To look through the photos of this beautiful wedding for Samantha & Andrew, you would never imagine that just 24 hours before the ceremony, the couples wedding plans were literally going up in flames. The Woolsey fire had just broken out in Malibu and was taking over the Canyon, which included their venue, Saddlerock Ranch. As Saddlerock worked vigorously to save their beloved animals, we had to have a very serious conversation with the bride & groom. Even if the venue was safe, there was no guarantee that we would be allowed access into the canyon and even further, the air quality may be dangerous. Samantha took a breath and said “Ok! Let me talk with the family.” Her return call was amazing. The family had prayed on it as a collective group of over 20 family members and decided that one way or another, this wedding was going to happen!
Now it was our turn…. “Ok”. I said, “let’s do this!” Our team quickly began searching out alternative venue options, in case this fire did not back down. Samantha & Andrew could not have had a more spectacular wedding team. All vendors pitched in, calling their most accessible venues and showered us with ideas, but time was still of the essence. We had a rental truck that was moments away from being loaded and a budget that grew more and more non-refundable with every moment that went by. About an hour into the search, the winds that carried the fire roared so strong, that our office lost power…. so we continued the search and communication with nothing more than a small generator and cell phones. Yet another challenge accepted - thank goodness for smart phones!
Meanwhile, many of the guests in Westlake Village (just outside of Malibu) were under mandatory evacuation from their hotels. Again, the family came together, pulling in cots and blankets to accommodate the displaced guests at the hotels that had not been evacuated. I kept checking in with the bride to see how everyone was doing and they were truly making the best of this scenario. Enjoying time with family and hoping for the best.
After about 3 hours of searching, we had options - and they were great! The only problem was, they were 50 miles North of the original location. I remember making the call to the bride and asking “How do you feel about Carpinteria?”. The family was all for it! At around 3pm, the evening before the wedding, I was able to give all of our vendors a new and confirmed location. I envisioned all vendors in their car with the engines running, waiting for the call. This is probably an exaggeration, but everyone was certainly holding their breath!! But we did it - We were moving to The Oceanview Farm in Carpinteria. The owners were over the moon to help and joined the team as though they had been part of it all along, doing everything the could to accommodate not only the couple, but our amazing team of vendors. We quickly gathered a shuttle team to transport the guests, filled the property requirements, adding restroom trailer and trash disposal vendors. We added a handful of draping fabric, additional lighting and a ceremony structure to the rental truck so that we could still execute the couples vision at the new venue.
Meanwhile, the bride was activating her telephone chain to spread the word of the new plan to all of their guests. Making sure they had all the right times and the new shuttle information. At 10pm, I called the bride for one final check-in. I asked, “How are you doing?”. With a sigh of relief, she replied - “I’m good, I just can’t believe we did it!”. And boy did we! When our team arrived on property the next morning, Samantha was in hair & make-up and looked completely refreshed. Had we not actually experienced the overnight change ourselves, even we would not have believed it happened.
The wedding was absolutely beautiful. (See the full gallery and read their wedding story here) . We always knew that our team of vendors were amazing, but on this weekend everyone was extraordinary and we Couldn’t feel more blessed to be in such an amazing community of wedding pro’s! If this is not a reason to book top notch vendors for your wedding, I don’t know what is!
The original venue [and access to the canyon] remained closed for another week following the wedding, so had we not moved the wedding, it simply would not have happened for them that weekend. Fortunately, that’s not how this story ends! ❤️ samantha and andrew, we are so happy that your story has such a strong and resilient beginning, WE LOVE YOU!!
Though Saddlerock was affected by the fires , their animals and vineyards were kept safe and they are excited for a successful 2019 wedding season. We are so grateful that everyone was safe and that there will be many more weddings to come on both of these beautiful properties!
Thank you for sharing the journey with us!
Love and Gratitude,
A big thank you to our partnering vendors:
Venue: Oceanview Farm // Photography: Annmarie Studios // Rentals: A Rental Connection // Videography: Amari Productions // Beauty: Bliss Bridal Beauty // Planning & Design: Events by M and M // DJ/MC: iDJ // Transportation: Jump on the School Bus // Bar Service: Liquid Catering // Restroom: Marborg // Parking: Santa Barbara Polo Club // Catering: Seasons Catering // Florals: Unique Floral Design // Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop