A Romantic Autumnal Wedding at Union Hill Inn in Sonora, California

Mariellen Ebie (31 and an optometrist) and Blake Ghavami (33 and the division wine manager for Young’s Market) planned a romantic, autumnal affair wit

Mariellen Ebie (31 and an optometrist) and Blake Ghavami (33 and the division wine manager for Young’s Market) planned a romantic, autumnal affair with a rustic twist for their early November wedding in Sonora, Calif. The first time the pair saw Union Hill Inn, they were instantly smitten by its rustic charm and intimate feel. “Blake and I met in the mountains and are outdoorsy, so we knew we wanted a location where the natural beauty of the venue would speak for itself,” says Mariellen. While the venue was originally booked out for over a year, an unexpected cancellation in November presented an incredible opportunity they simply couldn’t turn down. Drawing inspiration from the venue’s California Gold Country and Yosemite locale, the pair decided on a palette of soft neutral hues, pops of coral and peach, and touches of gold to infuse the day with elegance and romance, without distracting from the setting. “I called our style vintage rustic glamour,” says Mariellen.

Mariellen and Blake’s closest family members and friends gathered in Union Hill Inn’s cozy chapel for an emotional ceremony infused with Persian traditions, a nod to Blake’s roots, and special touches that brought a personalized feel to the proceedings. “It was a very emotional ceremony as both sides of the family were mourning the loss of my father and his mother,” says Mariellen. “We had considered pushing our wedding backm but decided that we wanted and needed to celebrate life and the love that got us through the hard times.” After exchanging heartfelt vows and performing a final Persian tradition in which the couple feeds each other honey to symbolize the sweetness of life, the newlyweds and their guests headed outdoors for a night of al fresco dining and dancing. Long wooden farm tables were alight with warm, flickering candlelight and the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgeral and Louis Armstrong filled the air, setting an undeniably romantic tone for the evening. Subtle notes of color were woven through the centerpieces, lush, textured arrangements of garden roses, ranunculuses, berries, fall foliages and olive leaves. For a hint of glamour, gold chiavari chairs lined the tables and crystal and gilded vases were scattered throughout. The pair had their first dance under an old growth oak tree twinkling with lantern light and at the end of the night, they gathered their guests and hiked to an outdoor fire pit, where they bundled up in blankets and enjoyed a relaxing after party.

A tip for the taking from Mariellen: “Try to incorporate things that are symbolic to your relationship into the wedding. It is these little touches that make it unique. Make sure to enjoy the process with each other.”

To give guests a peek of the romantic, autumnal affair to come, Mariellen and Blake announced their impending nuptials with rustic, woodland stationery with a vintage-inspired flair. Antique paper set against a wood grain backdrop boasted elegant formal script and an illustration of an old oak tree, a nod to the wedding’s locale. The pair also provided guests with a map of the area and details other about the day on charming antiqued paper.
To add a touch of color to her bridal look, Natalie Galasso Designs added coral and peach-colored garden roses and ranunculuses to Mariellen’s textured bouquet. Full white peonies and olive leaves introduced texture and drama to the arrangement.
To reflect her own classic style, Mariellen went in a vintage-inspired direction for her bridesmaids’ wedding day look. The girls donned matching champagne lace dresses from Modcloth, each featuring an A-line silhouette, illusion neckline and three-quarter-length sleeves. They completed the look with elegant drop earrings and their own nude pumps.
Mariellen and Blake looked to the season for inspiration when choosing their ceremony decor. The pair adorned the chapel’s quaint wooden pews with small bundles of eucalyptus, olive leaves, berries and soft white blooms to bring an air freshness and life to the chapel’s rustic, intimate interior.
It was important for Mariellen and Blake to incorporate meaningful elements into their ceremony to infuse the day with personal flair. “Blake is half Iranian and a wedding is all about the coming together of two families and two cultures,” says Mariellen. “So we incorporated some Persian traditions throughout our wedding.” The pair added items from the traditional Sofreh Aghd to the chapel’s fireplace, Blake’s stepmother recited a Persian poem in Farsi and the couple closed the ceremony by sharing honey with one another, a gesture that symbolizes the sweetness of life. Mariellen also honored her own Irish heritage by inviting her sister to recite an Irish poem during the ceremony.
Mariellen and Blake exchanged vows in front of the Union Hill Inn chapel’s stunning stone fireplace, which they decorated with gilded vases filled with fall foliage and brightly lit ivory pillar candles.
The day started with an intimate ceremony in the Union Hill Inn chapel. With its exposed wooden beams, rustic stone fireplace and wood paneled floors, the light-filled space offered a warm, inviting atmosphere for the couple to celebrate with family and friends.
For the ceremony, Mariellen donned a classic fingertip-length blusher veil, which perfectly complemented her Allure A-line gown and elegant retro-inspired bridal look.
Retro elegance was the inspiration for Mariellen’s bridal look. She began with a classic Allure  A-line gown with airy layers of organza, an illusion neckline and subtle beaded and lace embellishments that added visual intrigue and a touch of glamour to the dress. She styled her hair into a 1950s, Grace Kelly-esque style and completed the look with custom-designed ballet slippers from Beholden Bridal on Etsy and a diamond-sapphire bracelet, a gift from her in-laws.
For a pop of fresh color, Blake adorned the lapel of his wool hounds tooth jacket with a bundle of fresh peach-colored roses.
Before heading indoors for the rest of the reception, Blake and Mariellen shared their first dance as husband and wife under an old oak tree illuminated with large paper lanterns.
“Our dinner was magical. It was a perfect and we dinned under the stars with heavy romantic candlelight, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and cascading flowers on wooden farmhouse tables with vintage lace runners,” says Mariellen. After dinner, guests indulged in seasonal sweets like sweet potato cheesecake, rustic apple tarts and make-your-own caramel apples and a whiskey bar that Blake set up on the venue’s back porch.
After exchanging vows in Union Hill Inn’s cozy chapel, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed a night of al fresco dining and dancing on the venue’s lush lawn. Long wooden farm tables played into the setting’s rustic, country charm, while lace table linens and gilded chargers and chiavari chairs struck the perfect balance of vintage elegance and glamour.