After a romantic marriage proposal at her family’s lake house, Samantha Starkey and Mitchell Milner decided to plan a destination wedding in Northern California. The couple, who met during a documentary filmmaking course in India, scoured home-rental sites, hoping to find a private property that would accommodate a wedding. As chance would have it, a listing for Villa Montara—an architectural, rustic-modern home located 20 miles south of San Francisco—popped up and the couple jumped on the opportunity. And on a breezy, blue-sky afternoon in October, the couple exchanged vows in front of their 90 guests on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific.
Bride and groom: Samantha Starkey and Mitchell Milner
Occupations: Wedding videographer (Samantha) and account manager (Mitchell)
Based in: Carlsbad, Calif.
Wedding date: October 7, 2017
Venue: Villa Montara, Montara, Calif.
Number of guests: 90
Minted wedding invitation: “Oceans” (foil-pressed) by Wildfield Paper Co.
Wedding details card: “Elegant Angles” by Peony Papeterie
Wedding response card: “Mountain Sky” by Summer Winkelman (hand-cut by the bride)
Wedding planner: Katie Linter at First Comes Loves Events & Design
Florist: Meg Catherine Flowers
Caterer & cake: Salt & Honey Catering
Cinematographer: Canvas & Light; edited by SJ Videography
Photographer: Betsy Blue Photography
How did you and Mitchell meet?
Mitch and I met during a documentary filmmaking course traveling through India.
Tell us about the proposal!
My family has a lake house I grew up going to in Indiana and that we still visit every summer. This particular summer Mitch was unable to go (or so I thought). I arrived at the lake house, and was immediately sent on a scavenger hunt around town. At the time, I was thinking Mitch was just sorry that he couldn’t make it and set up this fun gift for me. At the end of the scavenger hunt I found him in the middle of the lake on a floating platform decorated in lights and flowers!
Since you’re in the wedding industry yourself (Samantha is a wedding videographer), what were your main priorities in planning your own nuptials?
I didn’t want to get caught up in the details, or to overdo it. I know how easy it can be to be upsold on so many things during the wedding planning process, and then suddenly realize you’ve lost the original vision. With that said, my priorities were keeping it beautiful and as simple as possible!
Did you encounter any hiccups along the way?
My only advice is to not wait to the last minute for the smaller details. For example, I did my programs about a month before the wedding and the blue I picked wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I didn’t give myself time to customize it further.
How did you find your wedding venue?
I originally found it on VRBO. It’s a rental house, unfortunately the owners just sold it though!
Who made your wedding dress?
It was by Flora and was the second dress I tried on.
What did Mitch wear?
A navy suit from Nordstrom.
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