This weekend, one of Andrew’s best friends (and groomsmen!) got married in the most beautiful setting you could dream of… Carmel, California!
Andrew was able to take Friday off (praise!) so we jumped on a plane at 5am and headed to the West Coast for our first trip (besides the honeymoon) as a “married couple.” It all still feels so new, and this “first” as newlyweds was the most amazing adventure! :)
I had all of the best intentions to document the trip, but ended up soaking in every second instead of uploading… and it was the best decision! Even though the travel to and from was grueling (about 12 hours each way when all is said and done) I’m kicking off this week so refreshed after a weekend away with my hubby and some of our favorite friends. Now, for the recap!
CARDIGAN barefoot dreams cardigan (wearing size S/M) | HEADBAND white knot headband | TOP splendid white tee (Worth the money! I’ve owned it for two years and just replaced with a new one) | SUNGLASSES round rayban sunglasses | JEANS good american skinny jeans | SHOES white sneakers | EARRINGS cz studs (on sale!)
As you could imagine, getting from a college town in Florida to the opposite end of the country is not for the faint of heart! I ended up pulling an all-nighter Thursday night finishing my #NSale public access post, and after 30 minutes of hectic packing at 3am, we left for the airport at 3:30am for our 5am connection to Charlotte. Whew!
Our journey started off on a high note (pun intended) when we got upgraded to… wait for it… first class! (Can you tell this is not our usual method of travel?) Gainesville airport, you’re not too bad after all. :)
Two flights, a couple meager airplane naps and a full bag of Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers later, we landed in San Fransisco! I had surprised Andrew by renting a mustang convertible for the 2-hour drive to Carmel. Let’s just say we had too much fun driving with the top down blasting every “California” song we could think of!
I ended up wearing this cozy cardigan I purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for the journey, and it was a lifesaver! It kept me warm on the cold flights, acted as a blanket when I tried to catch a few minutes of mid-flight sleep, and was just the thing I needed when our drive turned from clear and sunny to drizzly and cold in the blink of an eye. The actual town of Carmel-by-the-Sea was cool and breezy, and I was so thankful to have something soft to cozy up in!
CARDIGAN barefoot dreams cardigan (wearing size S/M) | HEADBAND white knot headband | TOP splendid white tee (Worth the money! I’ve owned it for two years and just replaced with a new one) | SUNGLASSES round rayban sunglasses | JEANS good american skinny jeans | SHOES white sneakers | EARRINGS cz studs (on sale!) | TOTE tory burch everly tote
When we finally made it to Carmel, our internal clocks were all messed up and we were in dire need of two things: coffee and a burger! Weird combination, I know, but I was desperate for something substantial. So many of y’all recommended Katy’s Place, and we were lucky enough to slip in about 30 minutes before they closed!
Oh y’all, absolutely delicious! I had a burger, Andrew had eggs benedict, and after 15 minutes of ravenous eating, we felt like brand new people. I’m laughing so hard over the photos above… can you tell how exhausted we are from our expressions? Definitely check out this casual spot if you’re ever in the area!
After getting our fill of fresh, cool air and comfort food, we headed out to Carmel Valley and checked into our home for the weekend, Stonepine Estate. Funnily enough, I was actually at Stonepine this time last year for the wedding of one of my best friends and bridesmaids! You can read all about that weekend here!
Ever since that wedding, I’ve been dying to come back to this special place. It’s tucked away and breathtakingly gorgeous… and almost makes you feel like you’re in Italy! Andrew and I got a room in the Paddock House which is right next to the stables. I could hear the horses whinnying as I got ready for the rehearsal dinner! Such a dream.
DRESS black wrap minidress (wearing an XS) | WRAP cashmere scarf (folded into a triangle and worn as a wrap) | EARRINGS lonestar southern x lisi lerch bridal collection mimi earrings | SHOES nude ankle strap heels | SUNGLASSES round rayban sunglasses | BAG faux leather satchel (under $30!)
After freshening up, Andrew and I headed back into Carmel-by-the-Sea for the rehearsal dinner! It was such a beautiful evening at the most romantic little French spot, Porta Bella. I wish we had had more time to explore the town that night, but after the long day of travel, no sleep the night before and a morning wedding on the horizon, we decided to head straight to bed!
I loved wearing this dress and cashmere wrap (both Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases) for the rehearsal dinner. The dress is stretchy, soft, lightweight and a perfect piece for packing up on a trip. I didn’t even have to steam it! And let’s just say this wrap stayed on my person throughout the entire trip. It got so chilly at night! (Neither Andrew nor I were complaining though!)
DRESS pale green midi dress (wearing size US 2) | EARRINGS lonestar southern x lisi lerch bridal collection madeley earrings | CLUTCH straw clutch (sold out, similar linked) | SHOES nude ankle strap heels
I’ve never attended a morning wedding before, but they may be my new favorite thing. The grounds made the most unbelievable backdrop for the intimate ceremony, and the bride was nothing short of an absolute vision! My favorite detail was the congregation singing “Morning Has Broken” during the ceremony. Call me sappy, but it gave me chills to sing it while sitting in the glistening morning light.
“Mine is the sunlight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning
God’s recreation of the new day“
Those lyrics have been on replay in my heart ever since. If you have Spotify and would like to listen to the beautiful melody, click here.
After iced coffee and hot tea on the lawn, we were seated in a beautiful garden on the estate for the reception. Turns out a beautiful meal, champagne and mimosas, and being surrounded by some of your closest friends makes for a pretty unforgettable afternoon!
I wish I had taken more photos of the day, but hopefully the few we snapped above gives you a glimpse of how beautiful it was! A HUGE thank you to everyone who voted that I wear this dress for the wedding. It was comfortable, cool and ended up being perfect for the “garden formal” dress code. If you missed my Instagram Story last week, here are the dresses I was deciding between. It was such a close call, and I honestly wish I could have switched into a different one every 30 minutes! :)
DRESS leopard maxi dress (under $50!) | WRAP cashmere scarf (folded into a triangle and worn as a wrap) | BAG faux leather satchel (under $30!) | HEADBAND white knot headband | SANDALS white slide sandals (out of stock, but available in other colors)
After the sendoff at 3:30pm, we all changed out of our wedding attire and made our way to Folktale Winery. This may have been my favorite moment of the trip… about eight of us around a fire enjoying rosé, charcuterie, and the unbelievable views. I am no Carmel expert by any means, but I can’t recommend this spot more!
For dinner, we then made our way back to Carmel-by-the-Sea. There was a group of 10 of us, so finding a spot for dinner was tricky. We would have loved to eat at La Bicyclette (another recommendation from many of you) but, no surprise, they were booked for the night. So, after a few calls, we ended up getting drinks on the rooftop of Vesuvio while we waited for a table. It wasn’t the most incredible meal I’ve ever had, but we were all just so happy to be seated and eat! :)
Then, at 2:30 that morning, Andrew and I woke up to begin the drive back to San Fransisco for our early flight home. That was a tough one, y’all. We never really caught up on sleep that weekend, and we could feel it during that middle-of-the-night-drive! After a full day of travel, we made it back to our home sweet home, and waking up to my new normal this morning has me so thankful for the past couple of months. I feel like a full “coffee date” update is in store with all of this change, so stay tuned for that!
Before I sign off, I wanted to pass along some of the amazing recommendations y’all sent in for Carmel, California! Like I said, I’ve only been twice and only for weekend wedding trips, so I hate not being able to recommend more spots and activities personally. But if you’re heading there soon, be sure to check out these spots!
- Katy’s Place
- La Bicyclette
- 17 Mile Drive
- Folktale Winery
- Bernadous Lodge
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Scheid Family Wines
- Caraccioli Winery
- The Cheese Shop
- The Wine House
- Point Lobos State Park
- Drive down Big Sur
- Baja Cantina
- Montrio Bistro
- Forge in the Forest
- Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach
- Il Tegamino
- Bixby Creek Bridge
- The Bench at Pebble Beach
- Mission Valley Ranch
- Bistro Giovanni
- La Balena
- Little Napoli
- Cowgirl Winery
- Cantinetta Luca
- Carmel Valley Ranch (thelavender fields are amazing, apparently!)
- Cafe Rustica
- The Refuge
- Rock Point Restaurant
- 7th & Dolores
Carmel has become one of my favorite places over these past two visits. It’s so charming, so unassumingly beautiful, and restful in every way. A huge thank you to everyone who chimed in with recommendations. They all looked incredible, and I only wish we’d had the chance to see/do more. I’m so thankful for a beautiful weekend getaway to this special place, and I’m just dying to come back and spend more time there soon!
Love from the Sunshine State,