Calesta and Luke

Sunny San Luis Obispo


July 24, 2013
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Mirelle Carmichael Photography

Calesta and Luke hail from beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. While stunning, Alaska isn’t exactly inexpensive or logistically simple when it comes to weddings. Also, the couple had their hearts set on an outdoor wedding and the weather can be quite unpredictable in their hometown. Therefore, the couple chose to head south to beautiful San Luis Obispo, California. Contrary to most destination weddings, the couple actually had a larger wedding as a result of opting to get married away.

When it came time to choose their venue, the couple was in luck! Luke, a Cal Poly graduate, had held a college graduation celebration at San Luis Obispo’s Flying Caballos Guest Ranch and, low-and-behold, it was now available for wedding celebrations! This charming yellow house served as a wonderful spot, but didn’t come without some difficulties.

“[Planning] was a good experience, but a lot of work,” says the bride. “While we loved the venue, it didn’t offer us anything more than just a beautiful backdrop for our big day. We spent a lot of time organizing and renting items that the wedding venue didn’t offer. i.e. chairs, tables, linens, dinnerware etc. Having to coordinate everything from Alaska made things a little tricky, but we were up for the challenge. In the end our hard work paid off!”

Calesta and Luke are the definition of a hands-on couple and handled not only a lot of the day’s details themselves, but also the set-up. “Luke and I also did all the planning/coordination and, with the help of family and friends, we did the entire wedding set-up: tables, chairs, decorations, table arrangements, centerpieces, ceremony music and the list goes on and on,” says Calesta. “It was a herculean effort, but everything turned out as planned. We could not have done it all if it weren’t for the help of our family and friends. We are so blessed to have people in our lives willing to help out when we need them!”

If the couple had said “I do” in Alaska, they would have had far fewer options when it came to vendors and the wedding also would have been much more expensive. Ever the problem solvers, the couple had a wealth of DIY details for their wedding ceremony and reception. “For budget reasons, we didn’t have a wedding planner or a florist and my mother, sister and I decided to create all the center pieces and decorations back home in Alaska,” says the bride. “We were going for a vintage, shabby-chic theme and I found a photo of a centerpiece made of tin cans so we saved cans for a year and decorated them according to our theme. We ordered wholesale flowers from Whole Blossoms and my sister, girlfriends and I arranged the flowers for the centerpieces and bouquets.”

While all their efforts paid off in the end, the couple would recommend hiring a wedding planner or day-of coordinator if your budget permits. “Your time is worth something! Just remember to breath and have fun!”

Vendors: Photographer: Mirelle Carmichael Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Flying Caballos Guest Ranch in San Luis Obispo, California, Rentals: Taylor Rental Party Plus, DJ: SLO DJ, Photobooth: ShutterBooth, Flowers: Whole Blossoms, Catering: Phil’s Catering, Dessert: Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, Hair: Blue Bird Salon, Gown Designer: Vera Wang, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Calvin Klein, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Light in the Box/Calvin Klein

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