Hey hey! I know it’s been a hot minute since I have been on here but I have had some pretty good excuses such as planning the wedding of my dreams followed by the honeymoon of my dreams followed by being sick and absolutely exhausted from it all. But, here I am! It’s a new year! I’m married and I’m ready to get this blog thing under control!
Where do I start…
Let me first start with saying, this was the most crazy, stressful, exciting, nerve wracking, wonderful six months leading up to the wedding of my entire life. I had NO IDEA planning a wedding at my families ranch would be this much work.
KEY Elements of this Post
- Planning Process
- The Steele Ranch
- Favorite Vendors
- All the Details
- Advice for Bride-To-Be’s
If you have planned your own wedding then you know there is SO much pressure to hire vendors ASAP as far as 6, 9, even 12 months in advance. Which I do think is necessary if you have a popular wedding date. Ours being mid-December we didn’t have too much of a problem finding vendors. I did hire a full wedding planner… but I’m just not even going to talk about that. All I will say is do your RESEARCH before hiring. I will touch more on this down in the ADVICE section towards the end of this post. One of the most difficult parts of the whole planning process was the ever changing timeline of the Wedding Day. If I could go back in time that would be one thing that I would have spent more time on trying to perfect. It’s pretty challenging to get all the factors of the day put down into a timely process such as how much daylight you have, what time the sunset is, how much time it takes to get from place to place, how much time it takes to get seated, eat, have speeches, dance, etc. It’s definitely a lot harder than I ever thought.
With that being said….
The Steele Ranch
We decided to have it at the family ranch after checking out a handful of venues. We wanted something really unique and special. The Ranch is a beautiful “California Style” property that has changed so much over the years. My grandparents bought the property when my dad was in High School and he used to ride his horse all over the country side before there were so many fences and paved roads. I grew up hearing his stories and lived on the ranch until I was 9 years old. It’s a very special place to me that holds so many memories. So when it came down to it, the decision was easy to have it there.
Anyway, as far as planning a wedding “in your backyard” verse a normal venue…it’s a whole nother ball park! Holy moly my friends, thank goodness I have such amazing parents that helped me figure this out. There are soooo many details that you have to think about when having a wedding at your own place. Especially on such a large property. Like, how many people can you fit in this area, is their power, lighting, bathrooms, wheel chair access, shelter for bad weather, parking, the list goes on and on. On the flip side to all of that, their are a lot of positives to having it at your own place such as you can work on it whenever you want, try your ideas out, have rentals delivered a day or two earlier than you could at a regular venue, basically having no “rules”. BUT most of all, my favorite positive is that you get to put so much of your time, money and efforts (AKA sweat, blood and tears) into your own place. In this case my families ranch where my grandparents and parents live.
A little more about The Steele Ranch…. It’s five and a half acres with the main house (my grandparents) at the very top overlooking San Pasqual valley with some pretty breath taking views of the mountains and the entire valley below. There is a big pasture where horses used to graze, an underground wine cellar that holds my families very own STEELE Wine. At the bottom of the hill there is my parents house, the big red barn, the chicken coup, a greenhouse, and then the small wine vineyard at the very bottom of the property. We decided our three venues for the wedding would be the pool deck behind the main house for the ceremony, the Wine Cellar Patio for the Cocktail Reception, and then the big red barn for the dinner and dancing reception.
Vendors are a HUGE part of your wedding. Make sure you choose them wisely. You need to feel like you can trust them and count on them to be there for you on one of the most important days of your life.
Shutter and Sound Films
Our videography was done by Shutter and Sound Films. Our lead videographer’s name was David Waite. I can’t tell you guys enough about how pleased I am with how our video turned out, but not only that the level of professionalism that came from that company and from David exceeded all of my expectations. David went above and beyond for us. He showed up early on my wedding day to have his assistant immediately start capturing the whole property with his drone. He captured every single detail of the venue and the day better than I could have imagined. He was extremely kind and up for whatever I wanted/imagined. He went the extra step to get the perfect shot and it showed. Click the link below to watch our video 🙂
Ruby Bloom Floral Design
Our Florals were done by Amanda at Ruby Bloom Floral Design. Amanda is the sweetest ever she makes you feel so comfortable and like you have been friends forever after the first two minutes of chatting with her on the phone. Not only are her floral creations absolutely amazing but she is so attentive to everything you want and is very on top of things she emails/texts you back so quick it’s so great. I had a bunch of random questions for sizing, colors, quotes etc. and she always got back to me so quickly. Once you have been dealing with quite a few vendors you really appreciate when someone is so consistently there for you when you need them. Trust me if you are looking for a Florist you will not go wrong with her she is the best.
RG Bar Services
Roy from RG Bar Services was amazing. These Bar tenders were great! Roy kept in good contact with me throughout the planning process and was always there to answer any questions or concerns that I had. We had two bars and three bar tenders. They set up drinks up at the ceremony area then served drinks at the cocktail reception and then at the dinner and dancing reception. They were able to move from each place swiftly and timely and kept the drinks flowing. Roy himself even took so many photos of our first look, the area, the guests and the full on after party that they shared with me on their FaceBook page. He captured so many sweet moments that I really appreciated! You can check them out by clicking the picture below and scrolling down to our wedding on his Facebook feed.
Platinum Event Rentals
Platinum Event Rentals was a breath of fresh air! They were the second rental company we used and they just really had it together. They were so friendly and so communicative with me it was so easy to work with them and I knew I didn’t have to worry! We rented our vintage wood shelving from them, Amethyst water goblet’s, and my favorite was the vintage furniture set.
Hair by Kayti
I had my hair done by Kayti for my wedding and let me tell you she is the real deal. She is SO good at what she does. I had 3 hair trials with another hair stylist and was just not happy with her or the style. Then I was able to squeeze in a trial with Kayti and I instantly knew she was the one! She is so professional and sweet and really cared about making whatever vision I had come to life. On my Wedding day she was so calm and friendly with me and all my bridesmaids giving them exactly what they wanted based on their inspiration photos. Overall, she was great and I highly recommend for any event you have!
All Vendors etc.
- Video – Shutter and Sound Films
- Florals – Ruby Bloom Floral Design
- Bar Tending – RG Bar Services
- Wedding Dress – Muse by Berta // The Bustle Del Mar
- Reception Wedding Dress – Willoby by Watters // BHLDN
- Groom’s Tux – The Black Tux
- Groomsmen – Men’s Warehouse
- Hair – Hair by Kayti
- Make -up – Lindsay Anne Makeup
- DJ – Leeds Entertainment
- Rentals – Platinum Event Rentals
- Rentals – Event Party Rentals
- Dessert Bar/ Cake – VG Donuts & Bakery
- Catering – URBN Catering
- Photography – Tayler Ashley Photography
- Getaway Car – Royalty Limousine
All the Details
All of my favorite little extras that to be honest came mostly from Pinterest…. I think I will make that board on Pinterest Public so y’all can see how nuts I went.
- Signage- A lot of the frames my mom found at thrift stores and re-purposed them into chalk board signs, otherwise Hobby Lobby and Michaels were our go-to.
- We got the blankets for like $5 at Ikea! Just tied some cute string around them and they were good to go
- The cartons holding the blankets I also got from Ikea and just had to put them together and stain them.
- My Dad built the circular arch used for our ceremony
- I got our wooden sign with our names and wedding day on it from Etsy
- I also got the thank you card’s on the place settings from Etsy
- The Seating Chart template is from Etsy, frame from Michaels
- The “sign a heart and drop it in” sign is also from Etsy
- Our plastic champagne glasses up at the ceremony area were from the Dollar Store! (SCORE)
- Our digital watercolor Invitation design was done by a girl in Europe who I found on Etsy (highly recommend)
- Our whole Invitation suite was done by PaperSource (took hours to get figured out in the store)
- I made printed the wine labels with the same design at Fedex
- The table numbers were from Amazon and the frames were from the Dollar Store!
- My dad and Dimitri made the Donut Wall! (Amazing and very big)
- I found the trunk used as a coffee table for the vintage furniture at an antique store. Got the rug underneath it from Marshalls.
- The “BAR” Letters are from Hobby Lobby
- Antlers are courtesy of my grandfathers good aim 😉
- Plastic gold silverware is from Michales
- My pink two hole ring box is from Amazon as well as the garter
- My Wedding Dress is Muse by Berta in the style “Caroline”. I got it at The Bustle in Del Mar. (Only location in San Diego that carries any Berta dresses)
- My Reception dress or “Cake Cutting Dress” whatever you want to call it is a Willoby by Watters “Orion” gown that I got from Bhldn (Linked here).
- My sparkly shoes are Jeffrey Campbell and I got them from Nordstrom
- The girls Bridesmaid dresses are from Show Me Your Mumu in the color “Rustic Mauve”
- Dimitri’s Tux was rented from The Black Tux through Nordstrom
- The Groomsmen all rented their suits from Men’s Warehouse
- My getting ready robe is from Anthropologie but no longer in stock there but I found it on Etsy! Linked below
Advice for new Bride -To-Be’s
- Research vendors carefully! Don’t feel pressured to choose someone you’re not stoked on just because they are all telling you that you’re “running out of time” or my favorite is when they say “I have someone else interested so you need to commit today”. I fell for it a couple times and in the end I learned my lesson.
- Try not to sweat the small stuff. It’s not all going to be perfect. After it’s all over it feels like it was perfect though, trust me.
- Go over your timeline a bajillion times. Maybe even walk through it at the actual times to see lighting, etc.
- If you are going to hire a wedding planner. Make sure you read ALL the reviews and ask tons of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions because believe me when you are stressed out and the day is coming up you’re going to wish you had. Ask for examples of their design boards, seating charts, venue layout designs, etc. Trust me. Sometimes proof is what you need before you hire them because they can be good salesmen over the phone.
- Go over your timeline with all of your vendors (especially catering, DJ, Bar Services) and make sure they know exactly what time they need to be there, for how long, and what you expect from them.
- I didn’t think I needed to say this but tell your vendors that you expect them to dress in accordance with your guests whether thats “cocktail attire” or whatever. Otherwise there will be people dressed in jeans and tennis shoes drawing attention in a way that you didn’t expect.
- Go over a list of things that you want your photographer/videographer to make sure they capture. I was so busy and stressed out by the time the final week was there that I wasn’t even thinking about this.
- Make sure you understand how long your catering company takes to prepare the food. Ask what the best system is for getting it out quickly to large quantities of people, etc. The last thing you want is a humungous line for food. (Which unfortunately was the case for us).
Overall, It was the most spectacular day of my life and I loved every second of it! I married my best friend in the whole world and I truly could not be happier.
Woah, this turned out to be a WAY larger post than I thought! I am so glad I put it all out there for you! I hope you enjoyed it!
See ya soon!