Get inspired by the romantic weddings of these Marin couples, with some in exotic locales and others right here at home.
Alexis Rauschkolb and Blake Aaseby
Sometimes, planning a wedding takes a little bit of luck. And an entire community of helping hands. Alexis (Alex) Rauschkolb and Blake Aaseby each — separately — volunteered at their church, Marin Covenant. Sparks flew during a spontaneous chat about their shared love of plants. Each knew dating needed to be intentional, as they would surely see each other again as leaders of the church’s youth group. On their third official date, Alex shared a prayer from her journal, leading to a life-changing hug in a parking lot and a declaration from Blake that Alex was to be his intended. The feeling was mutual. The first kiss could wait. Blake and Alex already knew what their future held.
Choosing a date for the wedding involved a different set of hurdles. Alex lost everything in a house fire and was focused on putting that part of her life back together. Options for a wedding venue narrowed as friends’ and family members’ blackout dates reduced their list. Hearing of their plight, members of the Marin Covenant congregation swooped in, offering the couple their property as a wedding venue.
Community and family stepped into the day in other ways. Alex’s sister designed the bride’s up-do minutes before she walked down the aisle. In the aisle, Alex walked first with her older brother, John, then her father, before arriving next to Blake. The wedding rings were passed from hand to hand, adding blessings to the marriage while the bridal pair took communion. That heartfelt sincerity among their community of 90 guests was most important to the couple, who run an art studio and gallery together. “We both had talked about wanting people to walk away feeling loved so that was our hope,” Blake says.
A happier sort of flame closed the day’s events — the couple dashed under a row of yard-long sparklers on their way to the car, a symbolic gesture of their love lighting up the night.
Venue: Private Estate in San Rafael, CA
Event Planning: Katie Kerns Event Planning.
Food: Private Chef, Tom Pace
Design: Sara Cochran Design
Photography: Emily Diaz, Sweet Emms Photography
Videography: David Ramirez, RF Create
Floral: Julie Stevens Levy
Rentals: Heirloom Events
Wedding Dress: I typed into Google: Simple, white strapless wedding dress, and this dress from ShowPo popped up. I ordered it and it fit like a glove. No alterations needed. I never imagined I would find a $200 wedding dress that fit perfectly! I had a custom-made shoulder overlay with ruched sleeves and pearl buttons to go over the dress. The overlay was great and allowed me to have two different looks.
Reception Dress: I wore a see-through bathing suit cover up I found on Amazon two nights before the wedding. It showed up hours before I walked down the aisle. I paired it with a white slip.
Grooms Suit: Kenneth Cole
Bridesmaid dresses: Anthropology, BHLDN Cali Satin Cowl-Neck Midi Slip Dress
Hair: Done by the brides sister 30 minutes before the wedding!
Makeup: Done by the bride. She kept it simple and natural.
Music: String Quartet (contact: Andy Ting, 215-300-0007)
Invitations: Custom, Sara Cochran Design
Kelsey Heaphy and Nick Civetz
It is a Marin cliché that people who live here love the outdoors. For Kelsey Heaphy, contract administrator, and Nick Civetz, farm manager at Star Route Farms, a love for the outdoors includes hiking in West Marin and fishing on Tomales Bay. It was after a morning of kayaking on Tomales Bay that Nick proposed at one of their favorite beaches. Marin was built into their bond.
Kelsey and Nick knew they wanted a wedding that represented their love for the ranches in West Marin as much as one that represented them as a couple. With a focus on a wedding that was as sustainable as possible, the couple booked the historic Old Saint Mary’s Church in Nicasio Valley and planned a reception at the Woodacre ranch of a family friend. Event planner Stacey Dillon of 38north Design Co. transformed an open field into a wedding venue with proper bathrooms and located a caterer willing to take produce Nick had a hand in growing and meat the couple had raised themselves. “This was the first time we’d raised hogs to then butcher and serve — which was very emotional — it was important to us for this to be part of the journey and experience of our wedding day,” Kelsey says.
From the DJ and band to the dance floor structure, friends and family lent a hand in most aspects of the wedding: growing and arranging the flowers, erecting a stage arbor, hanging lights, hand-lettering Mason jars, and crafting decor from dried flowers and found items. It made celebrating the day even more special. “We really wanted our wedding to have great food, good music and showcase the beauty of Marin,” says Civetz.
Venue: Private Ranch in Woodacre, CA
Event Planning and Design: Stacey Dillon, 38north Design Co.
Photography: Cameron Cressman Photography
Videography: Our friend
Floral: Our sister-in-Law
Rentals: Celebrations of Marin
Signage: Kelsey’s brother and our sister-in-law
Dress: Grace Love Lace
Grooms Suit: Men’s Wearhouse
Hair and Makeup: Chels Kay Beauty Co.
Music: Family and friends of the bride and groom
Invitations: Planner made them
Catering: RS2go | Chef Ryan Scott
Bar Service: That Girl Can Pour
Cake: Woodbine Bakery
Ceremony Music: TrioViva
Officiant: Deacon Ed Cunningham
Golf Cart: Event Services Plus (Rohnert Park)
Lauren Baird and Kyle Reuter
Lauren Reuter always dreamed of getting married on a beach. But it was a dream Kelsie Wilson, Reuter’s best friend from her San Anselmo childhood, had that eventually lead to Lauren and Kyle’s Mexican wedding on the beach at Frente al Punto Beach Club in Sayulita. “Kelsie had a dream I should be dating a fireman,” says Reuter. A friend who is a San Rafael Fire Captain set Reuter up with Kyle, a firefighter in the same firehouse. The two first met at Copita in Sausalito, eating tacos and learning of the other’s love of Mexico.
The couple, who journeyed to Puerto Vallarta the day after Kyle proposed, invited family from across the country and as far away as Taiwan and Sweden. Knowing that many of the 88 who attended needed to travel, they chose a location they both loved, “one we could share with everyone else,” Reuter says.
Choosing the small town of Sayulita meant they would easily run into friends and family during the wedding weekend. Besides having a beautiful beach, the location’s perfect weather and stunning sunsets over the Pacific helped set a happy mood. An amateur DJ, Kyle worked with the wedding DJ to create soundscapes for the day, from pre-ceremony and cocktail hour to the end of the night dance party. The dancing was such a big hit, the staff began disassembling the dance floor while people were still dancing. “No one wanted to leave or for the party to end!” Reuter says. They planned a Friday wedding and a beach day Saturday, ensuring everyone could fly home with a day of recovery under their belts.
Venue & Design: Frente al Punto @frentealpunto frentealpunto.com
Event Planning: Somer at Vida Bonita
Photography: Bruno Rezza
Floral: Flowers by JJ
Signage: Kelsie helped me design it all and then our planner had it printed there
Second Dress: Retrofete and Miu Miu Heels
Grooms Suit: From Men’s Warehouse
Hair and Makeup: Marjie at Funky Diva
Music: DJ Webb (the BEST!)
Invitations: I designed them someone I found on Etsy Virginia Brown
Scott Thornburg and Charles Melton
Getting a pandemic puppy turned out to be a turning point for Scott Thornburg in his relationship with Charles Melton. The duo, who were living together in a tiny apartment, adopted Bentley, a goldendoodle as the pandemic was peaking, adding a dose of puppy love to their burgeoning human connection. Seeing how attentive and caring Charles was toward their dog sealed the deal for Scott. “He’s a great dog dad,” Thornburg says.
The two experienced another fortuitous connection — each planned their own surprise engagement for the other. In October 2021, a trip to southern France was organized. Arrangements were made for lunch at La Bastide de Marie in Ménerbes. Not knowing the other’s plan, they agreed to take photos in the vineyard. Charles pulled out a ring and proposed to Scott, who, after saying “yes,” pulled out a ring of his own. A garden lunch with Champagne was their first meal together as fiancés.
Avid gardeners with a shared love of the outdoors, Scott and Charles chose the Presidio Yacht Club for its coastal setting, Golden Gate Bridge views and rustic, salty vibe as the ideal location to celebrate their marriage. They further leaned into a nature-inspired coastal theme with an oyster bar, oyster shells and an anchor as symbols, and a soft blue-green coastal color palette. It worked well for the Sausalito couple. “Our favorite destination was where we live,” Thornburg says. “Perfect.” The all-Sausalito affair included a rehearsal dinner at Osteria Divino and welcome reception at Zalta. A custom figurine of Bentley adorned the wedding cake.
Venue: Presidio Yacht Club
Event Planning and Design: Kellynne Mendoza at hand+heart events
Photography: Jenn Emerling
Floral: Rae & Rose Floral Co.
Rentals: Standard Event Rentals
Grooms Suits: Indochino
Groomswomen dresses: Azazie
Groomsmen suits: The Black Tux
Music: Sounds Elevated
Invitations: Aerialist Press
Caterer: Cater Marin
Cake: Kirsten Pearson, Revelry Cakes
Oyster Bar: Hog Island Oyster Co.
Site Coordinator: Golden Gate Special Events
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.