Home » A California Couple Bought a Ranch for their Glamping-Inspired Wedding

A California Couple Bought a Ranch for their Glamping-Inspired Wedding

by Staff

Eddie Kim and Yunha Kim first connected due to their careers. “We were both tech entrepreneurs who had started our own companies in San Francisco,” they share. “We met for coffee in August 2014 to network.” Two years later, Eddie took the plunge and asked Yunha out, propelling their friendship into an everlasting romance. When it came time for the proposal five years later, Eddie was ready to go all out. “Eddie had [long] had a vision of owning a ranch that would be a part of our entire life together,” Yunha shares. “Before proposing, he secretly purchased an undeveloped, off-the-grid, 27-acre parcel of land in Petaluma, California. He then planted a tricolor beech tree, meant to symbolize an important day in our shared life together: our engagement.” On May 11, 2019, he drove Yunha to the land, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry him in front of the tree. The answer, of course, was a resounding yes, and they celebrated back in San Francisco with a surprise engagement party the groom-to-be had secretly arranged. 

The property, which they named Edna Ranch (a combination of their first names), would indeed become a major part of the couple’s life together. During the pandemic, they camped beneath the beech tree nearly every other weekend, and for their wedding, they wanted to “share this special place in our lives with all our closest family and friends,” the couple says.

Of course, this presented some challenges. “Physically getting vendors onsite [was difficult],” says wedding planner Elise Johnson. “The property is accessible only through a series of one-way dirt roads, it had no physical address, and there was no cell reception or WiFi. Because the ranch is off-the-grid, it also has no water, no power, and no sewage.” Luckily, her firm had just the experience and vendor network to bring the bold vision to life—a vision that celebrated exactly that rustic nature. “We wanted to echo the natural beauty of the incredibly special landscape, bringing in shades of green and wheat,” Yunha says. “Inspired by the tricolor beech, we incorporated a blind embossed beech emblem into the paper goods and kept all our colors neutral and soft like the local foliage.” 

Ahead, see all of the naturally beautiful details from their May 21, 2022, wedding day, planned by Elise Johnson of Shannon Leahy Events and photographed by Larissa Cleveland.

“Given my busy schedule as a founder and CEO of a tech startup, I had very limited time available to browse around and shop,” Yunha says of shopping for a wedding dress. “So, I hired a wedding stylist, Maradee Wahl, who helped me choose and tailor my wedding dress. She was amazing!” The vision was clean and simple but still, well, bridal. “I didn’t want to later regret not wearing a big wedding dress—which you only get a chance to wear once—so I chose one that was clean and chic, but at the same time feels like a wedding dress,” she explains. A Reem Acra ball gown fit the bill.

Groom Eddie wore a navy Tom Ford tuxedo with a shawl collar. He accessorized his look with cufflinks gifted from the bride’s parents. 

As a nod to their shared heritage, the bride and groom’s mothers wore traditional Korean hanboks. 

Carving out space for the ceremony was no easy feat. “We graded a rectangular portion of the land on Edna Ranch to make it flat enough to have the ceremony on,” the couple shares. “The ceremony location had views of the beautiful rolling hills of Petaluma.” Their hard work will continue to go to good use: The couple plans to use the flattened portion of the property to host future events. “We chose natural wood chairs and a low-profile stage framed by flowers ‘growing’ from the ground; but the view was the real showstopper.”

A pair of adorable flower girls—and the couple’s nine-year-old Pomeranian, Omo, as ring bearer—led the procession before Yunha walked down the aisle with her father. “Our processional song was Pachelbel’s ‘Canon In D,’” the bride says. “We had a live quartet led by Eddie’s youngest sister, Esther Kim, who is a violinist; her partner Joseph Kaiser, a cellist; and two of their friends who play professionally with the San Francisco Ballet and Opera orchestras.”

They asked their pastor, Will Moraza of Epic Church, to officiate, and wrote their own vows. “Our recessional was to ‘Our Song’ by Taylor Swift, a song we both love and went well with the rural vibes.” 

“We wanted our guests to not just witness us getting married on the ranch, but also to enjoy a tour of it,” the couple says. “To accomplish both, we carved a large circular walking path around the 27-acre ranch. Guests would arrive and make a big clockwise loop around the ranch as they walked to the ceremony, cocktail hour, then reception. Along the way, they could observe the tree that marked the spot where we got engaged.” 

To make guests comfortable while also respecting the rural nature of the land, they erected sailcloth tents at the cocktail hour and reception spaces. And, there was one more surprise on the grounds. “Yunha is an animal lover, and we’re on farmland, so we brought in a petting zoo for the kids—and adults!—to enjoy during cocktail hour.” 

Eddie loves cajun food and Yunha loves Korean food,” the couple shares. “During cocktail hour, we served crawfish tostadas, catfish po’ boy, boudin balls, bulgogi mushroom lettuce cups, and salmon nigiri, and had roving oyster shuckers. It was an interesting mix, but it worked well!” They leaned into local for the alcohol selection, serving Petaluma-based beers like Lagunitas and Henhouse and wine from Azari Vineyards and McEvoy Ranch. 

Their 175 guests then stepped into the largest tent for the reception. “Tables were draped in soft sage linens, and the chairs were reminiscent of tree branches,” the bride describes. “The motif was continued on the poles in the tent, where our florist actually built ‘trees’ on each pole; and the lighting team projected shadows of ancient oaks onto the rooftop of the tent and the dance floor.”

Incongruent with the sophisticated place settings—in the best way possible—dinner was ultra casual. “We share a passion for In-N-Out burgers,” the couple says. “Instead of the standard wedding dinner fare of fish or steak, we opted to serve In-N-Out-style burgers and fries with milkshakes. Each burger was wrapped with paper that said ‘Yunha-N-Eddie.’’’

The process of putting together a wedding is just as memorable as the wedding itself.

“Instead of a traditional wedding party walk-in for the reception, we decided to open the reception with a musical performance by the entire wedding party,” the couple says. “The words of ‘I Can Hear the Bells’ from Hairspray were rewritten to tell the story of how Eddie pursued Yunha and ultimately married her.” It was one of their favorite memories of the day. “More than the performance itself, it was the months of rehearsing together with our closest friends that we remember. Yunha’s friends didn’t all know Eddie’s friends super well, and the rehearsals were a great way for everyone to get to know each other; everyone became a lot closer by the end of it. It made us both realize that the process of putting together a wedding is just as memorable as the wedding itself.”

Their first dance was a nod to the venue they’d built together, “From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay. “We waltzed to this beautiful country song about building a life together,” the couple shares. 

The bride changed into a sparkly cocktail-length frock by Monique Lhuillier to get the party started, but before everyone hit the dance floor, the bride and groom made sure that there was also an opportunity for guests to relax. “Yunha is the founder and CEO of Simple Habit, the maker of the Simple Habit meditation app and Sleep Reset, so we created a secret outdoor meditation lounge hidden deep in the woods for guests to hang out in.” 

Back inside the reception tent, the wedding party’s musical entrance wasn’t the only surprise dance—and the next one nearly went viral on TikTok. “Yunha and her father first started waltzing to a beautiful song called ‘I Loved her First’ by Heartland,” the couple recaps. “In the middle of the waltz, the record scratches and suddenly ‘Gangnam Style’ starts playing. Yunha and her father donned sunglasses and start3e doing the Gangnam Style dance in perfect sync with each other. It was a complete surprise and the audience went wild!”

More of the couple’s favorite foods provided late-night fuel. “We had a Shin Ramyun station, where we served individual cups of spicy ramen with hot water, a big pot of kimchi jjigae—Korean kimchi stew, Yunha’s favorite dish—and spicy tteokbokki skewers.”

“After the last song—‘Have It All’ by Jason Mraz—played, the entire wedding party camped on another section of the land,” the newlyweds reminisce. They’d built a small campsite with a dozen Shelter Co. tents for the wedding party to stay in, a nod to their own love of camping. “Everyone was sitting around the campfire, talking about how much fun they all had. It was nice to share an intimate evening together after the festivities ended. In the morning, we cooked breakfast using some portable stoves and cried as we said goodbye.”

The couple’s biggest takeaway? “Our guests all told us that the most memorable parts of the wedding were the parts that were nontraditional: the musical wedding party entrance, serving burgers and fries for dinner, camping in tents afterward,” Eddie and Yunha share. “We were a little nervous that these things wouldn’t ‘work,’ but they all turned out to be big hits and the things that everyone still talks about. So, our advice is to examine every part of your wedding and think of ways to do something out of the ordinary.”

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