Santa Cruz Wedding at Nestldown
July 2, 2014
RomanticOutdoor WeddingsSummer Weddings
A chance encounter led to this couples' seriously fabulous love story, and ultimately to their seriously fabulous wedding. Designed to perfection by Events Of Distinction with florals from Michael Daigian Design so pretty I could cry, every image snapped up by Paco And Betty will be treasured by these two forever and ever - and you can sneak a peek of their pretty day here.
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From Events of Distinction...Craig grew up just outside New York City, but became a diehard Boston Red Sox fan while attending college at nearby Tufts University. After graduating, Craig relocated to Northern California to pursue a career in hi-tech. Following a visit back to Boston, he boarded an Amtrak train bound for New York. The train experienced a major delay in route, so Craig headed to the Bar Car, where he noticed a lovely young lady, glued to her laptop screen while sipping a glass of wine. He also noticed that Shari was streaming the Yankees-Red Sox game on her computer, so he bravely approached her with a not-so-classic pick-up line. "You’re a Yankees fan?" he asked. "I’m so sorry."

Yes she was a Yankees fan, but despite their conflicting baseball loyalties, the two struck up a most pleasant conversation, and the inconvenience from the train’s delay suddenly vanished. After the train resumed and approached its destination, Craig demonstrated his hi-tech expertise by quickly inputting his contact information on Shari’s laptop. Three long weeks passed by, and just as Craig was beginning to think he had struck out, Shari worked up enough nerve to call him.

The rest, as they say, is history. After a year’s worth of funny flirty text messages and late-night phone calls, Shari moved to San Francisco to be with Craig. And when Craig was ready to pop the question, and he knew just where to propose – he chose a train running from San Francisco to Silicon Valley to present his sweetheart with a family heirloom diamond ring!

When Shari & Craig chose Events of Distinction to design and plan their wedding, they wanted to have a celebration that expressed their unique personalities. Once we heard the story of their railway romance, we immediately focused on the couple’s train travel experiences to express the design concept.

Shari and Craig’s selection of Nestldown for their wedding location was the perfect choice. A spectacular setting in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Northern California, Nestldown is a forested sanctuary that features a miniature railroad encircling its beautiful trees and gardens.

After developing a color palette of Shari’s favorite orange and Craig’s favorite green, grounded with a slate gray, we devised an attention-grabbing Save the Date card to get their guests on board for the festivities. We followed that up with a captivating “Wedtrak” invitation, designed to resemble a train ticket.

On the wedding day, guests arrived at Nestldown to experience a wonderland of lush landscapes and towering redwoods. An earth and wood stairway meandered down a forested hillside to the ceremony area. In this flagstone-paved setting, guests were greeted with a selection of “Mango Melody” and “Citrus Quencher” beverages.

As they gracefully descended into the ceremony area in their slate gray dresses, the bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets which included parrot tulips, dahlias and roses. Shari, escorted by her parents, glided magically down the rows of neatly arranged chairs, carrying a bouquet of viburnum, parrot tulips, cymbidium orchids and green ranunculus. The guitarist played one of the couple’s favorite songs, “In My Life” by The Beatles, while Craig waited adoringly for his lovely bride.

The ceremony featured a special guest as the officiant. Dan Fogelman, a Hollywood screenwriter of many well-known comedic movies (including Cars, Crazy Stupid Love, Guilt Trip and Last Vegas), was a good friend of Shari since grade school. Needless to say, he delivered a hilarious yet heartwarming script about love and marriage, weaving touching stories about Shari & Craig into his “sermon.”

Experiencing wedded bliss, Shari & Craig slipped away for some photos together, while guests were graciously directed to the cocktail lawn adjacent to Nestldown’s “railway.” Upon arrival, guests were offered a signature “Sidecar” beverage, and two festive food “stations” provided a thematic touch. Paying tribute to Shari’s New York roots, the “Grand Central” Station was designed to reflect the classic architecture of this Manhattan landmark. The “Orient Express” Station featured the couple’s favorite Asian dish, Pad Thai.

After Shari & Craig completed their post-ceremony photos, they made a spectacular entrance to the cocktail hour aboard the Nestldown train. As the train whistle blew in celebration, guests gathered around the disembarking couple to offer their congratulations. The train then took guests on joyrides around the property for the remainder of the cocktail reception.

To direct guests to their dining destination, Craig used his computer smarts to create an electronic display on his big-screen TV resembling the old-fashioned “solari boards” that were once commonly found at train stations. This display listed the guests in alphabetical order, along with their assigned “Station” and “Platform” location.

Nestldown’s grand meadow provided a dazzling open-air setting for a delectable dinner. Different shaped glass vases and vintage-inspired china were used to make it feel like an elegant garden party from the 1920’s. Centerpieces featured tangerine orange flowers with accents of trailing greenery and succulents. Guests savored the California Mixed Greens with orange infused cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, candied pecans. Then they were faced with a deliciously difficult choice of entrée: Seared Mustard and Truffle Rubbed Rack of Lamb, Chicken Parmesan or Butternut Squash Ravioli.

As the sun began to set behind the towering trees, guests were invited into the “Barn,” a soaring glass and fir structure. While guests munched on scrumptious sweets, Shari & Craig made another grand entrance as the 9-piece band revved up the music. It was a standing ovation for their carefully choreographed first dance! A festive dessert display provided another highlight for the celebration, while just outside the barn, a Scotch Sipping Station gave guests a good kick in the caboose.

When the last song was over, Shari & Craig were sad to see their nuptial train ride come to an end. But they were elated knowing that their friends and family had jumped aboard the “Wedtrak Express” to celebrate their wonderful journey together.