Kate and Danny’s California wedding reception was celebrated at Collins Ranch, a private estate on the west side of Ojai. The venue had all the elements of Ojai that Kate grew up loving including “the weaving road through golden fields leading up to the barn and mountainside landscape with massive boulders mounted throughout.” The couple enlisted the brides sister Hilary to plan the event and Gallup & Stribling to create the vibrant autumn-hued florals. Kate had this to say about the reception “the barn opened up on every side so you felt like you were dining in nature but with the comfort of a nice seat and well dressed table!” It’s all beautiful and luck for us Sarah Ellefson Photography was on hand to capture it all.
What made the wedding special and unique?
The whole day was so special and unbelievably stress free, which I have my generous family and sister Hilary to thank. Other than the fact that it was ‘our’ wedding (which made it the most special) what made it seem unique and different was our location we were lucky to find. We heard of Collins Ranch on the west side of Ojai through a friend who connected us with the owner. His property had all the elements of Ojai I have grown up loving. The weaving road through golden fields leading up to the barn and mountainside landscape with massive boulders mounted throughout. His barn type warehouse opened up on every side so you felt like you were dining in nature but with the comfort of a nice seat and well dressed table! The whole venue was something so familiar and dear to me but that I had never really seen as a wedding venue, so it felt unique and personal at the same time.
Danny’s family and many of our guests were flying in from out of state and a good number of them had never seen California before. From our ceremony at San Buenaventura Mission with the ocean breeze flowing through the tropical gardens, to the golden Chaparral mountain side of Collins Ranch, we could share what we love about California with all of them.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I had no idea what type of dress I wanted which it made it both fun and frustrating. Fun because I was open to any style, frustrating because there were too many styles! After trying on many gowns and visiting quite a few shops my mom and I finally went down to Pasadena to visit Lovely Bride, where I found my dress! There so many beautiful gowns that were in what i had narrowed down to be what I was looking for, long sleeve with bold lace. I found exactly that in the North Gown by Lovers Society. The design and texture of the lace was so unique from what I had seen, and I knew it was my dress! I also don’t think my mom would have let me leave without it, she bawled when I came out it in!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
I am from a family of gifted artists and I wanted them to be a have a hand in the decor. One of my beautiful sisters, Monica, painted an abstract map view of the coast and mountain range that guests would be driving on from ceremony to reception. Guest loved it and I have it framed in my apartment now! My brother John sketched out a paint by numbers of the mission where the ceremony took place, and guests could pick up a paint brush and add to it while enjoying their cocktails. I am always in awe of their talent and was happy to show them off!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
It is hard to pick one moment that was most memorable because really the whole day felt like a dream. However, one that sticks out among others would have to be after the speeches took place, my brother, sister and I sang one of our favorite folk songs for our parents (and guests). We have always sang together with my brother on the guitar and since I would be moving to Virginia immediately after the wedding, I wanted to give my parents one last show of us singing together! I’ll always remember that moment.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
We met each other in college sophomore year 2014 at Franciscan University, in Steubenville Ohio. We shared a lot of the same friend groups and happened to always be in the same social setting, all the while having deeper interest in one another (but never showing it!). End of senior year, Danny finally asked me out for our first date, and it didn’t take long for us to realize we wanted to continue what we started. Soon after dating we graduated and moved to opposite ends of the country (VA and CA) and thus began our journey of FaceTime and expensive flights to spend short visits, sometimes not even a full 48 hours. Again, it didn’t take long for us discover that we wanted to be with one another for the rest our lives; some might call it falling in love! To make this happen Danny and my sister (thanks Hilary!) planned a surprise visit and flew across the country to get on one knee, however the surprise was ruined by me curiously checking his location to figure out why my messages weren’t being delivered during his four hour flight! When I saw he was at LAX, I knew what this meant! He met me at my favorite winery and put some sparkle on my left hand!
Photography: Sarah Ellefson Photography // Planning + Coordination: Hilary Loughman // Florals: Gallup & Stribling // Venue: Ventura Mission + Collins Ranch (Private Estate) Ojai CA // Dress: Lovers Society from Lovely Bride // HMU: Hey Beautiful // DJ: DJ Mike Bruel // Rentals: Spark Creative Events / Otis & Pearl // Catering: DJ’s California Catering