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Elegant Navy and Grey Summer Wedding

When these law school sweeties set out to plan their summer wedding, pulling off an elegant garden party at Meadowood Napa Valley was at the top of their agenda. Think an al fresco dinner layered in neutrals with a pop of navy thrown in for good measure. Downey Street Events came along side them to coordinate the day, and we’ve got the goodies straight from the lens of Jesse Leake.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Resort
Styles
Elegant

From Jesse LeakeFew couples can claim that they found love while studying for the bar exam, but that is precisely what happened with Kristin and Adam. The couple met in law school, and began dating just a few months before graduation. Adam had already accepted a position at a law firm in Los Angeles, and Kristin had accepted a position at a firm in Palo Alto. With bar studying looming over the summer, and jobs in different cities following graduation, neither necessarily expected a long-term commitment.

Leading up to graduation, Kristin had told Adam that she planned on locking herself in the library to study by herself all summer and would have no time to see him. Growing up, Kristin had heard the story of her parents getting married two weeks after her mother took the bar exam, and her mother had actually moved out of the house and into an apartment to have time to study on her own. The family lore was that Kristin’s mother said to her father “Bryan, I love you, I am going to marry you, but I cannot live with you while studying for the bar.” Considering Kristin’s parents have worked together for thirty years and clearly work well together, Kristin assumed bar exam studying was a beast of its own, and something that she had to do solo.

Adam accepted her neurosis, but figured they didn’t have to cut ties for the entire summer. Adam started bar review classes in San Francisco, and Kristin started a few days later in Berkeley. She assumed they would be apart for the summer, and then move to different cities, and did not know how their new relationship would progress after that. Kristin’s master plan changed two hours into the first day of her bar review. After the first session of multiple-choice diagnostics, she called Adam and sheepishly asked if he perhaps wanted to study together. He did. In fact, he was on the next BART over to Berkeley from the city, moved into Kristin’s house for the summer, and the two of them spent every day for the next ten weeks studying together. They both realized that regardless of how stressful the studying was, they worked exceptionally well together. Adam calmed Kristin down when she stressed out, and Kristin made Adam study far more than he would have otherwise. 1,400 bar flashcards, thousands of multiple choice questions, hundreds of hours of bar review videos, dozens of practice essays, and three days of torture later, the California bar exam was over, and Kristin and Adam were closer than ever.

To celebrate, Kristin’s parents treated the couple to a dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood, a resort close to Kristin’s family’s heart, as they had spent Mother’s Day there when Kristin was growing up. Having spent little time with Adam as the couple had just started dating before spending the summer studying for the bar, Kristin’s family finally was able to understand how Kristin could have spent every moment of the summer with Adam. Kristin’s younger brother tested Adam’s knowledge, not of constitutional law, but of obscure Simpson’s references (Adam passed with flying colors). Adam won Kristin’s father over with Monty Python quotes. By the end of dinner, Kristin’s brother and father had invited Adam on a family vacation without actually consulting Kristin first (Kristin was fine with it).

Unfortunately, after their actually enjoyable summer of studying for the bar (they both passed), Kristin and Adam had to part ways; he to LA, she to San Francisco. Over the course of first year as law firm associates, the two traveled back and forth to see each other almost every weekend. Finally, when Adam received the news at 6:00 pm on a Friday evening that his firm was moving him to the San Francisco office, he packed all his belongings that night and drove up to San Francisco.

At the point Adam got the news he was being transferred to San Francisco, he was already in the process of designing an engagement ring with a jeweler in Santa Monica. Having moved, there was no way for him to choose the diamond. So, Adam sent two of his best friends (and future groomsmen) to select the stone. They did a very good job spending Adam’s money for him. Adam proposed in a secluded redwood grove in the Avenue of the Giants in Northern California.

Choosing a wedding venue was a simple decision for the couple. They immediately thought back to the dinner they had with Kristin’s family at Meadowood. They loved the fact that Meadowood had meaning in their past, but was also a location they could always return to in the future to relive their wedding memories.

Kristin and Adam wanted the wedding to feel like an elegant, intimate mid-summer garden party – similar to parties Kristin’s parents have hosted over the years in their garden. The couple loves good food and wine, and wanted to take advantage of the abundance Northern California offers. They dreamed of long kings tables, and a farm-to-table family style dinner, ensuring that their guests would share in the experience of the dinner together. Though bringing together two families, and friends from around the world, Kristin and Adam wanted everyone to feel comfortable enough with each other that by the time dancing started everyone would be dancing with each other! They truly wanted their guests to feel part of one big family instead of multiple, disparate groups.

Given that the celebration was a destination wedding for most invitees, the couple decided on the Fourth of July weekend so that guests would be able to make a vacation out of it. Kristin and Adam wanted to ensure that guests were able to experience the bucolic Napa Valley lifestyle. In the days leading up to the wedding, guests wine tasted, played croquet on the famed Meadowood lawn, and went for bicycle rides. The rehearsal dinner was held on the Fourth of July at Rutherford Hill Winery, and all wedding guests were invited to experience an authentic California taco truck and play lawn games as they watched the sun set over the valley.

Kristin and Adam wrote the ceremony themselves, and it was officiated by a dear law school friend. A Berkeley Law professor, and Kristin’s godmother, performed one of the ceremony readings. The ceremony took place under a chuppah that Adam and Kristin’s father and brother built together.

As the midsummer sun dipped beneath the trees and the bistro lights flickered on, the celebration moved inside for dancing with the amazing San Francisco-based band, Pop Rocks. Kristin and Adam’s dream came true with a packed dance floor spanning all generations. At the end of the night, Kristin and Adam were whisked away by their brothers in the getaway car: Kristin’s brother’s restored 1967 VW bus. In all, it was truly the perfect event, filled with amazing food, friends and family, and effortless sophistication.

Photography: Jesse Leake | Event Coordinator: Lauren Geissler; Downey Street Events | Florist: Sharla Flock Designs | Wedding Gown: Monique L'huillier | Cake: Sweet Things Bakery | Invitations: Alexandra Rinde; The Aerialist Press | Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaid Dresses: Kate Spade | Hair And Makeup: Meaganne McCandess | Band: Pop Rocks | Groom's Attire: Jcrew | Guitarist: Elizabeth Lowery | Linens: La Travola | Venue: Meadowood Napa Valley

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How-To: French Twist Ponytail

I’m on a constant mission to find ways to manage my (unruly) mane, so when I stumble on hair tutorials that are not only drop dead gorgeous but also totally doable, I make sure to pay attention. Whipped up by the master of all things beauty, BE.NYLA, and captured by Betsi Ewing Studio, you’ll want to tuck away this french twist ponytail so you can turn around your next bad hair day.

step-1

Tease the crown lightly, grab sections around the crown and tease again lightly, and gently brush everything back-going over the pouf.

step-2
Gather all the hair together into a ponytail. Twist hair and pin until secure.

step-3
With an elastic band tie the ponytail. This ensures that it does not go loose. Spray a light hairspray on ends and lightly tease the ponytail with your fingers.

Photography: Betsi Ewing Studio | Hair + Make Up: BE.NYLA | Model: Angela Lanter

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Rustic Napa Valley Winter Wedding

My love for winter weddings has been steadily growing, but after seeing these photos, I now consider myself a full blown fan. Waterlily Pond and Soiree By Simone transformed this space into a winter wonderland and Delbarr Moradi Photography was there to snap up every sparkle and snowflake. With Christmas a mere week away, I’ll be dreaming of a White Christmas as I cozy up with this gallery.

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Estate
Styles
Vintage

From The Bride… When J.P. and I first got engaged we knew we wanted to have an intimate destination wedding since our families were from different states, however where that destination would be was up in the air for a while. So we put our heads together and thought of a place that encompasses all of the things we love and enjoy as a couple – Napa Valley! Napa wine country is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It is hard not to be relaxed, romanced and content when you are there, from the spectacular green landscape of mountains and endless vineyards to the amazing architecture and design of the wineries, resorts, and restaurants. Visually it is stunning and the abundance of some of the world’s most incredible food and wine doesn’t hurt either. It was the perfect backdrop for our wedding and I am so happy it is where we chose. I wanted a venue that was both rustic and glamorous and when I visited The Vintage Estates I knew the minute I looked at the property it was our venue. It is from top to bottom beautiful with the striking architecture of the buildings, the colorful landscaping, and the vines crawling up the side of the Napa Style building, I fell in love instantly and could not imagine saying I do anywhere else.

I had known long before we got engaged that when I did get married I wanted to have a winter wedding. When I was growing up and even now as an adult, the holiday season was what I looked forward to the most. December means time for beautiful lights, feelings of love, and of course watching one of my favorite movies, White Christmas. This was a major influence when it came to deciding what time of year and what design I wanted for our wedding. With the white snow, twinkling lights, and romantic atmosphere, I could not imagine a better time of the year to celebrate love and be with your closest family and friends.

I wanted the wedding décor and design to be clean and bright but warm; I imagined white floral arrangements, sparkly accents, and twinkling lights. I wanted it to be wine country meets Gatsby and that is exactly what we created. The design execution of the wedding came out perfect and even more beautiful than I imagined. The tent where our ceremony took place was incredible, crystal chandeliers hung delicately on the altar with softly draped fabric lining the ceiling and walls. I wore a floor length dress designed by myself and Danielle Marie Berg, of D’Marie Couture which was an absolute dream. Made of softly textured cotton pique, it was reminiscent of vintage style with bustles in the back and sheer lace sleeves. The cocktail hour looked stunning in the tent with candles and small floral arrangements sitting atop the tables that were adorned in sparkling white sequined linens. The seating chart written in calligraphy on a silver vintage mirror looked wonderful on a mirrored table decorated with candles, baby’s breath, and silver ornaments. As we moved into the reception space before our guests I was taken aback by how spectacular the Barrel Room looked. There were candles everywhere, snowflake lighting on the floor, and the floral arrangements on the tables were the most beautiful that I had ever seen with cascading white orchids, peonies, and crystal branches. The six large chandeliers were covered in delicate frosted branches and the silver chargers sparkled in the candlelight complimented perfectly by our menus written in emerald green and silver – the space was breathtaking. Our reception was amazing, the food, the wine, our delicious signature cocktails, everything was absolutely perfect and everyone was transported into a romantic winter wonderland. We and our 45 guests had the time of our lives in an amazing setting. It was everything I ever dreamed of for my wedding day and both J.P. and I were thrilled to have our closest friends and family share our special day in our favorite place. The vendors were absolutely incredible and I couldn’t have wished for a better team to work with me on my wedding. It truly was the most amazing, beautiful, and happy day of our lives flawless from start to finish!

Photography: Delbarr Moradi Photography | Wedding Cake: Perfect Endings | Hair & Makeup: Sherrie Long | Lighting: Creative Lighting & Design | DJ: Boutique DJs - Chris Fox | Catering : The Vintage Estate At The Villagio Inn & Spa | Flora & Event Design: Waterlily Pond | Invitations & Day Of Paper Products: Union Street Papery | Mirror Seating Chart: Bee Curious Designs | Planning & Design: Soiree By Simone | Rentals : Hartmann Studios | Specialty Linens: La Tavola | Wedding Venue: The Vintage Estate At The Villagio Inn & Spa

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here