Every moment of this sophisticated, glamorous wedding is absolute perfection—the gorgeous Bride’s dramatic open-back gown, the couple’s sweet dog, the super-chic escort card display, and, of course, the surprise DJ set from the Groom himself. From start to finish, this winery wedding is beautiful, and thanks to Viera Photographics, you can soak it all up in The Vault!
From The Bride…We envisioned a day set on a private vineyard that had a sense of casual sophistication and elegance with a hint of glam. It was important to both of us to find an intimate setting for our closest friends and family to enjoy a magical evening filled with great food and wine, and music. We also wanted to have multiple experiences throughout the afternoon and night for our guests, which included signature cocktails, a gourmet menu with a variety of tasting stations, and two different settings for music and dancing, including the groom DJ’ing a set! And of course an off-site after party that went until 2am!
I’m a big fan of all white, which is why our color palette was filled with different hues of white and ivory, and some elements of greenery to pull in the natural colors of the vineyard. As well as metallics, because everyone needs some sparkle!
I have to admit that I am not a big DIY’er, but our wedding planner and her team were rockstar’s and created a lot of the finishing touches, which tied everything together seamlessly. We worked together to design several unique elements that I absolutely loved, one of which was our custom table assignment hedge, and the unique food menu that we all enjoyed.
I’d have to say I have two favorite moments…One was turning the corner to make the long walk down the isle, and how special it was to finally see all of the design elements come together and see all of our close family and friends looking on. The second would have to be seeing how much fun my husband had djing in the gorgeously decorated barn, and how much fun that was for our guests.
Our floral designer nailed my vision for our flowers. I wanted grand pieces for the back of the isle, which I think fit perfectly with the modern clear chairs, and wanted an eclectic mix of vases and metallics for our flowers for our table settings, which is exactly what she accomplished. My dress was something that ended up being a meant-to-be moment, which I appreciated so much. I originally had decided on a very expensive designer couture gown, which was lovely, but I was not completely in love. I then happened to stumble upon Katie May, a local LA designer who happens to specialize in more fitted dresses with dramatic open backs, which is exactly what I had dreamed of for an outdoor, vineyard setting. We didn’t end up doing favors, mostly because I didn’t love any of the ideas I came across, and also because our wedding was destination style with dinner Friday evening on the property, and a beautiful Sunday brunch at another local winery after the fact. We untraditionally decided not to have cake. Neither one of us are cake fans, and thought it would be more fun to do an assortment of desserts for everyone to enjoy, and be able to choose from. We served individually sized chocolate bourbon bread pudding, fresh fruit tarts, homemade truffles with a port bar, and the chef hand scooped two different types of sorbet and gelato to our guests. We never actually got to try any, but everyone raved about all of the dessert options!
My biggest piece of advice is to go with the flow as much as possible, while also understanding that everything is very expensive (which the groom typically will be upset about), but its all worth it in the end! Unless you have an endless budget you will have to cut some costs in some areas in order to accomplish your overall design vision in other areas. Also hire a great wedding planner who shares your aesthetic and vision, unless you have the ability to have a secondary full-time job, which is absolutely what wedding planning is.
We met about 5 years ago in real estate. I was running a boutique real estate firm’s office in Beverly Hills at the time, and Jon was a mortgage broker at the time who came in for our weekly office meetings.
We saw each other each week during our weekly office meetings, but didn’t know each other very well. He asked me to meet for a drink after work one evening to “get to know me better” and earn my clients business, but instead we ended up spending the entire evening and night talking and hanging out, which ultimately led to us very casually dating. It was a slow process, and hardly romantic for the first 6 months or so.
Jon knocked his proposal out of the park! First, I had absolutely no idea it was coming and thought he was just whisking me away for a romantic weekend in Napa to celebrate my 30th birthday. Once we arrived in Napa he would only reveal what that day’s plans were, so each day was a surprise. On the day before my birthday he had arranged a full day of private wine tastings while being chauffeured around by a private driver. Our last stop was a winery with beautiful underground caves where I thought we were being given a private tour. The owner greeted us and showed us back through the caves to an area where we would be tasting. At the time I thought to myself how beautiful there set-up was as they had candles lining the barrels down the cave, and then the area where I thought we were going to taste was elaborately decorated with more candles, candelabras and flowers. There was also lovely background music playing. At the time I was completely clueless and had no idea what was going on, which was much to Jon’s shock! The owner said she needed to grab something and shortly after that our favorite song came on, and Jon pulled me in close to tell me how much he loved me. Me – I’m still clueless at this point! He next got down on one knee to ask me to marry him at which point I completely lost it and finally pieced the whole thing together! The winery had a beautiful table adorned with more flowers and candles waiting for us with a spread of champagne, cheeses and chocolates. It was such a magical moment, especially considering I was truly surprised. We followed the proposal with a wonderful dinner, and then a trip to the spa and dinner at The French Laundry to celebrate my birthday the next day. I found out after the fact that he had been planing the whole thing with the owner of the winery for 3 months, had the music play list shipped up, as well as a special bottle of wine shipped up ahead of time to have for our dinner that evening. It is an experience I will cherish forever, and a story to be told for a long time!
Our wedding planning process was somewhat unique I think as we knew that we needed to find a great, full service planner and designer to help us as we had a busy business to continue to run. We thankfully found Danae fairly quickly who was available for our date, so she was able to take over right away. We weren’t set on an exact location at first, we just knew we wanted it to be outdoors in a beautiful setting and preferred more of a destination style event with smaller guest list. We looked from Malibu to Napa, and ultimately decided on Paso Robles where we found the perfect setting for our outdoor, vineyard wedding. It was also a great compromise for our guests driving from up from LA. Our planner/designer was absolutely brilliant and took over just as we needed. It also helped that she shared a very similar design aesthetic to me. Overall it was a fairly stress free process, until the very end when our expenditures went through the roof, which was admittedly because I had a clear vision of exactly what I wanted, which of course was quite expensive. In the end we were both blown away by the result and it was more than we could have ever imagined it could be.
The property where we got married also has a beautiful rustic home situated on it that we rented for the entire weekend, which was where I stayed with my bridesmaids the night before, and where all of us girls got ready the day of. We all woke up that morning to a beautiful brunch spread complete with mimosas and spent the day chatting and getting hair and make-up done. The ceremony began at 4pm beneath a gorgeous, old Oak tree where our guests were seated in the shade of the tree. We decided we were going to be married by Jon’s sister who got ordained the year prior specifically for our day. We had 110 guests in all, which is exactly what we wanted. A close, intimate setting with our favorite family and friends. After the ceremony concluded our guests walked up to a terraced area set amongst the vines where they were greeted with more champagne, a cheese and charcuterie spread, signature cocktails and paired passed hors d’oeuvres. We quickly took a handful of wedding party photos, but both wanted to be a part of the cocktail party fun that we had spent so much time planing. After the cocktail hour concluded our guests were escorted over to a separate area on the property for the remainder of the reception. The reception area was centered around a white dance floor and surrounded by farm tables in square and rectangle shapes that were adorned with mirrored tops, beautiful neutral linens, gold flatware and an eclectic mix of vases and flowers. After our first dance and a couple toasts (one that was particularly epic given by Jon’s best man) our guests were invited to partake in an amuse-bouche style dinner from various stations that represented the freshest and most beautiful selections of food from the sea, the land, and the farm. As dinner was winding down the sun was setting behind the rolling hills of vineyards, the bar opened, the music started playing, and the entire property was lit up with lights and candles. As the evening went on, the port and desert stations opened for business, and the barn doors opened for an after-hours themed experience where Jon was the special guest DJ. After a 20 minute set legendary house music icon, DJ Dan stepped up to keep the party going. The early finish time of 10pm was only a minor intermission in the evening and as soon as the music shut down, guests were escorted to a venue downtown…on their way to an after-party that went until 2am! The next day we rounded out the weekend of festivities with a private brunch at another local winery where we could share in the moments and memories of the night before, while sipping on some much needed champagne!
Most of our guests described the ambiance as magical, which is certainly how we felt. We had the time of our lives with a back drop of absolutely stunning décor, unbelievable food from a local farm-to-table chef, and so many special details that my planner and I had spent months planning. We wanted a feeling of modern, rustic elegance with a touch of glam, which is exactly what our vendors accomplished!
Our overall feeling was one of absolute thankfulness for our friends and family traveling from far and wide to be with us, and were so glad we got to spend the entire weekend with them. We were overwhelmed by the love and support we felt, and were also relieved to be able to relax and actually start to enjoy our marriage, and of course had the honeymoon to look forward to!
From Viera Photographics…The wedding ceremony was held under the shade of an immense oak tree that’s rumored to be over 400 years old and the guests were seated on transparent chairs that allowed the site to blend in inconspicuously with the natural beauty all around. The nuptials were performed by Jon’s slightly nervous sister and were fairly short and very sweet. The couple clearly intended the day to be one that was enjoyed with their guests so portraits and formal photos were kept to a minimum and socializing was the order of the day.
The theme of the day, decor-wise was modern, rustic elegance and the family-style tables in the reception area were covered with mirrored tops, then lavishly appointed with abundant floral arrangements, unique votive candle holders, and hammered steel flatware.
Food was served amuse-bouche style from various stations and represented the freshest and most beautiful selections of food from the sea, the land, and the farm. Speeches led to dancing, which led to more dancing and as the evening went on, the port and desert stations opened for business. Jon, a dedicated house music lover and proponent of taking the underground music experience above ground in the 1990’s had a special surprise in store for his guests. Guests who were dancing under the starry night sky were ushered into Hammersky’s barn where an after-hours themed experience was waiting for them with special guest DJ, Jon himself. After a seamless 20 minute set of some deep-funky-business, good friend and legendary house music icon, DJ Dan stepped up to keep the party going. The early finish time of 10pm was only a minor intermission in the evening and as soon as the music shut down, guests almost instantly vanished…on their way to what was certain to be a legendary after-party in town.
Photography: Viera Photographics | Cinematography: Amanda Madeline Studios | Event Planning + Design: Danae Grace Events | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: JLM Couture | Catering: Haute Catering | Hair + Makeup: The Queen's Bees | Lighting: Kramer Events | DJ: DJ Dan | DJ: West Coast Flawless DJ | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Attire: Bar III | Transportation: American Star Trailways | Venue: HammerSky Vineyards | Floral Design + Draping: Adornments Flowers And Finery | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen | Rentals: Central Coast Tent | Rentals: Embellish Vintage Rentals | Specialty Rentals: Embellish Rentals | Specialty Rentals: Scout Rental Co. | Valet: Lush Limousines | Wedding Dress + Veil: Katie May