Backyard Garden Wedding in Northern California
July 18, 2014
Classic WeddingsRomanticBackyard
From the Valentinos to the perfect ballerina bun, this Bride has mad style and it rings true for her wedding day as well. It's an affair wrapped in sunshine and a gorgeous backyard setting ripe with bright blooms by Molly Ryan Floral and the kind of photographs we could literally stare at all day long. See all those gems and more captured by Laura Gordon Photography right here.
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From The Bride...I always say “it all started” with the bright indigo J. Crew sweater that Bronzon wore on an auspicious day in May 2010 because it caught my eye from a mile away. We met during the summer before our last year of college and started dating almost immediately. As those days of languor ended, we parted ways to finish college – Bronzon at UC Berkeley and I at University of Southern California. Even during the first months of long-distance dating, our lives moved in serendipitous lock step, which made it so much easier for us (and our love) to grow and mature together. Long story short, we both found jobs in the Bay Area (that even started on the same day). Then, the very same thing happened with our next jobs! After some time of both living and working in the heart of downtown San Francisco, in October 2013, we got engaged during a horseback ride on a sunny day in the thick of the Marin woodlands.

A May 3, 2014 wedding date put us on a 6-month timeline, so the planning process quickly commenced. I discovered that the modern bride’s challenge is comprised largely of the limitless options she has to choose from. One choice that was easy to make for both of us, from the beginning, was the venue – Bronzon’s parents’ home. The Tudor–style house in Bronzon’s hometown of Chico, California, is nestled among lush greenery (meticulously groomed for the wedding by my father–in–law, who also strung lights, set up fountains, and handcrafted a tree swing, a wood block for our cake, and welcome banners for us), oak and willow trees, and best of all, a little lake with a dock – the perfect place to exchange our vows. Bronzon is the third of four siblings, the first two of whom had already been married at the house, but in different locations around the property; so, we were excited to follow this privilege of a family tradition.

The very first decision I made was that photography and videography would be priorities. I wanted to work with a fine art photographer who could express the natural beauty of our garden-like setting as well as direct romantic, editorial-style portraiture; as such, Laura Gordon was one of the first vendors we selected. Despite the fact that we did not meet until our engagement shoot days before our wedding, when she flew out from Virginia, her raw talent was evident and her infectious personality put us at ease immediately. From then on, it was like having an old friend as our photographer. Damon and Amy from Frontside Films were a dynamic duo of a husband-and-wife team whose sweet personalities and ability to work unobtrusively aligned well with our intimate family-only wedding. I fell in love with their ability to express the feeling of love through dreamy imagery.

Discovering and working with the most talented, caring, and competent vendors was one of the most rewarding components of planning the wedding, and we would emphatically recommend every single one of the vendors that are listed.

Our wedding aesthetic evolved naturally from the physical landscape and the spring flora that was to be in season. Bronzon and I are different in many ways but share an appreciation for that which is classic, and simple yet elegant. I was able to infuse my penchant for a little bit of luxe by adding in gold accents (and gemstones!) where I could. Our palette developed into an ethereal commingling of blush pink and rich, layered neutrals such as ivory and champagne. Two accent colors – the natural blue-green of dusty miller and gold from various decorative pieces – added interest. One decision I made early on was to keep the décor simple by anchoring it with the floral design. Molly was a fantastic partner and worked with me to create a vision that involved lots of the palest peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, cymbidium orchids, and importantly, greenery, for balance and texture.

Kara, my sister-in-law, was also my day-of coordinator, artist, and calligrapher – the individual responsible for all of the beautiful directional and table signage you see, including the dinner menu on the vintage mirror from the Leen’s home. Kara had this amazing ability take one look at my inspiration boards and make them come alive in a completely unique way. The watercolor style and “juicy” modern script that is repeated throughout the signage is wholly hers, and I could not have loved it any more!

Many of us would agree that mothers have a lifelong passion for nourishing us. Our mothers were no exception. When I mentioned to my mom that Bronzon and I wanted to serve a signature drink that reflected our combined tastes – a strawberry mojito mocktail – she promptly set up something like a chemistry lab in her kitchen and laboriously perfected the recipe with the help of my taste-testing dad in between the many weekly hour-and-a-half-long drives my dad and mom made to San Francisco for my dress fittings. My mother-in-law and legend of a baker, catered to every one of our dessert requests, which included not just homemade red velvet cake (complete with edible gold leaf detail) but also berry tarts, pecan tarts, and Bronzon’s childhood favorite – strawberry rollup. For our guest favors, she made miniature strawberry jams.

Admittedly, when I first started learning about planning my own wedding, I didn’t understand the prolific use of the phrase “labor of love.” Now, I do. I am moved to tears when I think of the role that each of our mothers, fathers, and siblings played to make our dream wedding possible. I cherish those simple moments that brought our families closer, like when our dads conducted a rigorous sweep of the lawn together and how my mom, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law taught themselves and each other how to fold napkins a certain way, all on the morning of the big day. I am grateful to be spending the rest of my life with the best man I know, but I am also supremely grateful to have gained another set of devoted parents and a whole crew of siblings who I can love as my own. The most surprising thing that wedding planning accomplished was to play such a big role in redefining family, as I knew it.