Joanna & Eric’s Rustic Mountaintop Wedding

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Soaring upwards of 3800 feet, Mount Diablo can be seen from most of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our bride Joanna grew up taking in its panoramic views with her family and knew that it would one day play an important role in her wedding. After nine years together, she and Eric decided to tie the knot.

Sure enough, the silhouette of the mountain appeared as a graphic element on their invitations, thank-you cards, programs, table name cards, place cards, and ice cream sandwich wrappers (more on that later), all of which Joanna designed (check out the envelope liners she made and the escort cards she embossed with matching gold chevron). Even more amazingly, they discovered Diablo Ranch on the mountain itself, a working cattle ranch accessed via twisty, harrowing roads. Complete with barns, hay bales, tractors, cows, and an emu, not to mention a swimming pool and game rooms, it was the perfect place for them to get hitched.

Their ceremony, officiated by brother-in-law Mark, was overseen by a grand oak tree and overlooked the peaks and valleys of the East Bay as the sun set in the distance. Family traditions and support enhanced the special occasion even further. Joanna’s sister Joyce pulled her son/ringbearer Colby down the aisle in a little red wagon, only to have him unexpectedly clamber out to hand off the wooden ring box to a guest. His big sister Penelope followed them with a basket of flower petals.

For Joanna’s walk down the aisle with her parents, their DJ and acoustic guitarist Spencer performed “Glasgow Love Theme” from Love Actually, a movie that Joanna’s family watches every Christmas. Says Joanna, “The song is really the only ‘dream wedding’ thing I’d had when we started wedding planning.”

Joyce and Eric’s brother Marcus performed “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You),” much to Colby’s delight (he yelled “again!” multiple times after they had finished), after which Eric’s grandmother Pat said a blessing during the traditional Filipino veil, cord, and coin ceremony. They used the veil and cord from Marcus’s wedding last year and 13 silver coins that first appeared in Pat’s wedding in the Philippines 61 years ago. (Joanna and Eric were the sixth couple in the family to celebrate their marriage with the coins.) Heartfelt vows and a tussle with the rings rounded out the laughter- and tear-filled ceremony.

After some portraits, our newlyweds joined their guests poolside for the reception. Fairylight-filled mason jars, candles, and yards of string lights illuminated the scene as guests noshed on barbecue, hit the scotch bar, and guffawed at a bevy of revealing toasts. Marcus had a large stack of index cards to keep his roast in line, while Joanna’s dad concluded his speech with the USC fight song and victory sign, slightly dismayed that he hadn’t been able to hire the full Trojan marching band for the wedding (he, Joanna, and Eric are all alumni).

Dessert came in the form of ice cream sandwiches, which were “one of the first things we decided upon for our wedding,” says Joanna. “We’ve eaten a lot of ice cream, and Bi-Rite Creamery is by far our favorite. We had three flavors: Earl Grey ice cream with a dark chocolate cookie, mint chip ice cream with a chocolate chip cookie, and strawberry balsamic ice cream with a sugar cookie. Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors, but Bi-Rite only offers it in the winter. We asked for Earl Grey before its official season and for mint chip with a different cookie. We were so happy that they accommodated our special requests!”

Other fun touches included late-night tacos and s’mores at the fire pit, which provided additional fuel for the dance party. The celebration may have raged until dawn since Diablo Ranch has no time restrictions, but we left before the reception became a deliberate or accidental splash zone. We did, however, capture plenty of wonderful moments, including an animated arm wrestling match between Eric and his brother. Enjoy!

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chevron wedding invitation
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high-stakes rings
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toast cheats
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ice cream sandwiches
scotch bar
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Bride’s dress: custom gown by Lea Couture
Bride’s shoes: TOMS
Bride’s earrings: Mabel Chong
Groom’s suit: Armani Collezioni
Groom’s shoes & belt: Allen Edmonds
Groom’s shirt: Luxire
Groom’s & groomsmen’s ties: Kent Wang
Hair (for bride, moms, bridesmaids & groom): Natasha Warton-Sanivskaya of Cetana Salon Spa (San Francisco)
Make-up: Juanita Valencia of Cetana Salon Spa
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Jenny Yoo (on matron of honor) and Donna Morgan (on bridesmaid)
Bride’s ring: Natural Sapphire Company
Groom’s ring: e-Wedding Bands
Ring box: Duende Jewelry (Etsy)
Flowers: Delancey Street Foundation
Caterers: Fist of Flour (cocktail hour; Oakland), 4505 Meats (barbecue dinner; San Francisco), Erika Parra (late-night tacos)
Ice cream sandwiches: Bi-Rite Creamery (San Francisco)
Custom labels: freezerlabels.net
DJ & guitarist: Sutherland Entertainment (Berkeley)
Wedding planner: Erin Donoghue Vigil (Your Event by Erin)
Videographer: Awkward Turtle Media
Wire picks for table name cards: Little House of Details (Etsy)
Lantern lights: Lights for All Occasions
Mountain silhouette graphic: MottShop (Etsy)
All printed materials: Brandes Printing Company (Berkeley)

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