This Couple Planned Their California Winery Wedding in Just 8 Months

Set up on a blind date by friends, Kate Olmstead and Garrett Mitchell’s first date started as a morning coffee chat, but turned into a 13-hour marathon. "We ended up making dinner plans and accidentally met my parents while they were in town," says Kate. "We had so much fun together that first week, and were always waiting to see each other. We were engaged a year and a half later, and married eight months after that." Turns out, your friends and family just might know what (or who!) is best for you!

After a Bachelorette-style proposal (Kate was given a red rose, then lead to a dock where Garrett was waiting with a ring!), the California couple set their sites on a venue. The bride works for Marriott International, so while she loves a great ballroom, she knew she wanted to be outside in the fresh air. "Ponte Winery in Temecula was one of the first places I took Garrett when we started dating," says Kate. "It’s also perfectly located between our families in San Diego and Orange County, and I love the sweet bridal cottages just off of the ceremony space!" This elegant, understated winery wedding on October 18, 2015, is full of personal details true to the couple (with a few fun quirks thrown in!), and you won’t believe they got it all together so quickly! Take a peek at the photos, by Jackie Wonders, below.

Even a relaxed wedding in wine country needs some sparkle! Kate’s Badgley Michska pumps were classic in the front, and totally glam in the back. Her Anais Anette wedding dress was a modified A-line made of heavy lace, which Kate topped with a removable tulle skirt. "I loved the idea of being able to change my look between the ceremony and reception," she says.

Garrett added a jacket to his fitted gray suit to differentiate his look from his groomsmen, who donned just a vest. Kate’s bridesmaids all wore convertible Jenny Yoo gowns, which they tied in a variety of different ways so each woman could have her own style.

The couple’s moody fall florals incorporated lots of succulents and dusty miller for texture, with a few peach and white roses thrown in for contrast. "We wanted everything in blush, gray, and cream, with plum accents and greenery for a rustic twist," Kate says of the design. The flower girl insisted on wearing a dress just like the bride's, and she looked so sweet in her tulle and lace frock. She topped it all off with a crown of berries and a wooden pail full of petals. The ring bearer’s bowtie matched the groom’s, and we love the combination of suspenders and desert boots!

The ceremony took place beneath the venue’s arch, which had been expertly dressed up with fresh foliage, roses, and peonies. Guests followed along with simple printed ceremony programs.

Along the aisle, wooden folding chairs were decorated with iron vessels holding lavender, succulents, eucalyptus, olive branches, and small white roses.

"Garrett’s cousin officiated our wedding," says Kate. "It was so special to have a family member join us in marriage. He and Garrett could barely hold it together during the ceremony because of their family bond."

Cocktail hour took place on the patio, where guests sipped Kate’s favorite wine from the vineyard, Super T, and Garrett’s favorite beer, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. In keeping with the succulent theme, each escort card (which doubled as a favor) was a succulent planted in a mercury glass jar — hand-planted by the bride and groom! "We loved how the clusters of succulents added to the table décor once guests had taken their seats," says the bride.

Inside, the newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table framed with greenery, white peonies, and woven orbs strung with café lights. Their loveseat is actually a piece from their own home, purchased for their wedding and now tucked in Kate’s office. The table was lit with dozens of candles in mercury glass holders, with small arrangements of succulents and dusty pink roses in between.

Round tables were topped with small coordinated arrangements, then lit with clusters of candles. Peonies added texture, while soft astilbe and seeded eucalyptus gave the centerpieces some height. For dinner, guests were served a surf-and-turf meal of porcini-crusted sea bass and filet mignon in a wine sauce.

The pair’s alternative guest book is so creative: "I’m the queen of snail mail," says Kate, "So we got a mail box and had our stationers make postcards, pre-addressed to our home, with different prompts for advice and memories." Guests filled out the cards, and Garrett’s mom has been mailing a few notes to the couple each month. "It’s the wedding gift that keeps on giving!"

Garrett and Kate cut into a three-tiered wedding cake, frosted with palette knife lines and finished with fresh flowers. Two tiers were carrot cake, while the third was French vanilla and almond champagne cake with raspberry cream cheese filling. But that wasn’t all...

"We had a groom’s cake designed to look like a storm trooper, because Garrett loves Star Wars," says Kate. "He and I also both love donuts, so we purchased sprinkle and maple donuts from the bakery near our home. We’re always bragging about how amazing they are, and loved getting to share them with our friends!"

When the night came to an end, the pair exited beneath a deluge of streamers. "Don’t plan your wedding like it’s the last event of your life," says Kate. "Instead, spend those months investing in and enjoying each other. That’s why you’re getting married!"

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