Today I am thrilled to share this glamorous San Diego wedding at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe with a fiery coral palette.
Images were captured by Michael Radford Photography.
Michael Radford is a highly sought after San Diego wedding and portrait photographer, shooting events all over the west coast of the USA.
His love for film started over 10 years ago as he began to develop and print his own black-and-white portraits by hand.
After years in the darkroom, he decided to incorporate his love for natural light and the essence of film into the beautiful weddings and events he photographs.
Channelling his years of experience in the wedding industry, his images are honest, natural and most importantly, tell your story.
Michael says of the couples beautiful San Diego wedding day…
Anne, and Brett were married in August at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe – an idyllic and intimate Spanish venue perched atop the hills overlooking San Diego.
Designed and planned by Dani Blasena of HauteFêtes, Anne and Brett wanted a garden-inspired vibe and Rancho Santa Fe, with its magical sunsets and serene countryside feel, provided the perfect setting.
A fiery coral color palette, exquisite floral details, a bougainvillea backdrop and a killer Atelier Pronovias wedding dress covered in chiffon flowers were key to the design of this colourful celebration.
Not to mention the fun which included a surprise lederhosen schuhplattler performance, real German pretzels, signature sips, and an Aston martin getaway car even James Bond would have been jealous of, that the bride herself drove!
I hand over to beautiful Bride Anne to share the couples story…
Tell us the inspiration behind your day – Any theme, style or colour palette?
We really wanted our wedding to be a celebration of love after having to be in a long distance relationship for almost two years.
Most of my family came to San Diego from Germany, so we wanted to go all out on the experience, to make their trip worthwhile.
Simultaneously, we wanted to find a venue that had a grand space for the ceremony, but an intimate space for the reception, and the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe gave us this.
It was important for me to pick a hotel venue so that my family members and all out of town guests could stay in one place without having to travel back and forth.
The Inn really delivered, they made us feel like home. This elevated backyard feel, along with the wish to really make bright and vibrant florals the focal point of the wedding, set all the wheels in motion.
Furthermore, we wanted to highlight our different backgrounds and unite our families. Our goal for our San Diego wedding day was just to have a really great elegant party filled with love, happiness, good food and great drinks in a comfortable environment.
Let’s talk wedding decor…
Dani of HauteFetes was really the one orchestrating the wedding decor. She has a phenomenal, very European sense of style and that was very much in line with what we envisioned. She also has an eye for detail, which was super important to us.
As elaborate and vibrant and colourful our wedding design was, Brett and I both love a super contemporary, clean style shying away from ornate decorations, etc. and so a lot of our details were really dialled back, modern, clean, but elegant.
She also crafted an amazing trellis style stand for our escort cards to match the color scheme of the wedding.
Aside from that, florals were centre stage for our wedding decoration.
The inspiration for our flowers came from my dress, the Atelier Pronovias Carolina gown, which had a magnificent blush coloured train adorned with countless silk flowers, and had a bodice bedazzled with floral beading.
Using the dress as a key pillar of the wedding, we envisioned the wedding florals to be equally as vibrant and saturated.
I never saw us having an all white or muted wedding palette, we wanted quite the opposite.
Brett and I are lively, boisterous people and both Dani of HauteFetes and Plenty of Petals’ Kasia took this vision and ran with it.
My dreamy bridal bouquet featured delicate orchids, and the colour palette highly complimented by dress. For our ceremony backdrop, we chose a lawn facing a naturally occurring bougainvillea arch, creating a sea of pinks in the background.
This aligned well with our vision because we never wanted our florals to look artificial or too manicured, rather, we were looking to achieve an organic feel.
Using florals that were already there, and enhancing their beauty, felt just right to us. Not to mention the wonderfully created florals that lined and surrounded the aisle.
This gave the illusion of walking through a fairy tale oasis, what’s not to love about that?
Any Special Touches?
Adding personal touches to our wedding was one of our top priorities for our San Diego wedding.
Our story as a couple is very unique and we went through a lot in order to get to the point where we could celebrate a wedding together.
As we come from entirely different countries, not to mention continents, we wanted our wedding to be a celebration of our cultures and our heritage.
Given that our ceremony took place in the US, where Brett is from, and I am a German native, it was vital for us to weave in some German elements.
We were fortunate enough that chef at the Inn at Ranch Santa Fe was accustomed to making German pretzels, and pretzels are a German staple, so we took the opportunity to serve home made fresh pretzels to our guests, alongside a selection of mustards, during our cocktail hour.
When the time came to toast during dinner, rather than simply serving champagne, we also served our guests German Schnapps, as this is a traditional way to toast in Germany!
We were surprised with another traditional element when my entire family changed into their traditional German Lederhosen for men and Dirndl for women and performed a ceremonial German/Austrian wedding dance.
Needless to say, everyone, Brett and me included, were speechless and we could not have been more impressed!
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?
As soon as we got engaged, I bought my wedding shoes. I know most brides start with a dress, but I had been eyeing the Jimmy Choo crystal Ivette sandals as long as I can remember.
I figured that they were so stunning, they would go well with any dress! I also reasoned that they were white, or satin, so I could easily wear them after the wedding whenever I want to feel a little fancy.
As far as the dress went, I only knew that I didn’t want a traditional dress, or a style of dress that was ‘in style’ right now.
I love things that are different, and growing up as a redhead I always stood out from the crowd, and very much wanted my dress to embody that part about me.
The Carolina dress by Atelier Pronovias was delicate, the details intricate, the silk flowers gorgeous and the silhouette with the deep v, just a bit risqué, so it was all I ever could have wanted in a dress.
Trying it on in the boutique, it fit like a glove, and I can without a doubt say I felt like it was meant for me.
I truly felt like it was one of a kind, and this uniqueness won us all over.
For the ceremony, I paired the dress with a simple tulle veil, so as to not detract from the gown.
My earrings were my mother’s, who let me borrow her gorgeous diamond chandelier earrings by Australian designer Calleija, and I wore a simple diamond and morganite pendant necklace by the same designer.
My dress really didn’t need much more jewellery, and as much as I love more is more, in this case, less was more!
Once the dance floor was open, I changed into a sequinned strappy wedding dress by Asos, it was light and breezy, and comfortable, yet still bridal, and put me in the perfect mood for dancing!
As for Brett’s outfit, since our wedding had a black tie dress code, we knew he needed a tuxedo.
As Brett is a firefighter, he doesn’t usually wear or need any such formal attire, so renting was our best option! We explored a few different place, knowing we wanted a more European tailored suit, and found this through The Black Tux.
The suits fit really great, and looked elegant alongside the dress.
At first, we went for an all black tux, but later we decided that since all the groomsmen were wearing black, and the ceremony was during the day, wearing a white coat would not only be acceptable, but would also give Brett a way to stand out from his groomsmen.
In addition, it gave a much softer look against my light coloured dress.
Tell us about you favourite moments of the day…
Our San Diego wedding day was filled with many special moments and it was very sentimental because Brett lost his father to cancer just months before the big day. We knew that he would have wanted us to celebrate this day to the fullest!
One of the best moments during the day was walking back down the aisle as a married couple and walking toward a getaway car.
This was really special to me, as we arranged for an Aston Martin to be the car my dad drove me to the ceremony spot in, and for Brett and me to drive off in because my dad was the CEO of Aston Martin for many years.
I really wanted to honour my dad with this gesture, it was very important to both of us that my dad didn’t simply walk me to the aisle, but that he could drive me there be and share those special minutes before walking down the aisle together.
And as this was near and dear to my heart, Brett and I decided that I would drive the getaway car.
There are many traditionally designated roles during a wedding for the bride and groom, and driving the getaway car felt empowering and exciting!
It was a feeling of pure joy to drive off together and to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet before getting back to the hustle and bustle of the reception!
My sister planned another really special moment for us that we had no idea about – when she and I were younger, we started watching Gilmore Girls together and it quickly developed into somewhat of an obsession.
We pretty much know all episodes off by heart and we certainly know the theme song by Carole King. So my sister handed copies of the lyrics to all guests. She led the song and we all sang it together. It was amazing!
What wedding planning or marriage advice would you like to share with other couples planning their day?
Planning a wedding can be stressful, and that is normal. It’s important to evaluate what is really important to you and your partner so that no one gets overwhelmed or frustrated.
It’s okay to ask for help, and I found hiring a planner to be the best investment, as Dani managed so many elements of the wedding planning process, not to mention that we were able to enjoy the wedding day without even giving the whole process another thought.
Most importantly, enjoy those quiet moments in between, when you are alone with your partner.
We chose to do a first look, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. After what already felt like hours doing hair and make-up, and getting very excited, it felt like a moment where we could both ground ourselves and find some comfort in being together alone.
That first moment when you get to see your partner is really raw and intimate, and we appreciated that we were able to be alone for this (aside from our lovely photographers that made us feel super comfortable).
There aren’t many quiet moments during the day where you can share a quick kiss, so cherish them.
Another one of these moments came right after the ceremony, when we got out of our car and were greeted by a waiter with our personalised cocktails and some food to nibble on.
We thoroughly enjoyed this moment and took the time to toast to ourselves and our future.
Breath, smile and enjoy the day while it lasts!
San Diego wedding Vendors
Photographer – Michael Radford Photography
Ceremony and Reception Location – The Inn At Rancho Santa Fe
Event Planner – Haute Fete Weddings & Events
Wedding Dress – Pronovias
Dancing Dress – Asos
Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Chandelier Earrings – Calleija
Hair Stylist Beauty by Stacey
Tuxedo – The Black Tux
Calligrapher – Foundry Paper Co (previously Custom Crafted Calligraphy)
Floral Designer – Plenty of Petals
Cake Designer – Hey there, Cupcake!
Linens and Coverings – La Tavola Linen
Equipment Rentals – Casa de Perrin
Equipment Rentals – Bright Event Rentals
Specialty Foods – Chuao Chocolatier
Band – Lucky Devils Band
To Contact Michael Radford Photography
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org