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 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.