Wedding Recap: Erica and Emil

Generally, Pop the Champagne only gets involved with “day-of” duties. So while we get to know our clients well, we don’t see a lot of the decision making, vendor selection, and creative fails along the wedding planning process. But this wedding was different. The bride, Erica, is my sister in law, and I was maid of honor AND wedding planner for this shindig- and two of our awesome coordinators from PTC rocked the day of. It had been a while since I was involved in full wedding planning (and it was a good reminder of why PTC only does day of coordination haha!) – IT. IS. HARD. YA’LL.

So, this wedding recap will be a little more involved than our usual blog posts. You may want to grab a cocktail (in case you needed an excuse) because I am exhausted even thinking about everything that went into this wedding!

The most wonderful decision we made (yes I say “we” – during the planning process, Erica and I often referred to the wedding as “ours”) was definitely the venue. Higuera Ranch, in beautiful San Luis Obispo, is MAGIC. There is no other word to describe the scenic grounds, the gorgeous houses, the kind staff, the unique details, and the opportunity to truly make the place feel like home.


We rented the 80 acre property from Thursday to Monday and had about 50 people staying on site between the guests houses, RV and tent campers. How many venues can you say offer that? With all the magic, also came some logistical challenges. Because we had this beautiful space at our disposal, we decided to host the rehearsal/welcome dinner as well as a day-after hangover brunch there. So for those of you counting, that’s a dinner for 130, a wedding for 150 and a brunch for 100 all within 48 hours. Difficult- yes. But for anyone who has the opportunity to plan a multi-day event- it is so worth it to spend real time with your friends and family and makes the wedding day itself much more relaxing and fun!


Of course, vendor selection was a very important process to me. We selected mostly local central coast vendors and assembled an amazing team. The only vendor I was determined to bring up from LA was Brittany, of BKM Photography. Brittany and I have become friends over the years working together and I knew she was perfect for the job, not just because her work is great, but she is the perfect combination of easy going and SASSY.

Exhibit A of why we needed a sassy AF photographer: 14 bridesmaids. Yup. 14.

Shout out to The Queens Bees– the rad group of hair and makeup gals that were able to make all of us beautiful- on time too!

The groom Emil had his fair share of trouble makers as well- but I mean really, do you even try to match 14 bridesmaids? No.

It was important to Erica for the wedding to be a formal event. Some people thought it was strange to request black tie attire from guests at a ranch wedding- but this is a great example of DO WHATEVA THE EFF YOU WANT ITS YOUR WEDDING.

Check out that classy group! Mismatched sequins for the girls and classic black tuxes for the boys. Erica wore 2 gowns- the first being her grandmother’s wedding dress from the ’40s.

I have to give a major shout out to Miss Tashina, a “gown surgeon” based in LA. She specializes in  tailoring vintage gowns and also custom makes wedding dresses- and she’s so darn cute and sweet. Tashina was able to match missing lace and tailor the 70 year old dress to fit Erica perfectly.

The ceremony was held under the Higuera Tree, accompanied by a bagpiper (another example of Erica doing what she wanted despite criticism!)

The couple did a lot to ensure a personal and intimate ceremony. They didn’t do a first look and  had a close friend officiate. They did a traditional Scottish unity ceremony  and wrote their own vows- Emil even surprised everyone by singing his!

Post ceremony, while guests enjoyed cocktail hour, Erica and Emil were able to explore the 80 acres and get some EPIC shots like this…

and this…

and this…

The next vendor shout out definitely goes to the amazing caterer we found, Taste. As a coordinator, I have literally hundreds of weddings under my belt and have worked with dozens of caterers. Taste’s flexibility, attention to detail, willingness to go above and beyond- OH AND THE FOOD- were second to none.

Every request we had was off menu and not the norm, but Taste took every challenge in stride and knocked it out of the park. First odd request? Nacho cheese fountain. I had a nacho cheese wedding at my wedding 7 years ago and Erica decided this needed to be a family tradition!

The reception was classy yet casual with a build your own burger bar for dinner, simple greenery and candle centerpieces, and LOTS and LOTS of booze.

All the desserts were hand made by talented friends – this is a fun way to make things personal and also save money by forcing your friends into baking slave labor  allowing people to get involved!

Another star vendor was definitely the DJ- Surfing Goats.  I can’t even begin to get into the details about the experience with Dana the DJ other than yes, it involved actual goats, a leaf blower, and multiple trophies. And also, they were shirtless at one point. WE LOVE VENDORS WHO KNOW HOW TO PARTY!

The night ended with lots of love, rap solos, shots at the bar and finally dragging our butts off the dance floor way too late…and then continuing the party the next morning with tacos and champagne (the only way to hangover).

Congrats to Erica and Emil – it was magical and amazing BUT I’M SO GLAD IT’S OVER ;)

Thank you again to our fantastic team that made the whole thing happen! Oh and if you just can’t get enough…here is a link to the highlight video by the talented Patrick Ang Videography!

Planning and coordination: Pop the Champagne

Venue: Higuera Ranch

Catering and Bar: Taste SLO

Rentals: All About Events

Florals: Nipomo Flower Mart

Photography: BKM Photography

Video: Patrick Ang Videography

HMU: The Queen’s Bees

DJ: Surfing Goats

Photobooth: SLOtography

Bagpiper: Aaron Shaw




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