An Intimate Outdoor Wedding at San Ysidro Ranch

For a shy bride and groom, the idea of standing in front of hundreds of far-flung relatives and friends from the long-ago college days can be a nightmare. So when it came time for Jared and Amanda to envision their wedding day, they decided to keep it intimate — just the way they like it. Armed with a short guest list and an amazing venue, the couple planned their outdoor wedding at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, with a  few bold pops of citrusy color along the way.

Read on for more from the bride:
“Jared and I met through a mutual friend here in Los Angeles. Shy as can be, Jared took one look at me and immediately pulled his Yankees baseball cap so low that I couldn’t see his eyes!  He proceeded to ignore me most of the night, except when we teamed up at foosball and destroyed all on-comers. (Jared happens to be an excellent foosball player!) At the end of the evening we politely parted ways. It would take us nearly nine months to find each other in the right moment and at the right time.  I was hosting my first party at my downtown Los Angeles loft. Our mutual friend invited Jared and as it turned out, I was a horrible host! I was completely overwhelmed but Jared came to my rescue and co-hosted the party with me helping to guide the night. This simple gesture really captured my heart and I have been hooked ever since. 

When we started planning our wedding, we gravitated towards a smaller affair due to his aforementioned shyness and my tendency to get overwhelmed with large groups. San Ysidro Ranch was the second venue we visited, and we were immediately struck by its rich history, serene grounds, and incredible scents. (Seriously, the place smells fantastic!)  We knew this was a special place, and we knew that we would love returning throughout our marriage. Since we decided to have a smaller wedding, we were able to splurge and spoil our closest friends and family.

Our best friend Bobby Patton officiated, working with us to create a memorable and personalized ceremony that took advantage of such a beautiful location.  A highlight of the ceremony was when our friends Jim & Sam sang a spectacular version of California Stars. After the wedding, we stayed for a few more nights at San Ysidro Ranch in the Kennedy Cottage before our honeymoon in Costa Rica.”

Photography: Meghan Kay Sadler | Design and Coordination: Alex Events Inc | Flowers: The Velvet Garden Florals | Dress: Elie Saab | Bridal Styling: Maradee Wahl | Lighting: Rolides | Rentals: Rrivreworks and Casa de Perrin | Make up: Ash Mathews | Hair: Monica Escalante | Videography: Shark Pig

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01.11.16 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

5 Reasons Once Wed Loves Zola


If you’ve been following Once Wed for a while now, you’ll know that we love online registry Zola. But you may not know why, so today we’ve rounded up our top 5 reasons that Once Wed loves Zola!

1. Completely customizable: With Zola, you not only get your own easy to remember and share custom registry URL, but you will also be able to customize your page to fit your style as a couple. Add photos of the two of you, write a welcome message to your guests, and leave notes on your gifts, indicating why you chose them!

2. Everything you want, in one place:  

Already have a fully stocked kitchen?  You can add giftsexperiencesand honeymoon & cash funds instead, plus anything from any store. (Yep! Feel free to pick out your favorite wine glasses from one store and that must-have gadget from somewhere else without sending your guests all over the internet.) Mark those pricier items you’re in love with for Group Gifting, so that multiple friends can pitch in!

3. Features that are actually helpful:

Not sure where to start when adding items to your registry? Zola’s Registry Planner tells you how many gifts you need in each price range based on the number of guests attending your wedding.

The Timeline will keep you on track throughout your wedding planning process and the Starter Collections are full of ideas that will inspire you as you search for the perfect pieces to start your new life together.

4. Stay in control of your gifts with:

Control shipping: You’ll get notified when a gift is purchased, and then you can decide to ship now or hold it for a more convenient time.

Online gift swap: Receive a gift from your registry and now you’ve decided it’s just not a favorite anymore? You can swap gifts before you even receive them or convert the purchase to credit.

5. An easy to use app for on-the-go planning:

Create and manage your registry on-the-go from Zola’s iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch appSee something you love while out shopping? Add it to your registry right from your phone with the barcode scanner! You can also browse gifts in 3D settings – like a real store, apartment or rooftop – with the 360° Feature to imagine how it might fit perfectly in your own space.

Thinking about checking out Zola? Find more info on all their features here. Plus, if you’re recently engaged, you can start a registry with Zola and receive a $25 credit to spend on the site!

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01.11.16 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog, Wedding Planning

Romantic Wedding Photography from Manda Weaver

Choosing your wedding photographer is arguably one of the most important (and difficult) parts of your wedding planning process. Finding the right photographer to capture your day and entrust with your memories is of utmost importance, and that’s why we’re excited to introduce you today to one of our Once Wed Premium Vendors, Manda Weaver Photography.

Ask a photographer what they love the most about photography, and her answers might surprise you. Manda says, “I love to create imagery that becomes touchstones. A couple is able to look back at their wedding images and see where they were and reflect on where they are now.” Being a part of the journey that a couple walks is an amazing gift, and Manda dreams of working with couples who care deeply about creating a marriage that is beautiful beyond their wedding day.

So what sets Manda Weaver Photography apart from the rest? One of the main qualities of her work is her love of creating a light, airy aesthetic, and capturing more than just the visual, but the emotions of your day as well. Manda has a background in musical theater, which she uses to engage each of her couples and help them tell their unique story, enabling them to engage with each other and feel comfortable.

Do Manda’s story and photographs resonate with you? Don’t hesitate to reach out to her, to discuss your 2016 or 2017 wedding. Manda is based in Annapolis, Maryland and works in the surrounding areas of DC and Baltimore as well.  However, for a dream couple she is happy to travel.

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01.09.16 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Our Top Destination Weddings


Whether a location is a particularly meaningful place or a new adventure to be enjoyed with guests, destination weddings provide a breathtaking change of scenery plus a sense of travel camaraderie.

While differing languages, time zones, and cultural backgrounds may make the thought of a destination wedding a little daunting, as the weddings we’re sharing with you here will demonstrate, the result can be a fairytale celebration that exceeds all of your wildest expectations.

Elyse Jennings, a wedding planner specializing in destination weddings to New Orleans, says she loves the element of surprise that comes with a destination wedding.

“In New Orleans I get to watch guests eyes get wide when the second line brass band fires up or when I tell them they can leave the venue with their drinks! While planning a destination wedding can seem so overwhelming, it can also make for an exciting experience to show your guests a new city with it’s unique culture!”

Her best advice?

“Hire a professional that can be your eyes, ears, and voice in that city, then discover everything that city is known for so that you can give your guests the fullest experience both through the wedding and over the weekend!”

Here we’ve compiled a preview of 25 of our favorite destination weddings showcasing exquisite backdrops and incredible cultural heritages from Europe, to the Americas, Africa, Asia and beyond.

Of course, if you find yourself inspired to take the plunge, there are a few considerations for planning destination weddings in other countries. For example, will your marriage be legally recognised? In many countries it may not so you will need a civil ceremony in your home country to make things official. You’ll likely need a local planner and bilingual vendors, and you’ll want to plan around locally institutionalized extended vacation periods, especially in the summer. For a few more basic tips, check out this article on how to plan a destination wedding in Paris.

Whether your destination is domestic or international, we think you’ll find that these photos and stories prove that if a locale speaks to you, it’s well worth the effort to travel in order to host the wedding of your dreams.

Article by Once Wed regular contributor Caroline Boneham Roche

Click through the slideshow below to learn more and follow the photography credit to view the original wedding feature in full.


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01.08.16 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning