Melissa and Jess poured themselves into the personalized details of their wedding day at McCormick Home Ranch. The garden filled venue set the spring-y tone with it’s chic rustic vibe and the couple dreamt up the rest. Melissa has a huge sweet-tooth and knew she wanted more than just a cake so their guest got enjoy an adorable donut bar by MJB Cakes complete with just-out-of-the-oven donuts in every form. Florals were by RTTO Events, coordination and rentals by My Lovely Events and the bride’s lace appliqué gown by Essence of Australia and the entire bright and sunny event is captured beautifully by Rhianna of Anna Delores Photography.
What made the wedding special and unique?
What’s special about our wedding is that every single aspect of our wedding was completely designed by ourselves. From the custom culinary menu for the day, to handpicking each song on our playlist, to our special sign in book, to the vision that ultimately became our scrumptious donut bar, to participating in an ancient centuries old traditional Chinese ceremony, we had a say in every little detail of our wedding. That is why when some of our family and friends came up to us after the wedding to let us know that was “the best wedding we’ve ever been to, so real and full of love” we can’t help but burst with pride because it truly was a representation of us as our most authentic selves.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I found my dream wedding dress in an unassuming little bridal boutique shop in Los Angeles. I knew from the start I wanted a long sleeve laced dress with a slight bohemian feel to it. I was surprisingly having a hard time finding any long sleeve laced dresses until I went to this boutique shop which was my 5th store. I made an assumption there wouldn’t be much selection in this shop since I went to large bridal stores and didn’t have much luck. Little did I know, this shop was a goldmine! Not only did they have a wide variety of long sleeve laced dresses, they had the gown that I ultimately went with. It was about the 6th or 7th dress I tried on that day and I instantly knew this would be MY dress when I looked in the mirror. I was immediately giddy and my best friend who was in the shop with me said she wasn’t surprised that I chose that dress; it was very much my style and me.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
Culturally, I am Chinese and it was important to me to have an ancient tea ceremony tradition and uphold cultural traditions out of respect to my parents. Jess was all on board and was very invested in getting the details accurate. We had our normal ceremony and during cocktail hour, I quickly switched out of my wedding dress into my red Chinese dress (qipao) and we had our tea ceremony in the garden. We had many interested guests standing by watching. It was such a beautiful blend of two cultures coming together for our union.
I have a huge sweet tooth so I knew our wedding had to have way more sweets than a cake! I had dreamed of a donut bar for a while and had a vision of copper piping blended into the donut bar to add a rustic touch. The donut bar ended up better than we could have imagined and the smell of freshly baked donuts lured all our family and friends to indulge in our evening sweets!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Our first look was quite memorable for me. The anticipation and excitement culminated all at once for me. By the time we did our first look, I was quite ready to see my soon to be husband and eager to be near him as he always brings a wave of calmness around me. We met in a quiet, secluded clearing behind the house and I was surprised at how nervous I was walking up to him, with his back facing me. I tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around, he immediately became emotional which sparked instant waterworks from me! I completely forgot what my makeup artist told me about dabbing the tears back to not stain my airbrushed makeup and we just hugged each other. It was a sweet and tender moment that I’ll always cherish.
For Jess it was our vows. It was nerve wracking yet significant because this was the moment we stood up in front of all our family and friends and declared the reasons why it’s us together for the rest of time.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
I went to Las Vegas for one of my closest friend’s (and bridesmaid) wedding during Thanksgiving weekend in 2012. After their wedding reception, a bunch of us were still full of energy from the festivities and decided to go to the Strip to continue the celebration. That same night, I met Jess. Turns out he was a Vegas local, which go figure, everyone I usually meet is from California. We embarked on a long distance relationship for a year before he moved to Los Angeles. All of our friends like to joke that “we found love in a hopeless place” so it was only appropriate that the ending song to our wedding was Rhianna’s “We Found Love”.
Jess took me to Joshua Tree the weekend of my birthday. We left Los Angeles on a Thursday evening and didn’t make it to Joshua Tree until another two and a half hours later due to traffic. We dropped off our stuff in our AirBnb and even though we were super tired, I really wanted to go outside just to see the stars because I had heard that the stars shine brighter in Joshua Tree and it’s a sight that can’t be missed. We walk out into the backyard and continue to walk down a trail until we stop. We peer up at the sky together and Jess turns to me and starts telling me how much he loves me and before I know it, he gets down on bended knee and asks me to marry him. One thing about me is that when I get nervous or really excited, I laugh or giggle profusely. I could not stop giggling like a little school girl and it must have felt like years to Jess before I screamed out “YES!” It was very intimate and in every way, perfect. We got to keep the news to ourselves for one day before sharing it with the everyone else.
Photographer: Rhianna of Anna Delores Photography // Coordinator & Rentals: My Lovely Events // Florals: RTTO Events // Invitations: Minted // Venue: McCormick Home Ranch // Bridal Dress: Essence of Australia // Makeup & Hair: Blushing Beauty // Cake & Desserts: MJB Cakes // Bridesmaids: Revelry // Catering: Conejo Valley Catering // Music: All The Above Events // Officiant: Dr. Kimber Lee Wilkes // Groom Attire: Ted Baker // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box