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A College Love Story Leads to a Family Ranch Wedding in California


California’s Pepperdine University is where it all began for Tawni and Jake.

The couple, who both completed their undergraduate and masters degrees at the university, met during their freshman year—though they were only friends at the start. A sophomore study abroad trip to Germany (complete with plenty of gelato and short trips across Europe) helped take the pair’s relationship from simply friends to forever.

Says Tawni: “I knew Jake was the right person for me because he was the person I respected more than anyone else, the person I always wanted to be around, the person I would first think of to share a story with or ask advice. He is my best friend and has such a strength is his faith that I have always looked up to.”

Adds Jake: “I wanted to marry my best friend, and Tawni very quickly became my best friend, confidante, and partner in crime.”

When wedding planning rolled around (preceded by a picnic proposal in Paradise Cove, one of the few Malibu-area outdoor settings unaffected by wildfires), the couple didn’t have to look far to find the perfect venue: Jake’s family’s private ranch.

“We wanted to get married at the family ranch because we both absolutely love the outdoors, love adventure, and really felt that the ranch emulated that part of our story,” says Tawni. “It was a large enough venue to encompass all of the incredible plans we had for our big day, and was in such a beautiful location. Finally, the ranch held so many treasured memories from Jake’s childhood, and getting married there meant so much to him and his family.”

Planning for the event was led by Flourishing Art, who also designed the floral arrangements and many other decorative details, while photography was provided by Cecily Breeding Creative. DIY elements included the three-tiered wedding cake and desserts made by a close family friend, as well as a number of signs handpainted by the bride and her mother, which now hang in the couple’s bedroom as a headboard.

Especially meaningful to Tawni and Jake was the sweetheart table (now their home’s dining table), handbuilt by one of Jake’s friends. A special detail was added by the couple themselves: the Nine Fruits of the Spirit from the Bible’s Book of Galatians, wood-burned by the pair into the tabletop.

“We believe that the fruits of the Spirit are crucial to a healthy marriage and relationship with the Lord,” says Tawni. “This portion of Scripture has huge significance to us because it outlines virtues that we are called to emulate in our daily lives together.”

Of all the many special moments of their wedding day, two in particular stand out for the couple.

“My favorite memory of our wedding was seeing Jake for the first time at the end of the aisle,” says Tawni. “He had tears rolling down his cheeks, and in that moment I have never felt more like this is where I’m called to be. I had an overwhelming feeling of peace and God’s presence. It was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life.”

Adds Jake: “The most important moment to me was hearing the vows Tawni had written for me. I was filled to the brim with emotion and was so overwhelmed with joy that I would spend my life with such an incredible woman. Her beauty, presence, love, joy, and compassion compel me to be the best version of myself possible.”

Tawni and Jake, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful wedding day with us!

Vendor Credits

Venue: Private residence
Photography: Cecily Breeding Creative
Videography: Viken Productions
Planning, Coordination, Florals and Rentals: Flourishing Art
Cake and Desserts: Family friend
Catering: Cafe Med
Band: West Coast Music
Bridal Salon: Kay’s Bridal
Dress Designer: Morilee
Rehearsal Dinner: Luigi’s

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