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Preppy Rehearsal Dinner

Though most people get all giddy for the wedding, I happen to look forward to the rehearsal dinner most of all. It’s at this point that anticipation is at it’s highest, the bride and groom are typically beaming, and the excitement is virtually palpable. Plus? If you have Esla Events at the helm, it’s going to be just as gorgeous as the big day. With photos from Jessica Burke, there’s more right here! 

 

From Laurel… Warm and bright — that was the kind of welcome that Lisa and Ethan wanted to give their closest family and friends as they arrived at Bardessono for the wedding weekend. They incorporated bright pinks, tulips, and checkered linens into the event’s design, with the aim of creating a casual and welcoming environment. Both this couple and venue are beautifully chic and modern in style, but Lisa and Ethan’s top priority was to make sure everyone felt 100% at ease and comfortable. By pairing bright and youthful details with the sleekness of the setting, they achieved the perfect balance between casual and special.

In addition to making it a warm and festive dinner visually, Lisa and Ethan wanted the activities to follow suit. They decided to skip traditional toasts and instead asked each guest to share a short memory or story. Each guest brought a photo from home of Lisa and/or Ethan, and then shared the story behind it with the group. (These photos were then pinned up on a board and displayed together at the wedding the next day.) This story-plus-photo idea proved to be an amazing way to bring the entire group closer, with equal measures of happy tears and gut-wrenching laughter.

Photography: Jessica Burke | Florist: Leigh Okies | Event Planning + Design: Esla Events | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Bardessono

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Esla Events

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Jessica Burke Photography

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Jacquelyn Clark

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Fall Al Fresco Wedding at Beaulieu Gardens

I’m always a little jealous of California’s year round sunshine. It offers up the perfect weather for an al fresco affair, even in the Fall. And Beaulieu Garden couldn’t be a more stunning backdrop with it’s garden finery and canopy of twinkling lights. It’s made even more so at the hands of Atelier JoyaStacy McCain Event Planning and loads of pretty images by Elle Jae. Click here for even more.

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From The Bride…I had no idea Morgan was going to propose. It was the morning of my grandmothers birthday and we got up early to take our bulldog, Dexter for a hike along the beach in Half Moon Bay. We were supposed to be at parents house for an early bbq that afternoon to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Dexter loves the water and the beach and was dragging me towards the water and Morgan was walking very slowly behind us. I finally stopped to ask him if he was feeling ok and he had already taken the ring box out of his pocket. He asked me if I would marry him and Dexter and I laughed and said yes. He asked me again if I was sure and I said yes. He said “good, because all of our friends and family are going to be at your parents today to celebrate”. Turns out, I was the only one who didn’t know he was proposing. That afternoon was so much fun because it ended up being a surprise engagement party with our closest friends and family…….

When Morgan and I got engaged, we both immediately knew that we wanted to be married in the Napa Valley. We wanted to invite our family and friends to not only celebrate with us on our wedding day but spend the weekend with us and enjoy all that Napa has to offer.

Our weekend began at the Andaz Hotel, located downtown Napa, surrounded by restaurants, shopping and the Napa river all within walking distance. Our family and friends were greeted with a goodie bag and map of downtown with places to see and visit during their stay. We wanted to spend as much time as we could visiting with everyone who traveled to celebrate so we had an open cocktail party instead of a rehearsal dinner on the patio at the Andaz.

The day of the wedding, our guests were shuttled to Beaulieu Gardens, a private estate located in Rutherford. We chose this venue for its obvious beauty and with its many different gardens, we were able to move the party from one area to another, creating a “roaming party” feel.

The overall theme or aesthetic of our ceremony and reception was a natural-rustic Napa feel with pops of glam. Farm wood tables with sequin runners and mercury glass, hanging tea lights from over head, just made everything look so rich glamorous without taking away the already beautiful landscape from the venue. It was perfect clear fall evening and we had placed throws on all the ladies chairs for them incase they got chilly. We wanted everyone to feel like they were included and had the best seat in the house so we had couches and lounge areas set up near the reception area and dance floor to give it a more intimate feeling. Instead of a guest book, we had photo album on one of the coffee tables for everyone to sign and write messages in. That was fun for us to read though the next day.

We still wanted it to be fun and personal and at the end of evening, we wanted our friends and family to leave thinking that it was the best party ever. We chose Pop Rocks as our band because we loved their energy and we wanted everyone to dance. We had late night snacks passed for guests during the last hour of dancing to keep the party going. At the end of the evening, our guests were shuttled back to the hotel and we invited all of our guests who weren’t ready to go to bed yet, to join us after hours for some sushi and cocktails next.

Photography: Elle Jae | Wedding Planner: Stacy McCain Event Planning | Floral Design: Atelier Joya | Wedding Gown: Vera Wang | Cake: Sweet On Cake | Jewelry: Ippolita Earrings And Bracelets | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Caterer: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Lighting: Got Light? | Band: Pop Rocks | Groomsmen's Attire: Vera Wang | Bridal Shoes: Via Spiga | Bridesmaids Bracelets: Anthropologie | Canvas Bags With Bulldog Logo: 4Promos | Cashmere Throws : West Elm | Ceremony & Cocktail Music: An Elegant Touch Of Strings | Chalkboard Seating Chart: Atelier Joya | Flower Girl Attire: Kmart | Flower Girl Shoes: Gymboree | Flower Girl Wands: Atelier Joya | Groom's Tuxedo: Vera Wang | Groomsmen Sunglasses: Vans | Hot Air Balloon For Cards: BLHDN | Hotel: Andaz | Printed Pieces: Chewing The Cud | Ring Bearer: Gymboree | Sound: Delicate Productions | Transportation: Pure Luxury | Vail: Vera Wang | Wedding Venue: Beaulieu Garden

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Elle Jae Weddings

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Got Light?

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Romantic Garden Wedding under a sea of chandeliers

In my mind, chandeliers have always been the benchmark for romance in an outdoor wedding. The more the merrier or so the saying goes and this garden wedding designed by Stacy McCain is awash with sparkling chandeliers. Plus pastel florals by Sharla Flock Designs and a reception backdrop as lovely as they come. Have a look at the images by Yvonne Wong and then prepare to get lost in the gallery for awhile.

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Fall
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From The Bride…Dan and I got married on September 2nd 2012, 11 years after we first started dating in high school. We stayed together through college, long-distance, first jobs and apartments. We grew up together and we wanted our wedding to be a celebration of that.

We wanted to get married in wine country, because even though it’s only a short distance from Oakland where we’re from, you can feel like you’re a million miles away. We fell in love with Beaulieu Garden the first time we saw it, and knew right away that it was the place. The tree-lined drive and courtyard felt like a secret European hideaway, and dining under the arbor was the perfect combination of casual California and romantic elegance.

Most of all we wanted our wedding to feel personal, and tried to carry that through with all of the vendors we used. Our invitations, designed by Lotus & Ash (a friend from Dan’s days at Stanford) were inspired by the menus at Chez Panise, the restaurant in Berkeley where we first fell in love with food. For dinner, the amazing team at Paula Leduc recreated a roast chicken with bread salad dish from Zuni Cafe, which has become our go-to spot in SF. Our table numbers were photos of Dan and I throughout the years (including an awkward prom pic which I’m still not quite sure how that got in there…) Sharla Flock worked up the most beautiful arrangements in soft romantic colors that had reminded me of my grandmother’s rose garden, and Yvonne Wong and the masters at Seaglass Cinema captured it all for us to look back on.

The day itself was so filled with joy, we were both grinning from ear to ear the entire time. It was everything we hoped it would be, and ended with a our guests dancing into the night.

Photography: Yvonne Wong Photography | Videography: Seaglass Cinema | Wedding Planner: Stacy McCain Event Planning | Floral Design: Sharla Flock Designs | Cake: Sweet On Cake | Reception Venue: Beaulieu Garden | Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Hair & Makeup: The Glamourist | Lighting: Got Light? | DJ: Jeff Virzi For California Mobile DJ | Photo Booth: Swag Bunch Photo Booth | Transportation: California Wine Tours

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Got Light?

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Sweet on Cake

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Stacy McCain Event Planning

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Paula LeDuc Fine Catering

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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here