Vanessa and Joe’s Foodie Wedding in Napa, California
Vanessa and Joe first met in New York, but since she actually lived in Florida, they dated only briefly. Six years later, they reconnected via Facebook, and messaged each other for about a year before finally meeting up in person. They’ve been together ever since. “It’s like we never stopped seeing each other,” Vanessa says.
About two years into their romance, the duo founded Goldbely, a company that scours the country to find the best foods around and makes them available nationwide. They moved to San Francisco during this time, and shortly thereafter, Joe surprised Vanessa with a proposal on the Golden Gate Bridge.
On Friday, May 23, 2014, together with their 120 guests, on the other side of that very same bridge, they tied the knot in Napa, at The Carneros Inn. The ceremony showcased the couple’s love and the stunning scenery, and the luncheon reception totally catered to the foodies’ desire to make the celebration as yummy as it was memorable.
The Welcome Bag
“We wanted to give everyone who came all the way to Napa some keepsakes,” Vanessa says. So in a custom tote bag with an illustration of the States with a heart over the wedding destination, they stuffed a bottle of Domaine Carneros sparkling wine (a favorite of the bride, and a local bubbly), a variety of Momofuku Milk Bar cookies from New York City, whoopie pies from Maine, and Shotwell Candy caramels made with pretzels and craft beer from Memphis. The trio of treats is so loved by the couple that they added them to the offerings on Goldbely.
The duo also included a postcard of San Francisco with a handwritten welcome note and wine balancers that Joe’s brother made out of reclaimed wood. He had made 120 of them for the couple and stamped them with their logo. “I cried,” Vanessa says of the thoughtful gift.
The celebration took place at Napa Valley’s The Carneros Inn. The ceremony offered a view of the rolling hills, the reception took place outside, and the menu was customized to suit the couple’s foodie backgrounds.
“A great feast was at the top of both of our lists,” says Vanessa of the “feasting theme” imparted on the wedding weekend. “It was all about indulging in amazing local cuisine and Northern California wines, plus some of our favorite treats from out of state. Due to the nature of our business, we’ve discovered a lot of food and wanted to share our finds with our family and friends. Plus, what better way to have our guests bond than with great food and drinks?”
The locale was extra special because the couple moved to the Bay Area about a year prior to their nuptials, and Napa has become their place to go to “get away from it all.”
Vanessa wore Vera Wang’s “Katherine” gown, which had hand-rolled fabric flowers hidden between the layers and layers of tulle. The modern ball gown was trimmed with horsehair for structure. It was the second dress she tried on during her hunt for “the one,” and when she tried it on all she wanted to do was spin around and dance in it—which is what she did plenty of on the big day.
She paired her gown with a pair of Valentino “Rockstud” shoes, to give her ensemble some edge.
As for Joe, he went with a classic tuxedo from The Kooples, a Turnbull & Asser bow tie, and watch and cuff links by Cartier.
To contrast with her ball gown, Vanessa wanted to wear something less classic. After obsessing over some items by Lionette, she decided the wedding would be the right time to splurge. She picked up a “Song Sisters” microphone glove. She also snagged a pair of turquoise, crystal, and brass “Gali” earrings.
The Bridal Bouquet
Julie Stevens Design combined peonies, hydrangeas, a variety of roses, seeded eucalyptus, and eucalyptus in Vanessa’s bouquet.
Clad in Jenny Yoo frocks and carrying bouquets of roses and peonies, Vanessa’s attendants were comprised of her two sisters, Joe’s sister, and five friends. “They are the whole reason I was able to plan and pull my wedding together,” Vanessa says. “I would have been lost without them.”
Snacks During Prep Time
While Vanessa and the girls were getting ready, they snacked on treats from The Crispery. The decadent puffed-rice bites have other sweets folded in, like Froot Loops, white chocolate, M&M’s, and chocolate chips.
Wearing their own black tuxedos, the groomsmen dressed the part in J.Crew blue shirts and polka-dotted bow ties from the couple.
The First Cocktail Hour
Switching it up a bit, there was a cocktail hour in the apple orchard prior to the wedding ceremony; guests sipped on rosé and white wine.
Mini donuts from The Boon Fly Café (a restaurant on site) were also served before the bride and groom got hitched.
The Ceremony Setting
Vanessa envisioned a white huppa accented with pink, peach, and white flowers. Julie Stevens Design created this one using seeded eucalyptus, eucalyptus, roses, and stock flowers.
At the late-morning ceremony, Vanessa was escorted down the aisle by her parents. “They live in Venezuela, and it was amazing to have them all the way in Napa with us,” she says.
A Petite Veil
Vanessa wore a Twigs and Honey bandeau veil made of tulle and crystals during the ceremony.
Joe’s uncles and cousins joined the couple under the huppa during the Seven Blessings, which were recited in English and Hebrew. Kugelplex, a klezmer band, played live music during the service, including traditional Jewish songs for the processional.
According to the couple, it was the perfect sunny day with clear skies. Right after the ceremony, they spotted a rainbow—a strange occurrence, since it hadn’t rained for days. The newlyweds took it as a good-luck sign from their late friend Jason, who was the reason they met.
With smiles on everyone’s faces and love all around, their guests joined them to celebrate by walking over to the luncheon area waving ribbon wands as the band played festive and upbeat tunes. “They weren’t just attending a party,” Vanessa says. “They were the party.”
At the luncheon area, guests sipped Aperol spritzers and watermelon mojitos made with vodka—a recipe concocted by the groom.
Some Time Together
Vanessa and Joe stole away for a few photos together as husband and wife. “As much as we wanted to sit and eat fried chicken with everyone, I was excited to spend some alone time with Joe,” Vanessa says.
Made in the Shade
Intended mostly for decoration, parasols were set out. But with it being a bit sunnier than usual, guests put them to good use. Many guests also wore hats—which Vanessa encouraged on the wedding website.
The Escort Cards
Being a designer, Vanessa is somewhat obsessed with graphics and typography. She incorporated that passion by designing the escort cards, which had logos burned into pieces of wood and names penned on by her sister and mother.
The Flip Side
The couple’s monogram, along with a knife and fork, were burned into the back of each card.
The Seating Display
Joe’s brother Ron, a woodworker in New York at Relevant Furniture, built stands for the escort cards using reclaimed wood and wire. An informal sign reading “Heya! Find yo’ seat” was a subtle reference to the groom’s love of hip-hop music.
The three king tables were given fun names that merged music and food: “The Notorious P.I.E.,” “The Justin TimberCake,” and “I Did It All for the Cookie.”
Each table was curated with treats set out to tie in with its table name. Momofuku Milk Bar’s birthday cake and birthday truffles adorned the “Justin TimberCake” table. Vanessa and Joe encouraged guests to dig in to the sweets before the meal even started—and to sample the offerings at the other tables too.
Pies for Days
Slices of Momofuku Milk Bar grasshopper and candy bar pie were packaged in paper boxes tied with string and wooden forks from A La Modo.
Joe’s brother hand-cut and carved reclaimed wood blocks, drawing leafy branches and numbers on them for the guests.
Outdoor brunch on the weekends is a favorite of the bride, so that idea led to having a wedding-day luncheon. The menu started with a garden salad topped with pickled vegetables, Bermuda Triangle goat cheese, dates, kumquat marmalade, and mustard vinaigrette. A herb gnocchi with romesco sauce, fennel, spring peas, and lemon oil followed. And the entrees consisted of either Vanessa’s choice (fried chicken with creamed spinach, cornbread, and potato purée), or Joe’s pick (steak frites with crispy truffle fries and green peppercorn sauce).
Elle’s Belles hand-painted hundreds of cookies for the special occasion. Elle had been working with Goldbely for about a year leading up to the wedding, and she and Vanessa had become friends. When it came time for the celebration, Elle asked for the color palette and inspiration, and came up with some one-of-a-kind sugar cookies—most of which were in the shape of California.
Elle painted some of the sugary treats with a heart over the Napa area, others with the date, and many with the couple’s initials. “She hand-painted them individually so they were unique, with different patterns and colors,” Vanessa says. “I didn’t know if I should frame them or eat them!”
The Guest Book
And They Danced
Everyone moved into the ballroom to dance. The couple chose John Legend’s “All of Me” for their first twirl together as newlyweds. Also on their dance card? The hora and a Venezuelan number called la hora loca—which translates to “the crazy hour.” At the height of the party, the music changed to a Latin/Calypso beat, and things got rowdy. The wedding party entered boasting animal masks, whistles, air horns, fake moustaches, and sunglasses. “It was one of the most fun moments of the day,” the bride recalls.
There was another fun surprise in store. Vanessa’s sister Tatiana sang “No Te Pido Flores” by Fanny Lu. The music and dancing continued, with an after party at a nearby hotel that kept the celebration going.
The Wedding Cake
A four-tier confection from Momofuku Milk Bar was cut into by the new Mr. and Mrs., who kept the strawbery lemon-flavored top tier.