A Citrus-Inspired Wedding in Sonoma, California

Real Weddings

Unlike many couples who dive into wedding planning with a long list of must-haves, planner Courtney Cargile remembers that Sarah Ubieta and John White had just one big request for their September 12, 2015, wedding in Sonoma, California: That the color orange be included throughout the party's palette. "The florist and I took that comment literally, and we decided to incorporate citrus fruit to give the day a light, summery feel," says Courtney.

With just under a year to dream up a late-summer wedding with a cheery color scheme, Sarah and John leaned heavily on Courtney's team to create an intimate party in California's wine country. "I knew I wanted wine country and lots of flowers, but that was my only real vision," the bride says. In the end, they got just that. You can almost smell the citrus and feel summer's warm breeze when you look at the images Megan Clouse Photography captured of the couple's evening fete, held at the intimate Ramekins Culinary School in the heart of Sonoma. Read on to see more from this festive celebration!

Sarah's head-to-toe lace wedding dress from Pronovias featured no less than four kinds of lace layered over tulle. "As soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one," she says. "It was fun and different, but still romantic and traditional." With it, she paired a cathedral-length veil, her mother's Tiffany & Co. earrings, and a round bouquet of blush, orange, and yellow blooms.

Elliot chose a blue suit over a tuxedo, preferring a more casual look that would fit with the overall vibe of the wedding. But he made sure to wear orange socks, a nod to Sarah's favorite color.

The bride didn't have a specific vision for her bridesmaids' dresses, but knew she didn't want them to wear strapless. In the end, she decided on three different blush looks that her five attendants could chose from. Elliot's groomsmen all mimicked his style in dark blue suits.

The ceremony was held in an outdoor courtyard, where the couple got a first glimpse of how their wedding planner brought their vision to life. As it turns out, trusting her to take the lead was the best thing Sarah and Elliot could have done. "Courtney and I would get on the phone and look at various photos and ideas and nail down what I liked and didn't like," Sarah explains. "From there, Courtney really ran with it. I can make decisions, but planning a wedding is not my strength."

Inside the courtyard, guests found refreshing pre-wedding beverages, including cucumber water, lemonade, and iced tea, as well as a sign that instructed them to turn off and stow their cell phones for the unplugged ceremony.

The focal point of the space was a five-foot hanging floral wreath covered in citrus fruit that was suspended at the end of the aisle. The bright arrangement was complemented by two urns of fresh blooms, designating the space where the couple would say "I do," and mini bundles of flowers that adorned aisle-facing chairs.

Sarah and Elliott asked two friends to officiate their ceremony, and selected their own readings to further personalize this portion of the day. After they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds recessed down the aisle to "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne.

Guests walked beneath a custom 20-foot-long greenery garland on their way into the reception space. Just inside, seating assignments were set in copped-plated frames and hung on an iron gate that was decorated with mini terracotta pots.

At the head table, the wedding party sat in ivory nailhead chairs, while the bride and groom snuggled on a loveseat meant-for-two. At this table, the florist draped a duo of citrus garlands, flanked by wooden boxes that were filled with a variety of roses, lisianthus, tulips, dahlias, geraniums, lemons, and herbs. All table numbers were held in gold leaf mirrored frames.

"We installed four hanging wine barrel ring chandeliers above the tables, and decorated them with draped flowers," Courtney says. Although beautiful, the chandeliers didn't give off any light, so the couple decided to add mercury glass-held candles to the tables and amber up-lighting to the patio walls for glowing ambiance.

At each place setting, iridescence saffron napkins hinted Sarah's love of the color orange. Sunburst gold chargers and rose gold flatware further complemented the evening's overall color palette.

The couple's three-tier buttercream-frosted strawberry and basil cake was accented with fresh flowers.

Sarah and Elliot shared their first dance as husband and wife to Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic." Looking back on the day, the couple says they're glad they kept their guest list to just 106 people. "Because the wedding was small, we were actually able to enjoy the wedding with each of our guests and it felt much more intimate," the bride says. "Having both sides of our families come together along with our close friends for the weekend and celebrate with us was exactly what we wanted."

Venue & Catering: Ramekins Culinary School || Wedding Planner: Courtney Cargile Event Production & Design || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Pronovias, purchased at J Del Olmo Bridal Gallery || Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair & Makeup: It's a Date || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Andrisen Morton || Florist: PoppyStone Floral Design || Invitations: The Card Bar || Music: Bellarosa String Quartet; Boutique DJs || Cake: Sweet On Cake || Rentals: Encore Events Rentals; La Tavola; The Lux Productions || Photographer: Megan Clouse Photography

Find Local Vendors Wedding Wire

Looking for more inspiration like this? Then check out another couple's wine country bash in the video below.

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from brides.com