Kalishabeta Esfandiari says she looked forward to her name getting a whole lot shorter when she finally married Stephen Reza Emami. Two years after meeting at San Francisco's North Beach Festival, the couple was getting ready to welcome their first son in November of 2014 when Stephen asked Kalisha to be his wife. He planned an unforgettable proposal while the pair enjoyed a much-deserved vacation on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. As the sun began to set, the pair met at Sweetheart Rock, a Lanai landmark, and Stephen reached into his pocket to pull out an engagement ring.
Their adventure together continued on August 15, 2015, as guests watched the pair officially become husband and wife at the magical Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga, California. "My vision was fairly clear," Kalisha says. "I wanted a rustic location with a very feminine and classic look. I wanted organic chic, but still very elegant." The luxury resort was the perfect place for the couple and planner, Yasmin Ziacita of Floral Theory, to create a high-end look while maintaining the bride's desire for a rustic feel. Read on to see every stunning photo, as captured by Nirav Patel Photography.
Kalisha says finding her wedding dress was one of the most difficult parts of planning the wedding. She traveled all over California and tried on 80 dresses before she found the perfect Delphine Manivet gown. She loved how comfortable her lace sheath was, and with the addition of a custom capelet made with extra fabric from the gown and a romantic lace veil, Kalisha knew she found her dreamy, vintage look. "I felt beautiful, comfortable, and confident", the bride says.
Kalisha's two best friends served as her bridesmaids. "Luckily we all have the same taste, so finding their dresses was so easy", the bride said. The group decided on neutral-hued flowing gowns with customizable necklines. Kalisha added a personal touch by ordering each bridesmaid a gold necklace spelling out their respective Instagram usernames.
Stephen looked shark in a midnight blue tuxedo from Gucci, which he paired with Tom Ford patent leather boots.
The bride and groom chose to be married underneath beautiful budding trees and an arch made of baby's breath. Kalisha and her father walked down the aisle while a live guitar and violin duo performed "Meditation" by Antonio Carlo Jobim.
"My maid of honor did a reading, but we wanted to keep the ceremony short, so we chose basic wedding vows," Kalisha says. The newlyweds left the secluded space arm in arm as the musicians performed "Pour Toujours."
After taking in the view from the couple's their breathtaking ceremony, guests moved to the pool to watch synchronized swimmers put on a show. "I fought hard for the swimmers, we were actually the first to have anything like that at Calistoga Ranch," Kalisha says.
Guests found their seating assignments on a calligraphed chart reading "Valley Side" and "Lake Side."
Kalisha, Stephen, and their loved ones all sat at long farm tables arranged on the property's Lommel Lawn for the three-course dinner. Centerpieces were comprised of intricate greenery runners that were studded with roses and dahlias. Small candles were sprinkled throughout to provide a dreamy glow to the reception.
Each place setting included a patterned charger, gold flatware, and a chic black and white printed menu which detailed the evening's meal selections, including an heirloom tomato panzanella, risotto, halibut, and filet mignon.
After dinner, dessert was served in the property's Wine Cave, a modern white and gold lounge area. Along with an assortment of cookies, the couple served a square-shaped tiered chocolate wedding cake filled with vanilla buttercream.
The intimate interior space proved to be the perfect spot to keep the party going. Guests danced to music by Sarah Lawrence, an LA-based DJ that the couple flew in for the occasion. "She didn't play typical wedding music," the bride says.
After the wedding, Kalisha and Stephen stayed at Calistoga Ranch as husband and wife but planned to take another larger trip to Aspen a few months later.
Kalisha has some advice for future brides: "Try to relax and make sure you don't let too many other things get in the way of enjoying your day. Savor those moments."
Venue & Catering: Calistoga Ranch || Planning & Flowers: Floral Theory || Bride's Wedding Dress: Delphine Manivet || Hair: Maria Moreno || Makeup: Katie Brooke Callahan || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's Attire: Gucci || Music: Laura & Anton; DJ Sarah Lawrence || Cake: Perfect Endings || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; Frances Lane || Videographer: Velare || Photographer: Nirav Patel Photography
Looking for more California wedding inspiration? Then we bet you'll love watching another couple exchange vows on the west coast in the video below.