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Backyard Garden Wedding in Northern California

From the Valentinos to the perfect ballerina bun, this Bride has mad style and it rings true for her wedding day as well. It’s an affair wrapped in sunshine and a gorgeous backyard setting ripe with bright blooms by Molly Ryan Floral and the kind of photographs we could literally stare at all day long. See all those gems and more captured by Laura Gordon Photography right here.

Colors
Seasons
Spring

From The Bride…I always say “it all started” with the bright indigo J. Crew sweater that Bronzon wore on an auspicious day in May 2010 because it caught my eye from a mile away. We met during the summer before our last year of college and started dating almost immediately. As those days of languor ended, we parted ways to finish college – Bronzon at UC Berkeley and I at University of Southern California. Even during the first months of long-distance dating, our lives moved in serendipitous lock step, which made it so much easier for us (and our love) to grow and mature together. Long story short, we both found jobs in the Bay Area (that even started on the same day). Then, the very same thing happened with our next jobs! After some time of both living and working in the heart of downtown San Francisco, in October 2013, we got engaged during a horseback ride on a sunny day in the thick of the Marin woodlands.

A May 3, 2014 wedding date put us on a 6-month timeline, so the planning process quickly commenced. I discovered that the modern bride’s challenge is comprised largely of the limitless options she has to choose from. One choice that was easy to make for both of us, from the beginning, was the venue – Bronzon’s parents’ home. The Tudor–style house in Bronzon’s hometown of Chico, California, is nestled among lush greenery (meticulously groomed for the wedding by my father–in–law, who also strung lights, set up fountains, and handcrafted a tree swing, a wood block for our cake, and welcome banners for us), oak and willow trees, and best of all, a little lake with a dock – the perfect place to exchange our vows. Bronzon is the third of four siblings, the first two of whom had already been married at the house, but in different locations around the property; so, we were excited to follow this privilege of a family tradition.

The very first decision I made was that photography and videography would be priorities. I wanted to work with a fine art photographer who could express the natural beauty of our garden-like setting as well as direct romantic, editorial-style portraiture; as such, Laura Gordon was one of the first vendors we selected. Despite the fact that we did not meet until our engagement shoot days before our wedding, when she flew out from Virginia, her raw talent was evident and her infectious personality put us at ease immediately. From then on, it was like having an old friend as our photographer. Damon and Amy from Frontside Films were a dynamic duo of a husband-and-wife team whose sweet personalities and ability to work unobtrusively aligned well with our intimate family-only wedding. I fell in love with their ability to express the feeling of love through dreamy imagery.

Discovering and working with the most talented, caring, and competent vendors was one of the most rewarding components of planning the wedding, and we would emphatically recommend every single one of the vendors that are listed.

Our wedding aesthetic evolved naturally from the physical landscape and the spring flora that was to be in season. Bronzon and I are different in many ways but share an appreciation for that which is classic, and simple yet elegant. I was able to infuse my penchant for a little bit of luxe by adding in gold accents (and gemstones!) where I could. Our palette developed into an ethereal commingling of blush pink and rich, layered neutrals such as ivory and champagne. Two accent colors – the natural blue-green of dusty miller and gold from various decorative pieces – added interest. One decision I made early on was to keep the décor simple by anchoring it with the floral design. Molly was a fantastic partner and worked with me to create a vision that involved lots of the palest peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, cymbidium orchids, and importantly, greenery, for balance and texture.

Kara, my sister-in-law, was also my day-of coordinator, artist, and calligrapher – the individual responsible for all of the beautiful directional and table signage you see, including the dinner menu on the vintage mirror from the Leen’s home. Kara had this amazing ability take one look at my inspiration boards and make them come alive in a completely unique way. The watercolor style and “juicy” modern script that is repeated throughout the signage is wholly hers, and I could not have loved it any more!

Many of us would agree that mothers have a lifelong passion for nourishing us. Our mothers were no exception. When I mentioned to my mom that Bronzon and I wanted to serve a signature drink that reflected our combined tastes – a strawberry mojito mocktail – she promptly set up something like a chemistry lab in her kitchen and laboriously perfected the recipe with the help of my taste-testing dad in between the many weekly hour-and-a-half-long drives my dad and mom made to San Francisco for my dress fittings. My mother-in-law and legend of a baker, catered to every one of our dessert requests, which included not just homemade red velvet cake (complete with edible gold leaf detail) but also berry tarts, pecan tarts, and Bronzon’s childhood favorite – strawberry rollup. For our guest favors, she made miniature strawberry jams.

Admittedly, when I first started learning about planning my own wedding, I didn’t understand the prolific use of the phrase “labor of love.” Now, I do. I am moved to tears when I think of the role that each of our mothers, fathers, and siblings played to make our dream wedding possible. I cherish those simple moments that brought our families closer, like when our dads conducted a rigorous sweep of the lawn together and how my mom, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law taught themselves and each other how to fold napkins a certain way, all on the morning of the big day. I am grateful to be spending the rest of my life with the best man I know, but I am also supremely grateful to have gained another set of devoted parents and a whole crew of siblings who I can love as my own. The most surprising thing that wedding planning accomplished was to play such a big role in redefining family, as I knew it.

Photography: Laura Gordon Photography | Videography: Frontside Films | Floral Design: Molly Ryan Floral | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Catering: Bacio's | Hair: Rachel Thayer Of The Hair Company | Bride's Dress: Paloma Blanca | Groom's Bowtie: Neiman Marcus | Groomsman Ties: Hugo Boss | Invitations : Smitten On Paper | Makeup : Makeup By Brittany | Venue: Private Residence

Laura Gordon Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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Romantic-Vintage Garden Wedding Inspiration

For all you true romantics at heart, this ones for you. It’s gilded-blush goodness inspired by the sweet JuLee Collection, paired with loose and lovely hairstyles by Skyla Arts and adorned with gems from One World Designs. From laced-backs to ruffled necklines and all the sweet treats in between, U Me Us Studios caught it all behind their lovely lens. See more in the gallery!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Garden Venue

From U Me Us StudiosThis gorgeous romantic and vintage styled shoot was photographed by husband-and-wife duo, Evonne & Darren Wong of U Me Us Studios at the amazing Allied Arts Guild. It is a cooperative of artists and since 1929, it has been a San Francisco Bay Area landmark and an inspiring sanctuary for both artists and craftsmen. Originally owned by a Spanish King in the 1700s, it was purchased by art lovers and designed in the classic Spanish Colonial Style with tile work brought over from Spain and Morocco. The entire location with its Spanish architectural details of the red-roof tiles, archways, courtyards, wrought iron and the stunning Spanish-style gardens are very picturesque, making it the perfect destination-wedding venue.

Our soft color palette of blush pink and a hint of gold was inspired by the romantic vintage details of Judy Lee’s JuLee 2015 Collection with sexy, charming silhouettes. Playing with textures and colors, each dress features delicate lace, tulle, chiffon, and satin with a touch of gold or rose gold tone that shines subtly. The collection is designed for brides who are true romantics at heart yet bold and chic. They believe in tradition, but are not afraid to step outside the box and be unique. The collection reflects this daring personality in what we called “sweet and spicy.”

Complementing the dresses were hand-made hair accessories by Bonnie Harper of One World Designs Bridal Jewelry, featuring materials in gold, pink and blush tones. Some of the favorite pieces of the day were the pink hair flowers, gold rhinestone hairpins with champagne pearls that matched the bride’s necklace and add a little bit of sparkle to the overall theme. A few more favorites were the bridesmaid’s headband and set of pearl and gold hairpins with hand painted leaves to match her dress.

Skyla Arts provided a simple “Barbie,” high ponytail for Rashmi. As for Victoria, they did one of their favorite looks, a faux bob. It is the type of look that is fabulous on just about anyone, a combination of retro and modern, and it fit the style of the short gold dress perfectly. Makeup was simple classic beauty choices that never date and always looks modern. The eyes were framed in individual lashes and the lips were glossed to suit the model’s
skintone.

The venue was the perfect place for inspiration for floral designer, Cary Li of Petals by Cary. The red tiled roof, walkways and wrought iron details sought for a rustic and sweet flower accent. Color driven by the softness of the bridal dresses; white fragrant freesia and buttercup ranunculus was a must, especially in the spring time, when they are in season. The bridal bouquet comprised of Juliet garden roses from David Austin Rose provided shades of glowing apricot as they bloomed – cupped when freshly cut and opened to form large rosettes with perfectly arranged petals which complemented the gorgeous dresses. And of course, what is not to love about the matching floral hair pieces!

Yummy and scrumptious desserts were provided by Alison Okabayashi of Pretty Please Bakeshop, which included a trio of 6-inch mini cakes – fondant frills with gold edging, gold fondant with blush and light peach sugar rosettes and white fondant with oversized dahlia in blush. Of course, the dessert spread won’t be complete without the blush colored french macarons, mini rice crispy square dipped in white chocolate on a stick, mini coconut cream pies and the mini tea cakes with sugar peaches with gold leaves on top… all of which were inspired by the color and texture from the dresses.

The peony letterpress invitations with gold foil lined envelopes by Kristen Schenck Jackson of Letterpress Printables were an absolute match for the overall inspiration. The colors and textures were perfect complements to the gorgeous blush and gold linens by Napa Valley Linens.

Photography: U Me Us Studios | Floral Design: Petals By Cary | Wedding Dress: JuLee Collection | Invitations: Letterpress Printables | Ceremony Venue: Allied Arts Guild | Reception Venue: Allied Arts Guild | Hair & Makeup: Skyla Arts | Cake & Desserts: Pretty Please Bakeshop | Hair Accessories: One World Designs | Linens: Napa Valley Linens

U Me Us Studios and Skyla Arts Makeup & Hair are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
U Me Us Studios

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Skyla Arts Makeup & Hair

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Al Fresco Elegance at Cal-A-Vie

I was so excited to see this beauty of a wedding because it just so happens to take place in my childhood hometown; a pretty, pretty spot in California made even more so at the hands of Jose Villa. It’s So Cal au naturel kicked up a few elegant notches by Brooke Keegan and Holly Flora with a wildly good looking backdrop of Cal-a-Vie. Al fresco dining never looked so good, my dears. See for yourself right here.

Before you take off into the gallery that al fresco dreams are made of, lay your peepers on this sweet film crafted by Living Cinema

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Settings
Spa

From The Bride…Justin and I were high school sweethearts, I don’t know if there was ever a time we thought it would be for life but what we did know is that we never wanted to be apart. The first time I actually met Justin was the first day of high school when he ended up dropping a book on my head while getting to his locker and while we both had little crushes on each other on and off over the next two years and it wasn’t until our junior year that he had finally got up the courage to ask me out on a date. After that we spent two wonderful and exciting years together and then after high school graduation four more difficult years yet wonderful years attending two different schools across the country, Justin at an art school in California and me at Duke University in North Carolina. During my graduation weekend, he took me on a walk through the Sarah P Duke Gardens, flowers were in bloom and it was an almost magical place to be. I was about head to Denmark for a few months and Justin had just gotten his dream job in Seattle but none of that mattered as we walked through the garden it was time just for us. We talked and reminisced taking in the lovely surroundings all the time I was clueless to what was about to happen. Suddenly the clouds opened up to a Carolina thunderstorm and as I started to take off towards the car Justin stopped me and before I knew what was going on he was on one knee, covered in rain asking me to marry him. It all felt unreal the two of us in such a beautiful place and under the warm Carolina rain and without hesitation I said ‘Yes’.

When we started planning our wedding a year later, Justin and I tried very hard to stay true to ourselves, we found just that at Cal-A-Vie, it was a dream destination, they hadn’t done a lot of weddings but thanks to a lot of help we were able to turn it into the ideal venue. We kept things natural to highlight the beauty of the California landscape and the old French décor of Cal-A-Vie, by filling the chapel with greenery and candles we tried to give the ceremony an intimate feeling between the two of us and our guests. And in an effort to keep the day about family, we found pictures of past generations at their weddings, giving us a great perspective on love through the ages. Throughout the day we tried to incorporate elements that would appeal to my love and pride of my Danish heritage, as a nod to that heritage we ordered mini kransekage, the traditional Danish wedding cake, as favors, and we had the guests sing along to a typical toast, which ends up being more like a roast. One of the most special elements we stumbled across was a custom monogram by Tiny Pine Press, it completely captured our spirit. As a lovely surprise Justin and I received a number of small contributions to our wedding day, including an abundance of vintage family jewelry and a traditional Danish plaque, memorializing our wedding day. Overall, with a lot of help and love we managed to plan our ideal California wedding.

Our wedding day was better than I ever could have imagined. It was filled with love happiness and excitement. It was a perfect day spent with family, friends at a wonderful venue with an amazing staff and the best band ever.

Photography: Jose Villa Photography | Videography: Living Cinema | Wedding Planner: Brooke Keegan Weddings And Events | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Filigree Cakes | Brides Shoes: Miu Miu | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair And Makeup: Cal-a-Vie Health Spa Salon | Lighting: AK Johnston Group | Officiant: Father Earl Gibson | Bride/ Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Brides Jewelry: Family Herilooms | Ceremony/Cocktail Hour Music: Ryan Heflin | Dance Floor/ Glassware: Town And Country | Floral/Decor: Holly Flora | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen | Paper Goods: Tiny Pine Press | Reception Music: West Coast Music | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Venue: Cal-a-Vie Health Spa | Wood Head Table : Archive Rentals

Jenny Yoo, Monique Lhuillier and Plum Pretty Sugar are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Jenny Yoo, Jose Villa Photography, Living Cinema, La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Brooke Keegan Weddings and Events and Plum Pretty Sugar are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Jenny Yoo

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