Casual Summer Wedding in Ojai, California

by Amy Azzarito

In honor of wedding month here on Design*Sponge, we’re going to be sharing some beautiful weddings. Today we have a beautiful casual summer wedding that was all about friends, family and good food. Nestled in an idyllic valley and surrounded by orange and avocado groves, Ojai, California has long been an escape from nearby busy Los Angeles. It was also bride Vanessa Gates’ hometown. So when it came time to choose a wedding venue, Vanessa knew she wanted to bring everyone to Ojai. The couple rented out the entire Camp Comfort campground for their casual outdoor wedding. Not only could friends and family stay the night, but the campground also had a full kitchen for meal preparation. Groom Brian Mowell works at Pizzetta 211 in San Francisco so his work colleagues (and friends) created a vegetarian meal that was served family-style at picnic tables.  The ceremony was down by the creek, everyone gathered around in a circle to watch as Vanessa’s stepfather, Neil Quinn, married the couple. Afterward, they dined under the oak trees, lit by simple white lights, and the evening ended up sparklers by a campfire. (Just this past Sunday, the couple welcomed their first child into the world. Little Ogden Dunsworth Mowell. Congratulations!) –Amy

All images by Nancy Neil

venue: Camp Comfort in Ojai, CA | flowers: purchased wholesale in Carpinteria and arranged by the bride with vintage bottles sourced from Etsy and eBay | hair: Sarah Garrity Schiek of Marquee Salon in Oakland | food: Jackson Murphy, Susan Dunn and Amy Berry of Pizzetta 211 in San Francisco | desserts: Chocolate pudding with whipped cream and/or orange blossom pavlova with strawberries and whipped cream by Caitlin Freeman (who just wrote a book!) and Leah Rosenberg | coffee: single origin and New Orleans style iced coffee: Blue Bottle Coffee | photographer: Nancy Neil

See more of Vanessa and Brian’s casual summer wedding after the jump!

Image above: Wedding bracelets by Isabel Marant

Image above: Flowers in vases interspersed on each table. A selection of ferns, dahlias, yarrow, garden roses, rose geranium, peonies, sweet peas and raspberry branches

Image above: Handmade vintage flower girl basket with dried violets and linen wedding ring box (rings by Lauren Wolf)

Image above: Jane Austen garden rose bouquet tied with handmade French ribbon

dress:  Stella McCartney
shoes:  Loeffler Randall
bracelets:  Isabel Marant
engagement ring: vintage
wedding bands:  Lauren Wolf
suit:  J. Crew
shoes:  Clarks
pocket square:  Steven Alan
bow tie:  Gucci


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  • I love the ease and beautiful simplicity of everything. It took a lot of thought and care, but comes across so effortless.

  • Really beautiful and I love the kraft paper with the writing! Going to use that idea for an upcoming potluck dinner party.

  • It was a beautiful day and very much orchestrated (down to the very last detail) by Vanessa. She and a gaggle of wonderful friends and family were there arranging flowers, setting the table, and cooking food the morning/afternoon of the event. The groom was raking a path to the ceremony site just two hours before guests arrived, and the fathers of the bride were stringing lights in the oak trees until they were shooed off to go get ready. A beautiful day made all the more memorable by having talented friends and family pitching in to execute VGM’s lovely vision of her perfect day.

  • Lovely! I was born and raised in Ojai, it is such a beautiful place, I’m actually home right now visiting and it is such a treat to get to spend some time here, I miss it!

  • It was so wonderful to share in this special day and everything was just perfect, from the sweet little flowers to the delightful food.

  • Oh this looks so pretty and so Vanessa :) so special! I love that you’re happily married and have a baby now! And your hand writing is perfect and so dang cute. That dessert sounds amazing. Mmmmm! Sparklers are a great idea. How fun!