Oh my goodness. I feel like I sneezed, and summer just slipped right by. Four, fabulous months filled with beachside nuptials, lavender field weddings, and rustic chic barn affairs just flew by. The light at the end of the tunnel? FALL weddings. Like this one. From California. Sent to us by the fabulous floral design team at Fleurs de France. After peeping at every last image from What Shanni Saw, I am SO ready for you lovely brides & grooms to start sending us your party’s amongst the changing leaves, with apple cider, warm pashminas, and cozy cabin fires. And boy to we have the perfect wedding to start of our Autumnal festivities. The perfect color palette of purples, the beautiful changing colors, and the most quintessential fall, DIY motif – the leaf. Click here for more!

Rich proposed to Sarah on December 12, 2009 in San Francisco in front of Union Square on a rainy night, surrounded by beautiful Christmas lights and bundled up ice skaters.  He presented Sarah with his grandmother’s wedding ring, fully prepared for her to take the 2 carat diamond stone from it and design the perfect engagement ring of her dreams. To his sweet surprise, Sarah, who has never received a gift she didn’t enjoy exchanging, instantly fell in love with his grandmother’s ring, and would never have dreamed of changing it in any way!

Planning the wedding was a dream come true for Sarah, as she has always been a planner at heart and loves crafting and making daily trips to Michaels and Joann’s.  The couple instantly agreed upon four things they wanted for their wedding: fall weather, beautiful nature, good food, and lots of friends.

Living in the Bay Area made finding these things easy, as Wine Country was a stone’s throw away and a perfect match.  After finding a winery that felt like it was in the middle of a forest, it was easy for Sarah to pick her colors and work around the beautiful backdrop that is Buena Vista Winery (California’s oldest winery).  With shades of purple and with fall as the time of year, Sarah built the wedding around a theme of leaves.

Since Rich and Sarah are both sweets lovers (and excellent cooks) it was important to Sarah that the favors were handmade candies (caramels by Sarah and toffee by Rich) and that the dessert table offered not only a variety of cupcakes (great mini-cupcakes from Moonbaby Cakes!) but candies in shades of purple as well.  Every cake plate and decoration used on the dessert table was purchased by Sarah in the year long search for glass plates on Ebay. Etsy was another favorite website of Sarah’s, as she purchased the cake topper, fabric leaves, pompoms and mother gifts (handmade quilts with pictures of the bride and groom as children) from the site.

All of the “save the dates”, invitations and place cards were designed and made by Sarah using tools purchased from local craft stores and put together with help from her Mom and Sister during weekend long craft-fests.

Shanni and Blaine Weilert from What Shanni Saw captured the day beautifully on film and took great pictures of the many magic moments it entailed – including capturing the gorgeous Oak trees that flanked the outdoor wedding altar and that perfectly changed from green to vivid colors of orange, red, and yellow the day before Sarah’s wedding.

Jessica from Fleurs de France helped Sarah achieve her rustic floral vision and worked with Sarah to choose beautiful flowers within her budget.  It was easy for Sarah to trust that Jessica would choose just the right flowers to fulfill her vision of the day.  Not only did she do just that, but she even surprised Sarah by having two beautiful tall birch containers with fall leaves placed by the honeymoon table. The flowers were a great surprise for Sarah and one of the few she actually got to have that day, since she planned everything down to the last detail.

Overall, an important lesson to be learned from the day was to not over think/analyze things, which Sarah often has the habit of doing and go with your gut.  Choose great, highly recommended vendors and learn to trust. Enjoy your day and don’t worry about the things that you can’t control and you will find that everything turns out the way it should in the end.  Remember why you are there: to marry the one you love!

Venue: Buena Vista Winery / Wedding Planning: DIY / Caterer: Grapevine Catering / Wedding Stationery:  DIY / Officiant: Reverend Peadar Dalton / Photographer: What Shanni Saw / Bridal Gown: Jim Helm / Bridal Shoes:  Jimmy Choo / Hair & Makeup:  Erin Tate, Lewis & Company Hair Salon / Bridesmaids Dresses: Trudy’s Brides / Favors: DIY / Florals: Fleurs de France / Linens: Classic Party Rentals / Equipment & Lighting: Classic Party Rentals / Transportation: California Wine Tours / Tuxedo & Suits: Banana Republic / Wedding Cake: Moonbaby Cakes

Hayley Paige and Jim Hjelm Occasions are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Fleurs de France and JLM Couture, Inc are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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