Before I started blogging…I was definitely a glam wedding kind of girl. We’re talking chandeliers, TONS of peonies, white, white and more white. But having pored over literally thousands upon thousands of weddings every day for the last three years, my appreciation and love for the sweet backyard style wedding is quickly creeping to the top of my favs. A wedding like this next one, photographed to perfection by Jesse Leake, where the celebration of the day, the total joy of the moment really comes thru. For me, it just doesn’t get much better. Click here to see even more.

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

northern california wedding

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From the Bride…When trapped in city traffic or walking past a fast-food joint, my husband (!!!) Ryan is known to exclaim that he wishes he were born a bee-keeping country farmer in the ‘40s. That – coupled with my own affection for clanking typewriters, Billie Holiday blues, and old, rusty things in general – made it easy to choose the simple and sweet vintage theme for the biggest party of our lives. Ryan and I picked the old-timey gray and pink pallet together, knowing that we didn’t need much color against the gorgeous apple orchards at Vine Hill House. Being enthusiastic (and, in this case, masochistic) DIY-ers, my mom, mother-in-law to-be and I feverishly rummaged every thrift store in California for varnished birdcages, Quaker–lace tablecloths and Fostoria vases to paint the scene nostalgia.

What Ryan and I wanted most was for our day to feel casual and relaxed, so the backyard feel of the venue was perfect. We brought in a firepit so that the guests could make smores when the sun went down (our favorite camping pastime), and my mom made her own special sangria from a family recipe that shows up at every summertime party. Instead of a guestbook, we brought in a Polaroid camera so our friends and family could create an instant scrapbook, and we had my Nana’s antique typewriter so that they could also leave some “words of advice” for the new couple. For favors, we gave homemade CDs with some of our favorite songs for the drive back to San Francisco. One of my favorite details was the chandelier we hung above some old wooden adirondacks from my parent’s backyard to create a cozy outdoor living room. What Ryan and I remember most about the day by far was all the laughing – the whole-hearted, big bellyache laughing. The moments we were unprepared for were certainly the best – like when the pastor accidentally interrupted my personal vows with an “Amen!”, when a wedding cake food-fight broke out during the reception, or when my brother, the ”male-of-honor,” ended his toast with a 5 minute performance from The Hangover. All these little details, both planned and unplanned, helped to make our wedding an incredibly joyous and love-filled celebration.

Our day was made perfect, really, by our amazing vendors! Every single one of ‘em dealt with our bridezilla and groomsmanic moments with absolute charm and respect for our vision: Dan and Jan at Vine Hill House moved our ceremony site six times ‘til we got it right – back in the very first spot we tried; Susan and her staff at Trends Catering maintained open minds (and huge smiles!!) as we designed a menu of our favorite family dishes; Bob Moffitt, our unbelievably talented musician, learned a whopping EIGHT new songs for the music obsessed bride; Maria Philbin at Philbin Floral designed incredible wildflower arrangements for 36 mismatched antique vases, 12 mason jars and 1 homemade chuppah; Tony at Nor Cal Pro…what can I say…anyone who can mix Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros with Ini Kamoze is a genius in my book; the oh-so-sweet bridal entourage, Chandry Bennett and Bara Krejcikova, drove all the way up from SF to make me look and feel like absolutely beautiful in my perfectly comfy, perfectly perfect Amy Kuschel dress; and of course Jesse Leake and Suzy, who managed to capture every single moment of the better-than-best day EVER!


Photography: Jesse Leake Photography / Venue: Vine Hill House, Sebastopol, California / Catering: Trends Catering / Flowers: Maria Philbin / Cake: Patisserie Angelica / DJ: Nor Cal Productions / Ceremony and Reception Musician: Bob Moffitt / Hair: Chandry Bennett / Makeup: Bara Krejcikova / Bride’s Dress: Amy Kuschel / Bridesmaid and Flowergirl Dresses: J Crew / Boy’s Suits and Ties: Macys