Nicholas proposed to Katherine under the open skies of California's Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County as the heads of lupines and poppies unfurled like antique quilts shaken out and smoothed. As native Coloradans, the couple felt a connection to this peaceful land between the mountains and wanted to share the gentle, pastoral countryside and local culture with their loved ones on their wedding day.
Venue, florals, stationery details and seasonal menu all drew inspiration from the generous, natural beauty of the region and the couple's shared interest in sustainable food and love of the outdoors.
I created original watercolor illustrations for the stationery and dinner menu inspired by the wildflowers of the region. An oval wreath of native ferns, chaparral nightshade, lilies and blue fiesta flower with its bristly foliage encircled the text of the invitation. Elegant script in green the color of weathered copper suggests the wandering stems of California honeysuckle.
The deckled edges of the invitation and response card highlight the artistry of the mould-made paper by Fabriano - a distinguished Italian paper company wholly dedicated to renewable energy and sustainable business practices.
Bright white envelopes with old-world flaps were lined with my original watercolor illustration of the pale leopard lily, an abundant native plant often found alongside hedge nettles and stream orchid. Long, billowy stems with silky petals gracefully reach toward the first hints of morning sun.
Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and The Bear and Star were a perfect venue pair. Nestled among meadow, hill and stream, The Bear and Star restaurant boasts a closed-circuit ecosystem, meaning its menu is entirely crafted from the harvest yielded by Fess Parker Home Ranch. While quail, pig and cattle roam pasture, heirloom vegetables and fruit cling to vine and branch like baubles and gemstone.
Guests took home some of the garden spoils in packets filled with heirloom seeds from the year's previous yield which read, "Let Love Grow", with a running border of leopard lilies.
The Bear and Star's Chef John Cox prepared a family style dinner which started with a farm fresh hors d'oevres bar and of course the region's finest Pinot Noir, Riesling and Syrah. Guests gathered at long tables on the veranda under a gentle sky and helped themselves to scoops of heirloom beans, quail egg and spring radish.
The cake. Oh the cake. Like the queen of roses unfurling petal after petal, rising in a grand gesture of beauty and elegance. Dahlia, sweet pea and olive leaf cluster like honeybees along its drapes and folds.
Envelopes were addressed with a romantic script in the unmistakable green of spring's first sweet pea shoots and finished with monochromatic vintage stamps.
What an absolute delight to be part of this beautiful wedding day that was both a celebration of love and an homage to the riches of the earth.