If any one moment could sum up the feeling of enchantment that seemed to fill the air on the day of the nuptials of Kristen Frandsen and Tyler Monroe, it was the release of dozens of glorious Monarch butterflies into the azure California sky as the couple stood before those sharing in their joyful union. “When we picked up the basket it was buzzing with energy, and when it was opened the butterflies burst out into flight to the delight of our guests,” says Tyler.

The many symbols of the butterfly include fun and joyous times as well as naturalness and purity. When searching for their wedding venue, Kristen and Tyler knew they wanted a location that encompassed these attributes. “We fell in love with Carmel Valley after attending our friends’ wedding in the area,” shares the bride. “In addition to the scenery, the food, wineries, and accommodations in the locale are incredible.” Upon visiting a historic ranch that boasted charming gardens, rolling hills, and impressive views of the vicinity, Kristen and Tyler were certain they had found the ideal location. “We knew it was where we wanted to bring friends and family to share in our ultimate celebration,” remembers the bride.

Perched on an isolated hilltop accessed by a climbing road, the private estate features an elegant Spanish-style hacienda with a bit of old-West flair. An immediate sweeping view of the Santa Lucia Mountains makes the scene breathtaking. Kristen and Tyler were confident that the ambiance of the ranch combined with their vision would achieve the romantic, rustic elegance they desired.

The summer afternoon fête began resplendently upon the lush lawn on the bank of a hillside peppered with grapevines. With ivory poppy in full bloom, little else was needed to bedeck the already alluring scene. “Bronze boxes bursting with subtle pink, peach, tangerine, and blue flowers lined the aisle, and a duo of like floral-filled urns fringed the way,” says Kristen.

The bride wore a romantic lace gown with a sweetheart neckline. She carried a colorful bouquet of roses, peonies, hydrangeas, and belladonnas tied with satin ribbon. “It smelled as amazing as it looked, I couldn't put it down!” she says. The bridesmaids appeared as though the sky had wrapped itself joyfully around them in sweet pale blue chiffon dresses. Kristen and Tyler faced one another upon a half-moon stone platform, exchanging their personal vows in a ceremony officiated by the bride’s uncle.

A cocktail hour promptly followed, at which time guests were encouraged to enjoy the grounds of the property and mingle on the stone terrace or rose patio of the hacienda.

A delicious dinner was served in the main plaza, where guests found seating cards that included pictures from Kristen and Tyler’s travels. Tables were numbered using delightful wooden birdhouses, handmade by the couple and father of the groom. Tabletops were adorned with runners in warm blue and centerpieces of weathered wooden barn crates teemed with blossoms.

Dancing and festivities were held in the carriage house, twilight transforming the whitewashed beams and glistening overhead lights to a magical night sky. “I can’t think of anything I would do differently,” shares Kristen. “It was perfect!” The end of the evening didn’t bring an end to the enchantment. Much like the butterflies in the basket, each day together for Kristen and Tyler brings a new day of vibrant possibilities.