Bernardus Lodge & Spa 

For their proposal, Joseph recreated the couple’s first date at one of their favorite restaurants. Joseph and Lauren met at Penn State and had grown to love this special night-out spot. And just like their love story, the location meant everything for the couple’s wedding planning. The couple knew they wanted to plan a destination wedding in California and were really only familiar with the Napa Valley area, however they weren’t sure that Napa was the desired location. When we started talking about their wedding plans, Carmel seemed like a better fit for some of their wish list items. We also considered venues in Santa Barbara, Malibu, and Santa Ynez but ultimately the bride fell in love with Bernardus Lodge and the Rose Garden setting. She knew it was the perfect destination the moment we finished the venue tour.

 Due to Joseph’s position as an NFL coach for the Buffalo Bills, he could not visit the venue beforehand. However, Lauren navigated the planning details, and the breathtaking scenery of the Carmel Valley helped the vision come to life.

Mixing a traditional indoor ballroom wedding with the outdoor garden setting gave new meaning to the term “garden glam.” The Bernardus Lodge in Carmel, California offered a stunning garden filled with endless varieties of roses and idyllic photo-ops among the vineyards and European style garden.

The outdoors radiated a bright and neutral glow, where the arrangements dripped in orchids, and the tables were covered in elegant soft gold details and romantic stationary. Loving any excuse to feel ultra-glam, Lauren made an elegant, floral-inspired statement in her gown drenched in three-dimensional florals, designed by Rita Vinieris. A memorable moment for the couple was skipping the first look and seeing each other for the first time when Lauren came down the wedding aisle. Their good friend officiated the ceremony making it full of laughs and tears.

The cocktail hour on the croquet lawn was enjoyed by all the guests with an elegant lounge and signature cocktails named after their two adorable goldendoodles. While guests enjoyed the cocktail hour the Rose Garden was flipped from the ceremony to the dinner reception. Greenery arches with hanging chandeliers illuminated the tables, making it feel like an extension of the surrounding gardens. In a matter of an hour, the whole vendor team turned the space over to a magical dinner setting, complete with string lights and lush elegant floral arrangements, and the guests were reinvited to the garden to enjoy a four course culinary experience. After dinner, guests went up to the Bernardus Ballroom to dance and party for the remainder of the night, complete with a dessert bar and late night bites.