With personal touches and a nod to heritage, designer Calleen Cordero pulls off her dream wedding in Ojai.
Photographed byMariana Schulze
As the owner of a NoHo-based accessory company that focuses on old-world craftsmanship, Calleen Cordero isn’t afraid to use her hands. So when it came to her wedding with Juan Diego Bernal, a DIY event was always
“Juan Diego and I have been together for over five years, and for many of those years, I’ve been dreaming of our perfect day together. He left most of the details up to me. As a professional chef, his responsibility would be the food.” With clear-cut delineation and simple goals, the couple created an event that Calleen describes as “really quiet effortless.”
Choosing the location was easy. Calleen owns a vacation home in Ojai that is often rented out for gatherings, celebrations and yoga retreats. “When I started building Calliote Canyon 10 years ago, I built several spots on the property that could host my wedding,” she says. Two of those spots were key: The sit-down dinner was held at an outdoor amphitheater, and an area beneath the ancient oak trees was selected for the ceremony.
Calliote Canyon, once home to the original Chumash Native American tribe of Ojai, is nestled on five acres in a bowl of mountains. “We really wanted to create a unique ceremony that was memorable for everyone and share our values for the love of this sacred land and each other,” Calleen shares. The couple was married by an Ojai resident who is a second-generation Chumash Native American.
Juan Diego is from Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico, and Calleen’s dress was hand-embroidered by an artisan whom she met several years ago while visiting him there. “The funny part of the story is that I had to detox for an entire month to barely fit into it after it being three years since trying it on,” Calleen laughs.
Juan Diego, along with his mother who is also a professional chef, designed a farm-to-table vegetarian menu for the 85 guests. Cocktails were crafted to include fresh watermelon infused with mint along with kombucha, and mezcal from Mexico. Wine was brought in from a friend’s vineyard in San Luis Obispo.
An artful arrangement of cheeses, along with fresh chilled gazpacho, baba ganoush, hummus and veggies served as appetizers, followed by a sit-down dinner. On the menu: gluten-free, vegetarian lasagna; fresh rosemary-olive oil bread by a San Luis Obispo baker the couple loves; along with two complementary organic ensaladas.
Artful personal touches enhanced the festive table. The couple placed a leather, hand-studded Calleen Cordero keychain, a bundle of hand-picked Ojai sage and a jar of of Juan Diego’s signature Oro Negro chili drizzle by each place setting.
Amidst such natural beauty, flowers were kept simple with gerbera daisies and clippings of foliage from the land. Arranged by a friend, the flowers were the perfect accent to a memorable event.
Paying it forward.