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Intimate Sonoma Wedding

True story: the second I saw this wedding, I emailed my (currently wedding planning) little sister and told her to be on the lookout for what is sure to be her dream wedding.  Am I hinting just a tad that I want to spend the weekend at the lovely Villa Montebella drinking wine and basking in some of the prettiest details I’ve ever seen?  Yes, I am.  Because this, friends, is one amazing celebration.  See it all captured by onelove Photography right here.

At Home

From the Bride… It was really important to both us that our wedding not only represent us as a couple, but also represent our two amazing families coming together as one. We chose a venue that could host both our immediate families for a long weekend and got married on the property with Daniel’s dad as our officiant. My oldest brother walked me down the aisle and our seven nieces and nephews (ages two years old to seven years old) were our ‘bridal party.’ We were surrounded by nothing but love the entire weekend.

My design inspiration came from our incredible venue, Villa Montebella, a Tuscan inspired estate set in beautiful Sonoma, California. I knew I wanted to play up the Italian theme and also create a setting that was both casual and elegant. I incorporated olive branches in everything – my bouquet, the men’s boutonnieres, the table arrangements, and specially created bracelets that we all wore in memory of my father. I complimented these details with rustic elements such as burlap welcome bags and TOMS shoes for the boys. Other details included an herb table of lavender, rosemary, rose petals, and basil where guests filled paper cones to toss at us at the end of the ceremony. And lastly, my favorite detail was our toasting glasses, the same coup glasses that were used at my parents wedding in 1975.

I plan events for Cartier for a living, so a lot of my inspiration came from past events that I’ve thrown as well as attended.

Enjoy every second and just remember it will be the best day of your life no matter what.

It poured rain all day the day of our wedding, the first time it rained in Sonoma in six months! Then out of nowhere the clouds parted, the sun came out and we had picture perfect weather for our ceremony and reception. Its truly a highlight of our day I will never forget!

Photography: Onelove Photography | Coordinator: Kennedy Scott Events | Florals: The Monkey Flower Group | Caterer: The Girl and the Fig | Hair and Makeup: Sarah Potempa | Ceremony and Reception: Villa Montebella | Live Band: Vintage Grass | Paper Goods: Brown Linen Design | Paper Goods: Soho Letterpress | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

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Soft, Romantic Sonoma Winery Wedding

If I could crawl through my computer screen and spend the rest of my days in this Sonoma lovefest, I’d be a happy, happy girl. It’s soft and elegant in a fuss-free kind of way, all thanks to the beautiful talents of Stephanie LarsonRincon Flowers and Kristen WoodThey’re the creative geniuses behind this gorgeous affair and you can click right here for sooooo much more.


From Kristen Wood… When I first met with Thea and Uriah, it was like we knew each other for a long time. It was one of those meetings that was serendipitous —we had so much in common.

Not only was this a dreamy wedding to photograph, so was the couple. The breathtaking views from the hill overlooking the ceremony, Thea’s grace (and her gorgeous wedding gown), Uriah’s good humor, Stephanie Larson’s Event Planning as well as B.R. Cohn’s very own Vallerie Cohn—all made this wedding come together so wonderfully.

Both Thea and Uriah are passionate about good, local food, and it’s worth mentioning that Uriah’s father owns an organic farm in Sonoma, so naturally Glen Ellen was a perfect location for their nuptials.

From the Bride… The minute we stepped foot at B.R. Cohn, we knew it was the right venue. We had wanted our wedding to take place in wine country as we both grew up close by in Northern California. The vineyard views and understated, elegant setting was the perfect backdrop for our relaxed, fun vibe. Despite a short engagement – exactly 4 months! – everything seemed to fall into place.

We were very lucky to have some of the most amazing vendors – from our wonderful photographer, Kristen Wood, to the best wedding coordinator, Stephanie Larson – who were both able to seamlessly orchestrate our vision. Rather than being confined to certain colors, we went with a pastel theme and chose beautiful wildflower arrangements from Rincon Flowers in San Francisco. A very special touch was that we were married by Uriah’s mom — who was surprisingly able to hold it together, shedding just a few discreet tears :)

Our favorite part of the day was right after first look photos, before the ceremony. We were surrounded by all of our family and closest friends drinking champagne, laughing and reminiscing before the big celebration. It was a perfect transition into the most magical day.

Photography: Kristen Wood | Event Planning: Stephanie Larson | Floral Design: Rincon Flowers | Wedding Dress: LaSposa | Invitations: Minted | Bridesmaids Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Park Avenue Catering | DJ: Paul Timberman | Venue: B.R. Cohn Winery

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California Winery Wedding from Edyta Szyszlo Photography

Wrapping up a day full of pretty is a wedding so very special, we had to save it for last. Set amongst California’s ever so lovely wine country, these next nuptials deliver all the understated elegance to make a wedding lover’s heart swoon. Equal parts rustic and chic, this wedding is chock-full of sweet little details that will only make you wish you’d been invited. The entire day was effortlessly executed by Downey Street Events and captured behind the lens of Edyta Szyszlo, with every last beautiful image waiting for you right here!


From Edyta Szyszlo Photography… Inspired by rolling hills blanketed in vines, the charm of the Sonoma town square, and the nostalgia of the groom’s wine country marriage proposal, Elaine Randlett and Michael Hayes decided to host their wedding ceremony and reception at B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California on July 28th, 2012. Shaded by an old oak tree in the center of the vineyard, ninety of the couple’s closest friends and family members (many of whom flew in from Brazil!) sipped basil scented lemonade while they waited for the ceremony to begin. Notes of Pachelbel’s Canon in D floated through the air as the bride entered. After literary readings from friends and family, the last being an excerpt from “Winnie the Pooh,” the Cal grads recited their own marriage vows. Wedding-goers sent the newlyweds down the aisle in a tunnel of bubbles to the tune of “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles, played by a string quartet, before they sped off in a convertible trailing a “Just Married” sign. 

Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres poolside before taking their dinner seats. Tea-stained escort cards tied to vintage keys with ombré ribbon along with beautiful calligraphed place cards helped guests find their way to their tables. The bride’s vision for the dining area was a warm, intimate experience that exuded a feeling of elegant rusticity. Italian bistro lights strung across branches illuminated the olive grove where wooden queen’s tables and linen table runners set the stage for rose and hydrangea centerpieces nestled between glowing votive candles and wrought iron lanterns. The caterer and Elaine, owner of Mint Studios Pilates in San Francisco, collaborated on a menu that focused on fresh, healthy flavors.

The live band had guests dancing the night away on their Kara’s Cupcakes sugar high. To ensure comfort on the dance floor, ladies could find flip flops to substitute for heels in a vintage suit case. Off the dance floor, guests were encouraged to dress up in props for the photo booth pictures, and then insert notes of love and best wishes for the happy couple in a custom made guest book. The groom, an avid golfer, was surprised by the Groom’s cake, a giant red velvet (the groom’s all-time favorite!) golf ball dated 07-28-12, that was presented just after the traditional cutting of their 3-tiered cake decorated with blush and cream florals. Michael in his navy suit and Elaine in her ivory lace dress were all smiles as they made their way back to the the Fairmont Hotel, reminiscing about their favorite moments of the day.

Wedding Photography Edyta Szyszlo Photography / Venue: B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California / Floral Design: Tesoro Flowers / Wedding Coordination: Cassandra O’Gara of Downey Street Events / Wedding Catering: Elaine Bell Catering / Wedding Cake: Patisserie Angelica / Wedding Cupcakes: Kara’s Cupcakes / Wedding Stationery: Paper Source / Ceremony Music: Bellarosa String Quartet / Band: Keith Johnson All Stars / Vintage Rentals: One True Love Vintage Rentals / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Bride’s Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Necklace: Heirloom from Bride’s Mother-in-Law /  Bride’s Earrings: Nardi via Nordstrom / Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Hair + Makeup: Meganne McCandess / Groomsmen’s Suits: Michael Kors

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Glen Ellen Wedding at Beltane Ranch by Kate Harrison Photography

As a young girl growing up on the breathtaking Beltane Ranch watching weddings on the property, this beautiful Bride dreamed of the day when she could do the same. When that day finally showed it’s pretty face, it turned out to be a stop-in-your-tracks, succulent-filled soiree that surpassed her wildest dreams. With Kate Harrison Photography behind the lens to capture all the magic and some of Sonoma’s finest to make her dream day a reality – like the deliciously talented caterers at The Girl & the Fig – it most certainly turned into a soiree that will go down in Sonoma history. See it all here!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… This was a life-long dream in the making as I was lucky enough to grow up on the beautiful Beltane Ranch. My family’s historic ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley has hosted many absolutely gorgeous weddings over the decades. My mom and my grandmother first started welcoming these magical occasions in the ’70s, and I’ve observed the numerous, carefully-curated details from as early as I can remember. The experience was one as personal and special as I could imagine is possible. It was an honor to be able to unite my husband and his fantastic family with mine, in the meaningful setting of the land my family has cared for for five generations. The incredibly talented Kate Harrison photographed our dream day.

Steven and I are both native Californians and chose to honor our home state’s unique history, including our Mexican-American heritage as “Alta California” in the style of our wedding. We included accents such as extraordinary Latin-inspired cuisine by The Girl & The Fig and the best Mariachi band around! Starting 10 months ahead, my mom and I grew everything we wanted for the flowers (personal, centerpieces, aisle, etc) including thousands of succulents, Calla lilies and Lobelia. The morning of our wedding we picked everything we needed, including tons of Spanish moss, olive branches and over 10 varieties of succulents, which doubled as favors as guests helped themselves (from the brunch the next morning) and replanted all over the country! Wine & Olive Oil: Our estate-grown wine and olive oil proved an ideal match for the seared scallops, and we also gave half bottles of wine with custom labels as favors. My mom and I designed the flower girl dresses, searched endlessly for the perfect ribbon and tulle, and my mom cut the patterns and sewed each dress. We bent old ranch vineyard ties into long hooks, stuck them into the ground and hung with recycled mason jars, each wrapped in gold mesh, holding a votive and strung up with rusty baling wire. For the table runners, I sourced bulk black cotton and loose burlap to hand-make each of our double-layer, frayed burlap runners. We made escort tags by spray painting Kraft tags black and punching with a Martha Stewart hole punch. My brother, husband and his father hung Mexican Tin star lights in the trees (a gift my dad bought us in Los Barriles, Mexico), and accented with hand-punched recycled cans in the lounge area.

My husband recently completed photographing Chef Sondra Bernstein’s (of The Girl & the Fig) new coffee table cookbook, Plats du Jour. We were ecstatic to have Sondra not only attend our wedding, but design the most extraordinary Latin-influenced menu, served family-style, including locally sourced ingredients with an adventurous edge. Our spectacular cake was a gift from my best friend’s parents, and it was served alongside handmade natural ice cream by our local Michoacana. We were incredibly lucky to serve and enjoy the fabulous wines hand-crafted by our our neighbors, friends and guests, including the Benziger family, Kunde family, Unti, MacLeod family and our Beltane Ranch Sauvignon Blanc. It was such a unique experience to actually attend an event and enjoy the setting at its prime in the company of the people who make it what it is….our entire staff was there! That was a real treat!

Wedding Photography: Kate Harrison Photography / Wedding Venue: Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California (The Bride’s Family Home) / Wedding Consultation + Coordination: Off the Beaten Path Weddings / Personal Flowers: Jenny Powers, Using All Home-Grown Flowers from the Ranch / Centerpieces: Home-Grown + DIY by the Bride & Friends / Catering: Chef Sondra Bernstein of The Girl & the Fig / Wedding Cake: Michele’s Corner Cakers / Ice Cream: Michoacana Natural Ice Cream of Sonoma / Officiant: Chief Peter Van Fleet of Glen Ellen Volunteer Fire Department (The Father of a Friend of the Bride) / Wedding Invitations + Menus: William Arthur via Corrick’s / Ceremony Guitar: San Francisco Conservatory of Music / Cocktail + First Dance Music: Mariachi Jalisco de Sacramento (916-455-8631) / DJ: Matt Napier of Santa Ana / Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / Favors: Half Bottles of Beltane Ranch Estate Sauvignon Blanc / Lighting: Punched Tin Stars Purchased in Los Barriles, Mexico / After-Party Food: Tacos el Gitano / Transportation: Sonoma Valley Unified School District Buses / Wedding Dress: Angel Sanchez Spring 2011 Collection (Look #13 in the Website’s Slideshow) via Saks Fifth Avenue / Shoes: Martinez Valero / Earrings: TEJANI / Hair: Heather at Salon Novo / Makeup: Rahnie Smith / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate in Phantom Silk Dupioni via Bella Bridesmaid / Flower Girl Dresses: DIY by the Mother of Bride / Rings: Custom by Dan at Halem & Company in Sonoma  / Additional Consulting: Mary Dann Wedding and Party Coordinators

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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Atwood Ranch Wedding by Chrisman Studios

There’s nothing dreamier than a California wine country wedding and this lovely Atwood Ranch affair is about as fabulous as it gets.  The sweet combination of lush, romantic florals by Anne Appleman and the uber-gorgeous stylings of Julie Atwood Events is almost too much to comprehend… and I haven’t stopped swooning yet.  Luckily, Chrisman Studios was on hand to capture every last moment of rustic meets vintage charm, because I think this gallery and I are going to be lifelong friends.  Join me there for even more!

Click here to see the entire gallery of images!

From Chrisman Studios For their wedding day, Lena and Jeff chose one of the most spectacular properties in California wine country – Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen.

Guests were treated to pre-ceremony jars of pink and yellow lemonade and were given colorful Chinese parasols to shield them from the warm California sun – which also added gorgeous splashes of vibrant color to the green pasture where the ceremony was held.

During the vows, tears were plentiful as Lena and Jeff described how finding one another changed their lives.

Everyone danced the night away inside the barn that had been superbly transformed into a shabby-chic ballroom of vintage quirks and rustic elegance.

The bride made sure to blend some of her own DIY touches into the decor, such as the fabric garland she made herself that wove around the railing of the barn.

Wedding Photography: Ben + Erin Chrisman of Chrisman Studios / Wedding Venue: Atwood Ranch / Consultation, Design + Coordination: Julie Atwood Events / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Wedding Gown: Amsale / Groom’s Suit: Michael Andrews Bespoke / Floral Design: Anne Appleman / Wedding Videography: Burkart Studios

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Northern California Wedding by Jessamyn Harris Photography

California is known for its acres and acres of lush, gorgeous wine country.  Probably the most famous vineyards are those up north in Napa and Sonoma so it comes as no surprise that we get a lot of weddings from these areas.  With a winery as your backdrop you can hardly go wrong and this smart couple decided to let those breathtaking views speak for themselves.  Neutral and berry tones perfectly accentuate the venue and the season plus sweet little touches like the moss letters don’t overpower the natural beauty.  Jessamyn Harris Photography images showcase that great California light and the love that is obvious between these two.  Click here to see even more!

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From the Bride… I was set up with my now husband by a college roommate, who went to high school with Tim in Michigan. I had recently moved from the East Coast to Chicago for work, and she wanted to play matchmaker. I protested fiercely. She gave him my number anyway.  One two hour phone call, and back to back Friday, Saturday & Sunday dates later, I was smitten! Tim proposed just over one year later while picnicking at our favorite spot overlooking the Lake Michigan.

As we live in Chicago and good portion of both of our families reside in the midwest, it only made sense to begin planning for a Chicago wedding. After looking at numerous venues, we didn’t find much we were excited about. We regrouped, thought about what we truly wanted from our wedding (namely an awesome outdoor venue and a killer party for our guests) and made the decision to get married in Northern California where I grew up. From that moment on, everything came together, in great part to my parents, who were our eyes, ears and voices while we tried to plan from 2,000 miles away.

Tim & I wanted our reception location, B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, to be the star of the day. With unbelievable vineyard views, we capitalized on the beauty of our surroundings by using lots of natural materials. For the reception we set up long wooden Calistoga tables topped with burlap runners, wooden table numbers painstakingly stained by my Dad, and low centerpieces of local dahlias, hyndrangeas, Bells of Ireland (a nod to our shared heritage), and loads of votives. Heather Murdock of Blue Orchid Floral truly understood the feeling of the day, and enhanced our surroundings rather than competing with them.  We acknowledged our winery venue by displaying the place cards in used wine corks (again, thanks to my parents for spending hours upon hours gluing them together!) and having our guests sign a book of Sonoma wineries that we now have on our coffee table and look at often. We highlighted the olive grove setting of the dinner by decorating our delicious cake with olive branches, set up a cigar bar by the fire pit for those who wanted a break from the dancing, and offered wraps to all the ladies in case the weather turned chilly.

One of my favorite memories of the day was walking into the church on my Dad’s arm, and seeing the faces of every single person who is important to us. I felt overwhelmed with love, especially when I saw my handsome groom’s face at the end of the aisle. In all photos from our Catholic ceremony (which we thought would be formal and solemn), Tim & I have the goofiest grins on our face…we were just so happy to be getting married! I also loved our first dance. Despite being watched by 150 guests, I felt like we were all alone on the dance floor, singing our favorite song to one another. Another magical moment occurred during the speeches. My Dad killed it- he had everyone laughing, and I was in tears. By the time he passed the mic to the best man, the sky had turned an amazing shade of pink. It was unbelievable. The rest of the night included celebrating with our friends and family, including what was probably the most fun bridal party ever, and not one, but two dance offs.

We feel so blessed not only to have found one another, but that we were able to celebrate our love with everyone around us, and we are thankful that so many of our friends and family made the trip out to California. We hoped for a wedding that not only reflected us, but also provided our guests with something to remember.

For those of you planning a “destination” wedding, I’d recommend really vetting your vendors. The day of the wedding I was completely stress-free because I trusted that each of them was going to take care of everything. I was also incredibly lucky to have a friend of the family act as our Day of Coordinator. She knew every wedding detail inside and out, and took care of all the logistics so I could just enjoy the day. It also helped to have an incredibly detail oriented mom who kept me on track. Our wedding would not have been possible without her!

Wedding Photography: Jessamyn Harris Photography / Wedding Venue: B.R. Cohn Winery / Bride’s Gown: Marisa via The Unique Bride / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Kenneth Cole / Flower Girl Dresses: Nordstrom / Floral Design: The Blue Orchid / Wedding Cake & Cupcakes: Two For Two Cakes / Hair & Make-Up: Mary at The Powder Room / Moss Letters: Mother and Father of the Bride / Catering: Park Avenue Catering / Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / DJ: AMS Entertainment / Bagpiper: Jim McElroy / Wooden Table Numbers: Paper Moss / Ring Bearer Bowl: Paloma’s Nest / Wedding Dress Hanger: Etsy

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