Melissa + Jeff – A Handmade Flying Caballos Wedding

This is one of those weddings that I know my words won’t sufficiently do justice to.  The bride is a friend of mine all the way back to college (yes, I’m getting to the age where that constitutes the “old days”) We’ve lived together in a house with blue shag carpet, we took a trip to Europe together (watching Grease nearly the whole flight), we’ve made each other laugh over countless meals and even did a little light vandalism together (sorry about that,  Jonny and Jean!)  When she moved away after college she lived with my oldest friend,  and I entice her  up to visit me as often as possible with offers of wine and delicious Sonoma County foods. Luckily the guy she fell in love with is easily lured up to visit with promises of tasty beer and sausage…  Needless to say, I would have had a soft spot for this wedding if it had taken place in the back room at a used car dealership.  When Melissa and Jeff asked if I would take their photos I was a little reluctant at first. I know what great taste they have and was really scared that my vision wouldn’t mesh with theirs. Once I arrived and saw what she had done? It looked like every dream wedding or party I’ve ever imagined. As I said before,they have wonderful taste. They both have art degrees and have some very, very, talented friends.  Their save the date cards were illustrated by the fabulously talented Mel Kadel and Travis Millard – How cute are they? Then Melissa designed and printed the invites, rsvp’s and menus that were illustrated by Alexis Hartman who also does illustrations for Melissa’s stationary company Dog and Pony Show Designs – The house on the save the dates and the invites is the guest ranch where the wedding was held.Flying Caballos Ranch is a gem of a place. Every time I turned around I was met with either a stunning view or an adorable detail. The paint colors, landscaping, the “outhouses” with outdoor showers… it was all so sweet and comfortable and perfectly set up for a wedding weekend. Melissa and Jeff made up spice rub packets (they share a mutual love of BBQ) and put them in these little hand-stamped bags as guest favors.The vintage linens were from Melissa’s grandmother and the hankies and adorable little salt and pepper shakers were sourced on ebay and vintage stores.Vintage hankies as napkins and hand painted wooden napkin rings? Beautiful.

Melissa also made up little California wildflower seed packets as table cards. See what I meant about the guest house? Details everywhere… I love this stove.They had a selection of vintage and regional sodas along with beer and alcohol, not only were they tasty, they were cute to look at – who couldn’t love something called “Cheerwine” or  “YUP”Melissa and Jeff made the centerpieces and isle hangers and Jeff did all the boutonnieres and bouquets. How amazing is THAT?In lieu of a guest book, they put together a post card album – each guest could pick a funky vintage postcard from the basket  and write their well wishes on the back. Guests had a great time sifting through the postcards finding the best ones and writing away.At the guest ranch, there are separate houses, so the groom and groomspeople were able to enjoy a tipple before the festivities out of eyeshot of the bride. 😉The beautiful ladies got ready in the main house…With the stunning bride.Her dress is JCrew – and it really suits her so well. It’s classic and simple but totally elegant. I loved that they did a first look, it really can give you time to see each other and take a moment together before the whirlwind starts.The “something blue” charm on Melissa’s bouquet is a photo of her late father her maid of honor had made so he would be there with her all day. so very sweet.I mean, come on – look at these flowers!Their good friend Jonee performed the ceremony and it was one of the funniest, most heartfelt ceremonies I’ve heard. That was really the tone of the whole weekend… Tender moments, hearty laughter and full-on JOY.Melissa bought these old afghans to bundle up while sitting around the firepit roasting marshmallows. The meal was catered by “Chef Jeff” (not the groom) but he has no website to link to. His food is yummy, though so look him up if you’re in the central coast area. Melissa’s “Best Girl Dani” (her new title, per me) and her husband Dan sang a funny and sweet song for part of her toast.Cupcakes are pretty good, but mini gourmet cupcakes delivered in a restored pink and chrome vintage trailer and served on antique mix-and-match cake plates?? Awesome. Enjoy cupcakes, you are my hero.A wedding isn’t complete without a little frosting up your nose. Or without guys in kilts with sparklers…Or without some Austrian dancing…Or without the Horah…Or without gazing lovingly into each others eyes.Thank you, my sweet friends, for having me be a part of your special day. I love you and wish you all the happiness in the world.

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Michelle Feileacan Photography