A private ranch ceremony followed by an intimate backyard wedding in sunny Carmel Valley

As soon as True told me where she was getting married, I knew I was the woman for the job. Nestled just past Carmel Valley village is a beautiful private ranch that has been owned by a couple families for over 100 years. As True began describing the property to me, I realized it was adjacent to the ranch my best friends got married on years ago (and the very first wedding I photographed in 2017!). I spent an entire summer helping my best friends prep the property for their wedding, and had grown to love that land in a way you only can when you visit and work on it frequently. That summer in Carmel Valley was one I'll never forget, so when True told me she and Rusty wanted to have their ceremony at the ranch next door, I was so excited to go back.

Getting Ready

True and her girlfriends got ready at a cute little cabin in Carmel Valley and were so much fun to hang out with. They reminded me of my own girlfriends, always laughing and always ready to celebrate something. True's easygoing attitude made the day a breeze, and I loved seeing her share so many sweet moments with her mom and bridesmaids while getting ready.

First look and portraits among the old live oaks

True and Rusty decided to do their first look at the private ranch in the hills of Carmel Valley. It was just the two of them and the old oak trees.

Intimate private ranch ceremony in Carmel Valley

Their intimate ceremony was held on the ranch with close family and friends. Their ceremony site was simple, as the stunning old oaks and the rolling hills of Carmel Valley are really all you need to make a beautiful place to get married. The vibe was casual, and everyone was excited to be there.

Carmel Valley intimate backyard reception

True and Rusty held their reception in the beautiful backyard of Rusty's parents' home. Surrounded by fruit trees, guests celebrated in the sun, with a wood-fired pizza food truck, yard games, a photo booth, and dance floor. These guys knew how to party. The wedding cake was made by True's Aunt Reba--of Sweet Reba's in Carmel. (As a local Carmel wedding photographer--and lover of yummy desserts--I've tried many of her cakes, cookies, brownies and more, and they are DELICIOUS!) Go get one if you haven't yet! Also, their dog Nugget joined the day, and he is simply the cutest. I will always vote yes for incorporating your dog in your day.

Carmel Wedding Vendors

Flowers: Kate Healey of Big Sur Flowers

Cake + Desserts: Sweet Reba's