by Amy Serrago
Ralston and Nick met while attending Hillsdale College in Michigan and quickly became friends, but it wasn’t until Nick graduated that they started dating. During Ralston’s senior year, Nick moved to Minneapolis and the couple dated long distance for a while. One frigid Thanksgiving night, when Ralston was visiting, Nick took her for a walk across the historic Stone Arch Bridge and asked if she could see herself living there. She replied that she could and the next thing she knew, Nick was down on one knee, asking another question. Ralston, who is originally from sunny California, says she immediately forgot how cold she was! With their engagement in full swing, the pair got started planning their wedding in Ralston’s hometown, San Juan Capistrano, CA. Their vision was a classic, elegant and timeless wedding day. It started with a ceremony at the Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, an absolutely stunning space that needed little in the way of added decor.
Ralston says she wanted a gown that “was fashion forward, but timeless”. She decided on a classic ballgown silhouette when she chose the Basilica for the ceremony and she was absolutely stunning in it! Its high neckline and lace bodice were exactly what she’d dreamed of and finishing her look with a cathedral length veil added drama. Her bridesmaids were elegantly clad in pastel sage gowns, each with a different bodice design to enhance each lady’s individual beauty, but they all carried full bouquets of ivory and blush roses with eucalyptus accents. Ralston’s bouquet was all ivory. Nick was dapper in his traditional black tux with white vest and bow tie and his groomsmen followed suit, but with black accessories so Nick would stand out.
For the reception, at the nearby Marbella Country Club, tables were set with ivory linens and gold chargers. Tall and short centerpieces were interspersed to give the room dimension and the elegant floral color scheme of blush and ivory with green accents brought classic sophistication. Gold details like candlesticks and lanterns completed the tablescapes and Ralston and Nick flexed their DIY muscle for some of the more personal touches throughout the space. For their seating chart, they used a gilded mirror that belongs to Ralston’s parents and they made the rest of their signage as well. Pointing the way to their photo booth was an enlargement of a picture from their first date, Ralston’s sorority formal. After dinner, things heated up on the dance floor thanks to the live band Ralston and Nick hired to perform for their guests. Ralston says they “brought so much energy to the dance floor” and she loved that they had a DJ to fill in when they took breaks. At the end of the night, guests saw the newlyweds off to their honeymoon, sparklers in hand. Congratulations Ralston and Nick!
Dress Designer: Justin Alexander Bridal//Heirlooms and extras:The Mrs. Box//Transportation:Lake Forest Limos//Reception Venue:Marbella Country Club//Location: The Mission San Juan Capistrano//Bridesmaid Dresses:BHLDN//Dress Designer: Justin Alexander//Dress Store: Mon Amie Bridal Salon//Makeup Artist: Veronica Fensel Hair and Makeup//Band: The Zippers//Invitation Designer: Parklife Press//Floral Designer:Magnolia Designs//Cake Designer: Simply Sweet Cakery//Cinema and Video: Chasing Light//Ceremony Location:Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano//Photographer: Lisette Gatliff Photography