There is just something about Sonoma County and Marin County weddings that make my heart sing. Maybe it’s the perfect blue skies without a cloud in sight or the lush, green landscapes or the casual elegance that exudes from every event but whatever it is I can’t get enough of it! This watercolor-inspired wedding by Janae Shields Photography embodies everything I love and oh-so much more! See it all in the full gallery!
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From the bride… Chris and I met as sophomores at Cal Poly, dated through college and ended up in San Francisco. After about six years of dating, Chris proposed at Donner Lake, one of our favorite places in the world. I wanted a wedding near home so we visited and considered nearly every wedding venue in Marin and Sonoma Counties. Nothing had everything that was important to us until we found St. Vincent’s School for Boys, which had been under our noses the entire time. A five-minute drive from our family home, we visited every chance we got, which led us to Amber at Preferred Sonoma Caterers who helped us execute our vision for our wedding.
Shortly after Chris and I were engaged, while looking through a collection of my late grandmother’s watercolor paintings, my parents and I found one of a church and steeple tucked away in a woodsy forest — mysteriously, it looked exactly like St. Vincent’s. The watercolor ended up being the inspiration for our entire wedding. Our save the dates and invitations by Swiss Cottage Designs and Love, Jenna were watercolor calligraphy, and we let the sprawling eucalyptus trees and pale champagne walls dictate my choices for the visual of the wedding. I wanted a very neutral palette to allow for St. Vincent’s old and stunning architecture to shine the right way without distractions. I chose Priscilla of Boston champagne bridesmaid gowns for my sisters and cousins, sand colored linens for the tables, wild and textured white and blush flowers with a lot of greenery, (executed beautifully by Vanda Floral), thin overhead string lights for the reception, cream place cards with sprigs of rosemary, and white pashminas tied to the mahogany chiavari chairs as gifts for our guests.
I wanted the evening to be memorable and super fun, and my mom and I knew that the schedule and little surprises were the way to make it happen. After a cocktail hour under the sun in the front courtyard featuring passed appetizers, cocktails with grey striped straws, Rat Pack music, and two huge cheese stations, guests were invited through the wrought iron gates to the back courtyard where a huge fountain, an heirloom tomato bar (my request from day 1), a raw bar, and a cigar and scotch lounge were waiting. I knew my crazy friends and family would be itching to dance so we went right into the newlywed dance followed by 20 minutes of fun dancing. After dinner and the adorable and hilarious speeches, everyone danced to an ’80s cover band from Chris’ hometown, followed by a traditional Italian dessert bar with a grooms cake made by my best friend and a gelato cart scooping out of the back of a red bicycle. I came up with the idea for the cigar and scotch lounge for my dad and his friends to keep busy but every time I looked over, my girlfriends were sharing a cigar with my uncles — our wedding was so fun for us because our guests were happy.
Wedding Photography: Janae Shields Photography / Wedding Cinematography: Andy Blalock / Flowers: Vanda Floral Design / Wedding Venue: St. Vincent’s School for Boys in San Rafael, California (415-507-2000) / Wedding Invitations: Swiss Cottage Design / Calligraphy: Love, Jenna / Catering: Preferred Sonoma Caterers / Band: Flock of 80s / Wedding Gown: Amy Kuschel / Bridesmaid Dresses: Priscilla of Boston