I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Stress levers were a little high on the morning-of for winemaker bride Niki who was throwing her wedding at her childhood home, and the family’s stunning property on their Wente Vineyards estate. “There is nothing quite like throwing a wedding in your own home,” says the bride, but during the first look when she saw her “husband’s face and all the stress melted away.”  The relaxed elegance of the details and florals can be credited to the mastermind, planner Blue Daphne Events and the day was introduced by lovely invitations by Blanche Paperie. The stunning property played a major role in the day and photographer Blue Note Weddings captured Niki and Nick in super special locations like  the olive lane that was there before Niki’s family bought the land in the late 1800’s. The day was breathtaking and the images are stunning and you can check it all out below!

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What made the wedding special and unique?

I am a huge fan of dessert, specifically cake! One of the most unique things to our wedding was that we had cake as the first and last course during the reception! A strawberry and champagne petite four paired with the Wente Vineyards Sparkling Brut was the first course and our wedding cake was the final course. Four layers and every one of them was delicious! Cookie crumble cake on the base and top, port and figs cake in the 3rd layer and devils food with raspberry on the 2nd layer. YUM! We also did the cake cutting at the very beginning of the reception, right after we were introduced.

Our wedding was incredibly special to me because it took place at my childhood home. My great grandfather built the house in 1928 and my father moved into the house in the 1980’s per his grandfather’s wishes. I was born and raised in this house and it has been a huge part of my family for many years which makes this a very special location for me!

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I found my gown at Kinsley James Bridal Boutique in Walnut Creek, CA. I actually had thought that I already found my dream dress in San Francisco at a different bridal shop and just wanted to check out a couple other stores because you only get to do the whole bridal fitting thing once in your life! I went in to the day totally thinking I was just doing this for fun with my sister, my mom and a friend. It was a trunk show for Rita Vinieris that day which ended up really working in my favor! As soon as we got to Kinsley James my mom spotted my dress and suggested I try it on. It was definitely the style I was going for, I loved the lace detailing so I agreed with her it was a good choice! We chose a few others and I began my fitting. As soon as I put this dress on and walked out of the fitting room my sister started to tear up and was just saying “that’s the one! that’s the one!” It helped that the dress fit me perfectly without having any clipping so we could actually get the feel for how it would look on the big day. It was a little out of our budget, but thanks to the trunk show if we bought that day we would get a discount so that pretty much sealed the deal!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

I am a vineyard manger and wine maker by trade, so we included a couple of the wines I have made throughout the day. We offered a welcome wine called “Niki’s Pinot Noir Rose” for our quests upon arrival to the ceremony, and during cocktail hour and dinner we have the 4 + 5 Sauvignon Blanc that my father and I made together. As part of my job I also grow and maintain olives as well. We send the olives off yearly to be milled and processed into olive oil. Our attendee gift was a small bottle of this handcrafted estate olive oil, set at every attendee’s seat. Nick and I both chose a signature cocktail that you can find us drinking whenever we are not drinking wine, old fashioned for him and tequila highball for me. And did I mention all the cake?!

We also were able to get a lot of photos around super special areas; Nick and the guys at my cousin’s house, me and the gals at my aunt and uncle’s house, our first look at an olive lane that was there before my family bought the land in the late 1800’s, and finally sunset photos in the hills above my father’s house. It sounds like this is a lot of personal touches that are special to me – but this is where Nick and I really got to know one another, where he got to know my family, and where he became a part of my family and I became a part of his. He loves this land as much as I do, which makes it all the more special to me.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

The most memorable part of my day was the first look hands down! I am not going to lie, I was a little stressed in the morning. There is nothing quite like throwing a wedding in your own home and I was projecting my mom and dad’s stress right up until I saw my husband’s face and all the stress melted away. Seeing him was the breath of fresh air I needed to remember why we were doing this, what makes it such a big deal and why we wanted all our friends and family there to witness us promising forever. After I saw him I was so calm, happy and excited for the rest of the day and frankly for the rest of my life! The entire wedding was a dream, from the spectacular speeches, to the incredible band and dance party and even our sunset picture escape with the most amazing photo and video duo – every part was so special and such a good time. But I always just go back to the feeling I felt when I saw Nick, and nothing will ever compare to that!

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Emily and Emerson’s Charleston nuptials at Lowndes Grove incorporated many of the typical southern wedding design details including a plantation courtyard ceremony, florals by and topiaries by Out of the Garden, letterpress and (rainbow) wax seal  invitations by Alaina Polander and romantic white gowns and veils. However, the LGBT couple felt confident in their freedom to “throw tradition to the wind” in much of their personalized details. The “curated vibe—to relax and celebrate” of the day planned by our friends Ooh! Events included the couple getting ready together with all of their bridesmen and bridesmaids, a rendition of the Pulse Orlando Lin Manuel Miranda speech during the ceremony (not a dry eye in the house) and ditching all typical reception activities and instead dancing from start-to-finish. Emily and Emerson had a joint goal of staying “calm and present” during the day and they did it with joy, style and huge smiles as seen in these images captured by Brooke Boyd Photo + Film.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

From Emily: Being an LGBT couple we felt like we had a lot of freedom to throw tradition to the wind. While most of our wedding was as much of a cliché southern wedding as you can get, there were a lot of really personal details. We started  the day by doing yoga together and meditating guided by a friend. After yoga and meditating, we were able to spend the morning getting ready together with our closest friends. Getting ready together relieved all pressure; so many people love the suspense of seeing your wife walk down the aisle, but we wanted everything to be as calm and fun as possible. I think that made our wedding so unique. The entire day had a curated vibe – which was to relax and celebrate. We didn’t want anything to feel stuffy or posed and tried really hard to stay calm and be present. I would also argue the most unique part about our wedding was the amount of dancing – we skipped the activities once the reception started and instead never left the dance floor. We had two people do the worm, one person break dance, my sister did a split, and someone slid through another’s legs. WILD.

Tell us about the gowns and where/how you found them!

Emerson and I started off by going to New York with our best friends. We looked separately all day and neither of us found the dress, but we both agreed it was too hard not to share with the other. A month later, I went to Wedding Belles in New Orleans with my mom and sister and tried on the Jenny Yoo Riley I had seen in New York. Just like that, I was done! I loved so many dresses, but this one just fit the day best. Emerson on the other hand tried on dresses about four more times, when she finally tried on a Sarah Seven dress at Lovely Bride in DC and knew it was the one. It was perfectly simple with just enough modern edge to feel like her.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

  1. Emerson picked out every single song that was played that day. To her, music creates the atmosphere, so she went through and chose from the prelude to the exit (and yes the afterparty). My favorite pick from her was the DJ set kicking off with “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked it” by Katy Perry.
  2. We also picked every word spoken in the ceremony with our priest. Without question the best part of the wedding (and I highly recommend everyone use this in the future) was when my friend read Lin Manuel Miranda’s speech following the Pulse Orlando shooting. It’s safe to say there wasn’t a dry eye when she got to the “and love, is love, is love, is love, is love” part.
  3. We didn’t do a traditional wedding party; Emerson has two brothers and I have two sisters so they are the only people who stood. We did ask our best girls/guys to dress within the color palette and get ready with us. We were worried it was going to be cold, so each girl laid a fur stole at their chair and exited in it.
  4. Emerson’s brother and “Man of Honor” gave the best speech I ever heard. It began with “I’ve been knowing Emerson since the early 90s” and the highlight was “I never dreamed I’d be a bridesman one day, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to be one today.”

 

What was the most memorable part of the day?

There was one moment before the ceremony started when my veil kept pulling my hair and I started getting really nervous. Emerson could sense I was nervous and pulled me into a room and said “forget it, don’t wear the veil” and gave me a big kiss. At that moment, all fears were pushed away because I knew I had picked the perfect person to spend the rest of my life with.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Emerson and I met the summer of 2014, when I had just graduated college and was about to move to DC. After our first date, we didn’t spend a single day apart that summer. So much so that Emerson volunteered to make the 17 hour drive with me to DC. Even though we had no intention of being in a long distance relationship, we were inseparable. Mine and Emerson’s lives fit perfectly together. We had the same values, same drive, and liked to leave parties at the same time. She is the perfect complement to all of my weaknesses and makes me a better person on a daily basis. Through the last five years together, we’ve moved seven times, had two college graduations, and embarked on brand new jobs in brand new cities. We’ve been through ups and downs, weddings, funerals, a home renovation and so much more, but through it all, Emerson made me grateful for every day. Knowing this I finally decided it was time to seal the deal so I snuck around with Susie Satzman and designed her dream ring. Over her birthday, we spent a week at home in New Orleans at my parents’ camp. One morning while we were watching the sunrise over coffee and blueberry cake donuts, I decided that was the moment. I began acting super weird and insisted she put on cute pajamas (because I wanted a good picture) and she replied “What? No. Weirdo” it was 5:30 am. Our dog had hurt his paw and she kept trying to pay attention to him and I was trying to get her to pay attention to me! Finally I started my speech and she asks “are you proposing?” and I was like “oh my gosh no” as I pulled out the ring! At this point, Emerson is thoroughly confused, laughing, and crying. Regardless, SHE SAID YES and we celebrated that night at the place her parents got engaged.

Coordination/Rentals: Ooh! Events // Photographer + Videographer: Brooke Boyd Photo + Film // Floral: Out of the Garden // Invite Suite: Alaina Polander // Venue/Catering/Bar/Cake: Lowndes Grove // Emily’s dress: Jenny Yoo, from Wedding Belles Nola // Emerson’s dress: Sarah Seven Belmont dress, from Lovely Bride // Hair: Slate Bridal Hair + Make Up // Make Up: Marisa Warren, Sarah Early, Slate Bridal Hair + Make Up // Yoga Instructor: Isabel Groedel // Ceremony Music: Bespoke Strings // Band: Tyler Kitchen + The Right Pieces // Guests Transportation: ACW Limo // Getaway Transportation: Lowcountry Valet

 

 

 

 

Carolyn and Charles celebrated their love with a stunning autumn soiree designed by the one-and-only Kaella Lynn Events. Beautiful, gathered florals by Laura’s Floras take center stage. A sunset-inspired palette of deep yellows, bright corals, sherbets and dusty peach come to life in a spectacular ceremony arch and sprawling table arrangements. The mood is both delightful and elegant at the reception at The Barn at Green Valley (private estate) with long farm table seating and dusty blue linen accents. The Brightline Studio introduced the day with romantic calligraphy and the Pretty Please Bakeshop punctuated the event with a three-tiered cake adorned with climbing florals. The event is a vision of bold, fall colors and we could not be more entranced by all the lovely images captured by Meg Smith Photography.

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Photographer: Meg Smith Photography // Wedding Planning and Design: Kaella Lynn Events // Florist: Laura’s Floras // Paper goods: The Brightline Studio // Venue: The Barn at Green Valley (private estate) // Bridal Gown: Louvienne via Lovely Bride SF // Cake: Pretty Please Bakeshop // Bridesmaids dresses: Reformation // Grooms Suit: J Hilburn // Caterer: Paula Le Duc // Rentals: Standard Party Rentals // Lounge: One True Love Vintage Rentals // Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen // Quartet: Synchronicity Strings Entire Productions // Band: Audio Via Elan Artists // Lighting: Got Light // Hair & Makeup: Skyla Arts Beauty

Kate and Danny’s California wedding reception was celebrated at Collins Ranch, a private estate on the west side of Ojai. The venue had all the elements of Ojai that Kate grew up loving including “the weaving road through golden fields leading up to the barn and mountainside landscape with massive boulders mounted throughout.” The couple enlisted the brides sister Hilary to plan the event and Gallup & Stribling to create the vibrant autumn-hued florals. Kate had this to say about the reception “the barn opened up on every side so you felt like you were dining in nature but with the comfort of a nice seat and well dressed table!” It’s all beautiful and luck for us Sarah Ellefson Photography was on hand to capture it all.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

The whole day was so special and unbelievably stress free, which I have my generous family and sister Hilary to thank. Other than the fact that it was ‘our’ wedding (which made it the most special) what made it seem unique and different was our location we were lucky to find. We heard of Collins Ranch on the west side of Ojai through a friend who connected us with the owner. His property had all the elements of Ojai I have grown up loving. The weaving road through golden fields leading up to the barn and mountainside landscape with massive boulders mounted throughout. His barn type warehouse opened up on every side so you felt like you were dining in nature but with the comfort of a nice seat and well dressed table! The whole venue was something so familiar and dear to me but that I had never really seen as a wedding venue, so it felt unique and personal at the same time.

Danny’s family and many of our guests were flying in from out of state and a good number of them had never seen California before. From our ceremony at San Buenaventura Mission with the ocean breeze flowing through the tropical gardens, to the golden Chaparral mountain side of Collins Ranch, we could share what we love about California with all of them.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I had no idea what type of dress I wanted which it made it both fun and frustrating. Fun because I was open to any style, frustrating because there were too many styles! After trying on many gowns and visiting quite a few shops my mom and I finally went down to Pasadena to visit Lovely Bride, where I found my dress! There so many beautiful gowns that were in what i had narrowed down to be what I was looking for, long sleeve with bold lace. I found exactly that in the North Gown by Lovers Society. The design and texture of the lace was so unique from what I had seen, and I knew it was my dress! I also don’t think my mom would have let me leave without it, she bawled when I came out it in!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

I am from a family of gifted artists and I wanted them to be a have a hand in the decor.  One of my beautiful sisters, Monica, painted an abstract map view of the coast and mountain range that guests would be driving on from ceremony to reception. Guest loved it and I have it framed in my apartment now! My brother John sketched out a paint by numbers of the mission where the ceremony took place, and guests could pick up a paint brush and add to it while enjoying their cocktails. I am always in awe of their talent and was happy to show them off!

What was the most memorable part of the day?

It is hard to pick one moment that was most memorable because really the whole day felt like a dream. However, one that sticks out among others would have to be after the speeches took place, my brother, sister and I sang one of our favorite folk songs for our parents (and guests). We have always sang together with my brother on the guitar and since I would be moving to Virginia immediately after the wedding, I wanted to give my parents one last show of us singing together! I’ll always remember that moment.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

We met each other in college sophomore year 2014 at Franciscan University, in Steubenville Ohio. We shared a lot of the same friend groups and happened to always be in the same social setting, all the while having deeper interest in one another (but never showing it!). End of senior year, Danny finally asked me out for our first date, and it didn’t take long for us to realize we wanted to continue what we started. Soon after dating we graduated and moved to opposite ends of the country (VA and CA) and thus began our journey of FaceTime and expensive flights to spend short visits, sometimes not even a full 48 hours. Again, it didn’t take long for us discover that we wanted to be with one another for the rest our lives; some might call it falling in love! To make this happen Danny and my sister (thanks Hilary!) planned a surprise visit and flew across the country to get on one knee, however the surprise was ruined by me curiously checking his location to figure out why my messages weren’t being delivered during his four hour flight! When I saw he was at LAX, I knew what this meant! He met me at my favorite winery and put some sparkle on my left hand!

Photography: Sarah Ellefson Photography // Planning + Coordination: Hilary Loughman // Florals: Gallup & Stribling // Venue: Ventura Mission + Collins Ranch (Private Estate) Ojai CA // Dress: Lovers Society from Lovely Bride // HMU: Hey Beautiful // DJ: DJ Mike Bruel // Rentals: Spark Creative Events / Otis & Pearl // Catering: DJ’s California Catering

 

Anat and Keenan’s family traveled from afar for their 3-day wedding event en Paris. With the help of  planner Laurence Beal, the couple incorporated so much personality, and highlights from ‘the city of love’ into their big day including a Seine river dinner cruise rehearsal dinner, a bachelorette party in Disneyland, and a chateau ceremony and reception at Pavillon de Musique de la comtesse du Barry. The pale pink, light blue and gold palette is magical and shines in the florals by Lily Paloma which included a scene-stealing, voluminous ceremony arch. Other details include macaron favors and a our signature cocktail called the “Lavi(e) en rose”—a play on the bride’s maiden name and an adorably simple combination of pink bubbly and cotton candy. Lucky for us, Matthieu Bondon  was on hand to capture all the details—and spectacular Parisian scenery—in these lovely photos.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

The wedding was most special as all our loved ones traveled from far and wide to be with us for the three-day event. As Paris is the city of love, it was the perfect backdrop and was also a perfect reflection of how we felt in our hearts both due to our guests and due to us getting wed. It was also so much fun to have everyone stay together in the Hotel La Perle Saint Germain and enjoy different activities throughout. On our first night, we held a Seine river dinner cruise as our rehearsal dinner. On the second day my bridesmaids and I went to Disneyland, whilst the bachelor party went to a Ju-Jitsu lesson in the morning (one of Keenan’s hobbies) and later explored Paris. All this was the lead up to day three, our wedding day which to us was a dream-come-true. Finally on day four we all gathered for a final breakfast before everyone headed home.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I actually found it quite a challenge to settle on a wedding dress and ended up buying two and going back and forth between which is the right one for me…. however once the Yolan Cris gown was tailored to my measurements it was a no-brainer decision to make. Keenan (who knew about the dress indecision, without seeing the dresses) was ecstatic when he saw me for the first time in the reveal and said it was perfect in every way and that he could not have pictured anything better suited, so I was over the moon.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

As French regulation doesn’t allow for non-residents to get wed, we actually held an official (and Jewish traditional), family only, 12 person event prior to our wedding in France. This worked out well as when it came to the celebration, we could make it completely personalized to us.

We didn’t have a particular theme but early on I created a list of different things that had meaning to us as a couple or that were of significance to our history and started DIY projects to incorporate these throughout. Examples of these were our aisle runner which had all the important dates of relationship, or our display of wedding photos from our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings, as a sort of family tree. Additionally, a nod to our Jewish traditional ceremony was the beer and wine labels we created that had a picture from our first wedding and had L’Chaim (to life) written on them. To add a flair of Disney and a whimsical feel, we had garden games in the cocktail hour and had a Mickey and Minnie sitting on the moon as our cake topper (which also tied in well to our first dance song “Moon River”). We also chose wedding colors (pale pink, light blue, gold) to incorporate and to facilitate bringing all these elements together. Finally, we wanted to add detail to reflect the magnificent venue we were lucky enough to hold our wedding in, the Pavillon de musique de la comtesse du Barry and also some 1920s glam which funnily enough meshed well together. For the venue, some French highlights were giving everyone a macaroon favor, our champagne tower and our signature cocktail the Lavi(e) en rose, (a play on my last name), which was the simplest thing ever to make just pink bubbly and cotton candy. The 1920s elements we incorporated were a moon photo booth and  hats, masks, hairpieces (which I made) that we gave out to our guests during the band’s session (who played 1920s music and some Disney songs in that style).  It was a mish-mash of everything, perfectly depicting our personalities and it all ended up flowing seamlessly together.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Keenan and I have two parts of the day which we consider to be the most memorable. The first was the ceremony in its entirety, having had the opportunity to completely DIY it, it felt very pure and genuinely us from thanking our parents for showing us through example what it is to have healthy marriages, to the alchemist passage we chose as a reading, to the breaking of the glass reflecting our Jewish faith and of course our vows which we revealed to each other on the day. The second moment was our first dance to the song  “Moon River” a song that has meant a lot to us throughout our relationship and encapsulates who we are as a couple. We had a choreographed routine, got our amazing band for the night Swing’it Dixieband to preform a live version of the song and all the guests held sparklers, so there was a real magical feeling in the air.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Keenan and I met in college (we both have different opinions as to when the first encounter was, but certainly in the first few days of our first year). We were friends for a while and even before we became a couple I would tell my friends that if we were to end up together it would likely last a long, long time. In 2010, on my birthday, we kissed and the rest was history! We were boyfriend and girlfriend for about 6 years before one night when we were visiting London to organize our move there, he popped the question in our hotel room, champagne and flowers in tow. There were lots of tears and a big ecstatic yes!

Photographer: Matthieu Bondon // Wedding planner: Laurence Beal // Flowers: Lily Paloma // Venue: Pavillon de Musique de la comtesse du Barry // Reveal/ getting ready photos: Hotel La Perle Saint Germain // Bride’s Dress: Yolan Cris // Hair and Makeup: Harold James // Catering/wedding cake: Erisay // Band: Swing’it Dixieband