Destination I Do
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Big Event in Los Gatos

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Judy and Gavin Photography
While each destination wedding is different, every once in a while one comes along which is truly special. Harris and Lauren’s Los Gatos, California wedding is one such example. Seeing as how Lauren is an event planner by day, it’s no surprise she was able to plan nuptials which were full of sentimentality, personal details and activities her guests would love. There was no doubt for this Newport Beach couple that a destination wedding was the way to go.

“We wanted to spend a weekend away with our closest friends and family and not spend all the money on just a six-hour event,” recalls the couple. “We did our rehearsal dinner the Thursday before our wedding so we had four full days to enjoy with everyone. We loved the idea of grabbing coffee in a small town and running into our guests throughout the weekend.”

Not surprisingly, the couple had very good reasons for selecting the exact small town that they did. “We chose Los Gatos because it had everything we wanted in a wedding weekend location: small charming town, beautiful hotels, fabulous hiking, nine local wineries, an airport close by, a ranch-style wedding venue, but most importantly, it was minutes to World-class surfing in Santa Cruz. Harris is a huge surfer, so having the beach/surfing as part of our weekend was important to him.”

Added perks were that the couple’s welcome and rehearsal dinner venues were walking distance from their guests’ hotels. For the actual wedding ceremony and reception, Lauren and Harris provided shuttles to take their guests to Radonich Ranch. Not only was the ranch gorgeous – it simplified the planning process for the couple. “The thing that saved me from a lot of headaches was the fact that my venue included so much. The ranch provided everything – tables, all décor and linens, cute vintage/antique table displays, catering, flowers etc. That saved a lot of research!”

As mentioned before, this wedding was filled with fun and unique touches – just the way Lauren and Harris wanted it. For example, in lieu of a traditional guest book the couple had “question cards” placed on each guests’ dinner plates. Questions like “Tell a funny story about Harris and Lauren” and “How should Lauren and Harris spend a date night?” served as something for the guests to do while dinner was being served and also served as an ice-break between guests. Post-nuptials, the couple combined the question cards with their guests’ pictures from throughout their wedding weekend to create a one-of-a-kind guest book.

In the end, the couple got the vacation of a lifetime capped off with a gorgeous wedding instead of “[one] whirlwind day of stress and emotion.” The bride says that having so much time with their guests leading up to W-day allowed her and Harris to really focus on themselves and their union as man and wife on the actual day. Coming from a professional, Lauren has lots of advice for other brides planning their own destination wedding.

“First, pick a venue which includes as many things as possible. Initially we were looking at renting a private estate and bringing everything in, but that is way too difficult from a distance. Second, spend your budget on the entire weekend, not just the wedding day. Having fun events throughout the weekend, proving shuttles and other items for your guests only makes for a more safe, fun and memorable time. Third, pick what’s important to you and be willing to spend the money on it and [if it isn’t as important], let it go. For example, the most important thing to us was a band, so instead of picking a local band off of YouTube, we brought up a popular band from our hometown. On the other hand, we don’t like cake, so we did ice cream cones instead – much cheaper! Fourth, Choose a family member or friend to officiate your wedding. We were not able to fly up our childhood pastor for the weekend, had no connections to anyone local and didn’t want a random person we found online to marry us. Choosing Harris’ nephew to marry us was the best decision we made – he delivered a very personal and God-centered ceremony which is exactly what we wanted.”

Photographer/Videography: Judy & Gavin Photography
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Radonich Ranch, Los Gatos, CA
Florist(s): Lila B, ceremony & Marky Carr, reception
Band: Tijuana Dogs
Hair: Krush Salon
Make-up: Benefit
Gown Designer: Casablanca
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss
Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Kenneth Cole suits & Ben Sherman ties

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