Although they both attended La Costa Canyon High School, Encinitas natives Gemma and Steve hardly knew each other at the time. It wasn’t until a few years after graduation that the two met at a local taco shop and began dating. They now live in Cardiff after Steve’s proposal on a Torrey Pines hike and a gorgeous wedding in Carlsbad.
Gemma chose an ivory silk chiffon dress from J.Crew that she loved for its comfort and minimalist design. “I felt myself in it,” she says.
The flowers Gemma carried included ivory anemones, colorful ranunculus, freesias, and asclepias.
At the Altar
The couple wrote their own vows that included a Native American blessing. Gemma’s mother also read a poem by 13th-century poet Rumi.
The Beatles’ songs were the soundtrack for the ceremony. In front of 90 guests, the bridal party took their turn down the aisle to an acoustic guitar version of “All You Need is Love.” Gemma walked down the aisle to Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and “Here Comes the Sun” was the exit song.
Bride’s Favorite Moment
As part of his vows, Steven serenaded Gemma with John Legend’s “I Will Stay With You” on his guitar.
Groom’s Best Memory
Gemma’s vows were thorough, sincere, and brought him to tears—making it tough to pick up his guitar to sing.
Eschewing tradition, Gemma’s brother was dubbed her “Man of Honor,” while Steven’s sister took the title of “Best Woman.” Gemma wouldn’t have had it any other way: “It put a huge smile on my face to have my brother standing next to me and holding my bouquet. Steve’s sister, Holly, was equally gracious and amazing.”
With its adobe buildings and cactus and agave landscaping, the historic Leo Carrillo Ranch provided the inspiration behind the Mexican ranch theme.
Handmade elements were central to the couple’s design. Gemma and Steven cut, stained, and painted all the signage. They also constructed the cupcake tower. Steven made hundreds of pottery bowls and planted miniature gardens as centerpieces, while Gemma and her mother cut and strung Mexican flags and paper flowers.
“Our introduction into the cocktail party reception with the mariachis was pretty epic,” enthuses the bride.
Food and Drink
Guests enjoyed shrimp skewers, black-bean tostadas, a taco bar, and watermelon salads while sipping margaritas, Mexican beer, wine, and Izze Sparkling Juice.
Get Their Style
- Day of Coordination: Janai Bashore, friend
- Photography: Justin Lee Photography
- Ceremony and Reception: Leo Carrillo Ranch
- Florist: Isari Flower Studio
- Catering: MIHO Gastrotruck
- CEREMONY Music: Jojo Hahn
- Cocktail music: Mariachi Mexicano 619.421.9790
- Reception music: Susanna Kurner and Danny Green
- Dress: J.Crew
- Shoes: Franco Sarto
- Headpiece: HousGoods
- Necklace: Grandmother’s Victorian chain with agate seal
- Cake: DIY dessert table
- Paper Elements: Paper Source
- Makeup: My Girls on Film Studios
- Hair: Fabrika Monet
- Groom’s attire: Jos. A. Bank
- Linens and Rentals: Abbey Party Rentals