The Ranch at Laguna Beach Wedding
featuring Josh Elliott Photography
Shannon and John were married at a brand new venue in SoCal: The Ranch at Laguna Beach. With their closest family and friends, the pair celebrated in an intimate non-fussy reception that included tons of personal details, plenty of help from family and friends, and a few DIYs. We are SO honored to share this sweet wedding with you, especially because our super fab friend, Josh Elliott Photography shot all of these gorgeous images. By the way…a sparkly pinata at the end of your wedding? I’m going to give that a big huge seal of approval!
What made the wedding special and unique?
For both of us it was nice to have a small wedding with family and just a few close friends. It felt very intimate, not too busy, or hectic. The venue is a newest addition to a 9-hole golf course in town. We were the first wedding there, so it felt really special! It was outdoors, in a grove of eucalyptus trees in the back of a lush canyon – the perfect venue for us! The weather was perfect and the day was smooth from start to finish. It was also extra special creating the vision for the day, piecing together the special touches, AND being the bride!
Tell us about the dress and where/how you found it!
Dress shopping was a little tough for me. Because we were engaged in January and planned our wedding for May, my dress shopping time was limited. I also kind of loved almost every dress I tried on, so it was tricky to decide. However, most of the dresses I wanted to order wouldn’t arrive in time because of our short engagement. But thankfully, I am sample size! I had a vision of what I thought my dress would look like, and always said that I would never wear lace or strapless. With about a month until our wedding I tried on a strapless lace dress with a train, and it just worked and they were happy to sell me the sample with my time crunch! I picked it up from alterations the day before the wedding, and was so happy that it fit on wedding day!
What were some touches added to make it personal?
Everything was personal! From John and I hand painting the bottles for flowers, to pieces of driftwood collected from our travels, John’s dad being the officiant, everyone came together to help in one way or another. One of my bridesmaids is an amazing florist, and she made all the bouquets and boutonnieres full of gorgeous white peonies, dahlias, and eucalyptus. Another bridesmaid is a chef, and she made the delicious cake and cupcakes topped with gold! on the morning of the wedding, my bridesmaids and I came early and setup the ceremony, tables, and floral arrangements.
Both my mom and my stepfather walked me down the aisle, we presented John’s daughter with special words and a beautiful necklace during the ceremony to represent us as a family, we hired the local trolley (an icon of Laguna Beach) to shuttle our guests to the back of the canyon, the pinata, the music, the food…all those details made everything feel really special and were a true reflection of us and our relationship. Above all that though, our ceremony was extra special. Although I was too shy to say my own vows, John’s dad did a great job of basically saying all that we could’ve wanted – there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd, everyone really felt the love!
Do you have a wedding video you would like to share as well?
We don’t! And majorly regret not doing one!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Our first dance. We had requested that Francisco, an 89 year old man from a local Mexican restaurant come play for us the song he played for us on our first date. He planned to arrive after the ceremony and photos, but he was running late, so we decided to play the song we had planned for the father-daughter and mother-son dance. And figured we would select another song for the parents later on. We forgot to tell our parents that, so when we started dancing, our parents joined in, from both sides! It ended up being a big family dance!
Seeing Shannon for the first time! Seeing my daughter cry tears of joy after the ceremony, and when Francisco showed up and he played two very special songs for us to dance to. Basically everything!
Tell us how you met and became engaged!
We met in October of 2012. We both love music..and met seeing two mutual friends play together. He asked me to dance, we danced the whole evening, and then he asked me if he could take me out the following day. And the next. The rest is history.
Our proposal was actually pretty funny…John picked up the ring on New Years Eve. We had plans for a party at our house that night. He had the ring in his pocket the entire time but just didn’t find the moment to do it. The same happened for the next 4 days…ring in pocket and no proposal. Finally, on January 4th we had plans to visit Santa Barbara and Los Olivos for a wine tasting weekend getaway. He had the ring in his pocket during the drive up the coast, during lunch on the pier, walking around town, sunset, dinner, drinks…and finally, on the way back to the hotel John suggested we go to the beach. As every engagement story goes, I resisted saying it was too cold. He convinced me. We stood below the pier and he asked me there. I said, “Are you sure?!” and then tackled him in the sand. We laughed and cried and then called our families. It was perfect, and private, and just right for us.
Vendors: Photography: Josh Elliott Photography // Venue: Scout Camp, The Ranch at Laguna Beach // Catering: Chef Camron Woods // Planning/Design: Cargo Creative // Florist: Natasha Kolenko // Dress: Pronovias // 2nd dress: Adrianna Papell // Shoes: Dolce Vita // Pinata: Prospect Goods // Cake: Dominique Fletcher