A Mexican-Inspired Ranch Wedding in California

The bride’s heritage gave this wedding a vibrant flair

Updated 08/31/17
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Photo by The Goodness

Erika Janis and David Morgan dated through college, but parted ways not too long after graduation. After two years apart, the pair reconnected—and sparks immediately flew. “That winter, we took our first weekend trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea, and knew we’d be sticking together forever,” says Erika. That trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea became an annual winter tradition, so in January of 2016, the pair left San Francisco for their getaway and on the last day, David had a surprise for Erika. He asked her to join him on a walk, and they wandered out to a cliff overlooking the ocean—where he got down on one knee. “A group of passersby gathered to watch, and cheered when I said yes,” Erika remembers.

The couple spent 15 months planning their April 8, 2017 wedding, and (of course) headed back to Carmel-by-the-Sea for this major milestone. “We loved all of the beautiful spaces where we could host different events, as well as the quaint cottages where our families could stay,” says Erika of their venue, Mission Ranch. The bride is Mexican-American, and she and David both hail from Texas cities rich in Mexican culture, so they decided to bring that feeling to their wedding day as well. This involved papel picado banners, maracas, tres leches cake accentuated with bright flowers, succulents, and hints of Mexican embroidery. Keep reading to see photos of this colorful ranch wedding, as photographed by the Goodness.

Carmel by the Sea Wedding Venue

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The property surrounding Mission Ranch features sheep-filled meadows, with mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. (Just wait until you see the sheep in the back of the couple's ceremony photos!)

Bride Getting Ready

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Erika and her bridesmaids (and bridesmen!) got ready at the ranch’s farmhouse, with the women dressed in colorful, embroidered Puebla dresses.

Bride in Katie May

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Bride in Katie May

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Erika’s tailored Katie May design had it all: A fitted bodice with ribbon embroidery, a dramatic scoop back, and a detachable tulle train for the perfect amount of bridal drama. “I was wowed by how different the dress was,” she says. “Once I found out the train was detachable, I was sold!” And since she loves delicate jewelry, Erika added a draping hairpiece from Twigs & Honey beneath her cathedral veil. Her bridal bouquet was a cascading pop of color against her dress, featuring roses, anemones, scabiosa, and jasmine (to match her bridesmaids' dresses).

No Ugly Crying

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Erika’s something-blue was a a handkerchief that read “No Ugly Crying,” which she lovingly lent to her groom during the ceremony.

Bride and Groom

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Thanks to the venue's expansive grounds and green landscape, the couple had the perfect backdrop for their first look and portraits.

Ceremony Exit

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Erika’s grandparents are Jewish, so the couple honored them by exchanging vows beneath a chuppah decorated with bright roses and anemones—and with a meadow full of sheep in the background! For their vows, Erika and David decided to put their own twist on the traditional vows to make them sound like something they'd say every day.

Escort Cards

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After cocktail hour in the property's little barn, guests found their table assignments printed on escort cards with a Mexican embroidery-inspired design.

Table Setting with Maracas

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Everyone gathered in the big barn for dinner, where succulents surrounded pillar candles as vibrant centerpieces. Guests were given colorful maracas, which they shook during the couple's grand entrance—and every time they wanted the newlyweds to kiss!

One-Tier Cake with Flowers

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White Banner with Lights

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Guests Shaking Maracas

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Other Mexican touches included three tres leches cakes (decorated with colorful anemones, roses, and scabiosas) and festive white papel picado banners over the dance floor. “The only thing I didn’t think through incredibly carefully was the maracas,” says Erika. “I found lavender hand-painted ones from Mexico to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, but when they arrived they were tiny and attached to safety pins! We purchased larger ones, too, and used the miniature ones as part of each place setting. Our guests added them to their outfits!”

First Dance

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The newlyweds shared their first dance to “All Eyes on You” by St. Lucia. And while they're from San Francisco (as are many of their guests), they loved that the two-hour drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea made it feel like a destination wedding. “People came and made a trip out of it, going on hikes and playing golf in the days leading up to the wedding,” says Erika. And even the bride and groom made the most of it. (It is their special spot, after all!)

Venue: Mission Ranch || Bride's Dress: Katie May || Bride's Veil: Katie May || Bride's Shoes: INC International Concepts || Bride's Jewelry: Adina Reyter, Twigs & Honey || Hair & Makeup: Kim Larson Bridal Makeup & Hairstyling || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Wedding Bands: La Renaissance Jewelry || Floral Design: Fleurish Floral Designs || Paper Products: JP Stationery || Catering: Mission Ranch || Cake: La Tortuga || Maracas: Alamo Fiesta; Etsy || Entertainment: DJ Rob Bennion || Photography: The Goodness

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