Liana and Adam’s wedding at Kunde Family Winery
photography by Meg Messina
Liana and Adam decided to forgo a fussy black tie wedding, and chose an outdoor Sonoma venue with breathtaking views. The couple enlisted Grey Collective member Bustle Events to fill Kunde Family Winery with gorgeous bright and fun flowers in pinks, oranges and yellows by Nancy Liu Chin and cheerful details like pink watercolor paper goods by Tina Yang and a lounge area with relaxed vintage vibes. Photographer Meg Messina was on had to capture all the beautiful moments and we’re thrilled to be sharing them with you today!
What made your wedding feel special and unique?
We wanted our wedding to be a great representation of us, so we ditched some of the typical wedding rules. Also, I’m used to fussy black tie weddings, and I didn’t want any of that. So we chose an outdoor venue with breathtaking views, gorgeous bright and fun flowers in pinks, oranges and yellows from the amazing Nancy Liu Chin, and California seasonal simple food served family style from one of the best restaurants in all of wine country – Glen Ellen Star. Another example of how we made our wedding our own was that we didn’t have a typical bridal party. We are both very close with our siblings, and wanted them in our wedding party. But in thinking about it, I realized I wanted my brothers standing up next to me, and my husband wanted his sister standing up next to him on his wedding day. So we decided that my brothers would be my “bridesmen” and my husband’s sister would be his “groomswoman.” Also, because our families are big, we have so many kids in the family that are special to us, and I know how fun it can be for a little girl to be a flower girl. So we ended up having five flower girls and three attendants, made up of our niece and nephews, my cousin’s three kids, and my husband’s cousin’s two kids. I loved having so many of our family members be a part of our special day.
Also, it might sound cliché but our wedding spot just felt magical. My husband is from Chicago and I’m from Montreal, so we chose Kunde in Sonoma as a way to share one of our favorite spots with everyone. Getting married up on a hill in the middle of a vineyard on a gorgeous summer day, and having a beautiful sunset and full moon that night, just made the night feel special. And being able to share such a special spot with all of our family and friends, and see them marvel at the magic of that spot, was so special.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I really had no idea what kind of gown I wanted when I started shopping. All I knew was that I didn’t want my dress to look like a standard wedding gown. I lost my mom in 2009, and not being able to share the experience of buying a wedding dress with her was tough. So I made sure to bring along some really special people with me, including my two cousins, my husband’s sister and one of my best friends. We only planned to go to two stores, and after the first one we had found some good options but didn’t have that wow moment. As we walked into our second store, Marina Morrison in San Francisco, my cousin spotted a Carolina Herrera dress that was displayed at the entrance. I tried that dress on, along with some other suggestions from my party. When I tried that dress on, I realized it could be my dress. Everyone in my party seemed blown away by the dress, and it made me feel amazing. But I wasn’t convinced. So I tried on another dress that I had thought was another contender, and as soon as I put on that other dress, I started to cry because I realized it was wrong and the Carolina Herrera dress was mine. So did everyone else. It was hard to explain why I knew that the original dress was mine, but I just knew. I totally had the bridal moment in the wrong dress!
I am still so in love with my dress. What makes it so special is the entire dress is covered in hand painted silk. It is all hand painted with a honeycomb pattern and flowers, that is sort of like an illusion because it looks like lace from afar. It is just so special and unique. And I love how the dress’ shape was fitted and not fussy, but still gave me a bit of pouf in the skirt and a gorgeous long train.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
One way I made my day extra personal was to incorporate meaningful items into what I wore that day. I wanted to have my mom with me that day, so I had her garter from her wedding sewn into the tulle in my dress and wore all of her jewelry. I had a locket with her picture and signature on it attached to my bouquet. Another special touch was that my mother’s best friend took me shopping for my wedding shoes and bought me my super fun bright blue Charlotte Olympia heels. She ended up not being able to attend the wedding due to her health (and has since passed away), so having those shoes to wear was extra meaningful. I also had some pictures of my mom displayed during cocktail hour, so I could have her there.
My husband loves old maps, so we worked with Cara from Underwood Letterpress to have her hand-design a map of all of our wedding weekend locations. It is so personal and she did such an amazing job! She even incorporated my love of hot pink into the invitations in a modern and non-girly way.
And since we love to cook, and my husband is a trained chef, we wanted the food to reflect us as a couple and for the dinner to just feel like a big dinner party. So we ended up choosing to serve the meal family style, with food from a local restaurant (through their catering branch) that is known for delicious simple seasonal California cuisine – it was so delicious! And since they are also known for their homemade ice creams, we decided to forego the traditional wedding cake and instead served ice cream and cobbler for dessert.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Our first dance was probably my favorite part of the wedding. My husband and I do not share a similar taste in music, so agreeing on a song took some serious work! After he shot down my country music suggestions, he seemed receptive to my suggestion of Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up, but wanted to explore other options. We spent hours listening to songs, making lists, cutting down the lists, and then making new lists. And then 3 days before the wedding we realized that that Jason Mraz song had been the perfect song all along since it perfectly described how much we are each other’s rocks. Once our first dance started, I remember only focusing on my husband, and being absolutely caught up in that moment – it really felt like we were the only ones there. We both spent most of the dance singing to each other, crying and swaying, rather than really dancing, but it felt so intimate and romantic.
I also remember my husband pulling me away from the dance floor at one point later in the evening to share a moment. We stood there, staring at this amazing full moon, with all of our loved ones in the background and just soaked in the moment. I cannot remember a time where I have ever felt more at peace and more blissfully happy.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
My uncle and my husband’s sister actually set us up! My cousin (my uncle’s daughter) and my husband’s sister are actually really good friends from college. One night my sister-in-law was having some of her girlfriends over for a bridge night (including my cousin) and invited my uncle to help teach them bridge. My husband happened to be there, and offered to cook for everyone since he loves to cook. My uncle saw this cute guy who could cook and immediately started grilling him about his dating life. After learning my husband was single, my uncle asked my husband if he had any interest in meeting his niece in law school, and gave my husband my email. We both figured drinks couldn’t hurt, so we decided to meet for drinks one night in Palo Alto. We met totally blind, and ended up spending the whole night talking over just one glass of wine…and the rest is history!
My husband ended up proposing to me on a hike in the Presidio in San Francisco, one of our favorite spots in the city. I guess he had scouted out some good spots, and found a spot overlooking the beach with amazing views of the golden gate bridge (my favorite San Francisco icon). One Saturday morning he suggested we take our dog for a hike in the Presidio, so I put on my sweatpants and a baseball cap and we headed out. As soon as we got to the spot, I was standing to admire the views and he got down on one knee to propose. I don’t remember much except that as soon as he kneeled to propose I crouched down to be on his same level, and just kept repeating “are you serious?” We went back to that spot for our engagement photos, which was pretty special.
Liana Rabinovitch + Adam Johnson Overview Film from Well Spun Weddings on Vimeo.
Photography: Meg Messina // Planning and Design: Bustle Events // Florals: Nancy Liu Chin // Invitations/Menu: Underwood Letterpress // Venue: Kunde Family Winery // Calligraphy: Tina Yang // Bride’s Dress: Caroline Herrera // Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu // Rentals: Bright Event Rentals // Hair and Makeup: The Glamourist // Catering: Stellar Catering // Videography: Well Spun Weddings // DJ: Boutique DJs