Fresh Outdoor Wedding in Sonoma
April 12, 2010
United States

There is something so very charming and magical about a backyard wedding. Maybe it is the cozy atmosphere, or the comfort that comes from being surrounded by friends and family in an intimate venue. Even if you aren't blessed with a huge backyard, you can still capture that feeling of a homespun affair – case in point, Emilie and Gray's outdoor wedding in Sonoma. This lovely day had that "IT" factor and I am IN LOVE with every last detail captured by the awesomeness that is Kate Webber. Can't get enough of those streamers? Be sure to check out the full wedding gallery .

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{Click here for the full gallery of images from this fresh, fun wedding}

I know this is a bit long but the bride, Emilie, had sooo many wonderful snippets to share that I couldn't possibly leave out one single detail. And, she was inspired by Style Me Pretty through out her planning process... we love that!

Venue: While we both grew up in Maryland, not more than a mile away from one another and felt a heap of pressure to get married there, we simply didn’t fall in love there.  We fell in love in the Bay Area taking road trips to wine country.  The landscapes take our breath away and the easy lifestyle is totally inspiring. We wanted the decorations to be fresh, comfortable, and easy on the eye.  Essentially, we were going for an atmosphere akin to a dinner at our place with friends, kicked up a notch.  The yellow screams fresh, fun, and lively while the gray suggests a little sophistication.  The color juxtaposition constantly caught our eye as we were planning, kind of like the sun shining through on a cloudy day.

Food: We wanted the food to be local, organic.  We’re pretty passionate about the environment and wanted to tread lightly. The cupcakes were done by a friend of a friend and we knew we wanted them as soon as we sat down at the baker’s house for a tasting.  Besides, cupcakes are so much more delicious than regular cake.  Our guests raved about them.

Ceremony: We wanted it to be a real reflection of us.  We love the Beatles, so the violinist playing Here, There, and Everywhere as our wedding party walked down the aisle.  The musicians (Ann Wang & friend) also wrote the music for Flashdance’s What a Feeling, which always makes me feel like a million dollars every time I hear it.  Of course, I wanted to walk down the aisle to something like that.  And it absolutely struck me when played on the violin. Gray’s bother-in-law married us and used a passage from Charles Darwin’s diary as he contemplated marriage.  Gray works at the Cal Academy of Sciences and the choice of passage was perfect. Gray’s sister read E.E. Cummings’ I carry your heart with me and very talented and dear friends of ours played the guitar and played the Beatles Something.  The ceremony continued with friends standing up Quaker style to read quotes from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safron Foer, a book we read aloud to each other when we first started dating.  It closed with an exchange of our vows, which we wrote ourselves, and our guests singing Huey Louis’s Power of Love.    It absolutely rang us and rang fun!

Reception: We wanted the reception to be comfortable, casual, and engaging.  We had several things for guests to do from leaving us love notes on fabric squares (I’ll make that into a quilt for our 1 year anniversary) to getting their pictures taken by the hanging cloth photo backdrop (I’ll use the fabric to reupholstered a piece of furniture in our home so it can live a little longer with us).  There were also some DIY mustache “sticks” for a little prop for the photo backdrop photos.  To make sure the grounds were entirely accessible, we posted homemade chalk boards with directions and drink details.

Details: Our cocktails were designed by our parents who were desperate to play a role.  I loved Gray’s father’s cocktail, The Love Maker: Maker’s Mark any way you like it.  Another cocktail was from a local farm in our hometown, Fergie’s Punch, in honor of the Alice Ferguson Farm. Our tables were named after our favorite places, some in San Francisco, some in Maryland and North Carolina, where we vacation with our families.

Favors: We wanted our guest to keep cool, so we offered pre-ceremony beverages and fans.  Each table-setting had a packet of California Poppy seeds for guests to plant at home to remember their trip to California.

Venue: Little House Weddings / Photographer: Kate Webber / Wedding Coordinator: Denise Kramer Weddings / Caterer: Park Avenue Catering / Florals: Dragonfly Floral / Dessert: Sweet Peony Cakes / Band: The Smoking J's / Wedding Gown and Shoes: J Crew/ Bridesmaids: J Crew