Ariel Corazón Clay and Patrick Michael Gerety are proof that dating apps do work. The pair met on Hinge in July 2014 and were engaged exactly two years later, celebrating immediately afterward with a surprise party at the very NYC bar where they had their first date. They married on July 8, 2017, just shy of three years after that fateful match. For their big day, the couple left New York City for a sentimental, no-brainer location for the bride: her family’s Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, California, where she grew up and worked weddings over the years.
“We wanted to highlight and honor the ranch’s history and the deeply rooted traditions of family in this magical place,” says Ariel of her vision for their wedding at the Mission-style venue. “Accenting this style, the wedding was a combination of rustic Spanish and elegant vintage Mexican traditions.”
With the help of Westerbeke’s general manager, Tymm Rodriguez, Ariel’s mom, and a collection of close family and friends, the couple pulled out all the stops for their occasion. Keep reading to see how Jenn Byrne captured their family-filled Sonoma ranch wedding!
Although much of the planning process—the venue, catering, and wedding planner search, for example—was easy (“the perks of growing up on a wedding venue,” says Ariel), there were some struggles along the way, namely the seating charts. The couple also attempted to DIY much of the décor, including their welcome banner and invitation suite.
Ariel wanted to include family in her wedding in meaningful ways and perhaps none was so important as her dress. The bride wore a satin gown, which was purchased in the 1940s shortly after Word War II, that has been worn by five other women in her family (her grandmother, two great-aunts, mother and second cousin). “I was so relieved I didn’t have to go dress shopping,” says Ariel of wearing her family’s antique wedding gown, tailored with the help of Heidi Johnson to remove the sleeves and line it in silk.
“The dress was in surprising condition considering how many women wore it—there was only one unnoticeable stain and a cigarette burn in the train, which I loved!”
Ariel's veil was also purchased in the 1940s by her great-grandparents, and is thought to have been from Queen Anne’s coronation. The museum-quality veil of fine lace has also been worn by seven women in the family! The bride's other accessories came from her paternal grandmother (of course), including the diamond in her engagement ring. As a final touch, she added a new family heirloom: pearl earrings from her mother-in-law.
Ariel’s bouquet was modeled after the one her grandmother held in 1948.
In lieu of a formal wedding party, Ariel chose her four best friends to be her “wing women” and release doves just before the bride walked down the aisle with her father. They wore colorful, festive dresses representing their own personal style. “The focal point was the dove release and their dresses played into the free-spirited nature of it," says the bride.
The ceremony took place under a natural redwood canopy, where the couple exchanged two sets of vows: one was short, which they each repeated after the officiant, and also individual personal vows that they surprised each other with in the moment.
After their first kiss as newlyweds, Ariel and Patrick walked back down the aisle as husband and wife as their guests threw crushed lavender they’d provided on each seat, along with raffia fans and programs.
During cocktail hour, a mariachi band played as guests sipped on libations that incorporated family recipes.
The couple went for a natural, rustic theme when it came to décor, using a white palette with olive branches and other Spanish and Italian touches. They wanted it to feel “classic and heartfelt," according to the bride.
At dinner, craft paper runners, olive wood serving platters, and Heath ceramics dishes referenced Patrick’s favorite family summertime meals. Dinner was served family-style, alongside napkins held in a carved-wood napkin rings, which were replicas of ones used at the ranch in the early 1940s. Ariel’s dad had these made at a local wood shop, and guests were invited to take them home at the end of the night.
For entertainment, the couple hired The City Lights Band, which the groom’s father found on YouTube. They played a mix of soul, Motown, and classic rock that kept the guests going for hours.
In keeping with personal connections, the couple’s wedding cake was made by the same baker who made many of Ariel’s childhood birthday cakes. The main cake was orange and olive oil, but they also had a lemon cake topped with fresh berries and a natural velvet chocolate cake.
The end of the night was perhaps the biggest highlight of all, literally. Ariel’s aunt surprised the couple with a special fireworks show, which was launched from the center of the pool!
Venue & Catering: Westerbeke Ranch || Cake: Carol Bojarsky, Cake Bloom || Planner: Tymm Rodriguez || Bride’s Tailor: Heidi Johnson, Wedding Detailor || Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren Purple Label || Hair & Makeup: Peggy Lucas || Floral Design: Tymm Rodriguez, Allison English, Suzy Westerbeke || Doves: Celebrations in Flight || Music: The City Lights Band || Invitations: Moo Cards || Paper Products: Paperless Post || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: A.M. Thorne, Katrina Lapenne || Photography: Jenn Byrne