July 18, 2015, Carmel, Cal­i­for­nia

Martha Stewart Weddings - - CELEBRATIONS - —Sara Mor­row

When BreeLayne Ring and James Hunter Carter started plan­ning their wed­ding, they knew they wanted to cre­ate a wood­land fan­tasy for their guests. The spot they chose for their vows, within a 20,000-acre pre­serve in the hills of Carmel, is called a fairy ring: a nat­u­ral cir­cle of tow­er­ing an­cient red­woods that all sprang from the same par­ent. A quar­tet played mu­sic from The Leg­end of Zelda, golden rays from a set­ting sun streamed through the trees, and the bride rode off af­ter­ward on a white horse. “We both had al­ways wanted to get mar­ried in the woods, and we’re pretty spir­i­tual and con­nected to our en­vi­ron­ment,” says BreeLayne. “It ended up be­ing so mag­i­cal, like we were on an­other planet.”

The two met in 2011, af­ter he saw her walk­ing her dog on the West Hol­ly­wood street where they both lived. They im­me­di­ately hit it off. Two years later, James pro­posed by at­tach­ing a ring to the wheaten ter­rier’s col­lar, and the cre­ative cou­ple—she’s a fash­ion de­signer, and he’s an en­ter­tain­ment con­sul­tant—started plan­ning their wed­ding. “We mixed and matched vin­tage pieces from dif­fer­ent eras, ev­ery­thing from chairs to china, sil­ver­ware, and glass­ware, which gave it a feel­ing of time­less­ness,” says James.

To max­i­mize the im­pact of the land­scape, they kept the lo­ca­tion a se­cret, trans­port­ing 160 guests via shut­tle to the stretch of pris­tine, un­touched na­ture set among rolling hills. The bride and her fa­ther walked down an aisle cov­ered in white rose petals and gar­de­nia blooms, and in a non­de­nom­i­na­tional cer­e­mony, the pair ex­changed vows they had writ­ten them­selves. Af­ter BreeLayne’s dra­matic horse­back exit, guests were fer­ried to the pre­serve’s 1920s barn. There they en­joyed a din­ner that in­cluded farm-fresh fare (grilled-peach and can­died-pecan salad) com­bined with south­ern com­fort food (but­ter­milk fried chicken so good, it even met Louisiana na­tive James’s stan­dards) amid danc­ing and toast­ing. In an es­pe­cially old-fash­ioned touch, the pre­serve didn’t have cell re­cep­tion, “so ev­ery­one was present and in the mo­ment,” says BreeLayne. A bit of magic, in­deed.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, the bride, in Galia La­hav, and groom, in Gucci, stole a quiet mo­ment among the Santa Lu­cia Pre­serve’s soar­ing red­woods.

Water­color and cal­lig­ra­phy save-the­dates, by Bur­bank’s Tiny Pine Press, came wrapped in hand­made kraft paper and sealed with a small twig.

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