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 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.”