bride and groom first look
Natalie Bray

In the months leading to the wedding day, Ashley looked forward to the first look the most. "I just knew I would be so excited to see Ben on the big day that we had waited so long for," she says. Ben was excited too, especially to see Ashley's wedding dress. "I knew she was going to look amazing; she looked perfect. I was instantly elated once we saw each other," he says. "All the morning chaos was suddenly over and I felt like the day was actually starting and we were ready."

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Signing the Ketubah

bride and groom looking over wedding ketubah
Natalie Bray

Before the ceremony began, Ashley and Ben signed a ketubah with their family and close friends as witnesses. The officiant, the couple's brother-in-law, later spoke about the Jewish tradition during the ceremony.

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Ceremony with a View

outdoor wedding ceremony set up with wooden chairs
Natalie Bray

The service took place on a lawn with stunning mountain views as the backdrop. Guests were served sparkling wine from Holman Ranch before the ceremony began.

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Under the Chuppah

bride and groom at wedding ceremony chuppah
Natalie Bray

The couple was married under a chuppah embellished with florals and draping white fabric. "Turning the corner and seeing the ceremony site the first time the day of the wedding was an image and memory I'll never forget," Ashley says. "The blue sky with the clouds and the vineyard view and all our friends and family standing and waiting to watch us get married was indescribable."

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Remember to Remeber

bride and groom exchanging vows in front of guests
Natalie Bray

Ashley and Ben exchanged their own vows, starting with words about their love followed by six vows to each other. In them, they spoke about a couple they met on a recent trip; the pair was celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. "We looked up to them and hoped in 30 years we'd be doing the same as they were doing—adventuring around the world together!" Ashley says. The couple shared that duo's advice, which was "remember to remember." Ashley and Ben both decided to use that as their final vow.

The couple also worked in a few Jewish traditions, like reading of the seven blessings and smashing the glass. "It was a perfect day, the setup was gorgeous, my closest friends and family were all around me, and I was marrying the love of my life," Ben says. "The joy I felt watching our wedding party and then Ashley and her father came down the aisle was something I will never forget."

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Puppy Love

bride and groom walking hand in hand with dog
Natalie Bray

The duo's labradoodle puppy, Hudson, was their flower dog; he recessed back up the aisle with them after they were pronounced husband and wife.

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Three Drinks

wedding cocktails with custom wooden stir sticks
Natalie Bray

Ashley and Ben placed an importance on getting the party started during their cocktail hour. In addition to a full open bar, the couple offered three signature drinks; "The His", a frozen strawberry mango daiquiri, "The Hers," a sparkling lavender lemon drop, and "The Hudson," a Manhattan named after the couple's pup—that one came with an illustrated stirrer.

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The Sunset Photoshoot

bride and groom overlooking vineyard
Natalie Bray

As the cocktail hour began to wind down, Ashley and Ben snuck away with their photographer for sunset photos. "It turned out to be one of our favorite moments of the day!" Ashley says. "The ride up on the four-wheeler was a blast—we brought drinks up with us and just had a great time before heading into dinner!"

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The Menu Escort Cards

wedding escort display on mirror under tree
Natalie Bray

Ashley and her family designed and printed all the menus, and added name tags with custom wax seals.

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Dinner Reception

outdoor dinner reception set up with rectangular and round tables
Natalie Bray

Their reception took place in the courtyard, where a mix of rectangular and circular tables were set up with string lights overhead.

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Neutral Settings

reception place setting with menu, blush napkin, and gold utensils
Natalie Bray

Tables featured blush cheesecloth table runners and napkins paired with gold flatware and ornate plates.

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Creamy Centerpieces

white floral arrangement with greenery
Natalie Bray

The pair's centerpieces featured white blooms with greenery; florals were placed in white vessels. The stations were also decorated with tall taper candles and tea lights in gold holders. The couple made the table numbers, which were placed in gold frames.

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Table for Two, Please

bride and groom sweetheart table with champagne colored table runner and floral arrangements
Natalie Bray

Ashley and Ben sat at a private head table, where swags of blooms—on the surface and down below—helped their area stand out.

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Pop the Champagne

bride and groom cheering with champagne bottle
Natalie Bray

One of Ben's groomsmen gifted the couple a Champagne saber, so the couple looked forward to using it during their party. After a short speech, Ben sliced off the head of the bubbly bottle and poured it into a tower to be passed out to guests for toasts.

Guests enjoyed a live band and DJ entertainment and a family-style dinner. "We wanted everyone to get a bit of everything from the menu!" says Ben. The meal included grilled tri-tip, fresh wild sea bass, and wild mushroom risotto. The couple shared their first dance to Tina Turner's "Simply The Best," and had a private "last dance" alone. "It was such a special few minutes to just look around and capture the day together," Ashley says. To couples planning their own celebrations, Ben has these words of advice: "Take time to take it in."

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bride and groom kissing under tree in the sunset
Natalie Bray

Photography and Videography, Natalie Bray
Holman Ranch
Event Coordination,
Engaged and Inspired
Event Designer,
Kelly Hoffman Design
Sydney Beth Designs
Bride's Gown,
Lela Rose
Bride's Veil,
Bride's Shoes,
Loeffler Randall
Bride's Hair and Makeup,
Malina Terra
Groom's Attire,
My Suit
Bridesmaids' Dresses,
Show Me Your Mumu; BHLDN; Lulus; Revelry
Golden Bell
Five Star Catering
Freedom Bakery
Rentals and Lighting,
Chic Event Rentals
Main Event
Margarita Machine,
Monterey Margarita Man

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