An Elegant California Wedding Inspired by the Comfort of Home
Caitlin & Andrew
Caitlin (a merchandiser for a children's clothing company) and Andrew (who works on the wealth management team of a bank) met at an ugly Christmas sweater party of all places. But the San Franciscans' big day was the total opposite—it was simply beautiful. Exactly one week after their five-year anniversary, on July 30, 2016, they got hitched in Santa Rosa, CA, at the Annadel Estate Winery, with 200 loved ones witnessing the special occasion.
After looking at family wedding albums with her mom, Caitlin was particularly drawn to her maternal grandparents' big day, which was a black tie affair with a reception in the backyard of her grandma's childhood home. "It felt like they had struck the perfect chord—it was an extra-special occasion set in a comforting place," she explains. They finally found their venue, and loved that it offered a beautiful outdoor space that was private and felt a bit like home.
The idea of home became a big piece of the day's mood, too. Persian rugs were a theme in both the bride and groom's childhood homes, and that kicked off the design process—which evolved to include some modern elements and flowers that popped in a natural way. Working with A Savvy Event, they created a black-tie wedding that was elegant yet comfortable, and colorful yet understated.
The invite, designed by Yonder Design, introduced the tone of the event, with the invites nodding to the florals that would be present at the celebration.
The First Look
Andrew wore his Hugo Boss tuxedo for the big day. Caitlin fell in love with a blush pink Monique Lhuillier gown and its blend of the classic (its column shape) and modern (the architectural train). She paired it with Alexander Wang shoes and without planning it ahead of time ended up wearing most of her "somethings" by accessorizing with jewelry. The bracelet was her something old, as it was her great grandmother's. Andrew handed her a small box as they were getting ready for their rehearsal dinner and it contained earrings that served as her something new. And her something borrowed was a pin on loan from a friend that she attached to her bustier. "It all leant to my sensation of being surrounded and supported by the people I love," she says of the pieces.
The Bridal Bouquet
The couple's love of the outdoors (they got engaged on a hike!) and the garden setting influenced the flowers used by Chestnut and Vine. Caitlin carried a bouquet of clematis, roses, astilbe, blushing bride protea, Japanese ranunculus, tweedia, Queen Anne's lace, and acacia foliage.
The Bridal Party
"In my mind, off-white was going to be the best complement to the group and would help keep the wedding party attire looking summery," Caitlin says of the lacy bridesmaids' dresses by Dress the Population. The gals carried bouquets made using the same flowers as the bride's but in a difference combination so the overall arrangements had different tones.
The Feeling of Home
Drawing upon décor from the couple's home, mismatched Persian rugs lined the aisle at the ceremony, like a hallway leading to a grand room in a home.
Rugs were also used in front of the bar during cocktail hour, in the lounge areas, and at the entrance to the reception tent.
The Ceremony Backdrop
Inspired by elements within the property's ruins, the stone color of the drapery hinted at the rocks of the old winery's walls. And the hanging flowers (mostly proteas, lipstick pods, hydrangea, and eucalyptus) pulled in elements within the bridal party's bouquets, and created the illusion that the backdrop might be part of the landscape itself.
"The ceremony was the part I found most daunting to consider," Caitlin recalls. "I worried that what can often be a very traditional process wouldn't feel personal. But in the end, all the elements summed up to a ceremony that really encapsulated who we are and it turned out to be our favorite part of the day!"
Set in the winery's ruins from the late 1800s, family members ran the ceremony, with Andrew's uncle officiating, Caitlin's brother reading an excerpt from one the groom's favorite authors, and the bride's cousin (a minister) providing a blessing.
The Lounge Areas
Another area that played up the idea of being at home was the lounge area, where a selection of couches and chairs were grouped with more rugs, cozy pillows, and candles and flowers. "So many of the pieces I wanted for our own home," Caitlin says.
The Seating Chart
The seating chart's wood board mimicked a garden trellis, and with the addition of flowers, it felt like it could have been a natural occurrence within the gardens at Annadel Estate.
Colorful arrangements were placed on wood pedestals to set the scene as guests transitioned between spaces.
The Place Settings
When Caitlin was putting her inspiration board together she fixated on two images. The first, a jumble of brass, white, gray, and black kitchen items that became the inspiration for the table settings. The second, an image of black-and-gold cutlery, also had her swooning. The couple's planner, Kelly McLeskey-Dolata of A Savvy Event, tracked down that very flatware and set the table using those pieces, simple white plates, and a striped napkin tied in a knot. Menus were circular, and nestled in to the plates, where they also served as place cards.
Colorful arrangements popped against the gray runners. They included roses, raspberries, scabiosa, nigella, Boston ivy, delphinium, and eucalyptus.
Dinner began with a salad of garden lettuces topped with grilled plums, toasted almonds, fresh chèvre toasts, and light vinaigrette. Catered by Jessica Lasky Catering, it followed with thyme-roasted tomato stuffed with quinoa and corn, crispy skin-on wild king salmon with Meyer lemon salsa verde, or a pan-roasted filet of beef.
Dances to Remember
One of the first decisions the pair made during wedding planning was their first dance song—"When I Get My Hands on You" by the New Basement Tapes. Andrew's brother sent them the song right after they got engaged with a text saying "every big moment needs a soundtrack." Now the song is a nice reminder of two of their happiest days.
Another special dance happened as the bride's parents danced to their song, Alan Jackson's "Remember When." They invited the newlyweds, their siblings and spouses, the groom's parents and grandparents to join them on the dance floor after a moment so they could all dance as part of the new, extended family.
Then the high-energy music kicked in. Pop Rocks, the 80s cover band they'd hired, had everyone dancing all night and also resulted in an impromptu duet between the bride and the lead singer for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Dessert for Days
Not wanting to cut into their time on the dance floor, the couple opted for a dessert table where guests could help themselves. With neither of them being big cake people, they skipped it and opted for their favorite desserts instead—like chocolate chip cookies with vanilla bean ice cream. Butterscotch pots de crème, pies, and mini orange almond pavlovas with berries and lemon curd were also on offer.
Photography, Delbarr Moradi
Location, Annadel Estate Winery
Event planning and design, A Savvy Event
Catering, Jessica Lasky Catering
Flowers, Chestnut and Vine
Videography, Josh Harney Productions
Stationery, Yonder Design
Music, Pop Rocks
Hair and Makeup, Katie Brooke Callahan
Bridesmaids' dresses, Dress the Population
Groom's tuxedo, Hugo Boss
Transportation, California Wine Tours
Restrooms, Sanitation Services
Tenting, Zephyr Tents