Plenty of guys talk about finding the quintessential girl next door, but Brycen Salopek married his. “Brycen and I met in college when I moved into the house next door in July of 2010,” explains bride Jacie. “We were friends for about a year before I finally agreed to let him take me on a date.” As if this rom-com romance couldn’t get any cuter, the couple’s proposal was one for the books, too. On the second day of a weekend trip to Boston, the couple embarked on a sunset cruise in the Boston Harbor that quickly sailed into uncharted territory. Jacie remembers it best: “On the way back to dock, the boat turned sideways to give us what the captain later said was ‘the best view of the city.’ It was then that I felt Brycen tapping my arm, and I turned to see him on one knee. I was completely surprised and shocked. I was told everyone cheered and the captain honked his horn. I had no idea!”
When the dust settled, the newly engaged twosome began planning their big day. Knowing they wanted an outdoor wedding, Jacie and Brycen scoured their home state for a venue that showed off New Mexico’s blazing blue sky. When they found La Mesita Ranch Estate in Santa Fe, it was obvious they didn't need to look further. With a combination of green pastures, beautiful blooms, and mountain views, the venue had everything they wanted—plus one more. “I grew up riding horses competitively so I fell in love with the fact that La Mesita Ranch was an equestrian estate,” Jacie says of the venue. “Horses graze on the rolling green pastures and poke their heads out of the stalls in the evenings. That’s what sold me on the venue. Something about having horses around is just so magical, and including them in our day was a must!”
With equine guests in tow and a palette of neutrals and gold to complement the natural splendor of New Mexico, the bride and groom teamed up with planner Amy Gallegos of For the Love Events to create a dreamy bohemian wedding with a rustic twist. On June 11, 2016, the two said “I do” in front of 250 guests, and Becca Lea Photography was there to capture it all.
The couple set the tone for the day from the very start, thanks to these gorgeous invitations inspired by New Mexico’s greenery. Featuring wispy hand calligraphy and illustrated floral borders, the whimsical design was referenced later in the day as escort cards.
The floral details featured on the invitation suite were weaved into much of the wedding-day décor, but it was done most beautifully through the detail on Jacie’s gown. Her Hayley Paige design featured an illusion bodice with a stunning floral pattern that carried down the full sleeves. Striking the perfect balance between modern and classic, the bodice culminated in a romantic English net A-line skirt with layered tulle.
Jacie completed her look with a floor-length veil by Sarah Gabriel and lace-up Betsey Johnson sandals. “I am still so in love with my gown,” she says of her ensemble. “So many people said it was so ‘me’ and I agree!”
Getting the mix-and-match look of a bridal party together can be a tall order, but these stylish 'maids pulled it off in spectacular fashion. Each woman wore a floor-length gown in a neutral color but played with different styles, shapes, and textures to keep things interesting. “I didn’t even see all of the dresses together until the day of!” admits the bride. “I did lots of looking online, screen-shotting gowns and making collages. It's not the most conventional or simple way of doing it, but it all came together and worked!”
Not to be forgotten was the adorable flower girl who wore a blush tulle skirt and bohemian flower crown. For their own flowers, the attendants carried hand-tied bouquets of peonies, garden roses, scabiosa, native olive, and ranunculus—a smaller version of the bride’s arrangement. Each bundle of blooms used muted colors like mauve, blush, and ivory and were tied with a long, trailing ribbon.
The men wore slim-fit suits in a gray hue, keeping things cool for a June wedding.
During the ceremony, wooden benches were arranged on a shady patch of lawn underneath tall oak trees. A glass welcome sign in a vintage gold frame greeted guests at the start of the aisle. Beside it was a display offering parasols and programs, each kept in rustic woven baskets atop a cowhide rug.
As an addition to the already stunning backdrop, the couple brought in a half-circle of wildflowers, grasses, and lush greenery.
The couple's adorable flower girl and ring bearer made their way down the aisle hand in hand. "I wanted Emmett, the ring bearer, to match the boys as close as possible," the bride says of her nephew. "So he wore a gray-on-gray suit with a little boutonniere pinned on."
When it was time for Jacie's entrance, a quartet played Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” as the teary-eyed groom watched his bride walk down the aisle with both mom and dad. Jacie and Brycen exchanged traditional vows, as sharing personal ones seemed too insurmountable a task on a day so filled with emotion. “We are both criers and didn’t think we’d be able to get through them!” says the bride.
After their first kiss as husband and wife, a vintage Mercedes-Benz was waiting with a floral runner on the trunk to whisk them away to the reception. "That was one of my favorite details from our wedding day," the bride says. "We lucked out and found it just weeks before the wedding, and I’m so glad we did! I thought it was such a cool detail that added to the vintage vibe that we were going for."
With the nuptials over, it was time for some good food, good drinks, and good fun—and the bride and groom supplied all of the above. Guests enjoyed custom drinks like the ‘Mint to Be’ and ‘Frisky Whiskey’ as they mingled in the warm New Mexico air. Lounge areas with vintage furniture were arranged throughout the space and Jacie’s beloved horses looked on as guests enjoyed the evening.
The eye-catching escort card display was created on a large wooden board flanked with lush green potted plants. The hand-calligraphed cards were dip-dyed in a warm blush hue and pinned to hanging threads with a clothespin, further driving home the day’s rustic-meets-boho theme.
With so many gorgeous details, it’s impossible to choose a favorite, but the reception tables are definitely in the running. Designed to look like one impossibly long table, multiple smaller wooden ones were placed end to end in the ground’s gorgeous colonnade. Topped with cheesecloth runners and various centerpieces, the final result was nothing short of breathtaking. Floral arrangements in antique brass footed vases and lush green garlands did equal work in decorating the tables while vintage candelabras and small votive candles gave off a magical glow.
As a final statement-making detail, a feather was tucked into each napkin alongside a muslin bag filled with flavored pecans—a fitting favor for the children of pecan farmers! For dinner, the bride and groom brainstormed all their favorite foods and found a way to incorporate many of them into the menu. Chicken and waffle skewers, green chile chicken wontons, prime rib, and buttermilk mashed potatoes all found their way onto plates, a menu we’re sure left everyone hoping for seconds.
When it was time to dance, guests simply made their way onto the lawn just in front of the dining area. Bistro lights were draped across the lawn extending a warm glow throughout the venue and the DJ played many of the hundreds of songs hand-selected by the bride and groom.
With such a curated playlist, it’s tough to get people off the dance floor, but a dessert table this tempting is hard to ignore. Strawberry shortcake and berry tarts lined the table as well as a treat that should come as no surprise: Mini bourbon pecan pies made from the two families’ farms. The main attraction, however, was the cake Jacie appropriately describes as “slightly naked.” A coconut cake with vanilla buttercream was decorated with just the slightest bit of buttercream and topped off with flowers, berries, and metallic gold touches.
Even with all the gorgeous décor and breathtaking scenery, it was the couple’s happiness that truly radiated throughout the day. And that’s something Jacie can thank her maid of honor for. “My favorite piece of advice I received came from my bestie and MOH in a card she gave me when we first got engaged,” the bride remembers. “She said, ‘Enjoy every minute, but never forget the most important part; you and Brycen.’ In the whirlwind of everything that is wedding planning, it is so easy to forget what weddings are all about, and that is your love of one another.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: La Mesita Ranch Estate
Wedding Planner: Amy Gallegos of For the Love Events
Shoes: Betsey Johnson
Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux
Flowers: Emily Calhoun of Floriography Flowers
Invitations & Paper Goods: Olive Branch & Co.
Music: Absolute Entertainment
Catering: Hilton Buffalo Thunder
Cake: Miel Bakery
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; For the Love Events
Videographer: 82/92 Productions || Photographer: Becca Lea Photography