After an intimate at-home proposal, this darling duo set out to craft an eclectically styled wedding day with 70 of their nearest and dearest. The result is one part elegance, one part rustic, a dash of magical goodness and shaken up with a whole lotta love. onelove photography trailed these sweeties and every bit of their day, and you can soak it all in right here in the full gallery.
From the beautiful Bride…My husband surprised me with a simple and heartfelt proposal while we were both cooking dinner in our home in Chicago, Illinois. It was just the two of us and our pet dogs; I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect proposal.
Prior to our engagement, I wasn’t the type of girl who dreamed of her wedding day so I surprised myself by how easily I transformed into the planning bride. I spent the first few months after our engagement scouring the Internet for the perfect venue. Thanks to Style Me Pretty and Pinterest, I immediately started piecing together our special day. I knew from the start of our planning process that I wanted to style our wedding myself. I pulled inspiration from many weddings but I made sure to incorporate our own spin on everything we did.
We both knew we wanted an outdoor ceremony, nature, romance, elegance, and 70 of our closest family and friends. My husband grew up in the Midwest but I grew up in Northern California so we didn’t rule out the idea of a destination wedding. After narrowing down our list of venues, my husband and I ventured out west to Napa Valley.
From the moment we arrived at V. Sattui Winery we both knew that’s where we would exchange our “I Do’s”. I immediately fell in love with the old world style, the brick courtyard surrounded by vines and gorgeous hydrangeas, the colorful rose gardens on the property, and the old oak tree that overlooked the winery. As a matter of fact, the old oak tree ended up being our inspiration for the “Louis de Bernieres, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” reading during our ceremony.
After securing our venue, I focused my search on finding the vendors who I felt the most compatible with. I can’t stress enough how important it was that I placed just as much importance on interviewing our vendors as I did all the other details; it allowed our day to flow perfectly and for all the pieces to fit together. My vendors were all patient and so very helpful. They served as my sounding board to bounce ideas off of as I planned our wedding day.
Now onto the details… I wanted to make sure the entire day felt romantic and magical. We found the perfect “getting ready” property that had the earthy and nature feel we wanted a few miles north from our venue in the city of Calistoga. We ended up staying at this same property for our honeymoon which worked out perfect. I browsed Etsy and local shops to find all the little details like my garter belt, the bridal gown hanger, antique plates to serve our wedding cake, green antique goblets for our sweetheart table, my embroidered handkerchief, rustic keys for our seating chart, and so forth. Instead of traditional flower girl baskets, I found two rustic copper watering cans that our florist filled with roses and hydrangeas. We also had a custom calligraphed welcome sign that greeted our guests as they arrived in lieu of paper ceremony programs.
In hopes of getting our guests excited about what was to come, our calligrapher and invitation designer composed a personalized hand drawn map of our venue. We included the map with our invitations and it added that special touch we wanted for our guests.
After finding my wedding gown at Dimitra’s Bridal Couture in Chicago, I had the shop ask the designer to create a matching bolero that fit the old world romantic feel I envisioned. We added long sleeves with hand sewn lace designs in ivory and gold that matched the same design found throughout my Francesca Miranda wedding gown.
With our ceremony taking place at sun set, my husband and I decided to take “First Look” photos earlier in the day to not lose the light with our bridal party photos. While we aren’t traditional and didn’t have a problem with seeing each other before the ceremony, I still wanted something special to surprise him with as I walked down the aisle. I found a gorgeous cathedral length veil by Ines Di Santo that had stunning details all along the edges. I put it on right before the ceremony started – it was perfect!
After watching Kate Middletown walk down the aisle with a bouquet of lily of the valley, I knew that I wanted one of my own! Unfortunately the flower was not in season in Fall. To keep the costs down but still partially achieve the look I wanted, I had our florist scatter lily of the valley in my bouquet of white roses. I was really happy with how it turned out.
With my bridesmaids residing a four-hour flight away in California, we had lots stressful moments trying to complete our DIY projects with just my husband and I but we somehow managed to get it all done. We were able to print our escort cards on our home printer and hand tied them with twine to antique keys. We also spray painted wheat stalks in gold and hand tied them with ivory ribbon to place on our guests menus, an inspiration I pulled from Jessica Simpson’s wedding. My calligrapher did an amazing job at carrying our wheat theme onto pieces she did for us which really helped to pull everything together.
For the ceremony, my groom and our bridal party walked down to the instrumental version of “Turning Page – Sleeping at Last” played by our string trio. I walked down the aisle with both my parents to the instrumental version of “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. I fell in love with both songs when I first heard them and together they evoked the emotion and tone we wanted for the ceremony. For our grand exit as husband and wife, we wanted a song that was less traditional but no less beautiful or striking; we chose “Great Expectations 1998 Score (Estrelle’s Theme)” played by our string trio. I still get a smile on my face and goose bumps whenever I hear it! It’s such a powerful and remarkable piece.
We cut our wedding cake to “Come to Me” by the Goo Goo Dolls and my husband picked our first dance song, “Shot Gun Rider” by Tim McGraw. As a tribute to our friends and family who flew in from Illinois and our life back in Chicago, we ended the night with “Sweet Home Chicago”.
Our wedding day was completely magical. After being together for five years, I surprised myself when I cried as I walked down aisle. Every moment of stress during our planning process was absolutely worth it and our day could not have been more perfect. It was by far the happiest day of both our lives. We are still in awe of how beautifully our day was captured and are so thankful to have experience it and shared it with our closest family and friends.
Photography: onelove photography | Videographer: Frontside Films | Florist: Valley Flora | Cake: Fleur De Lisa Cakes | Invitations: Bella Figura | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Dessy | Caterer: Alex's Catering | Calligrapher: The Left Handed Calligrapher | DJ: Verducci Entertainment | Officiant: Your Ceremony Matters | Bridal Gown: Francesca Miranda | Bride's Hair & Makeup: Bella Bridal Napa Valley | Bridesmaid's Makeup: Bella Bridal Napa Valley | Car Rental: Classic Convertible Wine Tours | Day Of Wedding Coordinator: Sugar Rush Events | Flower Girl Dresses: David's Bridal | Getting Ready Property: Calistoga Vineyard Estate | Groom & Groomen's Tuxedos: Vera Wang | Linens: La Tavola | Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events | String Trio: Wine Country Entertainment | Veil: Ines Di Santo | Welcome Sign: Laura Hooper Calligraphy | Winery: V. Sattui Winery