Santa Lucia Preserve, Carmel Valley, California

Somehow these two elegant, cultured, worldly people found one another by way of the Menlo Park dive bar The Dutch Goose. Maybe because it’s a dive bar that’s been a favorite hangout of Stanford alumni since the 1960s.

“After we both had lived all over the country and the world, it was definitely the last place on earth we expected to find our soulmate,” Nicole said. But Nathan stopped into the bar after the famous Bay to Breakers race, and spotted Nicole sitting at the bar with a girlfriend. The night ended with Nicole giving Nathan a ride back to his dorm.

Shortly after that, they had their first date, which ended with their first kiss. “The only thing either of us could think about was the next time we would see each other,” Nicole said. “That’s actually still what we think about most of the time.”

Santa Lucia Preserve in Carmel Valley was an easy, and meaningful, choice for their wedding. Nathan’s family has a second home there, and it’s where Nicole and Nathan find peace of mind and an escape from the pressures and choas of the outside world. “We love absolutely everything about it – its striking Californian beauty, the rustic simplicity that permeates the entire landscape, and how time slows down there in a way that makes every person that enters it appreciate life in all its splendor,” she said. “But most importantly, we went to the Preserve after we had been dating a few months, and it’s there that we discovered that we wanted to be together forever.  We had already married each other in our hearts at the Preserve.  So we wanted to share our wedding with our friends and family in the very same place where our commitment began.”

The wedding was everything they hoped it would be and more. Their wedding band Soulicious from Los Angeles blew everyone away beyond their wildest expectations. Yet they still managed to be upstaged – by the groom himself, who surprised Nicole by getting on stage and playing drums on Journey’s “Open Arms,” with Nathan’s brother Dillon singing, his uncle Scott playing bass, and Nathan’s friend Charlie on guitar. “It was the most amazing surprise of my life,” Nicole said.


Authored by: Photographed by: MauricioCategory:  WeddingsDestination:  Carmel Valley, CaliforniaSetting:  Barn Wedding; Forest WeddingVenue:  Santa Lucia Preserve