Phil & Andrew :: Eco Chic Dream in Carmel Valley, California // Real LGBT Wedding

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:: Eco Chic Dream ::

Submitted by :: Thomas Bui Lifestyle

At the end of the  Camino de Santiago, an 800km trek through northern Spain, it is customary to leave a stone from your homeland with a message at the spot where Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World. Andrew was shocked when Phil threw his rock to him, a single question written on it: “Will you marry me?” They had been dating for eight years, and the time had come for them to begin a new journey together.

The couple immediately knew that they wanted to combine Andrew’s love of everything modern and bling with Phil’s natural tastes in an “Eco Chic” theme. From a list of a whopping 170 possible venues (of which they visited 68!), they found only one that perfectly suited their vision: Holman Ranch, overlooking California’s gorgeous Carmel Valley.

Beautiful, sunny weather greeted them on their big day. Guests were transported to the venue by a motorized cart draped in flowers, welcomed by a three-piece jazz ensemble playing against the mountainous backdrop.

The grooms, both in head-to-toe Hugo Boss, were escorted through a homemade chiffon archway and down the aisle by their respective mothers. They wrote their vows to one another separately but chose to end them in the same way, reflecting on California’s current ban on same-sex marriages: “Let no law stand between our union, let us make of our two lives, one life.”

Two rituals added an extra special touch to their ceremony. First, each attendee placed a white rose in a vase in front of the couple as a show of support for their union. Later, Andrew and Phil placed a special bottle of wine in a box, along with a letter from each to the other expressing their love. The box and its contents are to be opened either on their ten-year anniversary or to support them during a rough patch.

Andrew’s father constructed several special elements for the event, including a wall adorned with photos of the grooms’ families and a vineyard trellis laced with notecards full of guests’ advice to the newlyweds. Homegrown succulent boxes displayed the seat assignments. Succulents abounded in their decorations, ideal for the arid location. A mixture of tulips, peonies, gardenias and dahlias in varying shades of white, green and butter yellow completed the look.

The “Eco Chic” theme was apparent throughout. Burlap table coverings were offset by an assortment of modern glassware while a Swarovski crystal-studded succulent awaited each guest at his or her place setting. Both Andrew and Phil felt strongly that the food must be locally sourced and as fresh as possible. They worked with Paradise Catering, who not only sourced their meat and fish locally, but also grew their own vegetables for the evening’s meal. The couple showed personality in customizing their menu. Bites included “The First Date” stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon, “Thyme Fries When You’re Having Fun”, and chocolate milk shooters “for the commuters” at the end of the night. They also put thought into creative presentations. Dr. Pepper-braised short rib was served on individual ceramic spoons, and a tomato, watermelon and mozzarella salad came in a martini glass.

The white, three-tier crystal and succulent-adorned cake was kept in a hidden courtyard, to which the couple led their guests after dinner. “It was so special to see everyone gather in a small courtyard to see us cut the cake,” said Andrew. A sequined chevron tablecloth and plenty of candlelight added to the special moment.

Finally, it was time to hit the dance floor in the ranch’s light-strung barn. The newlyweds performed a Money Dance, but rather than use the funds towards their honeymoon they donated the proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign, ending their nuptials on a sweetly generous note.


Carmel Valley, Eco Chic, Rituals

The Professionals

Event Planner :: Thomas Bui Lifestyle
Floral :: Fionna Floral
Photography :: Gene Higa and Braja Mandala
Videographer :: Justin Fone
Apparel and Accessories :: Hugo Boss
Catering :: Paradise Catering
Wedding Cake :: Amia Bakery
Venue :: Holman Ranch
Band :: Sandra Aran Trio
DJ :: Sound in Motion


Carmel, California



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