A Blue-and-White Wedding on a California Ranch

Emily Wiechers and Ryan Fogarty met the old fashioned way: at a bar! “I spotted a tall man in cowboy boots in the corner of a bar in San Francisco, and made sure to make eye contact and smile as I walked past him,”she remembers. A few minutes later, Ryan came up to Emily—and told her she was pretty! “I couldn’t believe that was his opening line, but was also touched by how genuine and simple it was,” she says. The pair talked all night, and Ryan texted her the next day to arrange their first date. “Somehow, here we are today,” Emily says.

Nearly three years later, in March of 2016, Ryan went to great lengths to get Emily to take a day off of work to head to Carmel for "a sailing excursion his boss had booked that couldn’t be rescheduled." Emily finally bought it, and the couple headed south from San Francisco. They did wind up sailing in Monterey Bay and watched the sunset from a nearby beach. “We walked along the water as we had countless times before, then Ryan encouraged me to go look at the flowers in the middle of the beach,” says Emily. She found a bucket of flowers next to a bottle of her favorite champagne, and Ryan got down on one knee. “As soon as he’d popped the question, I turned around to see our families barreling down the stairs to the beach,” says the bride.

On April 29, 2017, the couple invited 185 guests to join them in Carmel for a wedding inspired by Ralph Lauren's classic-meets-preppy aesthetic. “Ryan is a golfer from Texas and I’m an equestrian from California, so a country club-meets-ranch wedding was perfect for us,” Emily says. Their venue, Gardner Ranch in Carmel Valley, features a lush landscape and plenty of space for an outdoor wedding, and the couple filled it with a navy, blush, and cream palette. “We wanted to find the perfect balance between elegant and comfortable,” Emily explains. “It was all about finding the right juxtaposition between formalwear, romantic flowers, an historic basilica, and a family-style dinner beneath sprawling oak trees.” Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, wait until you see Larissa Cleveland’s photos of this California couple’s beautiful celebration.

The elegant invitation suite combined a springy shade of navy with blush ribbon and a floral envelope liner, all topped off with a wax seal.

Emily has always loved long sleeves, and her wedding gown was no exception. The Monique Lhuillier dress combined a sheer Chantilly lace bodice with a floral-printed organza skirt, a V-neckline, and an open back. “I was torn between two dresses, and called Ryan for advice," she says. "Despite the fact that I couldn’t share any details with him, he came up with the perfect solution when he asked me which dress I’d save if the salon were on fire!”

The groom, of course, wore a navy blue tuxedo to match the day's color palette.

The bride carried a feminine bouquet of peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and spirea—all tied together in the same blush ribbon as the invitations. The bridesmaids, in bright navy tulle and lace dresses, carried smaller bouquets accented with sea holly and anemones. “I loved how the dark centers of the anemones matched their dresses,” says the bride.

Ryan and Emily are both Catholic, and the bride has dreamed about getting married at the Carmel Mission since she was a child. “It was as magical and history-rich as I imagined, and even more special because Ryan proposed just a mile away on Carmel Beach,” the bride explains.

The couple wanted "real food" at their wedding so they opted for a seasonal, farm-to-table menu that included a massive cheese display at cocktail hour. “We wanted the wedding to reflect the way we like to eat when we’re out together—ordering too much and sharing plates,” says the bride.

Emily is obsessed with blue and white, and she and her mother collect ginger jars. They pooled from their collection and used the jars as vessels for flowers throughout the cocktail hour space.

Table assignments were displayed on blush ribbon hung from antique doors. “My mom and I found the doors at an antique store, and our farrier used horseshoes to create supports that kept the doors standing,” says Emily. The doors were draped in eucalyptus and clusters of blush garden roses and peonies.

“I’m crazy for monograms,” says Emily. “We had pillows made to dress up the outdoor furniture by the pool deck.”

On the lawn, guests were seated at long tables topped with soft blue Ikat runners. Rectangular boxes held low arrangements of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, budding peiris, spirea, sea holly, hellebores, and white anemones.

As the maid of honor and best man gave toasts, guests enjoyed a family-style meal of sourdough bread, a salad with blackberries and edible flowers, and seared salmon with risotto and garden chimichurri.

The night ended with late-night s'more just after the sun went down. Says Emily, “Some of Ryan and my favorite memories together are of fires and s’mores on Carmel Beach, so we had a late-night s’mores station by the fire pit.”

The couple served not one but two types of cake! The three-tiered naked cake, topped in roses and peonies, featured genoise cake with vanilla cream and fresh strawberries. To keep the budget low, there was also a sheet cake in the back, with chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and fresh raspberries.

“I’m not a big dancer, so the first dance was really looming in my mind,” says Emily. Ryan insisted on doing the two-step to “Mean to Me” by Brett Eldredge, but it wasn’t until after the rehearsal dinner (yes, the night before the wedding!) that the couple had a chance to practice. “We played the song on Ryan’s phone and danced around, counting the steps," she says. "It was the perfect way to laugh away the tension we had about our big day.”

With so many opinions when it comes to your wedding plans, it can be hard to stick to what really matters to you and your partner—but Emily says it’s worth it! “If there’s anything that’s truly important to you, no matter how silly it may seem or how many people tell you know one will notice, make it happen," she says. "Those are the things you’ll remember most, regardless of if anyone else does.”

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