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

Courtney and Patrick’s wedding at The Estate Yountville checked all the beauty boxes—stunning scenery, relaxed elegance, lush florals and greenery—but it’s the stunning bride and beaming groom that truly shine. Kristine Herman Photography perfectly captured the radiance and joy of the “50/50 couple” (read on about their sand ceremony) in these images of their big day coordinated by Brannan Events with florals by Julie Stevens Design.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

Patrick and I wanted all of our family and friends to get to know each other before the big day, so in the days leading up to our wedding we organized wine tasting adventures and a get together in Yountville’s Veteran’s Park where all of our guests gathered, and strangers turned into familiar faces. Everyone on the dance floor knew each other, that was so special to us!

We had a sand ceremony symbolizing our 50/50 commitment to each other. Courtney’s dad once told her at the beginning of our 8 year relationship that, “A relationship only works if each person is putting in their share, it has to be 50/50!”

Patrick and I went around the entire wedding party table at our wedding dinner and said a special something about all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen. we wanted everyone to know why those people are so special to us that we asked them to witness and stand by our side on our wedding day.

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

I wanted a modern, form fitting long sleeve lace dress and searched far and near to find it! We went to Chicago where my mom, sister, grandma, aunt and now mother-in-law first shopped for my dress. We didn’t walk away with anything, so when I got home to San Francisco, we went to several more shops and finally found my gown at Sarah Seven which is literally a 5 min walk from my house. My gown is called the Venice, but like all Sarah Seven dresses it was made custom. I added the Del Mar Skirt, a scalloped V back and buttons along the zipper on the back. The one request from my husband was an open back! He was happy!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

My cousin, Andrew Raponi, who is one of my best friends (we’re only 6 months apart) played an acoustic version of “perfect” as we walked down the aisle.

Both of my parents said “We Do” when our officiant (my uncle Tom Raponi) asked “who presents this woman”.

For our first look, we were in the middle of a vineyard, and it felt like we were the only two people on the planet! Our immediate families were able to peek through the vines and we all celebrated with a champagne post after, in flute glasses my parents gifted us right then with our C/P logo on them.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Walking down the aisle with my dad! I’ve been dreaming of that day my entire life; well at least from the first time I saw Father of the Bride. In fact, the movie had quite a significant role in our wedding. It was mentioned in my Dad’s rehearsal dinner speech where he reenacted the first scene when Steve Martin does his monologue and it was also mentioned in my vows to Patrick.

Our grand entrance into the Barrel Room for our first dance! Our coordinator had our wedding party create a tunnel for us to go through on our way in, where we found a live saxophone player playing along to our favorite song. We did not rehearse it, but it went perfect! We nailed it!

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

8 years ago, Patrick and I meet in entrepreneurship class in our last year, last semester in college at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO. On the first day of class, we had to go around the room and say something interesting about ourselves and I said that I circumnavigated the world on Semester at Sea. After class Patrick called me out and said that I didn’t go on SAS because he just went and I wasn’t on his boat! Turns out, he went on the Fall semester and I went on the prior Spring semester boat. The following Friday night, we crossed paths at a bar, danced the night away and have been by each other’s side ever since! After college, we both moved to Denver and had a blast living with our best friends, going out and exploring the city together. About four years ago, we moved to San Francisco to further our careers and fell in love with the city and wine country!

About a month ago, Patrick proposed on the beautiful island of Kauai. We did an intense, 15 mile in/out backpacking trip along the Na Pali Coast, one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. We hiked along the coast and ended at Kalalau Beach where we camped for two nights. The second day, we were basically the only ones on a mile-long beach exploring, soaking up the sun and having the most unforgettable day. That night, we ate dinner early to watch the sunset, and Patrick brought a drone with him to “capture the moment” little did I know. He was playing around with the drone and I was getting annoyed that he wouldn’t sit down and watch the sunset with me. When he got the drone in the perfect spot, he asked me to come try and fly it, handed me the remote and then asked me to turn around. I threw the remote when I saw him on his knee! It was magical, pure magic. We barely slept that night we were so excited, but had to get up early the next morning to hike back and were planning to relax at our resort for the rest of the week. When we arrived to the resort, we pulled our Jeep into the valet circle and when I got out of the car my mom’s head poked out from behind a pole, then my dad’s then Patrick’s mom and dad. They came all the way to Hawaii to surprise me and spend the week celebrating with us!

Photography: Kristine Herman Photography // Coordination: Brannan Events // Florals: Julie Stevens Design // Signage and Invitations: Bloom and Buzz // Venue and Catering: The Estate Yountville // HMU: Style Bee // Dress: Sarah Seven // Shoes: Badgley Mischka

 

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Dallas couple, Mary Margaret and David, met and fell in love in New York City. They were within walking distance to Central Park and wanted to bring that same “beautiful place in the heart of a big city” vibe to their wedding day. Marie Gabrielle, a garden oasis in uptown Dallas, provided them that space. Maxwell & Gray planned the al fresco event’s details including lush florals by Celebrate Dallas and a classic tiered cake by Sugar Social DFW while Cottonwood Road Photography  was on hand to capture all the magic.

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From the bride: It’s true what everyone always says, your wedding day goes by in a flash. And in a flash it went. The twinkly lights wrapped around the trees, the poetic vows, all of our favorite people. The scene was set as the sun fell and the breeze began to cool down around those gathering in celebration of a lifetime love. Our wedding included hints of Italy (including a pasta bar & wine) in the heart of a downtown Dallas garden venue. It was a dream. My husband and I fell in love in NY where adventure and love were all around. While I pursued Broadway, he was leading worship at a church that I happened to attend. From that moment, I knew he would be mine. Our love for music brought us closer together having such a huge impact on our relationship and at our wedding David and I danced to a song that he had written for me. Queue the tears. Amidst the warmth of the sparklers we kissed and headed off to Cancun to relax and enjoy our first few days as husband and wife.

We wanted our guests to experience a beautiful place in the heart of a big city. Falling in love in NY where central park was within walking distance was our inspiration for this. Every guest was greeted at the entrance with a glass of champagne. Prosecco is my favorite.

I chose my Justin Alexander gown for the full skirt and plunging neckline. My experience at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville was unlike any other I had had. I was greeted with champagne (a theme I continued at my wedding!) and was waited on hand and foot. We had searched what felt like a dozen bridal boutiques but it was only at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville that I truly felt the love and excitement they had for me and my day. My shoes had to be comfortable so Vince Camuto nude block heels were bought. I incorporated my something blue into several things including the ribbon on my bouquet, the candles lining the bar, and our guest book.

We didn’t want traditional bridesmaids and groomsmen up at the front with us but my best girls wore shades of pink and his guys wore black. My sister & her husband photographed the wedding which was incredibly special to me. We exchanged traditional vows but wrote our own and shared them with each other earlier in the day.

Our guests ate the most delicious appetizers including tomato basil soup shooters and grilled cheese, cheese and crackers, a mini crab cake and more. The music was all big band songs. Dinner was set under the shade of the trees on a warm spring evening. Immediate family members sat at a long french country table with walnut chairs with the guests seated at round tables among the garden. White and green florals with hints of dusty pale pink in my parents’ own vintage vases combined with loads of candles were the perfect table centerpieces.

My dad, Jon Flaming, did all of the graphic design work which was extremely special to me and my sister (Cottonwood Road Photography) photographed the day and my sister-in-law baked the cake! It was a family affair from the start and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. My nephew was seriously the cutest ring bearer you ever saw.

We danced our first dance to The Way You Look Tonight and with our dad/mom to Unforgettable and of course we danced to the song that my sweet husband wrote for me that he began writing while we were dating. My wedding was everything I could have dreamed of and more.

And here is the proposal story written by the groom:

Originally, I had planned a proposal that involved surprising her during a photoshoot, but my wife is a little too inquisitive and astute to allow a surprise to just happen to her. With the help of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I made a new plan to surprise her with a sort of scavenger hunt that I was able to post online for her to follow.

The day started with a surprise lunch at Table 13. She thought we were going to eat together, but I ended up dropping her off with her mom, sister, and sister-in-law to enjoy a decorated table and a lunch with them. From there, I posted a photo of us online with a riddle for her: “You’ll want to change them again in a day or two, but I pinkie promise to always luxe you”, leading her to Pinkie Luxe to get her nails done. From there, I posted another photo with a riddle that read: “There isn’t a single thing you lack, I love you to the moon and MAC”, leading her to the MAC store to get her makeup done. Next, I posted one that said: “My love for you will never run dry, you’ve set the bar oh so high”, sending her to Drybar to get her hair done. Next, I posted one to guide her to meet me: “All day long you’ve waited for me, now I’m waiting for you beneath the tree”.  She was driven to a park where I was waiting with some favorite music playing and a ring in my pocket. As she walked down the path to meet me, her brother-in-law, brother, and father all handed her roses with special reasons I love her and want to marry her. She rounded the final corner to find me waiting under a tree. I proposed to her there and she said yes!

Photography: Cottonwood Road Photography // Event Planning: Maxwell & Gray // Florals: Celebrate Dallas // Invitations: Jon Flaming Design // Wedding Venue: Marie Gabrielle // Hair: Textured by Meg // Make Up: Wendy Zerrudo // Photography Assistance: Hauser Photography // Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander // Wedding Dress: Bridal Boutique Of Lewisville // Cake: Sugar Social DFW // Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab // Catering: Marie Gabrielle // DJ: Le Force Entertainment // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

Jillian had this to say about her wedding to Tim at The Cleveland Museum of Art,”It was a place that I always went to as a little girl and being able to marry the man of my dreams there was inexplicably unique and special.” It was also exceptionally gorgeous! Planning, design and coordination was by Kirkbrides, with voluminous florals and greens by HeatherLily, stationery by Blue Envelope Boutique and cake by Luna Bakery. Jillian’s Monique Lhuillier could not have been more fitting for both the bride, and the event, but it’s her gigantic smile that’s the winning feature. Lauren Gabrielle‘s images perfectly capture the joyous day and we’re thrilled to share them!

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What made the wedding special and unique?  

Our wedding day was phenomenal – filled with so much joy and love. Being able to have our wedding at the Museum was a dream come true. Celebrating in a place that hosts some of the world’s most treasured pieces of art felt surreal. It was a place that I always went to as a little girl and being able to marry the man of my dreams there was inexplicably unique and special. For our guests, we wanted them to feel transported, like they were somewhere completely outside of Cleveland.

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

My gown! One of the great loves of my life! I had seen a very beautiful bride wear the gown with a tulle skirt overlay. I was in love with how ornate the beading was, but without too much glitter or sparkle. I hunted it down and identified it as the Gwyneth by Monique Lhuillier. We went to the boutique in New York City and tried on about 5 different gowns, the Gwyneth being the first. All of them were stunning, but nothing seemed to compare to the first one. I really and truly believe it was meant to be. I wanted a dress that was timeless and whimsical, but still modern and showed some curves (I knew my husband would appreciate that as well). I couldn’t have been more thrilled with how it came out. It was a dream.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?  

Tim and I wanted everyone to be connected during the ceremony (our Cantor kindly asked for everyone to put away their cell phones, nothing irritates me more!) and let loose during the reception. We knew from the start that we wanted black tie (the venue almost demands that given its imposing nature), but we wanted the opposite of a stuffy, formal affair. We brought in an amazing vendor to string the dance floor with bistro lights to create a truly romantic ambiance as the sun went down; outside, but inside was a common mantra. Plus, it was a perfect alternative to a stark dance floor. Instead of flowers during the cocktail hour our florist created huge, gorgeous urns of olive branches and eucalyptus to create a more modern, Tuscan feel. Those were centered on the charcuterie and cheese displays. I also brought in vintage compotes in a deep amber color and requested the Museum recreate our favorite bar nuts from a whisky and rye bar where we live in Washington, D.C. These were the centerpieces on the cocktail tables, a little something different than bud vases.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

The ceremony, 100%. I will never forget the smell and sounds during our ceremony. I’m a firm believer in signs and serendipitous moments. While Tim was reading his vows he recited a poem by George Gershwin: “Birds love and bees love and whispering trees love/And that’s what we both should do”. A honey bee came into the Chuppah at the exact same moment that Tim said that line. Since a Chuppah symbolizes the four corners of our home that we will create together, I firmly believe the bee was coming to bring sweetness into our home, our marriage. I guess I’m a bit sappy like that.

Tell us how you met and became engaged. 

We met on Tinder! We went on our first date to a pizza place outside of Washington, D.C. in a quaint neighborhood called Old Town Alexandria. I ate nearly all of the pizza. I think Tim was too nervous. We fell in love about 5 months later. Tim proposed 3 years later at the same restaurant. He had a HUGE bouquet of my favorite flowers (lilies) on the same table where we sat during our first date. He got down on one knee and after regaining my composure, I realized that our parents were watching us from the steps up to the second level of the restaurant. I almost fainted…I was completely in shock, utter disbelief. It is one of the greatest days of my life to date.

Planning Design and Coordination: Kirkbrides // Photography: Lauren Gabrielle // Floral Décor: HeatherLily // Stationery: Blue Envelope Boutique // Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Cleveland Museum of Art // Bridal Dress Designer: Monique Lhuillier // Hair/Makeup: Cleveland Makeup Artistry Karin Dodge // Cake: Luna Bakery // Lighting: Rock the House // Linens: L’Nique // Videography: Just Hitched Wedding Films // Band Cocktail Hour Music: TCB through Cleveland Music Group  // Transportation (guest shuttles): A1 Mr. Limo // Transportation (bridal party): LED Luxury Line

 

Hien and Eugene’s serendipitous meeting led to their romance and eventually the proposal in the South of France. For the travel loving couple, Maui was an easy decision. Eugene is Australian and Hien is Canadian and Hawaii was the exact middle ground for both sides of their friends and family. The always-beautiful Olowalu Plantation House offered breathtaking scenery and Couture Events helped the couple design an intimate day that combined cultural traditions and relaxed romance.From the Vietnamese tea ceremony, to the ocean view ceremony, to the garden reception under climbing banyan trees and dressed in florals by Mandy Grace Designs, the day oozes casual elegance and it’s all captured to perfection by photographer Trish Barker.

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Will you briefly share your love story (how you met, the proposal)?

We met by pure coincidence. Eugene was new to Toronto, having lived in Toronto for only about a few weeks when we first met. He moved from Shanghai, where he lived for 3 years for a job. He was invited to a party by a few people he had randomly met at a restaurant. It turns out the party was taking place in the common entertainment room of my friend’s apartment building. Funny enough, that night I received a text from my friend telling me to come to the party, and by pure coincidence I was passing by in front of her apartment and naturally,  joined the party. I don’t actually remember when we first met at the party, but I do remember at some point in the night he asked me a lot of questions and I was getting really tired of answering them! He then gave me his email at the end of the night. He was so new to Toronto that he didn’t have a cell phone yet.

We dated for about 3 years and lived together for about 2 years prior to the proposal. He completely swept me off my feet and surprised me. We love to travel and so for Thanksgiving we went to the South of France — we’ve been before and absolutely love it there. I actually didn’t know we were going to the South of France until we go to the airport. I usually take the lead in planning our trips, and this time I insisted Eugene plan it, which he agreed to do, but in return, I had to agree to not ask about the trip — even where we were going  It didn’t occur to me that he was going to propose, even when I knew of where we were going because we’ve been to the South of France before and said we’d go back when we had the chance. We stayed in a town called Eze which is located on a cliff between Monaco and Nice. Eugene proposed the first night we were in Eze, and completely caught me by surprise. We were sitting at the hotel terrace (common area for guests)  and he said he had to run back to the room to go to the washroom — he has a thing about public washrooms, so I didn’t think anything of it — and when he came back he got down on one knee with the ring and proposed. I initially thought he was joking and actually said — don’t, don’t, don’t do it. I then figured out he was being serious and of course said yes. We topped off the night by heading into Monaco to celebrate. The evening was so memorable and fun!

How did you select Hawaii as your destination? 

Picking Maui was an easy decision for us. Eugene is Australian and I am Canadian. Hawaii was the exact middle ground for both sides of our friends and family.

What was your vision for the day?

It was very important for us that the wedding be classy/elegant but not stuffy. We wanted to create an intimate feeling and let our guests know how appreciative we were that they all traveled so far to celebrate our wedding day (more like week!). Overall, we wanted the day to be fun, and stress free.

Please tell us about the style you were going for (flowers, outdoor setup, etc.).

I would use the following words to describe the style we were going for: classic, simple, elegant, vintage, natural, romantic. Colours we stuck with were primarily cream and green, with grey blue as our accent.

We’d love to know about your dress! Who was the designer?

I LOVE my dress — wish I can wear it again and again! The dress is by Lea-Ann Belter a local Toronto designer. The dress was actually two parts. The main dress is called Divine by Astrid & Mercedes. I then had a lace top made, but in the same lace fabric as the skirt of my main dress. I wore both pieces during the ceremony and for most of the photos, during the reception, I took off the lace top.

Any other special details you’d like to share.

We also had a Vietnamese tea ceremony before the Western tea ceremony. The ceremony starts off with the groom’s side of the family bringing gifts to the bride’s side of the family.  The groom’s father asks the bride’s father for permission for his son to marry the bride-to-be. Once gifts are exchanged the bride and groom then serve tea to the parents and in return, the parents provide advice for a happy marriage. Following that, the groom’s family puts on jewelry for the bride as a symbol of welcoming her into their family.

Coordination: Couture Events // Floral Designer: Mandy Grace Designs // Photographer: Trish Barker // Venue: Olowalu Plantation House // Bridal Gown & Lace Top: Lea-Ann Belter // Stylist: MeiLi Autumn Beauty // Cinematographer: Hawaii Video Memories // Ribbon: Adorn // Officiant: Pia Aluli // Caterer: Cater 2 U // Cocktail Service: Garnish Craft Cocktail Catering // Ceremony + Cocktail Musician: M. Tevaga // DJ: DJ Boomshot // Rentals: Signature Event Rentals /  Inspiration Event Rentals // Table Top Rentals: Set Maui // Guest Transportation: Speedi Shuttle

 

Bride Sarah fell in love with Georgia’s Cumberland Island years before her engagement to Bryan, and knew it was the perfect place to invite their friends and family from around the world to celebrate their wedding. The couple hosted the weekend  at Greyfield Inn, a romantic historic property with breathtakingly beautiful grounds. Their personalized events included special details nodding to the bride’s Scottish heritage and a muted white color palette that let the beauty of the surroundings shine. Amy Arrington was on hand to capture it all and we’re excited to share the lovely images with you today!

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What made the wedding special and unique? 

The picturesque, protected Cumberland Island provided the most amazing environment for our wedding, I fell in love with the island the first time I stepped foot on it to go camping years back.  The wild horses, untouched beaches, and no one else around for miles made it the perfect place to share with the people most important to us. The atmosphere of Cumberland Island and Greyfield Inn feels like a step backwards in time, isolated from life’s usual distractions. It was a weekend to focus on being together with our favorite people from all over the globe. The Greyfield Inn, built by the Carnegie family in 1900 and converted to an inn in 1962, hosted our guests in addition to our rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception. We had the entire inn to ourselves, and the charm and romance of Greyfield paired with the hospitality of the staff was unforgettable. Chef Whitney Otawka and beverage director Christopher Becerra worked with us to create amazing tasting experiences all weekend long. The whole experience had so many personal touches, we couldn’t have been happier with how the whole weekend went.

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

I had no preconceptions when it came to wedding dresses; I had not dreamed of a specific wedding dress so I went into wedding dress shopping with an open mind. Not being the biggest shopping fan I was a little overwhelmed by the choices at first. However, I do love to dress up and love classic lines and a touch of vintage. I tried a number of classic ballgowns on and they looked beautiful but they didn’t seem in fitting with the outside wedding we had planned. I headed to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta as they have such a wide selection and pulled tons of gowns with nothing seeming to be quite right. Then I described our wedding setting and one of the assistants went to grab a couple more dresses. Once I put on the dress I knew it was the perfect one for the day and venue. The beautiful embroidered pattern running down the skirt reminded me of the Spanish moss hanging from the trees on Cumberland Island. I remember Skyping my mum back in the UK to tell her I had found the dress and tearing up a little.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

The rehearsal dinner menu had a British twist through out (I moved from Scotland to the USA in 2009), we had posh fish and chips and then sticky toffee pudding for dessert. We were able to customize all the food and wine selections, and our favorite cocktails were handcrafted for our guests. The ceremony was performed by a dear friend of the groom and we worked with him to plan the entire ceremony and wrote our own vows. The weekend definitely felt like it was designed for us. It was great that we had the entire Inn to ourselves and our wedding party. There were so many small wedding details too that were personal from my family’s tartan on my dad’s tie to the horseshoe that I carried for good luck – a tradition from back in the UK.

What was the most memorable part of the day? 

It’s almost impossible to narrow down; we had a whole weekend of memories with the most incredible people, some we hadn’t seen in years. Almost all of our guests were from out of state or out of the country – we were honored to have so many guests make the journey to Cumberland Island. But the most memorable part of the weekend has to be standing in front of all of our family and friends watching the love of my life starring right back with a big grin promising to spend the rest of his life with me.

Tell us how you met and became engaged?

Both of us had been encouraged by friends to try this new dating app that neither of us had heard of, but I think everyone has heard of Tinder by now! But when our friends introduced us to the app it hadn’t been out that long and everyone was just learning how entertaining it was to swipe left or right. Bryan was a day trader and I was a research scientist and I can’t imagine how our lives would have crossed path without this app. When we went on our first date he was certainly more interesting and animated than any other guy I’d met.

With our engagement I think Bryan had a challenge trying to catch me off guard, I’m not great with surprises. He knew I was maybe on to him and we had a trip coming up to Rome which I thought was an obvious choice. So he caught me off guard one night as I returned home from work. I hadn’t a clue what he had planned, all I knew was he kept calling to see why I was running so late that day. When I opened the door I saw rose petals leading throughout the house and I just stopped everything to register what was happening. As I walked in I saw photos strung through the house, chronologically displaying so many fantastic moments of our times together, then balloons, more petals and roses, and at the end my boyfriend all dressed up and smiling from ear to ear!

Photographer: Amy Arrington // Flowers: Island Flowers and Garden // Stationery: Minted // Venue: Greyfield Inn // Hair and Make-up: Kristen Waiting, Helmet Atlanta // Dress Designer: Eve of Milady / Bridals by Lori // Bridemaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo / Bella Bridemaids // Cake: Tamatha Cain Choux Cake Studio // Groom: Ralph Lauren Purple Label Saks Fifth Avenue // Music: Music by Pegge, Pegge Ealum // Engagement Ring and Wedding Band Vintage Setting: I. Switt Fine Antique Silver & Jewelry Philadelphia PA