Wedding planning isn’t easy, that goes without saying. And wedding planning from across the world is a feat all its own. But this beautiful mama-turned-bride proved it’s positiviely possible thanks to top-notch vendors like Amy Nichols, Nancy Liu Chin and Ceci New York. The result? A gorgeous Napa garden party filled with the most magical of moments and prettiest of details. Gertrude & Mabel documented the day to perfection and you can see it all right here!
From the bride…I met Ben in Hong Kong. One date later, we were smitten. Nine months later, among friends and the setting sun, Ben asked me to marry him. Planning our wedding from Hong Kong was a unique, online-only experience. While wedding planning, I was pregnant and studying for the bar exam so I could not afford the time to travel to visit venues and try on dresses. But like lots of brides, I have been planning my wedding since I was a little girl. The biggest challenge for Ben and I was deciding on the destination: Ben is from Perth and I am from Hong Kong so we have friends scattered all over the world. We decided on Napa as it was the first place we visited as a couple and it was easy for our friends and family to get to. Also, Ben always wanted a winery wedding with spectacular trees. The moment I saw Beaulieu Gardens, I knew it was perfect.
During the planning process, I was most anxious to pick my dress. My stomach was growing by the week and I knew I wouldn’t have time to pick a dress once the baby arrived. I tried on a dozen dresses and ended up picking the Elie Saab dress because it was the first dress I tried on and loved. I loved the lace detail and the vintage look. My mom was invaluable in the wedding planning process. In addition to all her wonderful advice, she helped me scour the Hong Kong markets for fun take-home gifts. We made all the envelope liners for the save-the dates, stuffed and stamped all the wedding invitations, made the labels and tied all the ribbons for the flip-flops/shoe bags/pashminas, and put together the take-home gift boxes of marionberry jam and Tim-Tams (a taste of home for both Ben and I)
We loved all the people we worked with. Amy Nichols was the ultimate wedding planner. We connected because we had both attended the same tiny boarding school in Santa Barbara. Amy fielded every phone call and email–I must have sent her a dozen emails a week with picture of flowers, invitations and furniture! Nancy Liu Chin, event designer and flower designer, helped turn my rustic French country wedding vision into a reality. Our photographers, Judy and Heidi, the geniuses behind Mabel and Gertrude, kept us in good spirits despite heat and frozen faces. And their gorgeous pictures have helped us win features in great publications like Style Me Pretty! Pop Rocks!, our band was amazing and people are still raving about us having the best band at a wedding. Paula LeDuc cooked up some of the most delicious wedding food we, or any of our guests, have tasted. We had a dessert and cheese bar, in addition to down-home comfort hors d’oeuvres including fried chicken and mini-burgers.
Of all the wedding preparations, the invitations took the longest time. Ceci and her team were wonderful and understanding. We went through nine drafts and the final product came out more beautifully than I would have ever imagined. Our funniest moment was riding in the blistering, red leather interior, vintage Rolls Royce to the venue. It was a blistering hot day and the driver had parked the car directly in the sun. We got into the car and asked for him to turn on the air conditioner and he just turned around and laughed. “Ma’am, the car is from the 1950s, there was no air conditioning in cars back then.” Ben and I sweated (through his Tom Ford tux and my Elie Saab wedding dress) all the way to the venue. The driver couldn’t even drive the car faster for a better breeze because the car was so old! Talk about arriving in style!
The wedding planning would not have been as fun as it was without Style Me Pretty. I went on the website every morning to look at the new featured wedding, as well as spending countless hours going through the archives for inspiration. I hope our wedding provides inspiration for future brides!
Wedding Photography: Gertrude & Mabel | Wedding Venue: Beaulieu Garden in Napa, California | Wedding Planner: Amy Nichols Special Events | | Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin | Officiant: Judith Caldwell | Cinematography: Thomas Hughes Video Production| Invitations: Ceci New York | Programs + Escort Cards + Menus: Union Street Papery | Guest Book: Kolo Turquoise | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals + Blueprint Studios | Vintage Furniture: One True Love Vintage | Wedding Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Ceremony Music: Eloquence Strings | Band: Pop Rocks! | Wedding Cake: Patisserie Angelica | Desserts: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Wedding Dress: Elie Saab | Hair + Makeup: Sarah Hyde | Veil: Marco Cucinotta via Designer Bridal Room | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaid Dresses: Giorgio Armani, Blanc de Chine, Posh Little Tutus | Groom and Groomsmen: Tom Ford | Bow Tie: Neiman Marcus