{Real Weddings} Martha & Brian’s Sonoma Ranch Wedding

by Laicie

Oh be still my heart… I think you already know that nothing gets to me more than a gorgeous ranch wedding… especially when it’s set in the heart of wine country!  Martha and Brian were married at Beltane Ranch with a yellow and gray birdhouse theme… yellow to match the venue and gray because it is Martha’s favorite color.  Every detail was special to the couple… they even had a close friend officiate, and because Martha and Brian spent three years far apart, depending greatly upon their Apple products to connect, their officiant read from an iPad covered in yellow, and their reader from an iPhone.

… how cute is that?!

And Martha was sweet enough to answer some questions for me!

How did you choose your venue… did it have any special significance?

We both live in PA but many of our family members live in Northern CA and the bay area, so we chose the Napa/Sonoma area because first of location. I really was the one who found Beltane Ranch through online research. I always envisioned getting married outdoors, in a farm/country setting with many colors, flowers (rustic style if you would say). I found Beltane Ranch through a wedding blog (!) and then continued searching through other blogs with Beltane Ranch as the venue, and I LOVED all the pictures that came out. I sent the pictures to Brian (who at that time still living in WA) and his response was: I have always thought of getting married in a place like this (getting this kind of response from him was a huge, huge green light!!).

Anyway, we visited the place during the Thanksgiving weekend. We absolutely loved it. There was a sense of warmth when you are at this place, like being in a place familiar to you or being at home. I like the fact that the venue was authentic, old/vintage (it is not sparkling new or fancy). I love the lights, the openness, the colors of the flowers.

What kind of music did you play?

We had a solo guitarist (playing the Spanish guitar). He played “Somewhere in Time” (as a little girl I loved this love story – did you ever watch the movie?). For my entrance, I asked the musician to sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” — Brudda Iz’ version. I knew that if I played anything else, I would have just cried, and I did not want to cry for the ceremony (LOL!) so I wanted light, happy music and he played it so beautifully!!

After the ceremony, when we and the bridal party left the “altar” he sang “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles.

For the cocktail and dinner reception, we had pop Latin music.

What was your favorite part of the day?

Walking down the aisle with both my parents who both had big smiles on their face. Watching Brian smile as I walked down the aisle. And also, during dancing, our band re-sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” so that we could have our last dance of that night.

Any advice for other brides?

I did a lot of research on wedding blogs to get inspiration. I think I also listened to what I wanted and just followed my heart. Some decisions may have turned out to be not what I expected and it was just okay, but most of the things were super special, and those are what I remember the most now.

For example, music choice (hiring the Latin band) was really a risky choice, because I was afraid that most guests could not relate to these music, but my whole life I had loved the Gypsy Kings and wanted a Latin touch to the wedding. It was the BEST decision I made! Everyone danced, even our parents and grandparents!!!!

Photographer: 39 East Photography / Venue: Beltane Ranch / Event Coordinator: Mary Ellen Murphy/Off the Beaten Path Weddings / Music: Rolando Morales / Flowers: Valley Flora / Make-up: Veronica Passalacqua / Hair: Lauren Kelsay / Bride’s Dress and Accessories: Bridal Sophisticate