View Posts By:




Rustic Elegance at Cornerstone Sonoma

When you start to peel away all the layers of gorgeous in this ridiculously beautiful Sonoma soiree, you realize that because of all the personal and heartfelt touches dreamt up by this darling couple, you’ve started to love it like it was your very own wedding. Every sweet senitment tucked into this gallery beautifully captured by Josh Gruetzmacher Photography makes you fall in love with not only the wedding but the couple, leaving us with a wedding too special not to share.


From The Bride…We were inspired by one of our favorite Disney movies, Tangled. Tim and I are truly kids at heart and wanted our wedding to reflect the playfulness of the characters while capturing the ethereal fairytale feel that the animators portrayed in the movie with naturalist art and lush imagery.

Cornerstone provided the perfect modern storybook backdrop for our wedding with its beautiful gardens, lily pond, and rustic barn, with a fun twist of modern eclecticism in the form of unique outdoor sculptures, many of which were interactive. We simply added a dash of greenery, a mix of soft pastel florals, oodles of flowy tulle, and a bit of quirky stationary, and we had our own modern day fairytale wedding.

Tim and I knew that if we were going to have a full-blown wedding instead of eloping, that we wanted to use it as an opportunity to invite our guests into our life together as a couple. We had guests who had known us since the day Tim and I met in the dorms of UC Berkeley to friends of our parents who hadn’t seen us since we were children. Regardless of their roles in our lives, we were so grateful for every guest that could celebrate with us and in return, we want them to feel closer to us on our special day.

To that end, we made picture storyboards for each of the different stages of our 8 year relationship – starting from when we met in undergrad, to when Tim moved to Honolulu for medical school while I was in Los Angeles for pharmacy school, to all of our international adventures and then finally the proposal.

We also integrated some of our journey into the decorations that we set up in the gardens, such as the wooden directional sign that pointed to all of the cities we had lived and were going to live in (we moved cross-country to New York the week after we got married!). We also shared more intimate details, like the phrase “I love you. I love you more. I love you mostester. Rawr,” that was strung along the bushes leading guests to the ceremony site. It was our nightly ritual to say these words to each other before bed during our four years of long distance.

Then we sprinkled the day with details that just made Tim and me giddy. For me, I opted to serve pie instead of traditional wedding cake since that was a tradition in my family when we celebrated special events – birthday pies were the best! Tim elected to have the bar serve Abita beer since he went to high school in Louisiana where Abita beverages are a local favorite.
Most memorable moment of your wedding day?

The most memorable moment was definitely our vows. After being together for 8 years, you would think we knew everything about each other and there really wouldn’t be much else new to say, but when Tim opened up his little green book and started reading his vows to me that day, it was so raw, intense, and vulnerable that at that instant I could feel all 8 years of our love crystallized into that one moment. I could not have felt more love and in love at that moment.

Our advice for planning is 1. Make a wedding website together. Tim and I had a lot of fun working on our website together as a couple. Tim had given me free leeway to plan the wedding however I pleased (as long as I stuck to the budget), so I loved that this was a pre-wedding project that we were able to work on as a couple. Rummaging through old photos from our earlier years and spending the time to write out our story and proposal together gave us an opportunity to pause in the middle of all the wedding planning chaos and be nostalgic for a moment. We were also excited to showcase our engagement photos from Josh that we loved so much. Practically speaking, the website also provided useful information for guests, so it was a win all around.
We used Wix, which worked out great since it was free and gave us the flexibility to really customize the site to our liking (

2. Speaking of Josh, it’s so important to choose a photographer that puts you at ease. Tim and I must have interviewed at least a dozen photographers, all with great profiles, but Josh’s cheerful smile, sweet disposition, and dork-tastic personality ultimately won us over. These characteristics definitely made a huge difference on the final images he captured. For any Friends fans, Tim has the Chandelier Bing curse – where a handsome guy can turn into an incredibly awkward-smiling stranger in front of a professional photographer. I was worried that this would happen during our engagement session, but Josh had us laughing and enjoying ourselves the entire time, which came through in the pictures.

3. Hire a videographer. Tim was originally on the fence about hiring a videographer, but probably gave in because he knows I have horrible memory and would need video evidence that we got married. Hands down, one of the best decisions we made. It’s wonderful to be able to re-watch such a happy day.

Enjoy the ceremony. I feel like the ceremony is always the highlight of the day. It’s not about the location or decorations, but rather the people, the vows, and the moment. Everything else that follows during the day is just icing on the cake, or in my case, meringue on the pie!

Photography: Josh Gruetzmacher Photography | Videographer: Kessler Films | Wedding Planner: Signature Events By Christina Romero | Floral Design: Pretty In Pink Events | Cake: Sweetie Pie's | Invitations: Friend Of The Family | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jasmine B2 Dress From Blossoms Bridal And Formal | Catering: Alex's Catering | DJ: Imagesource Entertainment | Groom's Attire: Express | Bride's Dress: Watters - Via Epiphany Boutique | Bride's Hair And Makeup: Moderne Beauty | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Ring Bearer Dish: Paloma's Nest | Wedding Venue: Cornerstone Sonoma

You'll love these vendors in California

Vis Photography
View Portfolio
Zest it Up
View Portfolio
Social Frog Designs
View Portfolio
Subtle Glances
View Portfolio
So Happi Together
View Portfolio
MAP Events
View Portfolio
Charming Private Estate Wedding in Sonoma

This sweetly smiling Bride and her handsome Groom have stolen my heart for the day. Their story, their strength and their undeniably powerful love. Just two short months before their big day, her dear father lost his battle with cancer—yet the twinkling chandeliers that were hung above the backyard (at her parent’s home) were a special reminder of Dad. Furthermore, A Savvy Event prettied up the entire day with beautiful details galore and Allyson Wiley snapped every bit of gorgeous that this gallery holds.


From the beautiful Bride…Chris and I met in August of 2009. I had recently been hired as a tasting room associate at a winery in Livermore and Chris walked in and I immediately asked as he walked by… “Who’s that guy” with a big grin on my face. As life sometimes flows… we both went our separate ways in relationships and I moved on from my job at the winery but we always stayed in touch, wishing each other happy birthday, and sending random texts here and there. Chris had always held a special place with me and he crept into my thoughts more than I would like to admit during that time apart.

Then in 2012 via text, of course, we both figured out that we were available. And luckily for a UPS delivery gone wrong… after a roundabout conversation… I asked Chris to meet me for a drink, Yes I asked Chris out. We met at our friends beer bar Tap25, neither one of us sure of whether or not it was a date, but after a beer or two it became clear that we were going to be more than just friends. We ended up going to dinner, then he took me back to the winery and let me sample his wine. It was an amazing first date!

As as they say the rest is history… I don’t think we have been apart more than a few days after that first date, and by the time our wedding came around we had been together almost two years and I still fall in love with him a little more each and every day. He asked me to marry him on June 14th of 2013 at the beach in Incline Village in Tahoe and made me the happiest girl in the world. I have found my soul mate and was so excited to put a ring on his finger and call him mine for life. Although I think he pretty much had me at that first smile back in 2009.

Our wedding was everything we could have ever imagined. We had it at my parents home in Sonoma, Ca. After visiting many of the beautiful venues in the area we just felt like home was where it was supposed to be. In April of 2014, just 2 months before our wedding my father passed away from a short but courageous battle with cancer. Having our wedding in his backyard just made it feel so right and that he was there the entire time. Both my mom and dad were very involved in helping to plan this beautiful day. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Our colors were blush, gray, and neutrals. We wanted the look to be elegant, but still have that wine country backyard wedding feel. Our reception area was full of beautiful flowers from Tesoro, personal touches (my mom made a variety of amazing chalkboard art signs), and a giant tree that was lit and hung with 3 beautiful chandeliers (my dad’s idea). It was breathtaking at night. We had market lights strung over the pool area, and a rustic barrel bar for refreshments. Chris and I own a winery Caddis, so we had plenty of wine to share with our guests.

Chris and I decided to do a first look, we saw each other for the first time in the vineyard setting and was able to share a very special moment with just the two of us. This is where we shared our own personal vows. It was touching and private, and so very us. The ceremony was held on the far side of the house with two beautiful bouquets by Tesoro flanking the ceremony site. It was gorgeous. My mom walked me down the aisle and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Chris. It was a beautiful ceremony.

After the ceremony wine and appetizers were served by the pool. Guests found their seats by checking the window pains of two vintage french doors that were hung for them to walk through. We worked with Dovetail Catering for our plated dinner and everyone is still talking about how fantastic the food was. Guests dined on the beautiful grass set beneath a lit tree with three chandeliers. Each table had a beautiful full flower centerpiece with hues of blush and white and large pillar candles to set the mood.

At each place setting glass chargers were placed with beautiful blush napkins from La Tavola. I was a graphic designer in my last career so I designed escort cards and menus for each place setting.

Our cake was delicious from A perfect ending. It was vanilla, with butter cream, and fresh strawberries. In addition to cake Chris and I both love ice cream so we had mint chip with a chocolate donut hole, or vanilla with a caramel donut hole for guests.

We kicked off the dancing with our first dance to “on a night like this” by Dave Barnes and we didn’t stop dancing for the rest of the night. At around 9pm Dovetail brought out the juiciest little sliders on brioche buns. It was the perfect snack for those still dancing the night away. Our guests left with a smores chocolate from Woodhouse Chocolates in St. Helena. It was the perfect little sweet to thank all of our guests for sharing this special day with us. We worked with Kelly from A Savvy Event through the entire process, she was able to provide amazing design ideas and really helped bring our whole vision to life.

It was a bittersweet without my dad there but an amazing day that both Chris and I will look back on fondly for the rest of our lives.

Photography: Allyson Wiley | Wedding Planner: A Savvy Event | Florist: Tesoro Flowers | Cake: Perfect Endings | Catering: Dovetail Events | Make Up: The Make Up Dolls | Lighting: Twilight Design | DJ: Fantasy Sound Events | Linens: La Tavola | Rentals: Wine Country Party | Venue: Private Estate

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
(once like a spark) photography + A Discount!

Here at SMP, we get a little bit giddy when we run across a vendor that takes our breath away. Case in point? (once like a spark) photography. Based in San Diego, Los Angeles + Northern California, this boutique-style photography company creates photos that are truly different — timelessly beautiful with a touch of whimsy and a whole lot of charm.

When you work with (once like a spark) photography, you’re not only signing on with an amazing photographer, but also with a team of wedding experts (in-house planner, editor, etc.) that will seamlessly guide you through the process. Knowing that your wedding photos will be some of your most treasured memories, (once like a spark) photography not only captures you and your honey to perfection, but makes sure you’re totally comfortable on your big day, knows how to schedule everything to get the perfect light and edits beautifully to make sure the final product is picture perfect.

For a ton more information and to book your big day with (once like a spark) photography, head over to their website. OH, there’s more! Just for our SMP readers, (once like a spark) photography is offering either $200 off your package or a free engagement session for the month of November! Be sure to mention SMP California when filling out the contact form to redeem discount.