Suzanne & Brandon | A Carmel California Hacienda Destination Wedding

Together for seven years, everyone was a little more than excited to see these two tying the knot. Despite their speedy engagement, they were able to pull off this dreamy destination wedding in Carmel, California with style and grace. Seashells abounded (their invites, their cake, her bouquet, and even the walls) and the cool, seaside air filled the hacienda where they tied the knot. 

Though they might have been away from home, they were able to seamlessly bring home right along with them.  It was surprising to me that they managed to bring some sentimental things from home (her hand-painted, hand-lettered globe by Lauren Heim), as well as some sweet Kansas elements (her father's wheat from his crop in her bouquet). 

So walk with me along the West Coast and celebrate the most sweet union of Suzanne and Brandon in sunny Carmel (with a touch of "there's no place like home"), photographed with the help of the incomparable talents of Emma York. :)

I was oooing and ahhing over the little ways Suzanne embraced the ocean in her wedding day details. From the seashells on her cake, to the starfish on her invite it was clear they were excited about being by the beach. :)

The moments where both Suzanne and Brandon were getting ready were so sweet. Though they spent most of the day together, there was nothing like the building anticipation of becoming a bride and groom and preparing for the first moment you see other in your new states.

One of my favorite details Suzanne wore was her pin that included elements that suited her personality and acted as a good luck charm. My favorite was the globe because she loved to travel. It seemed pretty appropriate. ;)

Now---their first look was just so one of my favorites in a long time. While some couples just breeze through the moment, these two lingered as they were met with a little more emotion than they anticipated. There is nothing like the moment on your wedding day when it hits you---"I'm getting married! To this person! Standing right in front of me!" These two settled into the thought as Emma and I looked ok.

We proceeded to explore the hacienda a bit and take some of their first photos together that day. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, and the photo options left us almost paralyzed. Almost. ;)

Right before the ceremony, Suzanne presented her parents with a small gift. It was a precious  moment before everything came together---and became very real!

Just after that, I ran downstairs to head to the ceremony. While Pastor Harry was preparing Brandon for the ceremony, the resident Blue Macaw, Touk, came over from across the hacienda and gave him his blessing of sorts. He was something else!

Suzanne and her father made their way down the winding staircase from her bedroom and headed to the ceremony. It was a sweet and intimate time as they were surrounded by their closest family and friends. There was a sweet, bubbly happiness in the air as they exchanged vows.

As a "unity candle" alternative, Brandon and Suzanne had a wine ceremony in perfect California fashion.

Seriously, these two were just exuberantly happy! I loved the ease and joy with which they became married. It was like nothing at all and fit them like a glove.

Shortly after their ceremony and dinner, we headed out to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. It was one of their favorite places to walk whenever they visited, and it allowed for a ridiculously dreamy backdrop. 

After we climbed around the rocks by the water, we took a mini hike up into the cyprus trees. It was here that we saw whales coming up for air. That was nothing short of amazing. My heart just fluttered during those moments! Everything that was happening was almost overwhelming, but we endured and managed to capture a few more moments of them together.

By the time we returned to the hacienda, the sun had all but set. That meant it was time for their cake cutting, fire-side lounging, and maybe a bit of dancing. ;)

Suzanne and Brandon---thank you so much for trusting me enough to join you on Saturday in California! It was just seriously one of the best weekends I've had in a very long time, and Emma and I are both incredibly grateful! Have a blast being married you two---and congratulations again!!

Emma Wheatley

TOPEKA, KS, 66606