A DIY Vineyard Wedding in Napa Valley
Sarah and Scott
Groucho Marx joked, "Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him." Such was the case for New York City banker Scott Damassa, whose destiny was transformed by a single wink from Sarah Smith, then a magazine beauty editor. It was a cyber-wink, on Match.com, to be exact. Intrigued by the gesture, he asked her to meet him for a drink. She agreed, and the sparks were instant. "We talked for so long, we closed the place," Scott recalls.
The next two-and-a-half years were as smooth as a glass of French pinot noir, and in 2012 the couple moved into a cozy apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. Three months later, Scott, who loves to cook, whipped up a spread that took Sarah down memory lane—and into the future. Cheese and chutneys reflected a trip to London, grilled-shrimp pasta represented their first dinner date, and the wine was inspired by trips to Napa and Italy. Finally, he presented the pièce de résistance: a custom-designed ring.
Sarah wasted no time picking a wedding location. "Napa was an easy choice," she says. "We fell in love with the area during our first vacation together."
Inspired by the Vines
For the self-professed oenophiles, who moved to San Francisco six months after their engagement, it didn't hurt that the region is not only scenic but also celebrated for its grapes. "We knew from the start there would be a major focus on wine," says Sarah. "For us, enjoying great food and drink together is a way of sharing our love."
Sarah and Scott worked with Austin-based Antiquaria to develop a custom rubber stamp for each element of their DIY suite. "We thought all calligraphy would feel too formal, so we had the stationers mix in a font to strike the perfect balance," Sarah says. Then, she hand-stamped the whole suite herself—including a vine motif that nodded to Napa's scenery—and added cork-paper backing to the wedding-website cards, which were attached to the save-the-dates with gold string.
The save-the-dates also matched the invite suites. It was where the gold twine and tiny gold grommets first appeared, adding gilded details to the pink, white, and kraft-paper paper from Paper-Source.
Since both the bride and groom's first names start with the same letter, the initial was rubber stamped on the envelope liner.
On September 14, 2013, almost a year after getting engaged, Sarah and Scott exchanged Catholic vows before 101 of their nearest and dearest at Holy Family Mission Church.
Gifts for the 'Maids
Sarah gave each of her three bridesmaids an antique compact filled with solid perfume. "I really wanted to capture the scent of Napa, so I worked with Joya perfumery in Brooklyn to create something with notes of wine, earth, dry heat, and garden flowers," she says.
The Bride and Her Sister
The bride, in Tara Keely, posed for a sun-splashed shot with her oldest sister, Amy. They carried posies of pink garden roses, mountain snow greens, and café au lait dahlias.
A gold-plated ring box held the couple's bands. "Scott's grandmother found it on one of our antiquing trips," Sarah says.
The Ring Bearers
Scott's second cousins Stuart and Carter acted as ring bearers.
The newlyweds posed in the yard of the Rutherford Grove Winery, where their outdoor reception took place.
"During the reception, we took a walk through the vineyard's rose garden and reflected on everything that had brought us to that moment," Scott says. In other words, they marveled at the power of Sarah's serendipitous wink.
At the bar, guests picked up cards that described each varietal and how the couple likes to pair them. Sarah stamped the accompanying cocktail napkins.
Cocktail-hour bites included baby radishes, heirloom carrots and tomatoes, breadsticks, and snap peas.
The Al Fresco Celebration
Scott's siblings shared a laugh at the vineyard.
The Seating Chart
Framed table assignments played on the word "reserve," a reference to both wine and dinner seating. "And I didn't have to worry about escort cards blowing away in the breeze," Sarah says.
Wax-lined paper bags holding mini sourdough loafs were rubber stamped with the family-style menu. The outdoor party was as beautiful as it was appetizing, featuring what Sarah calls a "fresh and rustic, but not fussy" feast of heirloom tomato salad and beef with a merlot demi-glace. There's not much this pair loves more than an amazing meal.
Table markers—brass house numbers nailed to blocks of wood by the father-of-the-bride—mingled with bud vases holding dahlias, mums, and gerber daisies. Scott's aunts arranged all of the big day's blooms, which sat atop runners made by Sarah's mother.
The First Dance
Sarah and Scott swayed to "Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins & Jim Messina. "Even though we were being watched by all of our friends and family," Sarah says, "I felt like we were the only two people on earth at that moment."
The Guest Book
A Sweet Finish
Mini fruit pies, cookies, and strawberry-pecan bread from Batter Bakery filled the dessert table alongside a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
Favors to Savor
Guests' take-away treat? A jar of mandarin honey and their choice of homemade jam in one of five flavors made by friends of Scott's grandma: strawberry, apricot- pineapple, blackberry, orange marmalade, and strawberry-peach.
Locations: Holy Family Mission Church (707-944-2461); Rutherford Grove Winery
Catering: Preferred Sonoma Caterers
Flowers: Annie Jackman; Amy Thomas
Photography: Glass Jar Photography
Officiant: Deacon Charles Cancilla, Diocese of Santa Rosa
Stationery, Calligraphy, and Rubber Stamps: Antiquaria
Paper for all Stationery: Paper Source
Cake and Desserts: Batter Bakery
Music: [acoustic guitar during ceremony] Tom Jackman; [reception] Jeff Virzi of California Mobile DJS
Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen; Wine Country Party
Hair: Sean Harrison Metcalfe
Bridal Party Makeup: Ryan Clifford
Bride's Accessories: [clutch] Diane von Furstenberg; [shoes] Jimmy Choo; [earrings] Suzanne Kalan
Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew; Donna Morgan
Groom’s Suit: Banana Republic
Accessories: [tie] Hugo Boss; [shoes] Magnanni for Neiman Marcus; [groomsmen’s ties] Ties.com
Transportation: Napa Valley Tours & Transportation
Church wreaths and garlands: Pacific Coast Evergreen
Engagement ring and wedding bands: HK CAD Designs Fine Jewelry Manufacturing
Seating Chart Frame: Photo Frames Plus
Menu bag: MrTakeOutBags.com
Jam jar: Fresh Preserving Store
Honey: Magnolia Hill Orchard
Honey jar: Specialty Bottle
Metal Thread in Antique Gold: Tinsel Trading
Cork paper: New York Central Art Supply
Guestbook: Handmade Journal; Frame
Solid Perfumes [in vintage compacts]: Joya
Ring box: Antique Trove