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Intimate Al Fresco Napa Wedding

This Bride’s “something old” is giving us all the feels. To honor her deceased grandmothers, she had her florist incorporate their broaches and hair pins in her bouquet so she knew they’d be with her as she walked down the aisle. And that’s not the only special detail from this Napa wedding photographed by onelove photography. See all of them (including the glassine bag menus from Coral Pheasant Stationery + Design) in THE VAULT!

Al Fresco

From The Bride… For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted a romantic and intimate al fresco style wedding. When I closed my eyes and envisioned our wedding, I saw rolling hills, a lake, and cool night temperatures that left everyone enjoying a cozy fire.

Since my (now) husband and I live in Texas, Austin seemed liked the obvious choice. A few years prior to becoming a Mrs., my husband and I took our first big trip together to Europe. We spent 2 weeks exploring France and Italy. We fell in love with the charming countryside and the Tuscan Villas. The wine wasn’t so bad either ;) So when it came time to planning, we knew we wanted to bring back that romantic Tuscan feeling and share it with our closest friends and family. We said goodbye to our state capital, hopped on a plane to Napa; and a year later celebrated our marriage at a Tuscan inspired private estate overlooking vineyards.

We wanted the beauty of the estate and it’s breath taking views to speak for itself. I chose an earth tone pallet that included navy, gray, pistachio, and ivory. Our goal was to create something simple yet elegant.

I spent hours on wedding blogs and websites searching for the perfect details to include in our wedding. For me, this was the most important part. I wanted each detail to be original and fun. We printed our pre selected dinner and desert menu on glassine bags, and used them to hold dinner rolls! Both of my grandmother’s have passed away, and I wanted to include them in our special day. I asked my florist to incorporate both of my grandmothers’ broaches and hair pins in my bouquet. It was a special moment walking down the aisle knowing they were right there with me.

My favorite moment of our wedding was walking down the aisle and seeing that familiar smile. It was the most amazing feeling knowing I was about to embark on a journey of a lifetime with the man of dreams.

My favorite crafted detail was definitely the 40×40 heart shaped display made of 1,409 wine corks! My family (dad included!) and I spent several hours arranging and gluing the corks to make the perfect ombre heart. We were pretty proud of the end result and couldn’t wait to show it off at the wedding!

For flowers, I wanted vibrant shades of green, various textures, and unique shapes. I am a lover of eucalyptus, ferns, succulents, and air plants, and wanted an abundance of all! Our wedding planner and florist both understood our vision and it was amazing to see it come to life! The eucalyptus table runners with accents of white blooms and succulents were a dream come true!

I wore an off the shoulder trellised lace gown by Anna Maier- Ulla-Maija- “Gabrielle” Collection. I also wore a lace bolero jacket during the ceremony-my favorite accessory!

As a wedding goodie for our guests, we bottled olive oil from the olive trees surrounding the estate. We used them as place cards as well. Each bottle had a custom label and a calligraphy name tag that was hand painted in water colors to help indicate each guest’s meal choice.

We’ve always been huge fans of frozen yogurt and thought it would be a fun idea to serve froyo during the reception. The yogurt station offered several of our favorite toppings- definitely a crowd favorite! We also offered bite-size cupcakes from our favorite local bakery. Each cupcake was topped with a pink cowboy hat or a blue cowboy boot; a small homage to our hometown state!

Don’t forget to breathe, enjoy a few cocktails, and take a few minutes to soak it all in. During my father’s speech at the reception, I remember looking around the room thinking how amazing it was that our family and friends traveled to Napa to share this special day with us. It was a humbling moment for me, and one that I will certainly never forget. And last but not least, don’t forget to wear your veil! Amidst the roller coaster of emotions, my bridesmaids and I forgot to add the veil! In the end, it all worked out, and we could not have asked for a more perfect day!

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Photography: onelove photography | Event Planning: Napa Valley Custom Events | Floral Design: Julie Stevens Design | Wedding Dress: Anna Maier- Ulla-Maija | Cupcakes: Kara's Cupcakes | Invitations: Papellerie | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew | Catering: Elaine Bell Catering | DJ: Boutique DJs | Ceremony Music: Garden Strings | Venue: Napa Valley Custom Events | Glassine Bag: Coral Pheasant Stationery + Design

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Classic Wedding at The Berkeley City Club + A Giveaway!

When it comes to booking your vendor dream team, finding that perfect photographer is a pretty big deal. They capture the moments you’ll treasure forever, and that’s where Magnolia Weddings comes in. In the words of Erich of Magnolia, “I love bringing the couple’s story to life in their images,” and that’s exactly what he did for this sweet couple wed at the Berkeley City Club. Get lost in the gallery and don’t miss a major Magnolia Weddings giveaway below.

From Magnolia Weddings... This wedding took place at a California Historic Landmark, the Berkeley City Club. The historical society designation says that architect Julia Morgan’s “Moorish and Gothic elements created a landmark of California design.”

Not only was there distinctive architecture as the backdrop but the library, courtyard and pool all added to the elegance of the wedding. The courtyard provided a great romantic spot for the bride and groom’s first look. The library was perfect for the groom and groomsmen to hang out and drink scotch in while they waited for the ceremony.

The couple met at a crossfit class–in fact the groom was the instructor. I think the story of ‘law school student finds love at the crossfit gym’ is the perfect set up to a romantic comedy. At the wedding they enjoyed themselves throughout, making each other laugh and having a great time dancing with friends and family.


The Prize: Magnolia Weddings is giving away the winner’s choice of either a deluxe engagement portrait session (within a 40 mile radius of San Francisco) or $400 off a wedding package!

To Enter: Simply visit Magnolia Weddings and leave a comment below telling us which style wedding (rustic, modern, classic, etc.) most closely matches your own style.

To Win: One lucky winner, chosen completely at random, will be announced right here on SMP on Friday, January 29.

Terms & Conditions: Can be found right here.


Photography: Magnolia Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Berkeley City Club | Reception Venue: Berkeley City Club

Summer Al Fresco Wedding in Napa Valley

This prayer book has been carried by the women in the bride’s family on their wedding days since the 1800’s. It’s the kind of heirloom that makes our hearts swell, and the entire day planned by Laurie Arons perfectly follows suit. Starting with a stunning paper suite by Anticipate Invitations and calligraphy by Curlicue Designs and ending with an incredible celebration thanks in part to Zephyr Tents and Paula LeDuc. The wildly talented KT Merry told the story of the day, and you can peek at all her images inside The Vault.

Al Fresco

From The Bride…Rhys and I met 10 years ago on a snowy night in New York City. I was a 19-year-old student at Columbia and Rhys had recently graduated from Duke and moved to New York to work as an analyst at CitiGroup. We first encountered each other at the bar of an underground, candlelit nightclub that neither of us had ever been to before nor ever went back to (it’s long since closed). We left the club together, and as we were hailing a taxi, a truck drove by blasting dirty New York street slush all over us. Rhys gave me his coat and put his arm around me, and we hurried into a taxi together to warm up. And the rest is history. We had an instant connection, and in retrospect perhaps it was fate, but at the time we could never have imagined that 8 and a half years later we’d be walking down the aisle.

Rhys proposed 7 years later in the snow on New Year’s Day in Antarctica. It was the most spectacular, breathtaking proposal on a snow-covered mountainside at the end of the earth. That night as we made our way down the coast of Antarctica, the idea of getting married in Napa was brought up and we all knew that was the place to do it. Rhys and I go to Napa every year with my family and it’s become a very special place for us, and it just felt right. The perfect place to bring together all of our loves: food, wine, travel, the outdoors.

The wedding was a total dream. Our ceremony was held under an oak tree as the sun set behind the rolling hills in the distance – the sun was in my eyes behind Rhys’ head and it created a truly surreal, cinematic image as we said the vows we wrote for each other. There are many moments from my wedding that I will remember for the rest of my life – walking down the aisle on my parents’ arms carrying a prayer book that the women of my family have carried on their wedding days since the 1800s, hearing Rhys’ vows, our first dance which was performed by our best friends, my father’s speech that had everyone cracking up, dancing to late-90s hip hop with my best friend.

One of my favorite moments was right after the ceremony, Rhys and I snuck away with KT to take some photos in the vineyard at sunset. We were buzzing with excitement and energy and just overflowing with love and were so grateful for that quiet moment alone to revel in our happiness (and take some breathtaking photos).

Our favorite thing to do together is to travel, so when it came time to plan our honeymoon, we knew we had to go all out. After much debate, we landed on a safari in Kenya followed by diving in Seychelles. While the wedding was truly the best day of my life, it was on our honeymoon that I felt married for the first time. Especially when Rhys asked the lodge manager at Mahali Mzuri if we could keep the Masai warrior rubber ducky that came in our room for our future children.

We wanted to give something back as a part of our honeymoon. We discovered that the safari lodge where we stayed in northern Kenya, supported a local school, and so we reached out to the owner of the lodge to see if there was anything we could do to help. We came up with a plan to bring an individual solar-powered light to every family in the school – about 250 lights – so that the children wouldn’t have to rely on expensive and extremely dangerous kerosene lamps to study after dark. We thought Rhys was going to speak with a small class of the older students about the importance of solar electricity, but when we arrived at the school, the whole town had turned up for a massive celebration. We were in awe, I mean truly floored, and the outpouring of gratitude and love from this community. Passing out the solar lights and meeting the children and their families was one of the absolute best moments of our honeymoon, and helped set the tone for our marriage – we can’t wait to spend a life together seeing the world and giving back to it in any way that we can.

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Photography: KT Merry Photography | Event Planning: Laurie Arons Special Events | Floral Design: Flowerwild | Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera | Cake: Perfect Endings | Invitations: Anticipate Invitations | Rings: Mayfair Rocks | Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Hair + Makeup: Mimi & Taylor | Calligraphy: Curlicue Designs | Lighting: Illusions Lighting Design | Groom's Attire: Armani | Venue: Z Modern Estate | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen | Place Cards: Paper Tangent | Tent Rentals: Zephyr Tents

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