Inside a Young CEO's Colourful, Cali-Cool Wedding

Jonathan Steinitz

When you’re an entrepreneur, you learn to take a few risks and trust your instincts. That’s exactly what Jaclyn Johnson did when it came time to plan her own wedding. “I kinda threw out the rule book and just did what I liked,” Johnson tells MyDomaine. As the founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, the wildly successful national conference series focused on female career empowerment and entrepreneurialism, Johnson is well respected for her creative approach to marketing, branding, and event planning. In other words, she knows a thing or two about throwing a chic event. Regardless of expertise, the real secret to her creating her perfect wedding was not losing sight of the details that would personalise the day for her and her husband-to-be, David Kaul. “I wanted to do what I really loved and also have something that really embodied both David’s and my style,” she explains.

Johnson teamed up with wedding planner Laura Allin from Gather Events to bring her wedding vision to life in a way that also resonated with her signature Californian, boho-inspired style. “I wanted it to be bright and colourful, welcoming, and also fun,” she recalls. Johnson and Allin dreamed up a chic outdoor space against a scenic Ojai Valley backdrop that transitioned from a romantic shaded ceremony to a poolside party with an artful mix of vintage décor and layered textures to rival our favourite Cali-cool homes. The scene included shibori-dyed poufs, mix-and-match antique rugs, brass and rose-gold metallics, and lots of succulents.

Whether you’re getting ready for the big day or simply a summer soirée, this wedding is full of seriously chic (and pin-worthy) inspiration. Scroll for a look inside this bright boho wedding along with Johnson’s insights into pulling off the perfect wedding day.

Location, Location, Location

When it came time to project manage her own wedding, Johnson felt confident and well-equipped to plan details and manage timelines given her career pedigree in events. But the planning process was not without challenges, including a change in ownership at Johnson’s initial venue that ultimately resulted in a location change just four months prior to the big day. Luckily, Johnson’s entrepreneurial, figure-it-out mentality kicked in, and instead of spiraling into last-minute wedding stress, she enlisted the help of Allin. “I decided to hire a planner, which was the best decision I ever made,” she states.

Ultimately, the couple found a perfect location for the occasion in the Ojai Rancho Inn, a chic boho retreat in the heart of Ojai. “I love the Rancho and have been going there for years!” gushes Johnson. “The laid-back vibe definitely set the tone for the wedding.” It’s easy to see why: The Southern California destination is set among breathtaking rolling hills and lots of greenery to give the wedding a natural vibe (and provide a stunning, sun-kissed scenic backdrop for photography). Johnson even had the opportunity to get ready at the nearby Ojai Vista Farm, making the day even more special by incorporating a second location in the area. She remembers, “It was beautiful, comfortable and really provided another awesome backdrop for photos!”

A Bright Bohemian Dream

In selecting colours and décor, Johnson was inspired by the Rancho Inn’s natural surroundings. “Our colour story was really inspired by the venue, which had lots of greens and red,” Johnson notes. “We added in layers of blue from the shibori tie-dye accessories as well and we integrated pops of pinks and peaches through the florals!” Decorative touches connected the outdoor spaces on the property, with guests lounging in butterfly chairs and custom poufs by the pool, sipping champagne and cocktails from colourful vintage coupes and goblets, and playing bocce and corn hole against the backdrop of a stylishly fun Geronimo balloon installation in cream, blush, and yellow that hovered above the pool. Even the cake incorporated the watercolor texture and blue colour of the indigo accents scattered throughout. “I think the wedding was the perfect mix of chic and whimsical,” Johnson muses.

Johnson looked effortlessly chic in a backless lace gown by BHLDN that she describes as “super simple.” The bride’s candid advice on selecting the perfect wedding dress? Lots of trial and error,” she admits.

Beauty in the Details

These days, it’s intimidating to try to plan a wedding that will stand out against the Pinterest crowd. To that end, the bride and groom partnered with Allin on making choices that would personalise the wedding to make it uniquely theirs. Some of the couple’s and their guests’ favourite moments reflected smaller details and decisions that made a big impact. Under a tree adorned in draped chiffon, spring blooms, and crystal chandeliers, the bride and groom were married by a close personal friend and exchanged vows they had written themselves. “The vows were personal and funny and really spoke to who we are as a couple,” Johnson shares.

One of Johnson’s favourite memories of the day was a moment that just she and her husband were able to share as newlyweds, directly after their ceremony completed and before the festivities began. “Our wedding planner told us to take 10 minutes after the vows when we got back to the room after the ceremony,” Johnson remembers. “It was nice to have those 10 minutes alone to really let everything soak in!” The bride and groom shared their first dance at sunset to “Sleepwalk” by Santo & Johnny, surrounded by family, friends, and a chic mix of candles and desert plants.

When it comes to giving advice to other brides- and grooms-to-be, Johnson emphasises the importance of aligning as a couple in the beginning on key details (“Work on the guest list first!”) so that you can enjoy every minute when the big day arrives. She advises, “It’s a super-stressful process, but it’s really the most amazing day and it does fly by, so try and take in every moment.”

In the end, the final touch that turned the entire experience into a dream wedding was the energy that the setting, the décor, and the couple's friends and family created in the spaces where they celebrated. Johnson reflects, "The combination of having everyone in your life you know and love, in a gorgeous environment lined by the beautiful Ojai mountains and pink sunset was truly what made this the most magical day of our lives."

Getting ready to walk down the aisle? Scope out these 2017 wedding trends to add to your Pinterest board.

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