Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was lucky enough to experience the magic of Lake Tahoe first-hand. But even if you’ve never been, you can experience the magic thanks to these gorgeous images from Bret Cole Photography. With a stunning lakeside ceremony, a breathtaking Oscar de la Renta gown and beautiful design details, each moment of this day planned by Summit Soiree is totally pin-worthy! See all the pretty in The Vault!
From The Bride…Mike and I had been together for nearly three years when we got married, but our story started long before then. Our fathers met in drafting school before Mike and I were born, and our parents quickly became close friends. Mike and I were born a few years later, just 11 days apart. We even have a photo together when we were just a few months old. (During our engagement session with Bret Cole, who also beautifully shot our wedding, we recreated that baby photo and it later helped us win an all inclusive honeymoon to St. Lucia through a San Francisco Bay Area Cutest Couple Contest!)
Mike’s family moved away when we were very young and our families slowly drifted apart, so Mike and I didn’t know one another growing up. It was the summer after our senior year in high school when Mike saw my graduation photo on his fridge and decided after years of hearing stories about our families, he wanted to meet me. He was attending college near my hometown in Texas, and reached out to see if I wanted to go out to lunch. I agreed and a few weeks later we met; even though it was the first time we remember meeting, it felt like we had known each other forever. We became instant friends. I was leaving for college a few days later, so we were soon apart again.
We kept in touch over the next four years of school through email and the occasional short visit. After graduation, I moved across the country to take an art director position in San Francisco and Mike took a job as a navigation officer on a ship supplying the Navy, and was at sea continuously for 257 days. We’d often chat online about the interesting places Mike visited during his travels all around the globe, and I would tell him about adjusting to life in a big city.
One night I was complaining about a horrible date I had just been on, when Mike decided that he was going to take me out on a proper date when he got off the ship. When Mike returned home from Japan, he stopped in San Francisco and did exactly that. Later on Mike told me before we said goodbye that night, he had already decided to move to San Francisco to see if anything could happen between us. Two months later Mike moved from Texas to California, and we moved in together a few months later. After year and half of dating we were engaged.
When we began planning the wedding, Mike and I wanted it to be a reflection of both our personalities. Once we arrived at the historic Hellman-Ehrman Mansion in Sugar Pine Point State Park, we knew we had found our venue. The mansion was full of early 1900’s charm and beauty, and sat on top of a hill with a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe. The towering pine trees created the sense of being completely secluded in the forest. It was the perfect combination of Mike’s love of the outdoors and my personal style.
It was important to me to create timeless, elegant wedding we could look back at years later and still admire. We chose a muted, yet sophisticated color palette and carried it through all aspects of the wedding. I designed a custom wedding stationery suite that was sealed with our wax embossed monogram. Many of the stationery design elements were also used in other pieces of the wedding, including our wedding website (aubreyandmike.com), signage, programs, menus and favors, for a consistent look and feel leading up to and during the festivities. We even decided to have a label with our monogram on a bottle of pink champagne we had guests sign in place of a traditional guest book. On a future milestone anniversary, we plan on opening the bottle to celebrate the day.
When it came time to decide on the pieces we were going to bring in for the big day, we took cues from the mansion itself using Victorian settees and chairs for cocktail seating, and tableware with a slight southern vibe as a nod to our upbringing. One of my favorite pieces of décor were the gorgeous, dark walnut pews that were salvaged from a church in Wisconsin built in the late 1800’s. The pews were brought in for seating for our lakefront ceremony, creating the perfect setting to exchange the personal vows Mike and I read to one another.
As I walked down the aisle I carried a few special mementos to honor family members. My something old was a beautiful diamond ring that belonged to my grandmother and my something borrowed was a delicate, white lace handkerchief my mom had carried on her wedding day as well, gifted to her by my great aunt. To finish out the tradition, my something new was a crystal, Oscar de la Renta brooch Mike gave me before the wedding that I pinned to my wedding gown, also designed by Oscar de la Renta; and my Manolo Blahnik satin pumps were my something blue.
The best piece of advice I received in the planning process from our wedding was to take a moment with your husband and stand off to the side and just observe and take it the moment; it will be your clearest memory of the night. For us it was looking at all our family and friends, many who had never met before that day, laughing and enjoying themselves at dinner with golden hour light seeping through the pine trees. It was everything we planned and more.
We had 30 of our closest friends and family attend the wedding. It was the perfect size; big enough to feel like a celebration, yet small enough that we had time to spend with every guest. Mike and I greatly appreciate everyone who helped bring our vision to life during the planning process and our guests that traveled near and far to be in the moment with us; it was a perfect day we will cherish forever.
Photography: Bret Cole Photography | Event Planning: Summit Soiree | Floral Design: Art In Bloom | Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta | Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung | Catering: D'Lish Catering | Makeup: Edin Carpenter | Hair: Amber Jahn | DJ: Brian Hess | Groom's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Officiant: Reno Tahoe Ceremonies | Venue: El Matador State Beach | Acoustic Duo: Avalanche Music | Baby Sitting: All About Kids | Crystal Brooch: Oscar De La Renta | Embroidered Handkerchiefs: Molly And Mom | Invitations + Stationery: Aubrey Day | Rentals: Camelot Party Rentals | Rentals: Forever Vintage Rentals | Robes: Homebodii | Wedding Invitation Photo: Aubrey Day