Gardener Ranch: A Case Study

Sarah and Kevin hired Pocketful of Plans to help them design their dream wedding day at the breathtaking Gardener Ranch in November. 

When they came to us, they had never planned a large event before, so they had no idea where to start or what/how to prioritize. Aside from that, they were also extremely nervous about planning a wedding during a pandemic. They didn’t know if they would actually be able to have their event or what guidelines they needed to implement if any. 

Bride and Groom Walking Down the Aisle
Courtney Yee Photography

The couple decided to have their wedding at Gardener Ranch in Carmel Valley before hiring us for several reasons. One was because the area was a special place for them, and two because the venue provided flexibility. Since Sarah and Kevin were tying the knot during an uncertain time, they wanted a property where they could do everything outdoors if need be. 

They also loved that they could host all of their events in one location. And that their entire family could stay with them onsite over the wedding weekend. 

Read on to discover how Pocketful of Plans helped Sarah and Kevin bring their big-day vision to life despite any obstacles.  

Bride and Groom Ring Shot and Bouquet
Courtney Yee Photography

Meet the Couple

Sarah and Kevin wanted us to use the venue’s blank canvas to create something unique while also playing off of the property’s natural beauty. They sought creative direction, design transformation, and complete event management. 

The Objective

These two loved Gardener Ranch’s large lawns and wanted us to take advantage of the natural beauty the property offered. They elected to install a clear tent that they wanted me to transform into something that looked like an organic restaurant with lots of greenery and lights. 

The Challenges

1. Transforming a blank canvas. Sarah and Kevin loved the design flexibility Gardener Ranch provided but had concerns about what their event could look like. Especially since Sarah wasn’t a fan of traditional wedding décor and hadn’t liked anything she’d seen online. I would be creating a design plan for Gardener Ranch and the tent area the couple wanted. 

2. Creating flow. The couple needed to hold four separate events at Gardener Ranch:

  • A welcome BBQ for those staying onsite
  • Welcome drinks
  • Wedding
  • Goodbye brunch
Bride and Groom Posing on Classic Car
Courtney Yee Photography

All were to feel and look different from one another and be held at various locations around the property. Regardless of the differences, I needed to create a flow between the events and a cohesive style, so guests knew they were at the same wedding.

3. COVID. There was always a lingering “What if this all falls through?!” kind of thought for Sarah and Kate. And who could blame them? Aside from that, it was a busy year for everyone. At times, they found it hard to get responses/decisions from the venue before bringing us on board. 

Pocketful of Plan Solutions

  1. Sarah thought her pension for non-traditional wedding decorations would scare me off, but I love a good challenge and was determined to turn her vision into a reality.

I walked the couple through every possibility and used my experience to guide them in the best direction. I helped them envision how they could use the different locations around Gardener Ranch.

“Kaitlin had an answer and solution for pretty much every question we had – which was a lot! Kaitlin was patient, and her answers were always thoughtful and detailed.”

  1.  Being familiar with the property and knowing what worked historically helped me make decisions about what would create a great guest experience. I decided to create a flowing, cohesive design that also felt fresh in each location. And everything was built off of the design of the clear tent we used for the reception dinner. 

“She got to know Kevin and me as a couple and really invested time in establishing a personal connection with us. Kaitlin was organized, thoughtful and helped keep us on track with everything. She talked through vendor proposals and really helped us allocate our budget towards items that mattered.”

  1. This was during a time when no one really had concrete answers, and things were always changing. So I did my best to act as a sounding board for Sarah and Kevin, answer their questions, and walk them through every eventuality. I wanted them to understand how we could always downsize their wedding if we needed to and pivot to make things work. 

“Planning a wedding, in general, is stressful, but Kaitlin reduces that stress drastically by being so on top of everything. Her ideas are always helpful, and her design is impeccable. I cannot recommend her enough!”

Bride and Groom walking on lawn
Courtney Yee Photography

The Result

Sarah described their wedding as a magical wonderland. “We could not believe how beautiful it was. It honestly felt like you were in a Pinterest board.” 

We achieved the look by draping string lights across the tent ceiling and hanging 15 wicker lanterns (from the Copper Rose) draped in greenery. We narrowed down the couple’s color palette to muted tones and mixed in fresh and dried flowers. The natural greenery around the venue allowed Sarah and Kevin to put their floral budget to good use since they did not need a lot to make an impact.

We also incorporated different textures like black stoneware and gold flatware with a linen napkin on the table to tie into the organic feeling.

One of the most amazing parts was looking through the clear tent ceiling and seeing the starry night sky. It was incredibly dreamy! 

Candlelit Reception Tent with Hanging Lanterns and Greenery
Courtney Yee Photography

From Sarah and Kevin

“We had it all with our wedding – navigating a pandemic, uncertainty with what our event would look like, family dynamics, moments of “is a big wedding worth it”- all to come to the conclusion that yes, it is worth it because we had Kaitlin by our side. She helped us make the best decisions for us every step of the way and ride the wedding planning rollercoaster. I can’t imagine doing any of this without her, and she is one of the fondest memories we have from the past year. We feel so incredibly lucky to not only have gotten to work with her but to call her a friend!”

Vendor Team

Pocketful Of Plans

Gardener Ranch

Courtney Yee

Hugo Film Co

Seascape Flowers

MUAH (Makeup and Hair)

Paradise Catering

Belmont Entertainment

The Copper Rose

Abbey Party Rents

Tent and Lighting:
Chic Event Rentals

Gia Boyd

Day of Stationary and Signs:
Heart Paper Soul

Lovers Society

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