logo

Real Wedding

Outdoor Ranch Wedding: Giulia & Michelle

Ryan Greenleaf Photography

May 24, 2014

Giulia and Michelle taught at the same school when they met. After a year or so of hanging out in the same social circle, they noticed that they began to make plans for just the two of them. Their friendship had clearly grown into more.

Proposal #1

Michelle surprised Giulia by proposing on a weekend getaway in Nevada City. While playing board games at their bed and breakfast, Michelle pulled out a custom deck of cards with 52 reasons why she loved Giulia, and followed the cards with a beautiful engagement ring.

Proposal #2

During a weekend trip to Medocino, California, Giulia chose a nearly secluded beach where the two could stop and eat lunch. Michelle unpacked their prosciutto, provolone cheese and bread while Giulia pulled out a gift box. Michelle tore open the packaging and found a variety of folded origami paper squares. Each one had a reason that they belonged together. A second box contained her ring—a gift she gave almost two years after Michelle’s proposal!

Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography

Michelle and Giulia wanted to find a venue where they could marry under trees and near water. They vowed to each other that they would plan a wedding that was truly “them,” with absolutely nothing from Pinterest! The venue they selected was a “property-only” rental, so their slate was completely blank.

Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Colorful wildflowers dotted wooden table runners constructed with the help of a friend and Michelle’s father. The inlay was oak wood, Michelle’s hometown tree, while the exterior was redwood, Giulia’s tree.
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography

Michelle’s brother, a graphic designer, created her invitations, and a friend and colleague crafted the oak table assignment cardholders. Friends gathered hundreds of vases from consignment stores, cupboards and at garage sales. They held a “Great Vase Chase” event day when everyone searched for the vases for a few hours and met for lunch to reveal their treasures! Many of their friends and family stayed on the hunt for months to come!

Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography

The brides’ bouquets were wrapped with pieces of each of their mothers’ wedding dresses. In memory of her father, Joe, Giulia took photos of the audience during the ceremony, as she knew her father would never have been able to stay seated. The ceremony was officiated by a dear friend of more than 20 years. The wedding party processional song, “At Last,” was a tribute to all those who waited eight years for the day to finally arrive.

Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography

During the reception, Michelle and Giulia cut the pink champagne cake from Nugget Market in Davis, California— Giulia’s birthday cake every year as a child—before dinner, as Michelle’s dream is to eat dessert, the best part of the meal, first.

Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Ryan Greenleaf Photography
Michelle and Giulia offer the following advice to other couples: “Do your research with your vendors and if possible, find ones you really click with.  We LOVED our photographer and caterer, two of our most important things.  Don’t be afraid to make it YOUR day…do what your want, in whatever way is you.  That was the best part about our wedding and something we got many comments about:  our wedding was ‘so’ us.”
Ryan Greenleaf Photography

Their LGBTQ-Friendly Vendors

Photographer: Ryan Greenleaf Photography // Floral Designer: Crystal Rose Florist // DJ: DJ Rick Young // Event Venue: Mertz Ranch // Equipment Rentals: Rentals – A Grand Affair 

Submitted via Two Bright Lights

More Real Weddings