Sarah Winder-Chavey and Garett Zunt hit it off immediately when they first met at a mutual friend’s brunch in May 2013. “But we were both in other relationships at the time so we were just friends,” says Sarah. Both dog lovers, they often saw each other at the dog park in their home city of Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until two years later that fate found them both single at the same time. “Since we’d been friends for so long, we got serious pretty quickly," she adds.
Every December, the couple drives from L.A. to Detroit to see family over the holidays, packing up the dogs and stopping to camp and explore along the way. In 2017, they did this, stopping in Arches National Park. “Garett convinced me to stand for a photo while he set up a camera," she recalls. "He walked over and as soon as he said, ‘Baby,’ I knew.” He proposed with a custom ring made from his grandmother’s diamonds. “I was thrilled and the excitement stayed with us as we drove across the country," Sarah continues. "Garett claims he’ll never forget the smile on my face that trip.”
The couple decided to their wedding in Carmel, California, a place that Sarah says was "so accommodating" for a range of guests, from their 97-year-old grandmother to a three-year-old nephew. "We had been told by so many that your wedding day flies by so we wanted to host a full weekend of events to maximize our time with friends and family," she explains. "We kicked things off on Friday with a welcome party complete with a taco truck and lawn games like bocce ball, corn hole, and ping pong.” For their main event, they rented the Holly Farm, a family-owned private estate set on seven acres. "We fell in love with the minute we set foot on the ground for a tour and we were greeted by [owners] Erin and Ryan with a big warm hug and an even bigger glass of wine," Sarah says.
Read on to see Sarah and Garett's colorful garden wedding with personalized details and DIY touches, as captured by Kindred Wedding Storytellers and planned by the couple.
As mentioned, Sarah and Garett hosted their ceremony and reception at the Holly Farm. The venue is nestled along the Santa Lucia Mountain Range and features a series of cottages, winding paths, and wild spaces. “We loved the secret garden feel of the property, filled with lush tropical plants, oak trees, and decadent orchids,” says the bride.
Sarah wore an ivory crepe gown with an open back and bateau neckline by Theia. “It was the very first bridal gown I ever tried on," she says. "I immediately loved it! It was so comfortable and flattering, and I knew I could dance in it all night long,” During the ceremony, Sarah also wore a veil she had found on Poshmark, a second-hand shopping website. “The bride who wore it before me shipped it alongside a face mask, calming lotion, and an adorable handwritten note wishing me luck," she says. "t was fun to be connected in that strange way with a fellow bride from the other side of the country.”
A bouquet of anemones, ferns, and orchids mimicked the lush feel of the venue and completed the bride's look.
Garett chose a custom burgundy chambray linen and wool suit by Indochino. “One of our songs is ‘This Must Be the Place,’ by the Talking Heads, so he had that embroidered inside the chest pocket,” says the bride.
Sarah, a senior public relations director, and Garett, a creative director, both plan events as part of their jobs and happily took on orchestrating their own party, with Garett designing all the paper elements and creating custom enamel pins for their family and wedding party to wear. They both enjoyed picking out the day's music as well. “Music is a big part of our lives so the issue wasn’t a lack of ideas but rather that so many of the songs we love and have long thought romantic have… lyric issues,” says Sarah with a laugh. “We made a long list of songs we both loved, cracked open a bottle of wine and spent a night listening and looking up lyrics, laughing hysterically over our lyric faux pas discoveries.”
With a specific vision in mind, the couple used every element—from the fashion to the food and décor—to create the vibe they were after. “We wanted the wedding to be very balanced in masculine and feminine touches, full of color, patterns and texture—organic, wild, and even a little bit messy!” says Sarah. “Most of all, we wanted the wedding to feel warm, welcoming and familial, celebrating our relationship of course, but we also celebrating our community.”
The ceremony took place under a statement live oak tree dressed in twinkle lights, while chairs were surrounded by ferns and lush foliage.
My mom and dad walked me down the aisle, one on each arm. Their marriage is a very equal partnership—something we hope to model in our own marriage—and they’ve never subscribed to traditional roles so it was only right to have them both by my side.
“My mom and dad walked me down the aisle, one on each arm,” says Sarah. “Their marriage is a very equal partnership—something we hope to model in our own marriage—and they’ve never subscribed to traditional roles so it was only right to have them both by my side.” The bride’s high school friend and her partner flew in from New Zealand to sing during the ceremony, performing “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for the processional.
Seated in white folding chairs, 100 guests looked on as the couple exchanged vows they’d penned themselves. Two friends also performed readings. “My family is Unitarian-Universalist so just before the ceremony, our parents met us for a traditional lighting of the chalice and the reverend read a passage from Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, which was also read at my parents' wedding,” says Sarah.
“The Holly Farm has so many amazing hidden nooks on the property that make you feel like you’ve found a secret garden,” says the bride. “We used one as a digestive lounge and had our friends at Shelter Co. set up a beautiful area complete with rugs, chairs, poufs, and a couch. It became a great getaway from the dance floor and a cozy spot to have a conversation with friends old and new.”
During cocktail hour, guests nibbled on a spread of fruit, cheese, and charcuterie, as well as Hog Island oysters on the half shell.
The couple’s signature cocktail, an Aperol spritz, was a nod to their upcoming honeymoon in Italy.
One of the bride’s favorite moments of the day happened during cocktail hour and was a surprise for her sister. “Elise and Eli, my friend and her partner who are performers in New Zealand, had recorded a rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’ for my sister to walk down the aisle to at her wedding the year prior," Sarah explains. "They performed it live during cocktail hour and watching them dance, my little sister in tears, was really beautiful and special.”
Escort cards designed by the groom led guests to reception tables named for places the couple has traveled together. A story from each trip was also printed on every card.
Reception tables were decorated with linen runners, terra cotta pot arrangements from Marigold, and colorful napkins made by the couple. “Garett sourced all of the fabrics from India,” says Sarah of the Ikat-printed napkins. “Each table had a different fabric design. After the wedding, we had them professionally cleaned, pressed, and sent them out as gifts with our thank you cards.”
“There was one particular moment of calm and clarity that came after the emotion of the ceremony and energetic buzz of cocktail hour, right as we sat down at our sweetheart table for dinner,” Sarah recalls. “For the first time that day, we weren’t the center of attention. Looking out onto the dinner lawn, each table was brimming with activity—laughter, hugs, platters of food being passed, wine glasses clinking. Looking out at our community of friends and family and, then, back at my brand new husband by my side, it was hard to feel anything other than boundless gratitude.”
The couple also showcased their loved ones by creating a display of family photos for all to see.
The bride and groom opted to forgo wedding cake in favor of a pie bar. “Garett and I both grew up in the Midwest, eating lots of fruit pie during the summer months and we both have a sweet spot for it still,” explains Sarah. “Friends of ours tipped us off to a great farm nearby called Gizditch Ranch that sells handmade pies out of a small shop on the farm. We visited, sampled a few flavors, and were immediately sold. We served the pies warmed in an outdoor fire oven and served a la mode.” They topped one pie with custom felt figurines made to look like their pets.
Following dinner, the couple headed to the dance floor where they swayed to “Downtown” by Magical Cloudz for their first dance. It was followed by Natalie Cole's “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” for a dance with their parents. “My dad and I and Garett and his mom danced at the same time," Sarah says. "Then, at the end of the song, Garett spontaneously cut in and asked my dad to dance! I took the opportunity to boogie with his mom and it was a great way to kick off the dancing!”
The next day, after hosting a Sunday morning brunch with breakfast burritos and Bloody Mary bar, the couple headed off for their honeymoon in Greece and Italy.
Reflecting back on the day and the planning leading up to it, Sarah had this advice to give: “If there is a task that you’re particularly dreading or finding stressful, try to shoulder the burden and tackle it together as a team," she advises. "Better yet, open up a bottle of wine and make a date night out of it! Building the guest list, writing thank you notes, finalizing song selections—it’s all less intimidating, and, in the end, more fun, if you approach it like a date night activity.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Holly Farm
Day-of Coordinator: Christine Hauer
Officiant: Rev. Elaine Gehrmann
Bride’s Dress: Theia
Hair & Makeup: The Hair & Makeup Company
Engagement Ring: Jennie Kwon Designs
Floral Design: Marigold
Music: Izzy & Moe (ceremony), Heart of Gold (reception)
Catering: La Crème
Pies: Gizditch Ranch
Videography: William Papadin
Photography: Kindred Wedding Storytellers