An Elegant Summer Wedding on the California Coast

Complete with a garden party, beach bash, and tented soiree, all planned by Bash Please

Updated 12/31/18

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

In November 2017, Alexandra Brody surprised her boyfriend, Robert Runkel, with a trip to Half Moon Bay, California, for a belated birthday celebration. But she had no idea that he, too, had a surprise in store for her. “We were on a hike along the coast, and I was totally shocked when Rob got down on one knee," she recalls. Thankfully, someone was able to capture the moment for them. “A stranger, about a mile away, got a few pictures of the moment, and she found us later in the day so she could share them,” Allie adds.

To top it all off, their families were also nearby and hosted a surprise dinner full of love and toasts.

For their wedding, Allie and Rob looked to another special place on the Cali coast: Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley, where Allie's family has a home. “We love that it’s a place we’ll be able to go back to forever,” she says. They envisioned an "Old World–inspired wedding" and enlisted the help of Bash Please to take care of the creative details and bring Allie’s vision to life on July 7, 2018. “They were the real magic behind our wedding,” says the bride.

From the beach to the forest, this elegant summer wedding made the most of California's natural beauty. Take a peek at the gorgeous photos by Paige Jones, below!

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Rob and Allie set the tone for the destination weekend with their invitation suite, which paired soft gray, taupe, nude, and copper paper with a textured slate blue envelope and California-inspired stamps.

<p>rehearsal dinner banquet tables</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>outdoor rehearsal dinner</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>place setting</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

The events kicked off on Thursday night with a rehearsal dinner in the garden—literally! Tables were set within the landscape and decorated to match the setting with a neutral runner, organic centerpieces, and botanical-inspired menus.

<p>beach wedding welcome party</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>welcome party on the beach</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

On night two, guests headed to the nearby beach for a casual welcome party hosted by the couple.

<p>lounge seating on beach</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

beach lounge seating

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>lounge seating area on beach</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

There, rustic open-air lounges provided plenty of seating in the form of leather butterfly chairs and wooden sofas layered with soft pillows. Textured poufs also surrounded low coffee tables, inviting guests to kick off their shoes and settle into the sand.

<p>cocktail menu</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>illustrated napkins</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

At the bar, guests were treated to a margarita featuring jalapeño and green apple, a gin and tonic freshened up with lemon verbena, and a variety of local wines and beers. The couple’s hashtag, #readytorunkel, was displayed on custom cocktail napkins that featured a playful illustration.

<p>bridesmaids robes</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

The morning of the wedding, Allie and her bridesmaids got ready together and wore matching floral silk robes for photo ops.

<p>bride solo shot</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>bride's bouquet</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Allie knew she wanted a Lihi Hod gown with a simple silhouette and a mermaid skirt, but she admits that she had a hard time finding "the perfect one." “I would love the top of one or the skirt of another, but not together,” she says. “To humor my mom, I tried on one last dress and I knew it was it the moment I put it on.” The winning dress featured a lace-and-tulle mermaid skirt, a blousing camisole top, and subtle sparkle up top.

The bride paired her dress with an organic bouquet of tea and garden roses, ferns, and vines that appeared as if they had been gathered from the surrounding forest.

<p>bride and bridesmaids in blue</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

bridesmaids' bouquet

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

For her 'maids, Allie selected Joanna August dresses with a gathered V neckline in a pale blue hue. For her MOH, she selected the same style but in a champagne color (featuring shimmering stars on the fabric!) so that she would stand out. “They looked like fabulous angels,” says the bride.

<p>ceremony</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>candle ceremony</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>first kiss</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>ceremony records</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

The ceremony took place in a redwood grove, on a wooden platform decorated simply with greenery, grasses, and a few white blooms. “We had all of our parents involved,” says the bride of the ceremony. “My father walked me down the aisle, my mother opened with a short meditation, Rob’s father performed the ceremony, and his mother did a reading.”

<p>path to reception</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>escort cards</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

After, guests followed a flower-lined path to a nearby lawn for an alfresco cocktail hour that featured Negronis (Allie and Rob’s favorite!), spicy margaritas, and plenty of cabanas for lounging. They later found their seat assignments on a table nearby.

<p>tent reception</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>reception banquet tables</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Another path—this one with a champagne pit stop!—let guests to the dinner tent, where long tables were topped with soft white linens, taupe china, and dusty blue napkins. Wood-handled flatware and marble candleholders added a natural touch to the elegant setting.

<p>table numbers</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>menu</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Menus doubled as place cards, with guests’ names stitched to the thick paper.

<p>reception wedding guests</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

Dinner included a field greens salad with watermelon and feta, Chilean sea bass, whole roasted artichokes, and summer ratatouille.

<p>wedding cake</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

The couple's cake was topped with apricots and edible flowers to tie in with the rest of the setting. Inside, the traditional "princess" cake was made with layers of genoise sponge, Bavarian cream, and raspberry jam.

<p>dance floor wedding band</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

<p>first dance</p>

Photo by Paige Jones Photography

The night ended with dancing in the barn, which had been transformed with the couple’s custom crest on the dance floor and a disco ball up above. After the couple’s first dance to “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin, Rob fittingly had a final surprise for Allie: an epic flash mob with his groomsmen. “They’d secretly rehearsed twice in San Francisco, and again the day before our wedding when I thought they were golfing,” she says. "We love a good dance party, and this one blew my mind!"

Wedding Planner: Bash Please || Venue: Santa Lucia Preserve || Bride's Dress: Lihi Hod || Hair & Makeup: Nyrie Aitken of Symmetry Beauty|| Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Wedding Bands: Trabert Goldsmiths || Floral Design: Marigold SF || Paper Products: Amber Moon || Catering: Santa Lucia Preserve || Cake: Layers Sensational Cakes || Cocktail Hour Music: The Get Down Boys || Reception Music: Ground Control || Rentals: Found, The Ark, Casa de Perrin, Got Light, Chic Event Rentals, Zephyr, La Tavola Fine Linen || Videography: Owl and Tree Films || Photography: Paige Jones

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