Wedding Dream Sequence: Kathleen & Jillian

The brides’ laid-back love story lights up The Holly Farm in Carmel Valley.
March 26, 2024

Words by Angela Salazar

Photos by Heather K. Purdy


When Kathleen Wagner and Jillian Kaltner, both 29, met at a UCSB sorority wine night in 2012 they felt an instant connection that would prove to be everlasting. Exactly nine years later, Kathleen proposed to Jillian during a romantic getaway in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. “Kathleen had a whole day planned with massages, a cocktail class, and then surprised me with dinner on the beach,” says Jillian. 


For their April 15, 2023 wedding at The Holly Farm in Carmel Valley, the couple envisioned a relaxing evening filled with good food, good friends and lots of fun. “It was really important that the venue felt true to us (i.e. more laid back in nature), that it was inclusive of gay couples, and that it was a fun and beautiful place to be for our guests,” says the couple, adding that Carmel also holds special meaning as a place they often escape to for romantic weekends away.


After walking down the aisle with both sets of their parents, Kathleen and Jillian recited self-penned vows under a flower-adorned Chuppah. “Exchanging our vows was the most memorable part of our day. We spent a lot of time working on them and really wanted to share that moment with the people that mean the most to us. There were very few dry eyes in the crowd!” says the couple.


Dining against Holly Farm’s lush backdrop, the 150 guests enjoyed a family-style menu that included an artichoke and asparagus salad, grilled sirloin, za’atar chicken, and grilled polenta. The couple’s first dance was to “1950” by King Princess and, from there, their DJ took the reins. “We tore up the dance floor and everyone was in the best of spirits. It was truly an unforgettable night!”


For the ultimate romantic gesture, a neon sign lit up the celebration with a fitting sentiment and one of the couple’s favorite lyrics by Irish singer-songwriter Hozier: “I swear I thought I dreamed her.” 

Keep reading for more details from this magical wedding and a full list of vendors. 

The family-filled bridal party included four of its littlest members. The couple’s niece and nephews, all under the age of two, served as their flower girl and ring bearers. “We bought a wagon with a ‘Here Come the Brides’ sign that we were going to put them in, but we ended up just having their moms and dads take them down the aisle to avoid meltdowns. It was adorable and such a special part of our wedding.”

“We made custom napkins with our dog and cat on them that said “Drinks On Us,” and had signature cocktails named after them too: Millie’s Manhattan and Quinn’s Cup. They were a total hit!”

The couple opted for a fresh, romantic color palette of light greens and neutrals with pops of oranges and blues, which Laughin’ Gal Floral incorporated into their dreamy table arrangements, bouquets and Chuppah.

The wedding party included Kathleen’s two sisters as her matrons-of-honor, Jillian’s two sisters as her matron- and maid-of-honor, and the couple’s best friends. The bridesmaids wore moss green Jenny Yoo dresses in designs and fabrics of their choosing.

A seafood station included hors d'oeuvres like lime and avocado ceviche, fresh Dungeness crab cakes and a prawn cocktail with chipotle cocktail sauce and lemon.

Special details set the tone for the wedding. The brides’ elegant invitation suite was by San Francisco-based Minted and their wedding bands by sustainable jewelry brand Vrai. Kathleen wore leather loafers by Tod’s and Jillian chose heels by Margaux

It was the first and only dress that just felt right,” says Jillian of her ivory off-the-shoulder sheath gown by Rita Vinieris. “I had my mom and sisters come out from New York to help me shop, plus my best friend. It made the whole experience very special.”

“I was looking for a custom suit maker that specializes in women's suits and found one that shared my vision of empowering women with badass suits!” says Kathleen of her bespoke three-piece suit by New York designer Watson Ellis. I designed it entirely from the lapel to the fit to the length of the pants. I knew exactly what I wanted by looking online at suits that I loved, I just needed someone to take my vision and make it a reality!”

Wisdom for other couples: The planning can be stressful at times but remember that, at the end of the day, you are marrying the love of your life. Enjoy the process—your wedding day will fly by and it will be the most special day of your life!”

Place settings got a pop of color from fresh floral details and a custom touch with menus printed by Minted. <img src=""alt="CC"height="20" width="20">


Venue: The Holly Farm

Coordinator: Erin Moses of The Holly Farm

Bride’s Suit: Watson Ellis 

Bride’s Dress: Rita Vinieris 

Veil: Kinsley James

Hair & Makeup: Malina Terra 

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo

Wedding Bands: Vrai

Florist: Laughin’ Gal Floral 

Invitations & Paper Products: Minted

Music: DJ Antonio of Sound Shine  

Catering: La Crème  

Rentals: Chic Event Rentals

Videographer: IQ Videography

Photographer: Heather K. Purdy

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