A Foodie Couple's Dinner Party-Inspired Wedding in Napa, California
Emily and Siddhartha met during their junior year at Stanford when they were studying in Washington, D.C., for a semester and were randomly assigned to rooms next to each other. Despite sharing mutual friends, the two had never met before the program, but they quickly became close. They lived in the same house during their final year in college, and they ultimately started dating after two years of friendship. There was no turning back from there.
On August 26, 2017, the duo and their 175 guests ventured to California's wine country for a weekend to remember. The London-based couple had spent much of their relationship in the Bay Area, so they wanted to showcase the locale as well as their love of food and entertaining. The Barn at Green Valley, in Napa, allowed them to throw their dinner-party style reception in a modern, rustic, and natural fashion. Jesse Tombs of Alison Events Planning + Design helped shape the look of the celebration, which started with a muted color palette and gradually shifted to a bold and bright reception.
Emily and Siddhartha wanted to get married in wine country in honor of their shared love of wine and as a nod to the time they've spent in the region. They chose the new Barn at Green Valley for its setting and options for customization.
Yonder Design created the horizontally-oriented, letterpress invitation suite. The design featured a muted color palette and was rooted in simplicity. "The tonal changes in each paper helped to signify a different event," explains Chris Neubauer of Yonder Design. "In this case, the cards were stacked in a tidy manner, and held together with a white wax seal and waxed thread." The liner of the response card's envelope boasted a stylized photo of the wedding venue, while the color of the brown kraft envelope hinted at the rustic setting.
Lower case lettering helped emphasize the effortless elegance of the event, and the line graphics and monogram were inspired by the venue's steeped roof.
The First Look
Siddhartha was floored when he saw Emily in her wedding dress. "She looked absolutely stunning," he recalls. "I had so many emotions at the time—excitement, love, joy, certainty, and that feeling that we were the only two people in the world at that moment."
For the ceremony, Siddhartha wore a bespoke midnight blue sherwani by SS Homme (a Mumbai-based designer). Later, he changed into this midnight blue Tom Ford tuxedo. "I knew exactly which tuxedo I wanted and spent several months looking for a sherwani that would match it," he says. He tied on a black Brioni bow tie over his Tom Ford shirt, slipped into Tom Ford velvet slippers, and put on classic studs by Mont Blanc and panda bear cuff links from Emily (a reference to her nickname for him).
Emily wore one of the first wedding dresses she tried on—a Mira Zwillinger gown made from rose-patterned lace. "It was the most unique fabric I have ever seen," she says. "It was light, which was perfect for a hot Napa day." She accessorized with a veil and headpiece from Browns Bride, a drop necklace she'd borrowed from her mother, blue Miu Miu mules, and the engagement ring Siddhartha designed entirely himself. "Since we live in San Francisco and he worked with a jeweler in New York, my dad was the one who actually went in person to see the stone before Siddhartha bought it," says Emily of the team effort. "And when my ring was shipped it got lost in the mail for approximately one day. I couldn't understand why Siddhartha was so stressed while we were on vacation…"
The Bridal Bouquet
Emily's parents, who have been married for 37 years, told her that marriage is wonderful, but hard. Their recipe for success is to keep choosing each other even if and when things get tough.
Traditionally, the baraat consists of the groom, his family, and friends traveling together from their village to the bride's village for the wedding. The groom rides in on a horse surrounded by lots of song and dance. In today's modern age, it's more about the symbolism of the groom's wedding party arriving at the venue. Siddhartha began his journey at the top of the driveway on a horse encircled by loved ones dancing to hit Bollywood songs and the beats of traditional Indian dhol drums. Upon arrival at the barn, they were greeted by Emily's family and friends who joined in on the revelry.
The Ceremony Setup
The ceremony took place on a lawn behind the barn, where the "manduppah" (it was a hybrid of a mandap and a chuppah) was surrounded by chairs on all sides and a larger structure with white drapery. The color palette was kept to mostly whites and greens, with pale wood chairs bringing in another neutral element.
The service combined Hindu, Jewish, and non-denominational elements. They wrote and exchanged personal vows as well as wedding bands—hers a Tiffany & Co. platinum band, and his, a Cartier trinity ring that used to be his mother's—and garlands.
After becoming husband and wife, they danced up the aisle to "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé.
The groom's parents, who have been married for 34 years, offered their best advice, too. They told their son to make his wife happy, to make her smile and laugh each day, and to take care of himself so he can take care of Emily. They also said the newlyweds shouldn't wake up with a frown or go to bed with tears, to trust one another, talk about their feelings, and share everything.
Cocktail hour was a buzz of activity, with a sommelier opening magnums of Champagne with a saber and a Hog Island Oyster shucking fresh local produce. Aperol spritzes and Pimms cups were served, as was wine from the Hamel Family Vineyards (where the bride and groom got engaged).
Trays of small bites were served, including these skewers of watermelon, mint, haloumi, and minty vinaigrette. Other appetizers were truffle oil pizzettas; crispy nori bites with cured hamachi, citrus, and micro greens; avocado tacos; levain toasts with charred fig black olive tapenade; and grilled bruschetta with goat cheese, grilled peaches, and mint.
The flowers used at cocktail hour were a bit bolder than those seen at the ceremony, with shades of soft pinks, pale pinks, and raspberry now mixed in. For guests who wanted to sit down and relax a bit, cozy furniture from Found Vintage Rentals were arranged in a picturesque setting.
From the Farm
To incorporate Emily and Siddhartha's love of cooking and visiting farmers' markets, planner Jesse Tombs came up with the idea for the escort card display to be a take on a marketplace. He and Natalie Bowen Designs used fruits, vegetables, and wooden crates for the setup, and escort cards were pinned to the produce.
Find Your Seat
The seating display was at the main entrance of the barn, so when the doors were opened, guests were blown away by the color and bounty that greeted them. At the end of the night, guests went home with a box of fresh produce.
The Barn Reception
Long farm tables set inside the barn were decorated with linen runners and elements that were intended to feel as if they could always exist in the space. "We wanted it to feel special and celebratory, while also feeling at ease and relaxed," notes planner Jesse Tombs. The flowers were a mix of wine country texture and blooms inspired by the grasses and rolling hills seen from the venue—in colors that were the boldest combination of the day.
As guests began heading in to find their seats, Emily and Siddhartha snuck out to watch the sun setting over the vines. "We didn't say anything. We held each other and appreciated the opportunity to take a minute or two for just ourselves in the midst of all of the other excitement," Siddhartha says.
The Table Numbers
Marble tiles were the base of the table numbers, which were fastened on with the same silk ribbon used throughout the celebration.
Good Enough to Eat
Jessica Lasky Catering sourced local cheeses, fruits, and vegetables for the tables, so that upon sitting, guests had something beautiful to look at as well as snacks they could nibble on before the first course was served. The couple's monogram was engraved into marble platters for another personal touch.
The vegetarian meal was served family-style, and included dishes like panzanella salad, free form eggplant parmesan, and goat milk ravioli.
And since Emily and Siddhartha aren't really into cake, they served some of their other favorite desserts instead. ICI ice cream (for her) and chocolate chip cookies (for him) and combinations of both in the form of ice cream sandwiches.
The newlyweds chose Louis Prima's "Buonasera" for the start of their first dance and then surprised guests by cutting into "London Thumakda"—an up-tempo wedding song from the Bollywood movie "Queen" that they had choreographed.
Time to Party
After the first dance and parent dances, everyone joined the couple on the dance floor for a hora, which set the tone for the rest of the night. The penultimate song of the evening was Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" in reference to Emily's hometown, and then the night ended with Tony Bennett's "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" in homage to where the couple's romance began. "All the people on the dance floor huddled in a circle singing and dancing together," Emily says. "It was one of those great moments where we were surrounded by so many people we love."
Photography, Jesse Leake Photography
Location, The Barn at Green Valley
Event planning, Jesse Tombs of Alison Events Planning + Design
Catering, Jessica Lasky Catering
Flowers, Natalie Bowen Design
Videography, Shark Pig Weddings
Stationery, Yonder Design
Ice cream, ICI
Bride's gown, Mira Zwillinger
Hair and Makeup, Betten Chaston
Bridesmaids' dresses, Monique Lhuillier
Groomsmen's suits and ties, J.Crew
Lighting, Bright Event Rentals
Transportation, Napa Valley Wine Tours
Oysters, Hog Island Oyster