A Rustic Romantic At-Home Wedding in Cazadero, California

Allyson Umberger (26 and an attorney) and Tyler Browne (27 and an attorney) first met while they both were attending law school. As chance would have

Allyson Umberger (26 and an attorney) and Tyler Browne (27 and an attorney) first met while they both were attending law school. As chance would have it, the two used the same room to study in between classes every day. They eventually started talking and getting to know one another, and right from the start they sensed that they had something special. For their first date, they boldly decided to take a road trip from San Francisco to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "Even though it was a long drive, it gave us a lot of time to talk, and by the end of the day, we were singing along with songs on the radio together. A second date was definitely in order, and we've spent close to every day together since," says Allyson. When Tyler decided to propose a few years later, he brought Allyson back to the very same spot where it all began. After a day of hiking, the couple decided to repose on a small, intimate beach. While watching the seals play out on the rocks, Tyler got down on one knee and popped the question. When they got back to San Francisco that night, Tyler took Allyson to her favorite Japanese restaurant, where he had arranged a surprise celebration with their closest family members and friends. When it came to planning their wedding, the couple decided to host the affair at Cooper's Point, a location on Tyler's family ranch in Cazadero, California. "Choosing a wedding location was a big decision," says Allyson. "Our families were split geographically on opposite sides of the country — mine in Georgia and Tyler's in California, so we were looking at a destination wedding no matter where we chose." A natural setting was key for the couple, who wanted the outdoors to be a prominent feature of the day, so the cattle and timber ranch where Tyler grew up, nestled on a ridge above the Sonoma coastline, surrounded by Redwood trees and pristine pastures, felt like the perfect fit. Creating a day that spoke to who they were as individuals, as well as a couple, was also important to Allyson and Tyler, spurring their decision to put as much of themselves into the day as possible by making as many of the wedding's details from scratch. They started by redesigning and landscaping the spot on Tyler's family ranch where they would eventually say "I do," planting grass, building fences and planting flowers to create an intimate oasis for the ceremony. Drawing on the setting for inspiration, the couple decided on a rustic, romantic aesthetic for the wedding. A soft color palette of ivory, blush, pink and peach gave the ceremony and reception a warm, elegant feel with a few bright pops of blue and green adding a touch of freshness and vibrancy to the ceremony decor. Handmade touches were the key to bringing the couple's vision to life and they spent the months leading up to ceremony handcrafting everything from the dozens of whimsical painted wood signs (made from old fence posts and wood found on the ranch) to the locally sourced Redwood stage and the groom's cake, which Allyson designed to look like AT&T Park. Allyson and Tyler also enlisted the help of their family and friends to make their dream wedding a reality. Allyson's mother, sister and mother-in-law made an assortment of mouthwatering pies for dessert and the jars of homemade jam that the couple gave to all of their guests was made by Tyler's mother and aunt. Tyler's aunt and family members even arranged all of the flowers from the wedding, which came straight from her own garden. Other details like burlap accents, mason jars and Allyson's arrival to the ceremony in a vintage red truck captured the essence of the country locale. And when it came to their guests, Allyson and Tyler left no detail overlooked. Drinks were provided at the ceremony to ensure their guests' comfort, a menu packed with delicious eats provided guests with the fuel to dance all night long and fun touches like a post-reception bonfire, complete with marshmallow roasting and singing, ensured the night would be one to remember.

"Our families were split geographically on opposite sides of the country, so we were looking at a 'destination' wedding no matter where we chose. We both wanted nature to be a prominent feature of our wedding, so we decided to host all the festivities at the cattle and timber ranch where Tyler grew up," says Allyson. "The ranch is nestled on a ridge above the Sonoma coastline with giant redwoods, fields with cows, and not a single restaurant or store to be found for miles. It was important to us both that our wedding be unique to us. So we built our venue completely from scratch. We planted grass, watered, and even fenced out wild pigs, to create a small oasis under the trees for our ceremony. We built a stage from redwood harvested on the ranch, made signs and tables from old fence posts, and used hay bales from the barn just up the road. We tried hard to use as many resources from the ranch as possible, to honor the special location."
Handmade Table Numbers
Lavender and Flower Petal Cones
Allyson chose elegant A-line dresses for her bridesmaids in a classic navy color that allow them to wear the dresses again with ease. For a touch of country charm, the girls paired the look with brown cowboy boots.
Handmade Rustic Wood Signs
Allyson wore a stunning Monique Lhuillier fit-and-flare gown with a soft alençon lace overlay and v-shaped neckline. She trimmed the gown's lining to floor-length so that the lace train would reveal the bright green grass as she walked down the aisle.rn
As a part of the reception celebrations, the newlyweds invited guests to relax by a roaring fire and provided all the fixings for marshmallow roasting.
Rustic Handmade Seating Chart
Allyson was led by her father down the grassy, rose-petal aisle to the shady spot under a majestic old tree where she would say "I do."
Allyson accessorized her traditional lace Monique Lhuillier gown with a lace-edged veil, brown cowboy boots and a bouquet filled with yellow, ivory and pink blooms.
Hand-crafted Wood Welcome Signs
Homemade Honey and Jam Wedding Favors
The reception tables combined both romantic and rustic touches. Each table was lined with a burlap table runner, covered with lush arrangements of peach and pink blooms including roses, peonies, astilbe and calla lilies. Pinky-peach place cards added a pop of color to the earthy brown linens.
In true country style, Allyson arrived to the ceremony in the passenger seat of an antique truck in a bright shade of cherry red that belonged to Tyler's uncle.
Bright Wildflower Arrangements and Hand-painted Signs
Formal Green Invitations with Tree Motif
Hand-painted wood signs, made by Allyson from wood sourced from the property, were scattered throughout the property, greeting guests, point them in the right direction and adding a rustic note to the wedding's decor.
Traditional Princess Cut Engagement Ring
To complement the bridesmaid's navy dresses, the groomsmen donned classic gray suits with vests and ties in a similar shade of blue.
Allyson and Tyler's First Dance
An assortment of mouthwatering pies, made by Allyson's mother, sister and mother-in-law, provided a tasty after-dinner treat.
Rustic Ceremony Refreshment Table
Post-Reception Bonfire
Three-Tier Buttercream Wedding Cake with Cascading Flowers
Rustic Tented Wedding Reception
All of the flowers for the wedding were arranged by the couple's families and were sourced straight from Tyler's aunt's garden.
Handmade Chalkboard Menu Signs
Romantic Blush, Yellow and White Bridal Bouquet
Hand-Illustrated Guest Book Alternative