In celebration of Catie Icaza’s 29th birthday, her then-boyfriend Jon Roheim planned a getaway from Los Angeles, taking her to the Grand Del Mar Hotel in San Diego for the weekend. “All I wanted for my birthday was a FitBit, and the morning of my birthday, Jon gave me one and we set off for a hike with a bottle of champagne in his backpack,” says Catie. “I figured the champagne was just in celebration of my birthday!” When they arrived at the trailhead, Jon knew exactly where he wanted to go, leading Catie down turn-offs and forks in the trail as though he’d memorized his path.
“He told me he remembered the trail from a trip with his family when he was 10,” says the bride. When they reached a stunning lookout point, Jon got down on one knee, proposing with a sapphire and diamond ring. “It turned out, he’d driven to San Diego for the day a week earlier and hiked every single trail at the reserve until he found the perfect spot!” Catie reveals.
She, too, had a perfect spot in mind, this time for their wedding. “My sister had looked at the Santa Lucia Preserve for her wedding five years ago, and knew I would love it. She also helped Jon design my engagement ring, so she’d already lined up a tour of the property by the time Jon proposed!” says Catie. The couple loved the quintessential California vibe, with a rustic yet refined feel, rolling hills, towering redwoods, and Spanish hacienda-style buildings. They used that as the inspiration for their comfortable, elegant wedding on March 5, 2016, filled with oranges and kumquats amongst green and white flowers.
This whimsical wedding really captures California’s natural, relaxed aesthetic (even though El Nino meant going with the rain plan), but don’t take our word for it! See for yourself, designed by Allison Weddings and photographed by Larissa Cleveland.
Catie’s Mira Zwillinger wedding dress was perfect for the setting, with a vine-like applique covering the bodice and weaving down the back of the skirt. “I loved that it was light, airy, and easy to move around in,” says the bride. “The details reminded me of the plants growing in the redwood grove in the Preserve, so it matched the venue perfectly.” While she’d always imagined herself in a more conservative gown with sleeves, Catie realized a long-sleeved wedding dress wasn’t what she really wanted.
“Instead, I ended up with a strapless bodice in pure white!” she laughs. The perfect way to show off her vibrant sapphire engagement ring!
With an ornate bodice, the bride knew she wanted to keep her bouquet simple. She chose a delicate nosegay of fragrant lily of the valley, tied with white satin ribbon.
Jon wore a classic black tuxedo with a monogrammed cummerbund and a lily of the valley boutonniere.
“Instead of buying one another gifts, we spent a few moments after our first look sipping champagne and enjoying the views,” says Catie. “The storm even cleared up for a few minutes so we could take some pictures outside!”
Jon’s groomsmen all matched in black tuxedos, while Catie’s bridesmaids wore navy lace Amsale dresses, paired with lush white bouquets of garden roses and sweet peas. “I didn’t want them to feel too fussed-over,” says the bride of the sprawling arrangements.
Kumquats, oranges, and greenery made their way into the invitation suite, which featured custom envelope liners and an embossed citrus design.
Though the original plan was to wed in the property’s redwood grove, El Nino meant moving the celebrations inside. Thankfully, the barn at Santa Lucia Preserve is gorgeously rustic, the perfect setting for Catie’s vision of a field of larkspur and delphinium growing up around the bride and groom. The aisle was lined with the white flowers, lush greenery, and candles in dark lanterns. At the end of the aisle was a gorgeous arch of tulips, roses, and bay leaves.
Catie’s father escorted her down the floral aisle, beneath suspended installations of vines. The couple personalized their ceremony with readings from “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway and “Love” by Roy Croft.
After the “I dos,” Catie slipped on a white Oscar de la Renta stole to fight off the early spring chill.
“Jon and I love New Orleans-style brass bands and classic jazz, so we had a brass band instead of a string quartet,” says Catie. They played during the ceremony, then serenaded guests as they mingled during cocktail hour. Table assignments were printed on scrolls of white paper, each attached to a clementine and displayed on silver trays.
Miniature kumquat trees were set out all around the venue, continuing the citrus theme. Guests sipped cocktails named after the couple’s two dogs, the “Whiskey” (Bulleit bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon) and the “Lucy” (Tanqueray 10, honey syrup, lemon, and soda water).
Catie owns a monogramming and personalization business, so you can bet the lounge featured monogrammed pillows!
While guests sipped cocktails, the barn was transformed into a gorgeous reception space, with long tables down the center and round tables on either side. "The staff was so quick and efficient at flipping the barn from ceremony venue and transforming it into a gorgeous reception area," the bride says. "They were flawless and I'm so glad that I didn’t have to stress about a thing on my wedding day."
Each table was surrounded with cross-back chairs and arranged beneath chandeliers draped in vines. The kings’ tables were topped with topiaries of live citrus trees — another way the couple worked California oranges and kumquats into their celebration. “It felt like we were dining in a citrus grove!” says the bride. Natural-colored beeswax taper candles were set in an assortment of brass candle holders.
Around the edge of the barn, Catie and Jon chose round tables with low centerpieces made up of white and green flowers, studded with bright citrus.
Place settings combined glass basketweave chargers and blue and white delft plates, each finished with a monogrammed dinner napkin that the bride DIYed using a design by Kearsley Lloyd and a personalized menu that served as a place card. Like their reception décor, dinner also included local citrus, starting with a gem lettuce salad with Satsuma mandarins and ricotta salata, followed by local sablefish with caramelized Brussels sprouts. “Jon usually only eats sushi, but even he said that the sablefish was amazing,” says Catie.
To offer something other than the usual steak and potatoes, the main course was a Swiss chard-stuffed porchetta with white corn polenta and roasted parsnips.
The couple’s five-tiered wedding cake, frosted with horizontal ribbons of vanilla buttercream, had layers of Meyer lemon cake with strawberry buttercream and lemon curd and bittersweet chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream and fresh berries. The tiers were decorated with fresh citrus, of course!
Catie and Jon had their first dance to “Under a Blanket of Blue” by Ella Fitzgerald, played by the brass band. When it was time to dance, the rest of the band joined in for a true Big Band experience.
The newlyweds headed to Africa for their honeymoon, with a safari in Zambia and wine tasting in South Africa’s Franschook region.
“I was an incredibly detail-oriented bride, but on our wedding day I had to remember that the day had come and there was nothing more I could do!” says Catie, who didn’t let a little rain (okay, a lot!) put a damper on her day. “Don’t dwell on the details at that point — just enjoy it!”
Venue & Catering: Santa Lucia Preserve || Wedding Planner: Allison Weddings || Bride's Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger || Jewelry: Fourtane || Hair & Makeup: Nyrie Aitken of Symmetry Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Engagement Ring & Bride's Wedding Band: Jessie Jaudes || Groom's Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co. || Flowers: Fionna Floral || Invitations: Haute Papier || Additional Paper Products: Heart Paper Soul || Crest & Monogram Design: Kearsley Lloyd || Music: Chuck Wansley & the After Hours Band || Cake: Edith Meyer Cakes || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; One True Love Vintage Rentals || Monogramming: The Monogrammed Home || Photographer: Larissa Cleveland