Erica and Chris, the Holly Farm, Carmel

bride and groom at their Holly Farm wedding

(click on the photo to see their slideshow)

Erica and Chris are adorable and gorgeous, and they chose an amazing venue – the Holly Farm in Carmel – for their wedding. You can see the Holly Farm’s website here, but it will not do this place justice. Erica and Chris warned me that the site would blow me away, but I must admit that I didn’t totally get it until we go on site. WOW! This place is so unique, not only because it feels a bit like summer camp (with a beautiful, sprawling property for the preparations, the ceremony, the reception, a million places to do photos, hacienda-style cabins for the couple and their guests to stay in…), but because it is somehow (magically?) in a micro climate that allows for lush, tropical flowers and greenery to grow all over the place. Though it is just miles from the cold and fog of the beautiful Carmel coast, visiting the Holly Farm felt like visiting Hawaii (okay, not quite as warm), which made it perfect for Chris and his family (who are from Hawaii). Beyond the beauty of the venue, the family that runs it is just amazing, so friendly, and very accommodating.

Okay, enough about the venue (but, seriously, I could rave on and on about it)! On to the lovely couple’s wonderful wedding day.

Erica was a bit nervous before the ceremony, as well as chilly (okay, it’s not really a tropical climate, but it was still relatively warm for late October!). Besides staying bundled in her bathrobe and socks for about as long as she could, she kept warm and quelled the nerves by dancing around until it was time to get married. So cute!

Her attendants were definitely there for whatever Erica needed, and I loved the rich blue and silver of their beautiful dresses, especially combined with the jewel tones of the bouquets. There were flowers absolutely everywhere at this wedding, so I could not help myself from snapping away at all of the orchids, birds of paradise, lilies, and flowers that I don’t know the name of.

Isn’t Chris handsome? They make such a magazine-worthy couple… I’ll see if I can get them into one!

Some of the many unique details of the Holly Farm:

The beautiful ceremony and bridesmaids:

Lots of photos of Erica and Chris I want to share! They really were wonderful about giving me lots of time to play, so once we knocked out the family and bridal party photos, I led them around to a few different areas, had them climb on dirty old chairs, tinkered with my ancient 4×5 camera, and basically had a blast. Thanks once again, you guys, for trusting me so much and giving me such wonderful leeway to create some great portraits of you two!

One of the 4×5″ shots – funky and old-timey for sure!

The Holly Farm has these kinda kitschy, great props as part of their decor throughout the farm – from a (playable) ping pong table and bocce ball court, to retired surfboards and musical instruments. There were these great yellow chairs by the bocce ball court that made me think of the lifeguarding chairs I used to sit in when I was (yes) a lifeguard in high school, and I thought they would be so cool for creating these vintage-surfer shots. So fun!!

And regular old cuteness:

There were some amazing toasts, particularly by Erica’s dad. You can tell that the two of them are so close, and it was truly one of the most beautiful speeches I’ve ever heard… and the only wedding toast I think I’ve seen that garnered a standing ovation!

There was great dancing too, for hours. Here are some highlights of the party:

This woman in blue was rocking out to “I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett… bestill my heart!

Chris and the guys had a little cigar bar/ cove set up:

Erica and her girls totally got down and funky! I love this little series:

Okay, and just as I was getting ready to leave for the night, Erica requested that I stay for one more song… apparently, if you play “Proud Mary”, Erica’s 60 year old uncle will… do the splits!?!

I have to say, the crowd went wild!!

There were about a billion more shots I wanted to include in this post… so check out the slideshow for more cuteness.

And, a sweet note from the lovebirds:


Thank you for the sneak peak!!! The photos are incredible! We are absolutely delighted with the photos and it is so much fun to revisit the day. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the images online.

Hope all is well,

Erica & Chris”