A Rustic Chic Vineyard Wedding at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel Valley, California
For their mid-summer wedding, Florida-based couple Carolyn Kauffman (46 and a conference service manager) and Mike Shaff (41 and a hotel general manager) headed to their home state of California to celebrate their nuptials with family and friends. With the help of Karissa frm Coastside Couture, the pair pulled off an effortlessly elegant affair with touches of Provencal flair. “Planning from across the country would have been stressful, but instead Karissa allowed the whole project to be fun,” says Carolyn. “She suggested amazing vendors, coordinated all set-up and timing details with the hotel, and truly understood the balance we wanted to strike between special and sincere.”
Wanting the event to have the same relaxed and fun feel as a laid-back backyard bash, the couple decided to host the entire affair at Carmel Valley Ranch. The expansive Vineyard Lawn offered the ultimate backdrop for the al fresco evening, with its stunning views of the surrounding vineyards and lavender fields. To compliment the natural beauty of the setting, Carolyn and Mike opted for a color scheme rich in rosemary and lavender hues with pops of playful pink for added drama and contrast. Rosemary and lavender motifs were carried throughout the day from the invitations themselves to the rehearsal dinner menus and the decorations on the wedding cake. Guests were even treated to lavender vodka lemonade cocktails as they arrived to the ceremony.
To give their “I dos” a more intimate feel, the couple decided against the traditional center aisle and arranged the seating into a block formation that encouraged family and friends from both sides to mix and mingle. After Carolyn and Mike exchanged vows, guitarist and singer Mark Banks kicked the party into high gear with contemporary pop hits. Guests enjoyed lawn games like Giant Jenga, hula-hoops, corn hole, ring toss and more, as they sipped on cocktails and noshed on decadent nibbles.
Dining tables in a mix of square, round and rectangular shapes were trimmed with vibrant green linens and antiqued silver vases overflowing with peonies, roses, dahlias, astilbes and vines. Seascape Florals created a unique arrangement for each table to bring an element of texture and intrigue to the rustic, romantic decor. French country chairs, wine barrels and wood slice accents kept everything feeling relaxed and fitting of the location.
“Table assignments mixed our sides of the family. We used book titles to theme the tables, with assignments displayed, upon arrival and at reception, in antique gold frames with corresponding book standing at at each table,” says Carolyn. “To assist with conversation among ‘new family’ members, every book selected had a commonality among all at the table - be it location, hobby, shared experience.”
After the couple’s first dance, DJ Logan with Sound in Motion kicked the tempo up big time and kept the dance floor crowded until the very end. “It was so fun to hear chants of ‘one more song’ at the end,” says Carolyn. “Mike and I say this to each other jokingly now whenever we leave a concert.”