A Summer Wedding at Beltane Ranch in Sonoma, California

Allison Hoffmann and Alex Huckstepp’s meet-cute was something out of a rom-com. When Allison, who works in commercial real estate, moved in with girlfriends in San Francisco, the women needed assistance building IKEA furniture for the apartment. Luckily, one of them knew a group of guys who would get to work in exchange for pizza and beer. “The next thing I knew, this tall, handsome, confident man was building my furniture, and the rest is history,” Allison says of Alex, who works in business development.

Nine years later, the couple said “I do” in a breezy, chic outdoor celebration in Sonoma, California. The pair knew they wanted to host their 101 guests in the same location for the July 2019 nuptials, so they immediately fell in love with Beltane Ranch and the property’s on-site inn. “In such a beautiful venue, you really don’t need all the extras and a little goes a long way,” Allison says. “We were incredibly thoughtful in each and every element we included.” 

Allison and Alex collaborated with Lindsey L’Relyea of L’Relyea Events on the day’s décor, which featured a muted summer-inspired color palette and an emphasis on flowers. Allison had no issue skipping things like stationery but was sure to have an amazing dinner menu, right down to the raw bar, and a live band to entertain guests.

“We love oysters, so a big hit of the evening was our oyster bar from Hog Island Oysters during the cocktail hour,” she says. “We wanted everything to be easy and fun for our guests, and we thought our venue, food, music, and flow of events helped that.”

Read on for all the details of this classic wine country wedding, planned by L’Relyea Events and photographed by Gretchen Gause

“We stayed on-site in their beautiful inn with all my bridesmaids, which also made for an incredible experience,” Allison says of getting ready with her five bridesmaids on the wedding day. 

For Allison, it’s the dress’s material—100 percent silk crepe—that sold her on the Alexandra Grecco gown. “I had never felt a material like this before, and the fit flattered all the good parts it should,” the bride adds. She accessorized the look with simple diamond cuff earrings, a lace Sara Gabriel veil, and a pair of Valentino heels. 

The amount of greenery and flowers combined with the sweeping views of the vines and mountains of Sonoma was truly breathtaking.

Flowers expressed the day’s effortlessly chic vibe in a way that other décor could not. Allison knew from the start that she wanted to emphasize the blooms, including in the full bouquets tied with raw silk ribbons. “The amount of greenery and flowers combined with the sweeping views of the vines and mountains of Sonoma was truly breathtaking,” she says. 

To Allison’s surprise, Alex also wanted to don white for the ceremony. He stuck with an American summer vibe: a white linen jacket from Ralph Lauren with khaki pants from J.Crew.

The groomsmen wore lightly colored linen jackets that coordinated with the pale gray dresses for the bridesmaids. The outfits were both aesthetically pleasing and practical—because it can get quite hot in the summer in Sonoma, the wedding party would stay cool in their attire. 

“There is nothing more beautiful than California wine country in the summertime,” Allison says of choosing Beltane Ranch for the celebration.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with a refreshments station on the back of a vintage truck.

The guest book was placed on a table that included Fujifilm Instax cameras. 

Allison’s florist, Anna Hoffman at Loop Flowers, draped white fabric around the 100-year-old oak tree, which would serve as the backdrop for the ceremony. She also lined the aisle with paper flower garlands to add to the whimsy.

The wedding party walked down the aisle to a remix of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love,” while Allison made her grand entrance to Kina Grannis’ cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

Allison’s stepfather, Jeffrey Street, officiated the ceremony. Because he knew the couple well, he tailored the vows to fit Allison and Alex, plus shared sweet stories from their courtship.

It’s about all the people that are important to you in your life coming together to celebrate your love for one day.

“It’s not really about the matching cutlery, or the linens, or that friend whose girlfriend bailed last minute,” Allison says of the wedding day. “It’s about all the people that are important to you in your life coming together to celebrate your love for one day.”

Glasses of sparkling wine did double-duty during cocktail hour as both refreshment and escort card

Umbrellas were placed around the cocktail hour area to create a relaxed, lived-in summer atmosphere and, more practically, shield guests from the sun.

For the reception, Allison realized the “romantic and whimsical vibe” with petite floral arrangements, mixed vases, gauzy linen runners, and market lights hung from the old oak trees. “I really wanted the beauty of the venue to stand out and for our guests to have fun, that was the most important,” she adds.

Allison admits she cared more about the menu than the place settings. For dinner, the couple served roasted bistro filet, pan-seared salmon, and, their favorite, a truffled white cheddar orecchiette. “It was the perfect summer menu for our wedding,” the bride says.

A live band played during dinner and dancing, a setlist that included “all the fun classics.”

Instead of a cake, Allison and Alex hosted a pie and ice cream bar for dessert, which included playful flavors like s’mores, Mississippi mud pie, and Oreo ice cream. 

“My grandparents always did a 'German cheers' before our family dinners growing up, and we were able to incorporate that with our whole wedding,” Allison says of her brother leading the toast. “It united all the guests and kicked off the evening.”

Wedding Team


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