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California Vineyard Wedding from Docuvitae

Everything Docuvitae touches (or rather, captures) is pure gold, but this Sonoma wedding is special. It takes place at the groom’s family vineyard. Yep. His family owns and runs this vineyard, and the couple vacations here all the time. So along with the gorgeous wedding, there was a layer of intimacy woven through the entire day. Through every warm detail, every welcoming smile, every sweet embrace. That is perfection. See it all right here.

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Summer
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Vineyard

From the lovely bride … Nicholai and I met almost eight years ago as undergrads at Stanford. Since then, we’ve chased each other around East Africa for election riots & safaris, across West Africa by motorbike, away from feisty monkeys in Bali, into cigar shops in Mexico City, & into the fog of San Francisco’s wild Ocean Beach neighborhood where we’ve lived together for three years. Last May, we decided we’d chase each other down the aisle.

We had no trouble deciding that the wedding should be held at his mother’s vineyard in Sonoma, just outside of the town of Healdsburg. Nicholai’s family has had the place since he was one year old, and he’s spent every winter and summer holiday there growing up. It’s now where we spend all of our holidays and is a special place for both of us. Our motto for planning our wedding was “don’t take yourself too seriously.” It’s a saying my dad has always had, and it rubbed off.

To us, the most important things were having the people that we loved around us, making it a fun, playful day, and enjoying the incredible food, wine and music of Northern California. We also wanted to tie in aspects of both of our personalities to the ceremony – Nicholai is a big wave surfer, and can be found out at Maverick’s every time it’s breaking, or right out front of our house at Ocean Beach. Normally the bride is the one that makes the big entrance at a wedding, but at ours, Nicholai and his groomsmen floated across the pond on a raft with a giant 10ft wave attached to it, with the overture from Jurassic Park blasting out across the pond. (No music is more majestic.) I came down the aisle, escorted by my mom and dad, to Quinn Deveaux’s band playing Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”. To honor my Mexican heritage, we included a lasso ceremony during the wedding, using the lasso that was used at my aunt and uncle’s wedding many years ago. Then, when our officiant (my uncle – a federal judge in Texas) announced us husband and wife, he fired off a gun three times in to the air and everyone in the audience pulled out toy cap guns and fired them off too! It was incredible – a bit deafening, but so fun.

Instead of using table numbers, we named each table for a place that has meant something to one or both of us. My aunt made special Mexican candy spoons for each place setting, and my mother-in-law beautifully wrapped little bottles of Wine-Away as favors (they were put to good use!). Etsy.com was a great resource for us in finding little details for making our decorations, signboards, table settings, etc.

We danced to Etta James’ “At Last” for our first song, had many toasts, finished all the cake and – toward the end of the night – were floated across the dance floor on the hands of our friends! First wedding crowd-surfing I’ve ever seen, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. We couldn’t have asked for anything more…

Photographer: Laura Kleinhenz of Docuvitae | Flowers: Dragonfly Farms, Healdsburg | Caterer: Preferred Sonoma Caterers | Tent: Zephyr Tents | Wedding Band: Quinn Deveaux and the Blue Beat Review | Lighting: Twilight Design | Wedding Cake: Costeaux French Bakery

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Sonoma Wedding at Oak Hill Farm from First Comes Love Photo

While I clicked through the gallery for this Oak Hill Farm wedding for the first time, each gorgeous photograph from First Comes Love Photo drew bunches of repeated yeps and mhmms from my lips in agreement, because this wedding gets it. These lovebirds understand the beauty of weddings as the celebration of the couple as well as the family and friends that support them in love. And what better way to celebrate than with some darn good sustainable food and decor. And there ain’t nothin’ like a barn wedding. Simple as that. See it all in the gallery right here.

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From the Bride… Nature inspired our spring wedding. From the color palette to the menu, seasonal elements led the way. Oak Hill Farm, an organic farm in Northern California, provided a rustic setting where we could host both the ceremony and reception. Everyone arrived and settled into the location, which made for a comfortable and stress-free evening. Family heirlooms and treasures borrowed from friends made up the décor. Many of the flowers and plants as well as a lot of the food, came from the property, which reflected our sustainability beliefs. Harry and the Hit Men, a Motown band from Santa Cruz, played for hours and got nearly everyone dancing inside the barn. Outside, our guests enjoyed fire pits and ice cream under a clear night sky. We feel lucky to both come from families whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents created lasting marriages. To incorporate our grandparents who could not make the trip, we shared their love with photos arranged throughout the site. Our dear friends, Maggie Wilson and Alison Carmondy, who luckily both work in event design, made the day come off with ease and beauty.

Wedding Photography: First Comes Love Photo / Wedding Venue: Oak Hill Farm in Sonoma, California / Coordinator + Catering: Broadway Catering and Events / Flowers: DIY by Maggie Wilson, Alison Carmondy + 15 of the Bride’s Friends / Graphic Design: Sally Widdowson Colwell / Ceremony: Music: Eloquence Trio / Reception Music: Harry and the Hitmen / Lighting: The Lux Productions / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Boots: Frye / Bride’s Shawl: Vintage / Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew + Dessy / Groom’s Suit: Custom by Freemans Sporting Club / Groom’s Shoes: Alden for UNIONMADE / Men’s Ties: Otis James

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Kunde Family Estate Wedding by Alicia K Designs

When a fun couple plans a destination wedding, this is what happens: loads of gorgeous details by Alicia K Designs, the gloriously good looking backdrop of Sonoma and a whole boatload of merrymaking (including a photo booth and a s’mores pit). From the looks of the photos captured by borrowed blue old new, good times were indeed had by all. Catch every last second of the fun in the FULL gallery.

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From the bride… Brian and I both have large families scattered around the world and across the U.S., so we knew that in asking people to travel such a long way, we needed to make the wedding weekend a fun and memorable destination event. It helped that Brian was from Northern California’s wine country, which was an easy sell with our international relatives. We saw the wedding reception as a celebration with and for all the people we love most. Juxtaposed with our traditional Catholic ceremony in an old Mission church, we wanted the wedding reception to be representative of our humor and character as a couple, including a touch of traditional Chinese flair. Set atop Kunde Family Estate’s beautiful hilltop vineyards in the middle of Sonoma Valley, we wanted our guests to create their own memories of the event. Guests lined up for the photo booth, while others danced, made s’mores over the open fireplace or wandered out for sunset walks through the rows of vines.

Our wedding favors were Chinese enamel cups with cute slogans and “Double Happiness” characters, meant to carry home candy from the candy buffet. Blue and white Chinese vases and teapots served as centerpieces, filled with soft, lush flowers in peach, pink and ivory. As mementos of the event, guests were asked to take these vases home with them. The toasts featured personalized drinking shanties by the brother of the bride and a good old fashioned “roast” by the brothers of the groom.

After the cake cutting, we surprised our guests and the groom’s brothers by announcing our very own “Newlywed Game.” We wanted to create something unique and fun for our guests.  Our version went like this — Brian and his two married brothers sat opposite their three wives. We provided the DJ with questions like, “My wife is really good at X, but really bad at X,” “My husband’s idea of a good date is,” and “My husband would be embarrassed for people to know that he secretly loves X.” The goal was for each couple to provide matching answers to questions. But the real fun was in the mismatches and in learning things no one knew about the couples. The raucous laughter got people pumped up for a big night, and it showed on the dance floor. We were so moved to have our loved ones come from so far to be with us on our big day, and we were gratified to see that they had (almost) as much fun as we did!  We are so happy with the way our wedding day turned out, and we could not thank everyone enough!

Wedding Photography: borrowed blue old new / Ceremony: St. Francis Solano Church in Sonoma, California / Reception: Kunde Family Estate in Kenwood, California / Flowers: Lavender Country Garden Florals / Event Design + Planning: Alicia K Designs / Wedding Invitations: Polina Khentov / Catering: Park Avenue Catering / Wedding Cake: Terry Nommsen of Grammyscakes / Photo Booth: Wine Country Photo Booths / Lighting: Illusions Lighting / Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Belt: Lela Rose

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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