A Modern, Black-and-White-Themed Ranch Wedding in California's Wine Country
Kimberly and Chris first met at a work-related training in September 2017, after they were respectively promoted. Little did they know that their professional and personal titles were about to change! In the beginning, though, they simply became fast friends; it took some time for their relationship to turn romantic. A year-and-a-half later, in February 2019, the couple planned to visit friends in Santa Monica—but Chris had a surprise beach proposal up his sleeve. Kimberly's shoe choice, however, almost changed the plan: "I didn't want to walk in the sand," Kimberly remembers, "so he carried me and put me down and got down on one knee and proposed. I was really shocked." A photographer captured the moment and, after posing for a few photos, the couple celebrated with Kimberly's family and friends, who had flown in from San Francisco and the East Coast for the occasion.
The couple originally planned a 2020 wedding, but they had to reschedule due to the pandemic—and unfortunately, the switch to a July 24, 2021, date, meant that Chris' family in Scotland could not attend in person. Despite these challenges, their big day was particularly joyful: They invited 95 guests to their black-tie wedding at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, California, which was designed and executed by Simone Lennon and given the lush treatment by floral designer Max Gill. The duo opted for a black-and-white theme: "Our goal was to create a very understated, elegant wedding that was modern in feeling, but still warm and welcoming," the bride says of their vision.
The couple wanted their pre-wedding paper to feel minimal, modern, and formal. "Our invitations definitely set the tone in both color palette and feeling," Kimberly says, noting that the suite previewed the day-of stationery—including the dinner menu, cocktail signage, and escort cards— which called on the same fonts and style.
Kimberly and Chris chose to host their wedding at Holman Ranch for its mountain views and landscaping, which provided a stunning backdrop. The couple was given creative freedom—they could bring in their own vendors for everything from flowers and decorations to catering and service—and the venue also provided several areas for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner reception, and dancing. "We were planning on having a smaller wedding, so having a venue where all the different event spaces were right next to each other with seamless transitions was another reason why we liked it so much!" explains Kimberly.
Kimberly's wedding dress was the very first gown she tried on during a solo shopping trip. She tested a few more options, but kept coming back to the silk and tulle Galia Lahav number with embroidered appliqués throughout. "It's very easy to get influenced by other people's opinions, but ultimately you should love the dress by yourself and feel comfortable in it," she notes.
Bridesmaids in Champagne
The bridesmaids donned champagne slip dresses from Amsale, which they paired with nude shoes. "I was looking for something simple and classic that would look good on everyone," Kimberly says.
Kimberly held an all-white cascading bouquet of garden roses, ranunculus, and hellebores; bridesmaids carried miniature iterations.
Mother of the Bride
The bride's mother donned a pink frock, complete with slitted sleeves and a sequin vine detail on the skirt, for her daughter's nuptial celebration.
Groom in White
Chris matched his bride in white: He opted for a cream jacket, black pants, and a bow tie from Suit Supply.
He accessorized his look with Ermenegildo Zegna shoes and a Rolex watch, which was a wedding gift from the bride. She had "You'll never walk alone," a nod to Chris' favorite soccer team's song, engraved on the watch's interior for a personal, salient touch.
Chris and his groomsmen—wearing tuxedos from Men's Wearhouse paired with black bow ties and black shoes—pinned neutral boutonnières, made with the same floral varieties seen in Kimberly's bouquet, to their lapels.
Arch and Aisle
Set on the venue's veranda overlook, the ceremony space was filled with ivory cushioned cane-back chairs facing the stunning valley backdrop. The couple's florist, Max Gill, created a tall ceremony arch featuring all-white florals and greenery; the aisle was lined with linear treatments of creamy flower arrangements. "The view was breathtaking, so we didn't want to compete with it in any way," Kimberly says. "It was abundant and modern without being too over the top."
A string trio played "Hornpipe" from Water Music in F by Handel for the processional and Pachelbel's "Canon in D" for Kimberly's aisle debut, which she made with both her mother and father. Although Chris' parents were not able to attend, they participated in the service by reading a poem over Zoom. "We wanted them to be part of our day somehow," Kimberly shares.
A young guest maximized her view by standing atop a chair during the nuptials.
To the cheers of the crowd, the bride and groom made their way back up the aisle—finally husband and wife.
Cocktail Hour on the Terrace
The cocktail hour was hosted on the property's stone terrace, where the couple and their guests enjoyed the view and passed appetizers. "We attended cocktail hour because we didn't want to miss a moment with our guests, who we hadn't seen since the pandemic first started," Kimberly says. The pair hired a string trio to play modern music inspired by the show Bridgerton and served up a mix of appetizers: Chris is Scottish with family from England, while Kimberly's family is from South Korea and Germany, so they chose snacks that were influenced by their cultures.
Find Your Seat
White escort cards, detailed with black calligraphy, were displayed on modern holders on a wooden table; the station was adorned with a pressed runner and organic floral arrangements placed in ink-hued vessels.
Fresh and Clean
Kimberly and Chris' dinner reception was held outside the venue's carriage house. In the courtyard, long tables were dressed in ivory floor-length linens and paired with the chairs from the ceremony.
The pair's florist took the same organic approach he did with the couple's personal arrangements and ceremony blooms when creating crawling compotes—studded with anemones and grasses—for the reception.
Kimberly and Chris' modern style carried into their place setting selections; they chose textured white chargers with a silver rim to match the chrome flatware. "The combination was beautiful and looked almost as if the charger was floating," the bride says. Muted gray napkins were folded on top of the plates; white menus with letterpress black ink and custom calligraphed name cards were tucked inside. Clear glass votive candles and smaller arrangements with more greenery rounded out the look.
The 16-Foot Bar
A 16-foot-long cocktail bar, decorated with large all-white floral arrangements and oversized lanterns, was the focal point during cocktail hour. Max also created floral swags that appeared to grow up the sides of the bar.
The couple created two large, living room-style lounge areas featuring ivory linen couches and accent chairs, which were placed around modern round coffee tables. Glass and gold accent tables, rustic lanterns, and organic floral treatments created a cozy, romantic space.
Kimberly and Chris hired Dart Family Band to play pop, R&B, soul, and classic music, and shared their first dance to "Touching Heaven" by Johnny Swim. "We were both listening to music during the pandemic, and the song came up on our shuffle," Kimberly says. "It just really resonated with us!"
The couple's three-tiered vanilla-bean wedding cake, layered asymmetrically, was frosted with textural buttercream that spoke to the ranch setting.
To couples that are currently planning their big days, Kimberly and Chris recommend relinquishing control once the wedding arrives. "Try to enjoy the day and focus on what's important, which is the celebration of your marriage and love," says the bride.
Photography, Ryan Ray
Venue, Holman Ranch
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Simone Lennon Events
Videography, Kindlewood Films
Flowers, Max Gill Design
Invitations and Paper Products, PS Paper
Bride's Gown and Veil, Galia Lahav
Tailoring, The Wedding Detailor
Bride's Jewelry, Jennifer Behr
Bride's Shoes, YSL
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Team Hair and Makeup
Groom's Attire, Suit Supply
Groom's Accessories, Rolex; Fourtane; Ermenegildo Zegna
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Amsale
Groomsmen's Attire, Men's Wearhouse
Bride's Second Look, Cinq à Sept; Golden Goose
Music, Dart Band Collective
Catering, Betty Zlatchin Catering
Cake, Pretty Please Bakeshop
Beverages, Bar Cart
Rentals, Theoni Collection; Hensley Event Solution
Transportation, Main Event Transportation