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Inspiration Board: Rustic Romance
July 24, 2007

One of our loyal readers, Vanessa, sent me a plea for inspiration...literally, her email was titled "plea for inspiration." She is so clearly on the right track with color and style, she just needs a little help pulling the elements together. Vanessa and her fiance, Michael, are getting married at this super-fab spot in Napa Valley, California. I actually had a lovely weekend with my husband and his parents at this same resort a few years back. It is gorgeous, in that rustic California meets classic elegance, kind of way.

The wedding will be held next June in an outdoor ceremony, beneath a grove of trees...Vanessa wants the wedding style to reflect the natural beauty of the surroundings, and yet maintain a sense of elegance that "rustic" often forgets. Here is what I have come up with for Vanessa and Mike...


Top Row: Chandelier on Brides; Bridesmaid's dress by Vera Wang; Flowers by Janie Medley, Center Row: Tulle Gown on Brides; Invitations by Abby Jean; Lace Gown on Brides, Bottom Row: Cake by The Cake Girls, Pearl bracelets and brooches and flowers by Livia Cetti

There are a few details that Vanessa already has solidified...her gown was designed by San Francisco couture designer, Jinza and is stunning with a french lace back and a silk organza skirt (last photo in the intro). Also, Vanessa will be wearing a gorgeous lace veil that two of her three sisters have worn at their own wedding.

With that said, she wants her wedding to reflect a romantic, elegant affair that is rich in family and tradition. Here are some ideas for Vanessa...

-I really do think that color palettes should be derived from the space itself. Because Napa has this rustic elegance thing going for it, I think that Vanessa should really play up those types of colors...various shades of green, cream and the palest of coral or pink. Nothing too bright or over-the-top...rather muted, romantic tones that will enhance the natural beauty of the reception. She could also bring in shades of chocolate and taupe so as to create a stronger, foundation color. Check out the Palette Generator by Big Huge Labs (you can literally upload this inspiration board in to see what color palette it derives...amazing).

-The best thing about Napa Valley is its sophisticated country charm. Everything, from the bridal fashions to the food served, should reflect this. I think that Vanessa should play up the floaty, romantic elements of her own gown...bridesmaids in wispy vera wang gowns, hair in very loose chignon's, men in classic black tuxes with pale pink or taupe ties. Completely elegant and yet not overly styled. Since Vanessa is Spanish Filipino, the use of lace could really be emphasized...and will only add to the romance.

-Flowers should have that "fresh from Martha's garden" kind of look. What that means is that there isn't a lot of form to the arrangements, but you can tell that they were designed for something really special and beautiful. I love peonies and garden roses...flowers that are fluffy, without a lot of structure.

-I love the idea of having a Spanish guitar greet the guests at the ceremony. Really playing up romance and approachable elegance. Perhaps the programs, that are placed on each seat, are filled with photos and little snippets about Vanessa and Mike's life together...nothing too formal (like a bio) but rather tidbits that let the guests see a bit more of who they are as a couple. Vows should be infused with personality...even if they recite traditional vows, they can add in a short little note that they read aloud to each other, or the readers can recite a favorite poem or a verse from a loved song. Small elements that tell the couple's story will help to make this day so much more memorable for everyone.

-I love the idea of serving family style food. Couples are starting to catch on to this trend, as it makes guests feel more at home and comfortable. With that said, you still need to have black tie donned servers so as to keep the dinner upscale and sophisticated. Mike is from an Italian American family, which fits perfectly into this type of dinner. Stay true to the rustic, home grown feeling of Napa foods, perhaps with a slight Italian influence. Complete the ambiance with paper lanterns (which actually come with the space!), little twinkle lights and lots of candles, varying both shape and sizes. Perhaps tables accented with lace runners (ivory lace over ivory cloth).

-Some ideas for favors...bottles of wine from a local boutique winery, handmade chocolate truffles, photo books with Polaroid cameras for the guests to fill. Anything that will remind guests of the night and of the couple.

I could go on and on about this wedding. I hope that these ideas were some help to Vanessa and Mike! Feel free to post your own ideas for this lovely affair!