This next wedding took place at Relais du Soleil which translates to “a place to rest in the sun” and that’s exactly the vibe I’m getting from these photos. It’s relaxed, casual elegance at it’s best and lucky for us we  can all feel like we were there thanks to the amazing photos by the talented Christina Diane. And just wait til you feast your eyes on the dessert! All I have left to say is, can you please pass the donuts? See the rest of this California wedding here in the gallery!

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Since we were engaged in December I thought it would be impossible to plan a wedding for the following summer. Apparently I was wrong. Having an open mind was really the key to success. I was NOT the girl who dreamed about a fairytale wedding from childhood. I was the girl who quit dance lessons to play soccer and would rather play with Ninja Turtles than Barbie. (I think my 2 older brothers may have been an influence here).  The only thing we did know was that we wanted a casual, vintage-style affair. We found the perfect outdoor space in Sonoma County that was surrounded by vineyards. It felt like California while still reminding us of the rural area of Virginia where we met. The 3 horses that resided on the property really made the entire place feel rustic and romantic.

Most of our decisions needed to be made quickly, but it turned out to be helpful that we didn’t have time to dwell on things. We spent a short amount of time thinking about each aspect, decided, and then moved on.  We also figured out early on that we could do a lot of the work ourselves with the help of friends and family.  My parents were instrumental in helping with the day-to-day planning tasks and taking impromptu trips up to Sonoma to check out vendors.  I asked one of my bridesmaids to work on our flower arrangements, which turned out gorgeous.  Another one of my good friends was our official instant film photographer and her outgoing personality was perfect for grabbing people she’d never met for a photo opportunity.  We asked multiple people with small video cameras to record different parts of the day which gave us an amazing view from many different perspectives.  My dad, brothers, and Steve even built all of the lighting over the wooden barn dance floor to make sure we could dance into the night and still see each other!

I designed and screen printed all of our save-the-dates, invites, and favors to make sure they had a homemade feel.  It was definitely time consuming, but these items were the first and last impressions people had of our wedding, and I wanted it to feel totally us. We never really chose “wedding colors,” but rather a palette of vintage and nature inspired hues.  We added a bunch of other personal touches, like flip-flops for all the ladies on the dance floor (though I saw quite a few men steal the larger sizes) and hand-painted signs and menus.  To play up the rustic feel we ordered different sized glass jars from a canning website to use as vases and we filled the tables with multiple sizes of electric LED wax candles so there was a soft glow throughout the night.

Since a lot of our guests were joining us from the east coast, we wanted to give them a true California experience.  We served donuts for dessert from Dynamo Donuts, a favorite San Francisco shop (they even have a Maple Bacon flavor). Our favors came from a local jam vendor who sells at the best co-op market in town.  We had a small gluten-free cake (I can’t eat wheat, so I got my own dessert!) from Gabrielle at Cake Coquette which was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.  For dinner we went back to Steve’s southern roots and had a BBQ buffet complete with pulled pork, corn bread, and mac n’ cheese. The North Carolina crowd gave it 2-thumbs up.

Of course one of our favorite parts of the whole experience was the ceremony. Not only because we finally tied the knot, but because we had our fathers officiate. It made the wedding so much more meaningful.  I’m Jewish (non Kosher, obviously) and Steve is Catholic, so we had each of our dads conduct aspects which were relevant to our respective faiths.  My dad also took a class at the courthouse in Santa Rosa to get ordained so he could make it official in the state of California.

Photography: Christina Diane Weddings / Venue: Relais du Soleil / Dress: Anjolique / Hair Piece: The Wedding Warehouse / Shoes: Cole Haan / Jewelry: borrowed from grandma / Flowers: Friend of the Bride/ Vases for flowers: Sks-Bottle / Cake: Cake Coquette /Donuts: Dynamo Donut / Catering: Larry Vito Catering / Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal / Grooms Attire: Mens Warehouse / Ties: Ties.com / Jam: Loulou’s Garden / Sandals: Old Navy / Giant Clothespins: Factory Direct Craft / Guestbook: Grimm / Stationery: Paper Source / Candles: Wholesale Events Solutions / Market Lights: Party Lights