Carlsbad Wedding at Leo Carrillo Ranch - Anna & Doug
Taking a look back at Doug and Anna’s wedding at Leo Carrillo Ranch tucked along the hills of Carlsbad, California. Carlsbad is mostly known as a beachy, quiet suburb town but this wedding would have made you think you were miles away into the desert of Palm Springs. With Anna’s creativity and style really brought the desert vibe to a whole other level and made this wedding an absolute dream. A two-minute ceremony and bridal party that partied all night made this one wedding we won’t forget! Take a look at a few favorites and the story of how they met!
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A: With most of our family coming to San Diego for the first time from the Midwest & South for our wedding, we wanted our our day to feel very Southern Californian. We chose Leo Carrillo Ranch as our venue for the outdoor setting (to exhibit San Diego's amazing weather), the terracotta roof buildings, and we loved that it had both desert and beach vibes with the cacti and palm trees. We thought it was the perfect representation of Southern California. For styling, we went for a SoCal Boho feel. My dress was a statement boho piece along with the florals, which included dried palm fronds, pampas grass, and Coral Charm Peonies. Our color theme was a mixture of neutrals and bright corals. A taco bar for dinner was a must-have for our SoCal theme, plus a churro bar for dessert!
Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A: The venue was already so beautiful itself so we mostly relied on the florals decorate. The ceremony area had a gorgeous willow tree that we said our vows beneath, so our florist created a massive spread to drape around the trunk of the tree. The piece included large dried palm fronds, pampas grass, Coral Charm Peonies, and other coral flowers. Similar arrangements were displayed on a fireplace under a cabana, where dessert was served. The dinner tables were decorated with palm fronds and coral flowers in bud vases. Candles lit the tables after the sun went down and string lights draping from trees lit the dance floor. Behind the dessert bar we displayed photos of our parents and grandparents from their own weddings. We also had cute inflatable swans floating in the venue’s pool.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A: The florals played a huge part in the style. We received so many compliments on them during the wedding and still to this day! The ceremony area had a gorgeous willow tree that we said our vows beneath, so our florist created a massive spread to drape around the trunk of the tree. The piece included large dried palm fronds, pampas grass, Coral Charm Peonies, and other coral flowers. Similar arrangements were displayed on a fireplace under a cabana, where dessert was served. The dinner tables were decorated with palm fronds and coral flowers in bud vases. Candles lit the tables after the sun went down and string lights draping from trees lit the dance floor. My bouquet was mostly flowers with little greenery. It was a large-fish arrangement with peonies, roses, and textured pieces like pampas grass with accents of darker red/burgundy flowers. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were similar but each had a perfectly cut dried palm frond.
Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A: We personalized our weddings in a few ways. First, neither of us thrive on being the center of attention so our ceremony was short and sweet, leaving the rest of the night to party. Our guests and vendors say it was the shortest but best ceremony the’ve witnessed. Secondly, we chose a non-traditional first dance song (“Easy Way” (Acapella) by For the Foxes). Although it was a more upbeat song, we didn’t practice a coordinated dance so we winged it, and it worked so well! The guests loved it. Lastly, our venue provided lawn games such as cornhole (bag toss) and giant Jenga. This kept our guests occupied during cocktail hour and the reception - both games were a huge hit!
Let's talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A: I had been following Rue De Seine for awhile and only dreamed of wearing one of their dresses. I planned a trip to Nashville to dress shop with my mom and her sisters who live in the midwest/south (they’re triplets, so it’s like I have 3 moms and needed support from all 3 of them). I knew I wanted to shop at The Dress Theory which had locations in both Nashville and San Diego. When I walked out in the Avril gown, my family gasped and I felt like a glowing, boho QUEEN! I immediately knew the dress would look perfect with our venue and the style I was going for. Since the dress is a statement on it’s own, I chose simple accessories - all-white shoes, teardrop crystal earrings, and a few flowers placed above my low-bun hairstyle. With Doug having blonde hair & blue eyes, we knew he’d look amazing in a navy suit. His focus was being comfortable and fitting in with the rest of our planned style.
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A: We met in the spring of 2012 while in college, on a camping trip with mutual friends in our home state, Missouri. Sparks flew while we were stargazing around the campfire, pondering what could exist beyond our solar system. After the trip we got to know each other over weekly dates to the movies, ice cream shops, and local events. When we both finished college, we moved across the country together from St. Louis to San Diego, where we live today. The Proposal:Doug: We decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to San Francisco over the Christmas holiday. I had researched some locations that I thought would be fun to propose at, but I didn't have one picked out, so I decided I would just bring the ring with us wherever we went and pull it out when the moment seemed right.On the way up the 15 in CA we saw the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch lighting up the sky. We had no clue what it was, and I thought I was going to have to propose before the end of the world. Luckily the world kept turning and we were able to enjoy the show from the side of the highway. We got to San Francisco early the next morning and had a blast exploring, all the while I was carrying the ring with me.On Christmas Eve we rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge. We made our destination an overlook on the Northwest side of the bridge that has a beautiful view of the bridge and the cliffs to the West. We biked across the bridge, and even though we were tired we dragged ourselves up the hill to the overlook and found a corner to ourselves. It was overcast, but the sun was peeking through the clouds and reflecting off of the water. The surf was crashing against the cliffs below, and the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco was to our backs. It was beautiful. I told Anna to look off to the West towards the cliffs so I could get a picture of her. While she was turned around I got the ring out, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me.She said yes. :)We held each other for a while just enjoying the view and the moment. Then we FaceTime'd our parents. After talking with them for a bit, a group who was having a picnic at the overlook congratulated us, and shared some champagne with us. It was the perfect addition to the moment.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A: We were so excited for our family and friends to travel across the country (some drove over 2,000 miles!) to witness our commitment to each other. Many of them had never been to the west cost and we wanted to make sure they had the best experience. It was amazing to have all of our favorite people in one place to celebrate us! Every time I finished up a conversation or dance with one person at the reception, I would turn around and there would be another one of my favorite people - it was an amazing feeling! Additionally, I was really anticipating Doug seeing my dress! He loved it!
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?
A: I would advise other engaged couples to plan their wedding how they want and to not let others’ expectations get in the way too much. Guest experience was a high priority to us since they were traveling and spending a lot of money to attend. We also kept in mind things that would make our parents happy, but we didn’t revolve our planning around that. Set priorities, but don’t take it too seriously if everything doesn’t work out how you plan. Stay in the moment, even when you’re planning so you can enjoy the experience! Lastly, stay organized, use spreadsheets, and share your ideas with your vendors. :)
It was such a blast being a part of such a fun, loving wedding and being able to capture these moments for Anna and Doug. San Diego has so many amazing wedding venues, and we absolutely love shooting at Leo Carrillo, the scenery and aesthetic fits right with our style and is here locally which makes it that much more convenient to travel too. Thanks for checking out our latest blog!
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