Whimsical Sonoma Wedding with Pops of Purple, Magenta + Gold
March 2, 2016
Al FrescoWeddings in WineriesOutdoor Weddings
There are so many things I love about this wedding that it's nearly impossible to pick a favorite element: the vibrant color palette, the gorgeous Sonoma setting, the whimsical centerpieces, and the list goes on. But I think my favorite part is that these high school sweethearts passed their wedding rings around for their guests to bless so that everyone important in their life could be part of their big day. See all the pretty captured by Jen Philips in The Vault!
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From Jen Philips...Hi! Stephanie and Ryan, along with their wedding planner/designer Heather Holliday, designed a wedding that wasn't afraid to shine brightly, with pops of purples and magentas, and golden accents, set against the contemporary design and spectacular views of Hamel Family Wines. Here are a few things I really loved about their day:

- Hamel is a new winery in Sonoma, and is doing relatively few weddings. The owners are great friends of Ryan's mother
- The golden books decorating the tables
- The question cards with facts about the couple at the tables
- The florals by Flowers by Rebekah!
- The couple's 11-year relationship started in high school and has stuck with them through college, new towns, law school (for Stephanie) and so much more.
- Passing (and blessing) of the rings from hand to hand by the guests during the ceremony.
- The flower girls' choreographed "Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae" dance at the reception
- The wedding party gifts - custom branding irons and Bic lighters for the guys, and lat/long stamped necklaces for the girls (the location of each of their births).

From The Bride...Ryan and I met on my first day of high school but we didn't start dating until I was a junior and he was a senior. We both grew up in Naples, Florida and went to college in Orlando. We moved to Chicago a few years ago so I could go to law school and we got engaged on our 10 year anniversary. We both love to travel and we could not get over the idea of a destination wedding. The first vacation we ever took just the two of us was to California. We fell in love with Northern California while we were there, which is why Sonoma ultimately won. That and the venue was so beautiful we had to get married there!

Our style vision was a glamorous bohemian rustic garden - which is such a mouth full! I think we really incorporated all of those elements. Purple is my favorite color (and it looks really great on Ryan) so I knew I wanted to use purple tones and accent the purple with bright pinks and metallics.

I love searching thrift stores and flea markets for antiques and was able to incorporate that in the doors, which was main decorative focus for the ceremony. As a self proclaimed nerd, I found the vintage flash cards on Etsy and had to have them as my table signs (I have used flash cards my entire life to study for big tests). I also love reading hence the gold books on the tables.

Ryan's favorite thing, aside from our bull dog Frank is Liverpool Football Club. He has been a fan for almost 15 years and has turned me into one as well; watching soccer is something we really love to do together. He wanted Liverpool to be incorporated somehow and so all the groomsmen wore badges. I also had YWNA, which stands for You'll Never Walk Alone and is LFC's anthem, engraved on the inside of his wedding band.

My favorite moment was probably the ceremony. We both really wanted it to be personal and represent who we are individually and as a couple.We asked my Aunt, someone Ryan and I are very close to, to write something original to read and it was beautiful! We passed our wedding rings for our guests to bless because we wanted everyone there to be incorporated into the ceremony in a meaningful way - and we wanted them to know that they were important parts of our lives. We said traditional vows and wrote our own vows too. We both were really emotional and it seemed that EVERYONE cried. 

Peonies are my favorite flowers and I wanted to use them as much as possible. The colors and the textures of all the flowers were so perfect I couldn't have been happier. I also loved the flowers on the chairs at the end of the aisle during the ceremony. Ribbon bouquets were probably the one thing I knew I wanted from the beginning. We mixed some vintage ribbons, and a vintage piece of beaded lace as well as silk and satin ribbons and I really loved it. Ryan really wanted to use succulents so it was important that we incorporated them as accents and in the boys boutonnieres.

I was really close with my grandfather and he passed away from pancreatic cancer my senior year of high school. A few days before he died he told my mom that one of his biggest regrets was that he wouldn't be able to dance with me at my wedding, so it was incredibly important that he was represented. I talked to my grandmother about using a piece of his jewelry or something that he had given her. She suggested this incredible 70's medallion that said love in diamonds. I didn't want to wear a necklace and so my mom had it turned into a bangle and it was perfect - I wear bangles all the time and it just felt like me. My grandmother let me keep it and it is one of the most special pieces of jewelry I own.

I think there are three really important things to keep in mind when planning a wedding. 1. Do what you want. Small concessions to appease your parents are one thing, but the wedding needs to be for you and your partner. 2. Find ways to involve your significant other. My husband really had a "whatever you want babe" attitude about the entire thing, but he did really care about the food and the alcohol and so I let him take charge of those areas. 3. Enjoy planning. There were times during planning I couldn't wait for it to be over, but once it was, I realized that was (hopefully) the only wedding I was going to plan and it went by so fast. I wish I had been more in the moment.

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