I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Leanne and Nick’s big day is a backyard wedding with a twang. Married in the backyard of their historic 1910 home known as “The Farmhouse” in downtown Santa Barbara, they wanted to keep with the theme of their favorite sentiment “Home is With You” and maintain the “backyard” welcome feeling throughout their celebration. Planned and designed by Rani Hoover Inspired Weddings & Events, everything from the curated craft cocktails, locally sourced ingredients, vendors all dressed in denim, the local entertainment and custom details all created an atmosphere of family, friends, and a truly beautiful love story. Florals are by Riley’s Flowers, event calligraphy and signage by Ranchera Letters, and metal signage by J. Woeste are stunning and all the details are captured beautifully by Rachel Solomon Photography.

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Tell us how you met and became engaged!

From the bride: “Boy next door meets girl next door; after being neighbors for over two years on the Mesa in Santa Barbara, and multiple near misses with mailboxes while checking each other out while driving down our street, we were finally formally introduced by our dear friend Suzie Clark. She was convinced we would be the perfect pair. Following our first date (where we closed down the Boathouse restaurant), we both had the feeling that we might have just met “the one” (especially when Nick showed up in cowboy boots). Beyond just our general outlook on life we shared many similar interests including our love for Montana, running our own companies, country music, and best of all…fly fishing. Our instant connection was deep, natural, and real. Being around each other – even right from the start – felt like home. 6 months after we met we were engaged! Nick proposed in Montana on Whitefish Lake where we now have a little cabin together. Leave it to Nick to propose on his birthday, because he is the most giving and selfless man I know. He said ‘Marrying you was the greatest gift of all. That’s why I proposed on my birthday. And I knew I’d never forget the date!'”

Leanne and Nick spend a lot of time at their home in Montana where they love to fish, hike, bike and explore the great outdoors. But their true home is Santa Barbara and it is here where Leanne and Nick both run their businesses. Leanne has owned and operated a boutique, luxury, vacation rental company since 2005 and Nick owns and operates a Water Well drilling business in town – hence the handsome muddy cowboy boots! Leanne is very active in local philanthropy. Nick is an avid surfer, outdoorsman, successful business man, and is becoming a pilot.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

Guests arrived to craft cocktails from the Good Lion Bar featuring honey from Montana (Leanne & Nick’s favorite summer getaway) and fresh herbs and citrus from their own garden. All served out of Leanne’s daughter Lila’s actual Lemonade Stand and the back of a vintage truck featuring their theme, “Home is with You.”

At the ceremony, the large 100+ year old oak tree served as a remembrance of Leanne’s father who has passed, complete with photos, prayer beads and his favorite fishing hat.

The Groom’s boutonniere featured “flies” from his favorite pastime, and made as a child fly fishing in Montana, the bridal bouquet featured a locket photo of her father. The Groom’s ring is vintage and belonged to Leanne’s father.

Leanne & Nick wrote personal vows to exchange under the eaves of their front porch.

 

The cocktail hour and reception were filled with twinkly lights and the warm glow of torches as guests sipped cocktails and dined on cuisine from the Catering Connection featuring locally sourced greens, pistachios, strawberries, locally baked artisanal breads, Watkins Ranch grass fed beef and cage free chicken, and McGrath Farms butternut squash.

“I Only Have Pies for You” Pie Station featured organic local ingredients in each homemade pie by the Bakery Farmstand in Los Olivos. The guests feasted on multiple slices insisting on trying every traditional flavor!

The invitations featured a hand illustration and watercolor by Moment Maps and were hand calligraphed by Ranchera Letters.  Ranchera Letters also created all of the custom paper and chalkboard signage including the bar menus, “Soulmates” runner and the beautiful dinner menus at each setting.

Leanne worked with Ranch Gear to create custom embroidered denim jackets for herself, Nick and Lila featuring the “Girl and Boy Next Door” sayings since they met as neighbors while living on the Mesa in Santa Barbara.

The Bryan Titus Trio and DJ Jon Harris kept the guests dancing all night under the stars and even planned a special bouquet toss where during the countdown, all of the ladies melted away so Leanne’s (single) grandmother could catch it!

The night ended with take away cold-pressed hangover-cure green juices from Leanne and Nick’s favorite juice guru, The Juicy Life.

Lila’s dress was created from Leanne’s old wedding dress from her wedding to Lila’s father.

Photography: Rachel Solomon Photography // Planning Coordination & Design: Rani Hoover Inspired Weddings & Events // Flowers: Riley’s Flowers // Invitation Design: Type A Creative // Letterpress: Folio Press & Paperie // Calligraphy & Calligraphed Signage: Ranchera Letters // Custom Watercolor Images & Map: Moment Maps // Dress Designer: Olvi’s // Wedding Dress Boutique: Panache Bridal // Hair & Makeup: Brianna Stewart // Lighting: Spark Creative Events // Vintage Truck: Vintage Truck Rental // Bar cocktails: The Good Lion Bar // Catering: The Catering Connection // Pies & Cobbler: The Bakery Farmstand // Custom Denim Jacket Embroidery: Ranch Gear // Custom Metal Signage: J. Woeste // Band: The Bryan Titus Band // DJ: JSH Music // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box // Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals // Vintage Rentals: Otis & Pearl Vintage Rentals // Guest gifts “Hangover Cold Pressed Green Juice”: The Juicy Life  // Shuttles: SB Limos // Officiant: Randall Day // Rehearsal Dinner: Cold Spring Tavern

 

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A stunning warm-hued palette with punchy coral accents shines in Shirley and Jason’s wine country wedding at Cornerstone. No detail was left untouched in the event design by Going Lovely—from the round calligraphy signage Blush Type Design, to the custom wedding crest, to the oversized escort card easel to Twigss Floral Studio‘s incredibly romantic arrangements and accents oat every turn. Fresh, joyful casual elegance radiates throughout the garden ceremony followed by the lantern-lines, round white tent reception. Lucky for us,Lori Paladino Photography was on hand to capture all of smiles and special moments of Shirley and Jason’s big day!

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What made the wedding special and unique?

Jason and I LOVE going out to eat and trying new restaurants, so having really good food at our wedding was a big priority for us. We loved our caterer, Sage Catering. They helped us come up with a customized farm to table style menu, which featured many of our favorite foods such as an heirloom tomato and burrata salad, herb crusted hanger steak, pan roasted sea bass, and Bellwether ricotta ravioli.

We also had Hog Island Oyster Co. shuck fresh oysters for our guests during cocktail hour. It was a huge hit and I think that our guests really loved that we didn’t have a typical wedding menu.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I found my Vera Wang Nisha gown at Glamour Closet in San Francisco. They sell designer samples off the rack, and had a great selection in my size and within my budget.

One of my best friends picked this dress out for me to try on. I had my reservations because it was mermaid cut, strapless, and ivory — I had always pictured myself in a white A-line dress with sleeves — but I was quickly reminded that you don’t always know what you want. It was important to me that my dress fit my personality, and I loved that the front was classic and conservative, while the back — with big bows, tulle, and silk flower details — was unique and fun!

Having a good friend with me who knew my personality and style, who would give me her honest opinion, and who pushed me to take a few risks was so important, especially since this was the first place I went to and I bought my dress that same day!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

We recently added our puppy, Kingston to our family and one of our ceremony readers recited a passage titled “How Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog” by Taylor Mali. It was fun hearing our guests laugh along with us because it really was so relatable!

We love wine, so we knew we wanted to get married in wine country.  For our table numbers, our planner collected wine corks over the course of several months and used them to display our table numbers in brass candlestick holders. I thought that was a fun and pretty way to incorporate our love of wine.

I loved the custom watercolor crest our wedding planner had designed for us. It was incorporated in our invitations, day of signage and stationery, and she even got us customized corn hole boards for the cocktail hour lawn games that we took home as a keepsake and for future entertaining!

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Jason and I hadn’t really talked about our vows before the actual ceremony, so hearing his made me tear up. Wedding planning did not bring the best out of either of us (even though we had a great planner!), so it was special to me that both of our vows described why we love one another and that we both love our differences more than anything else.

Seeing all of our friends and family in one place was also so special! It was very surreal, as a lot of memories would come to mind with each familiar face I saw. More than anything, our wedding reminded me how lucky Jason and I are — we have so many great people in our lives, more now than ever as we’ve combined our makeshift families.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

In true Silicon Valley fashion, Jason and I met online through an app that connects you via mutual friends! We hit it off on our first date, and soon after we were exploring new restaurants, discussing pop culture, traveling, and meeting one another’s friends and family.

Jason proposed in Shanghai during our trip across China. It was very special because he’d arranged for both sets of our parents to be there with us to celebrate before we headed off to Beijing as an engaged couple!

 

Photographer: Lori Paladino Photography // Event Planning: Going Lovely // Floral Design: Twigss Floral Studio // Venue: Cornerstone // Caterer: Sage Catering // Make Up Artist/ Hair Stylist: Beauty by Chau Nguyen // Videographer: Alex Win Studios // Cake Artist: Susie Cakes Marin // DJ: One Final Touch // Beverages: Mills Wine Group // Party Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / Encore Events Rentals // Linen Rentals: La Tavola // Signage: Blush Type Design // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

 

Paige and Ben have the amazing recreational sport of dodgeball to thank for their romance. When they got engaged, the couple, who are both from Northern California originally, immediately knew they wanted to get married in the wine country. The bride’s vision for the wedding was around a theme of “natural elegance with urban edge.” They let Chateau St. Jean “do most of the talking” and personalized their day with modern yet timeless touches like gathered florals by Charlotte &Daughters and a show-stopping four-tiered cake by Michele’s Corner Wedding Cakes. Planning was by Alicia K Designs and all the lovely details are captured in these photos Kreate Photography.

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How did you meet? 

We met in San Francisco in 2011 when we both joined the same dodge ball team while trying to meet new people. I asked him out a few months later and knew almost immediately that he was the one. In the past 6+ years, we’ve moved to New York and back to California again and traveled a ton.

Did you have a specific theme/vision in mind for your wedding day? How did you come to pick your color palette?

I work at Instagram doing Communications/Public Relations so have done a fair amount of event planning in my career and I had a pretty clear picture in my head of what I wanted. Ben works in finance, but has a very strong sense of style so his input made a huge impact on the final aesthetic of the wedding.

My vision for the wedding was around a theme of “natural elegance with urban edge.” We wanted it to feel modern yet timeless at the same time, and we wanted the venue to do a lot of the work for us.

I’m a big fan of cool colors such as gray, blue, and green, which played nicely into the “natural” theme. We were able to keep the colors soft, cool, with pops of warmth and color here and there. I did a lot of research on Pinterest looking at different color combinations, and basically combined a bunch to come up with our own. The final palette combined those blues and greens in the form of silver/olive/sage, with blush and crème and a pop of marsala.

What is your proposal story?

Ben proposed when we were traveling in Iceland. On the 3rd day of our trip, we were exploring some of the natural sites, and while I was standing on top of a crevice in the earth where the Northern and European tectonic plates meet, Ben got down on one knee. It was completely surreal. We immediately found a gas station that would sell us a bottle of champagne to begin celebrating. That night, we stayed at a beautiful hotel in the middle of nowhere and watched the Northern Lights dance and move across the sky. It was magical. The rest of the trip we spent exploring while brainstorming our dream wedding. We ended the trip in Copenhagen where we did more exploring and celebrating. It was perfect.

Photography: Kreate Photography // Wedding Coordinator: Alicia K Designs // Florist: Charlotte &Daughters // Save the Dates & Name Cards: PS Paper // Invitations: Bella Figura // Calligraphy: Southern Calligraphy (via Etsy) // Venue: Chateau St. Jean // Dress + Suit Designer: Dress: Monique Lhuillier // Suit: Beckett & Rob // Shoes + Jewelry: Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Jewelry: rings inherited, earrings Overstock.com // Hair And Makeup Artist: Eliza Dougherty (friend) // Cake/Desserts: Michele’s Corner Wedding Cakes // Guest Gifts: DIY // Catering: Park Avenue Catering / The Tomales Bay Oyster Girls // Wedding Rings: Genevieve Lau Jewelry // Ring box: The Mrs. Box

 

The Eisenhower House stood out as the perfect venue for Alysa and Tim’s Rhode Island wedding—beautiful, but not over the top, with a fun history (formally Dwight Eisenhower’s summer house) for the history buff groom. The couple worked with Infinite Events to plan the day that incorporated a palette of blues and a whole lot of inspiration from their love of shellfish. Whimsical watercolor stationery was by El’s Cards and  The Local Bouquet filled the lovely white tent reception to the brim with white and yellow floral arrangements and greenery chandeliers and table garland. And, of course, we can’t get enough of the blue and white striped tablecloths. Lucky for us, our friend  Erin McGinn was behind the lens capturing these lovely photos of the day.

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from the bride: I grew up in Rhode Island, and Tim and I have always loved going back to visit my home in Little Compton. While we haven’t spent much time as a couple in Newport, I spent most of my childhood on Aquidneck Island, going to school in Portsmouth. When we started looking at reception venues, RI was at the top of our list for location. We ended up looking at just two venues and the Eisenhower House stood out. It’s very much our style – it’s beautiful, but not over the top, and it also has a fun history (formally Dwight Eisenhower’s summer house) and Tim’s a bit of a history buff. We also liked the idea of bringing in our choice of vendors which gave us plenty of opportunities to make it our own. In addition, we knew our out-of-town guests would have plenty to do in Newport and we loved that just about everyone would be in one place for the entire weekend.

One inspiration for much of the day came from our mutual love of oysters (well, really all shellfish/seafood). We included oyster details throughout our invitation suite and day-of papers, and a raw bar was a must-have from the very beginning. We worked with our caterer (Blackstone) to bring a few other personal touches to the menu. Tim grew up in Western Mass, home of the best corn in the world (according to his family). To pay homage, we had a sweet corn salad as a passed hors d’oeuvre. For a late night snack, we were inspired by the (now closed) late-night Boston restaurant, Pompeii. When we first started dating, we used to wait in line (often down the block) at all hours of the night for pizza slices and & arancini after a night out. When we first spoke with the caterer, pizza and rice balls were the only things on the menu that I was sure of aside from the raw bar.

Oh, and I guess also kind of fun, I made our wedding cake! Since before I can remember, I’ve been baking with my Aunt for holidays and family events. She inspired my love for baking, and I was super excited to bring that love to our wedding day.

Photography: Erin McGinn // Event Planning: Infinite Events // Floral Design: The Local Bouquet // Paper: El’s Cards // Ceremony Venue: Our Lady Of Mercy Chapel // Wedding Venue: Eisenhower House // Wedding Dress Boutique: Madeline’s Daughter // Wedding Dress Designer: Hayley Paige // Bridesmaids’ Dresses Designer: Amsale and Joanna August // Bridesmaids’ Dresses Boutique: Bella Bridesmaid // Makeup: Charlotte Phinney // Hair: Divine Tranquility // Groom’s Attire: Indochino // Rehearsal dinner: Midtown Oyster Bar // Lighting: Ryan Designs, LLC // Tent: Newport Tent Company // Catering: Blackstone Catering // Music: Stardust Band

 

Sarah and Ramez were accustomed to the large weddings of their culture—they even met at one! When it came to their own nuptials, however, they preferred an intimate affair where their guests felt like they were on vacation. And what better vacation than the breathtaking scenes and stunning views of Florence?! Planned by Exclusive Italy Weddings, vows were said in a traditional Coptic Orthodox ceremony at Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti followed by an incredibly romantic celebration at Villa di Maiano. Garden party vibes were accentuated by florals EVERYWHERE by Tuscany Flowers and guests enjoyed the outdoor dinner seated to view the sunset over the city. The couple enlisted the genius of Katie Mitchell Photography to capture all the details of Sarah and Ramez’s stunning destination affair and we’re thrilled to be sharing the photos with you today.

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How did you meet, how did you become engaged and for how long had you been engaged before your wedding day?:

Ironically enough, we met at a wedding! It was about 5 years before we got married, and we were actually both unsure if we were going to be able to make it (it was in Canada!). At the time, we both were focusing on catching up with old friends and family and weren’t in the “single and ready to mingle” mind set but another guest: “Mike from Toronto” introduced us and we will forever be indebted to him. We talked a while and Ramez tried to drag me out to the dance floor a few times but we missed each other at the end of the night and didn’t say goodbye. I came home to a Facebook message from him and while it was a little cheesy, much to my surprise I had no inhibitions talking to him. We would have long chats about our closest family and friends, our life aspirations, and eventually what we expected from the friendship. At the time, he lived in California and I in Virginia so long distance was difficult at times but we knew it was worth trying. One of my favorite things about him is he was bold enough to express his feelings for me yet allowed a natural progression of our relationship. A few months went by and he came to visit me in Virginia. My family fell in love with him just as much as I did and I knew it was right.

Ramez proposed about 1 year before the wedding, he had an elaborate plan for us to go skydiving and on the way down he had his friends hold up life- sized signs asking if I would marry him!! We were all set to go but before we got on the plane to jump, the winds changed and it was considered too dangerous. He was able to come up with an alternative, and took me to a winery where his friends emerged from the background with the signs! It was one of our favorite days but we’re still due for our skydiving date!

What was most important to you when planning your wedding?

In our culture, we tend to have extremely large weddings (think +300), but we wanted our wedding to be more intimate and make our guests feel like they were on vacation with us which is why we decided on having a destination wedding, so location was very important to us. We came up with Italy because it was the perfect location that gave us the romantic vibe we were looking for but also had ancient roots and and a rich culture.

We wanted our wedding venue to have amazing views and what’s a better backdrop than the city of Florence?! Villa di Maiano is perfectly positioned on a hillside that overlooks Florence so for dinner, we had everyone seated so they could view the sunset over the city.

Your outfits and accessories – what made you choose them and what did you love about them?

I always had a vision about my dress, I wanted something dramatic but romantic and tasteful. I imagined a lace dress with a low- cut back, I must have visited 10 different bridal stores before finding the perfect dress but when I tried it on, I knew it was the one! I love the dress because to me, it’s elegance is timeless yet it still had a “wow factor” to it that made it unique.

RAMEZ: We wanted a break from the norm of grooms in black tuxes so I wore an royal/electric blue, and thought it would make me stand out that much more from my groomsmen who did wear the traditional black tux. We also love how sharp the groomsmen looked wearing their ivory pocket squares which matched the bridesmaid dresses. The list goes on and on for accessories! I wore Pantherella merino wool socks, Calvin Klein loafers, a T.M. Lewin Marcella wing collar tuxedo shirt, a Tissot watch given to me by my father. Perhaps my favorite accessory though were the Italian flag cuff links I purchased for me and my groomsmen. They were elegant, but also very fitting for a wedding in the Tuscan Hills!

What made you choose your flowers/general decorative arrangements?

We wanted lots and lots of flowers at our reception, so the idea of a pergola with hanging flowers over the guests tables captured the garden feeling we were looking for, we hung lanterns from the pergola for warm lighting at night. We wanted to match that with floral table arrangements that were full and lower to the table to balance out the look. From there, with the help of our planner and florist we came up with the gazebo floral arrangement for the sweetheart table and around the chandelier on the dance floor. We were blown away by the results!

I initially wanted a bouquet of peonies but our florist told us they were out of season in July but then I saw this amazing round bouquet of garden roses on Pinterest that my florist was able to replicate. I fell in love with it and wish I could have brought it home to the states with me. The bouquet was simple, pale peach garden roses with no greenery, but since my dress was intricate, I thought it was the perfect balance.

Tell us more about your ceremony including any readings, any special moments and your vows:

We are Coptic Orthodox which is one of the most ancient denominations of Christianity so our wedding ceremonies are very traditional. We are robed and crowned as a symbol of becoming king and queen of our new home together as we take the responsibility of making our home in a sense, a Church, where God will be the center of our marriage. We embrace our traditions and couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

 

Where there any DIY elements?

Though it was difficult to transport items from the US to Italy, we wanted to give our guests a favor that would be memorable to our location so we asked Villa di Maiano for bottles of olive oil that they make and we tied “Grazie” notes to each one for our guests. Since the wedding, many of our guests have told us they use the olive oil when they cook. We love that our favors were a little taste of Italy and something our guests could use when they came home.

My sister, Marina Salama, was pivotal in our wedding planning. We were both first years in residency and dental school so our hours were long and we were exhausted by the time we came home. She was so helpful in keeping us encouraged and worked to make our vision into a reality. A lot of the time, she was the point person that would be speaking to our planner and vendors and did a lot of research with our vision in mind, this wedding truly couldn’t have happened without her help! She understood what we were looking and worked tirelessly to make sure we were happy and we are forever thankful for her. By the way, she did this when she was 7 months pregnant! Talk about superwoman.

What was the vibe of your day? What colors/styles/themes did you use?

We wanted the vibe of the day to be whimsical and romantic which is why we wanted our reception to be outdoors with an emphasis on the flowers to make it an elegant but airy garden party. We kept the color scheme simple, mostly shades of ivory, white, and peach with gold accents seen in the flowers, the tableware, and the decorative pieces on the tables. Our tables were full of vases and delicate candle holders and votives. While it was a formal event, we still wanted everyone to feel relaxed so we decided to have long tables to make it feel more family style.

 

 

 

 

What was the most memorable part of the day?

This is an almost impossible question to answer, but if we had to pick we would say we loved the moments we had alone after the ceremony. Driving through Florence in an old school Bentley and taking pictures at some of the cities most famous landmarks had to be the highlight for us. It was the first time in the day when the nerves seemed to settle and we were able to just catch our breath, and process the fact that we just got married. Those private moments we spent together, and the undying smiles on both of our faces in the car on the way to the reception were moments we will never forget for the rest of our lives!

If you could impart any words of wisdom to a couple planning their marriage and their wedding day, what would they be and is there anything you would do differently?

We would tell anyone planning their wedding to try not to stress too much. That’s certainly easier said than done because ultimately everyone has different opinions and there are just so many options out there it’s hard to pin it down! Pick the most important 3 elements for the wedding day to your (ex: the food, the entertainment, the decor) and focus on those initially then tackle the rest. Be prepared for a few set backs and always be open to other options. Ultimately, your wedding will always be the most memorable to you, no matter what!

 

Wedding Video at Villa di Maiano Florence from Marcoabba on Vimeo.

Photography: Katie Mitchell Photography // Wedding Planner: Laura Frappa of Exclusive Italy Weddings // Second Photographer: Fontaine // Floral Design: Tuscany Flowers // Stationery: Minted // Preparation Venue: Florence with a View // Ceremony Venue: Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti // Reception Venue: Villa di Maiano // Videography: Marco Abba // Dress: Pnina Tornai, Dress 4372 from Kleinfeld Bridal // Veil: Kleinfeld // Jewelry: Swarovski // Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo // Groom’s Shoes: Calvin Klein // Groom’s Watch: Tissot // Groom’s Attire: 3 Day Suit Broker // Hair and Make Up: Laura Navarinni // Décor, Styling & DJ: The Alma Project // Transport: Alterini // Caterer: Galaeto // Cake: Sugar & Spice