This Bride may have felt a bit like Cinderella (a chic version I must say) in her dress but if these pics by Kate Webber are any indication, she radiates a princess vibe more than anything (with a little help from The Powder Room too). With perfect planning and pretty petals from Scott Corridan Designs and delicious dishes from Taste Catering, this is a whimsical wedding not to be forgotten.
From Scott Corridan Designs… Kirsten and Max met in NYC many, many moons ago – nine years to be exact. This Bay Area couple chose to celebrate their special day at Chalk Hill Estate amidst the rolling hills and autumn leaves in wine country. We blended Sonoma Valley charm with a dash of whimsy for a perfect greenhouse setting. A farmer’s market inspired cocktail hour and pops of yellow flowers kept this fall wedding looking fresh and bright.
From the Bride… I grew up in Hawaii and we decided to jet to Maui for a last minute weekend getaway. My friends were highly suspicious but I was honestly pretty clueless right up until the end, when he proposed. It was very romantic and involved a dinner and dessert picnic on the beach overlooking the ocean and sunset.
We toyed with a Hawaiian destination wedding, but wanted all our friends and family to be able to come and California is the place that means the most to us as a couple. We love wine country (who doesn’t?!) but especially Healdsburg. We go there all the time and it’s a really special, still slightly under the radar place compared to other areas in wine country. We were looking for a gorgeous view and rolling hills, autumn leaves, and a great place to throw a dance party. Chalk Hill fit the bill perfectly.
Our wedding theme was organic, rustic chic. Restoration Hardware meets a greenhouse! My favorite color is green and we wanted a lot of greenery, garlands, succulents, etc. We added pops of yellow to balance it out and keep it feeling autumnal.
We didn’t have a theme per se, but wanted it to feel like “us” with little moments of whimsy. There were real elements of us in the Hawaiian ukulele player at the ceremony (the guests would not stop talking about how much they loved him!), Hawaiian inspired malasadas and mochi ice cream for dessert. The ferry building farmers market is a favorite weekend activity for us and the farmer’s market themed cocktail hour and very well stocked whiskey bar were strongly influenced by Max.
The dress is Vera Wang, from who knows how many seasons back; I found it at a sample sale. I wasn’t planning on buying Vera or a sample for that matter but I happened upon it on the first day of shopping with my Mom and it just felt like me more than any other dress I tried on. It has a gray layer of tulle that I just loved and I felt like no one would appreciate but me…which is probably why it stuck around for so many seasons at the store. It weirdly felt like maybe this dress had been waiting for me! It was kind of in shambles and I had it restored and altered by Cathy Marie at the Alameda Sewing Cottage – she is a dream. I loved the dress all the more for its tatters and little imperfections, actually. Kind of a Cinderella before the ball moment.
I wore two pairs of shoes: 5” Fendi platforms for the ceremony so that for once I could look straight into my fiance’s eyes. Then afterwards switched to YSLs with a lower heel so I could actually walk and talk at the same time. After the first dance I also changed into a vintage dress from my Aunt that she wore to a gala back in the 80s…I had it shortened by Cathy Marie and I just loved it. It was a surprise for my Aunt and she was SO excited to see it that night, she couldn’t get over it! As for jewelry, I went really simple with just two diamond bracelets on loan from Kwiat, where our rings came from too. Our lovely groomsman hand-carried them across the country for us, and back to the shop afterwards.
The ceremony was outside on a little grassy park at Chalk Hill. We had a beautiful archway that Scott did such a great job with. We arranged our chairs in a half circle which was Scott’s suggestion and we just loved it. We really struggled with writing our ceremony and only finalized it a few days before… it’s much harder than one would think. We ended up keeping it really simple and SHORT because we always appreciate that at other people’s weddings! We had a Mark Twain reading by Max’s sister and then a funny reading by our friend Kyle. We managed to make it through without crying though we’ve heard quite a few others were shedding tears, so I guess mission accomplished! My brother Andrew was our officiant and he took it all very seriously.
My niece Kaelyn is three and was our flower girl. I was personally a little worried that she wouldn’t make it down the aisle. Having my brother at the end of it really helped and somewhat shockingly she pulled it off with no issues! My mom said later that she thinks Kaelyn somehow understood the “significance” of the day and was on her best behavior. Ha!
My bouquet was a mix of yellows and whites, bridesmaids too. Max and the groomsmen wore little succulent boutonnieres.
Ben Ahn (our ukulele player) played Israel Kamakawiwaole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as we were coming down, and “Brown Eyed Girl” as the recessional. And all of my other contemporary Hawaiian favorites as guests were arriving and during cocktail hour. It was amazing!
The Pavilion at Chalk Hill Estate is gorgeous, high ceilings, lots of wood and a big terrace and fireplace. We had a live saxophonist and a guitarist playing during dinner which was great. It was a HOT day (high 90s) so people were all about the cocktails as they mingled around before dinner. We had two signature cocktails. Mine was elderflower with vodka and strawberries and lemon, Max’s was Four Roses bourbon straight up with a twist. And we got a gorgeous sunset. The dancing was off the hook, people LOVED Keith and his All Stars.
We are not big cake people so we had a dessert bar with all of my favorite treats – lemon cupcakes, mini s’mores, strawberry hand pies, etc. – and malasadas and mochi ice cream passed around which was the big hit.
Everything was special, but a few of the best moments for me were getting ready with my best friends, standing up at the arch with Max and my brother and thinking how beautiful the trees and sunlight and breeze were in that moment, and our entrance into dinner when everyone cheered – it was just overwhelming to feel so much love and happiness all at once. Also some hilarious moments when elderly aunties and uncles were tearing up the dance floor. I loved that the dancing started out with everyone old and young enjoying the band and then gradually transitioned throughout the night and ended with us playing DJ on our iPods singing 80s music and Backstreet Boys at the top of our lungs. That’s just what we wanted.
Don’t overthink it. And don’t take too much time… just make decisions and move on. And relax the day of, enjoy and be present in every minute because it all goes too fast.
Photography: Kate Webber Photography | Videography: Weddings On Film | Event Planning: Scott Corridan Design | Floral Design: Scott Corridan Design | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Bride's Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Bride's Shoes: Fendi | Jewelry: Kwiat | Catering: Taste Catering | Hair & Makeup: The Powder Room | Transportation: Pure Luxury | Wedding Venue: Chalk Hill Estate Winery | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Barndiva | Rentals: Encore Events Rentals | Rentals: La Tavola | Sunday Brunch Venue: Hotel Healdsburg | Welcome Cocktails: Spoonbar