Matt and Karissa’s Garden Valley Ranch wedding in Petaluma California on Saturday, May 21, 2022 was a real-life fairytale. This Sonoma County wedding venue holds a special place in the bride and groom’s hearts. Why? Because Karissa’s parents were married at the same magical rose garden wedding venue 32 years ago. For me, Alicia Parks Photography, capturing Matt and Karissa’s Garden Valley Ranch wedding felt like a dream come true.
I love it when couples choose a wedding venue that is equally as sentimental as it is stunning. And, oh, is it stunning. Garden Valley Ranch wedding venue will take your breath away. Imagine being completely surrounded by 5-acres of roses. Roses climbing up columns, across arches and planting themselves on pergolas and trees. Everywhere you look, there’s another knockout wedding portrait backdrop. The on-site nursery grows around 10,000 rose bushes for sale to the floral industry and rosebush lovers.
As an added bonus for traveling wedding guests, Garden Valley Ranch is in a central location. It’s situated about 30 minutes from Sonoma wine country and 30 minutes from Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay. The city of Petaluma in which Garden Valley Ranch wedding venue resides is serviced by three airports: San Francisco (SFO), Santa Rosa (STS) and Oakland (OAK). Petaluma is well-known for its historic homes and buildings spared by the 1906 quake. Planning and coordination by https://www.alyssabrayevents.com/
Keep scrolling to read more about Matt and Karrisa’s love story and to see photos from their Garden Valley Ranch wedding.
Matt first met Karissa at a Graduation Party for her former coworker. He was brought to the party to be set up with a different person. Fatefully, Matt was not interested in the person he was set up to meet. Instead, he hit it off with Karissa! The new fast friends danced all night together and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening.
“I remember the first time that I saw her and thought to myself, I really need to meet that woman,” Matt says. “We ended up talking and dancing all night and when I left I told my friend that I had just met my future wife.”
Matt took Karissa to Jaded Toad BBQ & Grill and Beer Garden in Cotati, California for their first date. Despite what Matt says, Karissa insists that she initiated the first date!
“He was not asking after a week or so of texting back and forth so, I finally asked him when he was free for dinner,” Karissa says.
Both Matt and Karissa were nervous for their beer garden date. But Matt’s spilled beer turned out to be the perfect icebreaker. Afterwards, the couple went bowling. Karissa says they shared a lot of first kisses that night.
When it was time to propose, Matt knew that Karissa wanted a cushion-cut diamond ring. In case you don’t know, a modern cushion-cut diamond has a square or squarish-rectangular shape. They’re beloved for their curved sides which are rounded or have subtle pointed corners. Matt looked high and low for a cushion-cut diamond ring but could not find one. Finally, he found “the one” at Kay Jewelers.
On Dec. 29, Matt proposed to Karissa in front of friends and family as they walked into their newly purchased house.
“When we got the keys and walked over the threshold, I got down on one knee and proposed,” Matt says. “I had rehearsed a little speech and when I first kneeled, my mind went blank for what seemed like an eternity. I don’t remember that ever happening to me before and it’s a testament to just how much overwhelming joy she brings me.”
With tears running down Matt’s face, Karissa said “yes.” The presence of Karissa’s family at the proposal was especially touching in light of her Grandpa’s passing two months prior. Both Matt and Karissa were incredibly close to her Grandpa.
Surprise proposals can be tough for close loved ones to keep secret. While using the restroom, Karissa overheard her dad talking about the proposal in the next room over. Karissa, being a good sport, plugged her ears and pretended to know nothing.
Garden Valley Ranch wedding venue offers 5-acres of rose-covered paradise and multiple private event spaces. Their most comfortable guest capacity is 150. However, they can accommodate more guests with additional bathrooms and shuttles.
Belvedere + Lawns
Imagine walking down a dramatic stone walkway aisle that leads to a central lawn area with a Queen Anne Victorian Belvedere and brick patio. The belvedere offers stunning views of the surrounding rose fields and is ideal for outdoor wedding ceremonies, receptions and dancing.
The Secret Garden
Explore this hidden garden filled with fragrant plants behind the Belvedere. Pose for photos in romantic nooks or beside a beautiful fountain with a cocktail in hand. This space was made for golden hour cocktail receptions and photographs.
The Carriage House
Dine and dance the night away in this beautiful, two-story barn at Garden Valley Ranch wedding venue. The wraparound deck is perfect for a luxury lounge area.
Carriage House Courtyard
Walk across an expansive courtyard lined with poplar trees, red roses and a three-tier fountain. Located just outside the main barn, the Carriage House Courtyard can be used for ceremonies or receptions. Bistro lights hang above this magical space.
***All couples who get married at Garden Valley Ranch wedding venue are required to have a day-of wedding coordinator.
Karissa shared a first look with her father, Drake, and groom Matt on the day of her wedding. The ceremony processional began at 4:00 p.m. with songs “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele and “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. Drake escorted his daughter down the aisle to an instrumental version of Taylor Swift’s song “Peace.” After Karissa and Matt shared their vows, the wedding party recessed back down the aisle to the Beatles song “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”
After the wedding ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktail hour and a family-style reception dinner in the Carriage House. Matt and Karissa shared their first dance as newlyweds to the song “Beyond” by Leon Bridges. As a late-night snack, guests nibbled on ketchup wedding favors and french fries.
Ready for more incredible Sonoma County wedding inspiration? Click here to witness Terry and Kelly’s at Vine Hill House at O’Connell Vineyards in Sebastopol, California.
Photographer // https://aliciaparksphotography.com/
Planning and Coordination // https://www.alyssabrayevents.com/
Wedding Venue // Garden Valley Ranch
Rehearsal Dinner // Brewsters Beer Garden
Caterer // Forks and Fingers
Hair and Makeup // firstname.lastname@example.org
Florals // email@example.com