A Three-Day Wedding Weekend in Napa, California
While mutual friends often facilitate a set-up between their single pals, Nadine and Dan attended a party their shared buddy, Annie, was hosting as guests two guests—not as a potential couple. Even so, they started talking at the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey, that night, but Hurricane Sandy hit the area soon after, and with the Hudson River between them (Dan was in New Jersey and Nadine was in Manhattan), it was impossible to meet up again for a few weeks. They texted and messaged and finally got back together for an official first date.
A few years later, Dan had picked a ring, left work early, and headed to the apartment they had just bought in TriBeCa. "I thought it would be nice to propose in it as a symbol of the next chapter of our life together," he explains. Dan convinced Nadine to help him prep the empty space for the painters, and she reluctantly agreed. Before she arrived, he set up his iPhone so he could activate the video recorder via a Bluetooth remote, arranged flowers in a vase, and just needed to kill time until she showed up. When Nadine opened the door, she saw the flowers and asked Dan what he was doing. "I sprang into action by hiding the ring behind my back and trying to open the box to get it out," he says. "I was mostly successful at this except for the fact that I dropped the ring! In the video of the proposal, you can hear the ring hit the floor and Nadine asks me 'what was that?'" Unphased, he got down on one knee and popped the question.
The wedding weekend had far fewer hiccups. With a date set for April 28, 2018, they worked with Two Roads Event Co. to craft a multi-day celebration in the Napa Valley. Just over 100 guests were invited to the festivities, which began with a welcome party and mehendi ceremony followed by a pizza-filled rehearsal dinner. Then it was time for the main affair: a garden-inspired wedding at Meadowood. Each of the three events had its own style and color palette and the string of celebrations allowed the guests to really spend time together and enjoy the Napa area. The wedding itself was a bit whimsical and romantic, and it was infused with elements that tied back to the pair's relationship and personalities.
A Weekend of Events
Since there was a full three days of events in store, the couple sent cards that asked them to "save the weekend." The simple pieces were designed by Prim & Pixie, who took the color of the bridesmaids' dresses into account, as well as some other details from the couple's mood board. "I love that we ended up incorporating the large flowers in a lot of our paper goods and even on our cake," Nadine says of the main motif that was flat printed on these cards, which were tucked into an envelope closed with a white wax seal boasting the bride and groom's initials. A die-cut card outlined travel information, so even if guests didn't check the website, they had everything handy to make their plans.
Prim & Pixie carried that same floral pattern through to the letterpressed invitation suite. The blue ink popped on the card, which featured a blind debossing of the floral pattern to give it more texture. The envelope liners received that same signature print and were addressed by Calligraphy Nerd. The entire suite was mailed using vintage postage sourced from Verde Studio.
"I thought that assembling the invitations would be a fun task for Dan and me to do so we took it upon ourselves," Nadine explains of what soon turned in to an event for them both. "I guess Dan was pretty surprised when he understood what he signed up for, especially with vintage stamps! They aren't as easy to stick on as regular ones so with six per envelope and the many bits of assembling, it was definitely a task we bonded over! He still laughs about how he managed to sign himself up for that task."
Welcome Party Style
The celebrating began two days before the wedding, with a Pakistani-inspired welcome party in the vineyards of Calistoga Ranch. Nadine wore a custom lengha choli made by Élan, which weighed about 30 pounds because of its elaborate embroidery—though that didn't stop her from dancing all night long (cue the adrenaline!). Dan wore a complementary ensemble.
They dubbed the evening a "Welcome Mehendi" which is the celebration preceding the wedding that involves lots of food, dancing, and fun.
The Traditional Rituals
The couple wore garlands during the mehendi ceremony, which tends to be a very colorful event with a lot of yellows and oranges. Since the bride and groom were trying to put their own modern spin on it, they opted for a silver-and-white theme instead. They used the flowers (by Loop Flowers) to incorporate that traditional marigold hue.
Grab a Bangle
Nadine's mom brought a box of glass bangles for the ladies to pile on.
Many guests wore traditional Pakistani or Indian clothing including saris, lenghas, and kaftans. Nadine's mom had Pakistani outfits created for Dan's family and the bridesmaids. "It was great to see how many of our friends decided to embrace the cultural aspect of it," Nadine says. "Even some of Dan's friends bought Pakistani outfits from places in New York and New Jersey to wear to the event."
Fun and Food
A mix of tables and lounge areas provided plenty of seating after the mehendi. One of Nadine's favorite aspects of the event were the white flower linens, which were a subtle ode to her wedding dress.
Passed appetizers (like goat cheese-stuffed potatoes, crabcakes, and rosemary flatbreads) and food stations (including a cheese display and chicken tikka) meant no one went hungry. When everyone moved in to the wine cave for dancing, mini chocolate soufflés, apple tarts, cheesecake, and mini carrot cakes were served.
Ready for the Rehearsal Dinner
On Friday night, guests attended the the rehearsal dinner, hosted by Dan's parents at a private estate in St. Helena, California, owned by Merryvale vineyards. The couple gave that event a "Napa Chic" dress code. "Nadine claims this is an actual dress code but I think she made it up," Dan jokes. He kept his look casual with a blazer, khakis, and loafers, and Nadine opted for a two-piece Alice + Olivia ensemble. She knew she didn't want to wear white and preferred something flowy. "It felt perfect for the setting. I guess this is how I'd describe wine country chic," she says.
Dan's mom wanted to make something for the event and to show pictures from the couple's lives. She collected images of the bride and groom from all stages and strung them through gold rings which were then hung on a trio of boxwood hedges.
Pizza Party Time
Wine Country Artisans prepared two types of pizzas, salad, butternut squash ravioli, and braised short ribs, in addition to creating a burrata station and gelato bar. They paired the relatively casual menu with Merryvale wines.
A Colorful Setup
The previous summer, Nadine and Dan traveled to Tuscany, so citrus hues from their trip informed the design of their rehearsal dinner. One long table brought everyone together, and bright yellow velvet linens popping against the greenery all around. Loop Flowers placed a garland down the center of the table accented with buttery tree peonies and fresh oranges and lemons.
"I really enjoyed spending time outside with our closest friends and family," Dan says of the night. "My parents are big outdoors people and this was a great way to represent that in an event." Acoustic guitarist Jeff Campbell provided the soundtrack for the evening (a mix of classic rock, pop, folk, and oldies)—throughout which people hung out by the fire pits, enjoyed the views, and relaxed.
A Memorable First Look
On the wedding day, Nadine and Dan got ready separately before meeting for a first look. "The first look was the first time when the moment actually hit me," Dan remembers. "It was also the first time I had seen Nadine since the rehearsal dinner. Standing there alone, waiting for her to come up behind me, I was a bit overcome with emotion. I teared up reflecting on what had brought us together that day. When she finally tapped me on the shoulder, though, that all melted away and I was just elated. She was beautiful and we just held each other for a moment, just happy."
Nadine felt the same way. "I was also so relieved to finally be together. It was so weird to not be able to message or talk to him for so long," she adds. "He's the person I share everything with so all I wanted to do was fill him in on my morning and the last few hours."
Floral Appliqués and a Dark Blue Tux
Nadine felt pretty confident she'd end up buying a wedding dress with floral appliqués, and she was right. She tried on about a dozen options before choosing this ivory Oscar de la Renta gown she found at Mark Ingram Atelier. She had stalked the designer's spring 2018 collection and hunted it down at a trunk show, where upon trying it on, she was immediately smitten with its mix of floral embellishments and lace. "I loved that it was so light," she adds. "I knew I didn't want a heavy gown because dancing was a huge priority for me."
"Our photographers had mentioned an awesome custom suit maker in New York City called Monsieur Brunold," Dan explains of his bespoke ensemble. "I wanted to wear a midnight blue tux because I like the color blue on me better than black, and I wanted to do something a little more nontraditional." He wore a pair of silver cuff links from Nadine's maternal grandmother, a watch he received from Nadine and her parents, and a pair of Bally loafers that had a checked pattern.
Double the Footwear
"I think my shoes were probably one of my favorite fashion details of the wedding," says Nadine of the two pairs she wore. She began the day in rose gold heels with a pearl detail by Nicholas Kirkwood that had a modern edge to them. "I specifically looked for shoes made by a British designer, too, since I am British," she explains. When it was time to cut loose on the dance floor she slipped on flats by Bottega Veneta with butterfly appliques. Dan changed into a more comfortable option, too—a pair by Yeezy.
The Wedding Party
Bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo dresses in "Morning Mist" while the guys donned formalwear from The Black Tux. The ladies carried bouquets of butterfly ranunculus, roses, double-petaled tulips, coral charm peonies, koko loko roses, clematis, jasmine, tree peonies, and honeysuckle, all arranged by Michelle Lywood Love Blooms.
Instead of traditional corsages, Michelle Lywood Love Blooms created floral cuffs for a few VIPs to wear: Nadine and Dan's mothers, the officiant, and Nadine's grandma.
Nadine and Dan incorporated the line "I'll go everywhere with you" in several parts of their wedding, including the ceremony programs. The story behind it: In the summer of 2015 before Nadine moved to Chicago for business school, Dan gave her a card that had that very line on the front. Even though it was a basic greeting card, what it said felt very symbolic to their relationship. "Before we met I didn't really travel very often outside the U.S. and meeting her literally and figuratively opened up the world to me," Dan explains of why he chose the card. "I've had trouble topping this card since then, and we thought it was significant enough to our story to include in our day."
The Outdoor Ceremony
The late-afternoon ceremony took place on the Croquet Glen at Meadowood. Instead of a traditional altar, they went for a wild garden feel with a mixture of pots and florals was created with the existing white gate.
Nadine's aunt, Manizeh, officiated the outdoor ceremony, and while it was her first time undertaking such a task, she did a great job. The nondenominational service incorporated a few religious elements to honor Nadine's Muslim faith, Dan's Christian background, and Nadine's Jewish family members. Manizeh, a therapist passionate about wellness and meditation, asked everyone to take three breaths at the beginning of it all. Once everyone was centered, the rest unfolded from there. Nadine's friend read "Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce and Dan's friend recited "Wild Awake" by Hilary T. Smith.
Cocktail Hour Time
Cocktail hour was held on Vintners Glen aside the reception tent, and Nadine and Dan were able to enjoy it in full as they'd already taken photos earlier in the day. Hors d'oeuvres included a Parmesan cup, Ahi tuna tartare, lobster arancini, braised short rib sliders, and blackened shrimp.
Nadine admits she might have gone a bit overboard on the cocktail front. "But since Meadowood is known for amazing ones, I think it was probably justifiable," she explains. "We had two signature 'his and hers' cocktails. Dan's was a Bourbon Buck and mine was a Paloma. We also had three other cocktails for people to choose from that we called fun names personalized to us (like a Pimm's Cup called 'From London with Love,' a cucumber Collins called the 'Cucumber Kallas,' and a Manhattan called 'Manhattan Meets Meadowood.'" That last one can (seen here) was served with orange peel stamped with the couple's initials.
A Very Special Guest
Nadine's grandmother traveled all the way from Pakistan for the wedding. She was the only grandparent able to attend the festivities. While she had ventured from the furthest destination, other guests came in from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, England, and Spain.
Time to Dine
After finding their seating assignments, guests entered the tent, where they found a mix of tables and chairs set on the lawn. The farm tables were set with gauzy runners atop velvet, and upholstered chairs.
The happy couple entered to "I Got U" by Duke Dumont—Nadine's favorite DJ. While a nontraditional selection, the song held meaning. "It played nonstop during the summer of 2014, when our relationship really strengthened," Nadine says. She had imagined it playing at some point in the wedding, and this was that moment.
Soft Lighting and Linens
Wood chandeliers installed by 3 Stage Lighting added a warm glow to the space. Patterned tablecloths from La Tavola Fine Linen Rentals and lilac-colored velvet napkins were paired with wood cross-back chairs.
In keeping with the day's English garden look, Michelle Lywood celebrated spring's variety of blooms, using potted plants and fresh flowers like hellebores, lilacs, mock orange, and peonies.
At Each Seat
Tabletop rentals from Theoni Collection were used on both types of tables—starting with a lace-like charger that reminded Nadine of her wedding dress. Modern rose gold flatware and a mix of classic stemware and cut crystal rounded out the look. The menus doubled as place cards, with each guest's name at the top. The meal began with a bibb lettuce salad topped with edible flowers and a garden vegetable risotto followed. For the entrées, Meadowood presented three options: grilled tenderloin of beef, red snapper, and wild mushroom ravioli. For a total culinary experience, each course was paired with an equally-delicious wine.
A Sweet First Dance Song
"Our first song was 'Photograph' by Ed Sheeran," Dan says. "We're big fans of his and wanted our first dance to be to one of his songs. A lot of couples pick his songs for their first dance and we wanted to choose one that isn't as commonly used. I like the lyrics of this song and can relate to the special significance photos have when you're away from the person you love.
When it came time to dance with their parents, they went their own way once more. Dan's mom chose "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw for her dance with her son, and Nadine and her dad (a big disco fan) chose "Let's Groove" by Earth Wind and Fire, which kicked off the dancing on a high note. The rest of the music was just as notable, as the couple had spent many Friday nights with a bottle of wine open as they added to their playlists to share with their DJ and to play through Spotify for the other various events.
A Pink Cake
The wedding cake was pretty in pink thanks to Paper Heart Patisserie, who incorporated the floral appliqués of Nadine's dress and the pattern on the invitations on to its exterior. As Nadine gravitates to fruity flavors and Dan is a chocolate guy, the interior was offered both options: French lemon and cookies-and-cream cake.
In addition to the cake, a dessert bar included macarons, cake pops, and cupcakes, which was set up outside of the room where dancing took place. Later in the evening, sliders, onion rings, and French fries were passed.
A Surprise for the Groom
In the lead up to the wedding, Dan kept joking about finding ways to incorporate the Arsenal soccer team into the wedding. Nadine brushed his comments off, but secretly planned a groom's cake to honor Dan's wishes. "I was completely surprised," Dan says.
As wedding favors, the couple worked with Paper Heart Patisserie to create personalized sugar cookies. In each box, were two rectangular cookies printed with vintage maps of New York (where the bride and groom's relationship began and developed) and California (where they got married). The cookies were held together with a gold sugar wax seal with N&D on it similar to the wax seals from their save the date.
Photography, KT Merry
Welcome party location and Catering, Calistoga Ranch
Rehearsal dinner catering, Wine Country Artisans
Wedding Location and Catering, Meadowood
Event planning, Two Roads Event Co.
Videography, Owl and Tree
Stationery, Prim & Pixie
Calligraphy, Calligraphy Nerd
Cake and Favors, Paper Heart Patisserie
Bride's earrings, Fehmida Lakhany
Wedding Bands, Brilliantly Engaged
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's tuxedo, Monsieur Brunold
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, 3 Stage Lighting
Transportation, Napa Valley Transportation & Tours
Day-of Dresser, The Wedding DeTailor