Dutch Art Inspired Every Detail of This Wedding on the California Coast
The Northwestern sales manager for La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, Johanna was introduced to Erik through his sister, event consultant Sarah Laird of Kate Whelan Events. Johanna says, "It took me over 10 years of asking, 'Doesn't anybody have a cute brother or cousin?' before somebody did." Along with the help of a coworker, Sarah set the future couple up at a local trivia night—although Erik maintains that he was completely unaware that it was, in fact, a setup. If he would have known, "[he] wouldn't have talked about Gilmore Girls so much!" he says.
Despite this initial misunderstanding, Johanna and Erik ended up going out on a real date shortly after—and Johanna knew Erik was the man she would marry by their third date. (They were walking down Main Street in Napa, California, when they both noticed a T-Rex topiary outside a boutique, and said "Rawwwr!" in unison. That sealed the deal.)
They were married just over two years later, on Feburary 6, 2019. Their intimate family-only ceremony (with just 17 guests!) took place at the unique Sea Ranch Chapel. Three days later, on February 9, the newlyweds invited 165 guests to The Sutter Club for a cocktail-hour-meets-reception-party hybrid to celebrate their nuptials. As for the décor? The event's design was primarily influenced by Dutch art (a nod to the bride's mother and her collegiate studies)—and included bright florals, a blue-and-white color palette, and Delft pottery. "Blue and white are classic and timeless, and I didn't want to fight the beautiful venue—which was rich in colors and textures itself," says Johanna.
The bride sums up the event's decorations perfectly: "I tried to have my personal style come through—classic with a wink."
A Bride's Touch
A seasoned event professional, Johanna designed the invitation suite herself with the help of Adobe Illustrator. The stationery featured the couple's monogram with blue letterpress by Whitney of Valley Press Co. As a special touch, the invitation also included a letterpress rendering of a Dutch tulip; the response card included one of a T. Rex. The envelopes were lined with a detailed illustration inspired by the couples' wedding flowers, bundled with navy blue linen from La Tavola, and finished with a wax seal by Artisaire.
A Stylish Restyling
As a self-proclaimed board game enthusiast, Johanna thought nothing of Erik's suggestion of a casual Sunday afternoon Scrabble match. When Erik pulled a ring out of the tile bag, however, Johanna says she was "totally surprised." Erik wanted to design his bride's engagement ring and wedding band with her, so he used her favorite right hand ring—an emerald-cut London blue topaz—to propose.
For the bride's engagement ring, the couple worked with Lauren O. Jewels to restyle an heirloom diamond pendant Johanna inherited from her godmother into a round cut ring, accented with diamond side stones. Lauren also designed Johanna's eternity wedding band. Erik found his white gold band on Etsy; it included yellow gold on the inside as a tribute to his wife's rings.
When You Know, You Know
Johanna found both her dream wedding dresses (one for her ceremony and another for the reception!) during her very first appointment at David's Bridal. It was important to her that they both had long sleeves—and it was especially mandatory that her reception gown allowed her freedom of movement for dancing.
Her ceremony dress featured a lace bodice, sheer sleeves with delicate lace detailing, and a full-length tulle skirt. For her reception ensemble, the bride opted for a garment with full lace details throughout the sleeves, bodice, and skirt portions; the cinched waist detail was accentuated with a navy blue ribbon.
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
The bride kept her accessories simple, but on theme. Her ceremony jewelry included pearl earrings she found at the Napa Farmers Market and an heirloom vintage pearl bracelet. Johanna's full-length veil from House of Fashion perfectly matched with the tulle skirt of her ceremony gown; dark blue, crystal-embellished Badgley Mishka heels completed the look.
For the reception, Johanna wore a crystal hairpiece in lieu of a veil and replaced her simple pearl studs with emerald-cut sapphire drop earrings.
Johanna's only stipulation for her bouquet? She wanted "something bright and happy"—then stepped back and let Erin of Scarlett and Grace work her magic. The result was a vibrant bouquet which included peonies, roses, and blue muscari, accented with kumquats and greenery—a "show stopper," says the bride.
Shades of Navy Pt. I
Shades of Navy Pt. II
During the ceremony, Erik sported a navy blue tie with small white polka dots and a white pocket square to match. His navy blue socks, along with his tie and pocket square, were all from Brooks Brothers.
For the cocktail reception, he decided on a navy bow tie and black dress shoes.
Flower Girl Photobomb
Johanna's adorable three year-old-niece, Georgia, served as the flower girl; she walked down the aisle in a Trish Scully frock. (She later stole the show on the dance floor.)
Georgia was also the star of a major post-wedding highlight. After the event, as Johanna perused the images sent to her by the Giggle & Riot photo booth team, she quickly realized that Georgia had been photobombing the booth all night—she appeared in virtually every image (from those of friends from Chicago to those of the bride's new in-laws). "The fact that all our worlds were now coming together, just as we did as a couple, was the best part," Johanna says.
One Venue to Rule Them All
The couple's ceremony took place on February 6—a particularly meaningful date for Johanna (she now shares a wedding anniversary with her parents!)—at the incredibly unique Sea Ranch Chapel.
The service's venue was just as special as the date. Growing up, the bride frequently vacationed in Sea Ranch, California—some of her most cherished childhood memories include her father taking her and her siblings to this incredible church. The chapel, situated alongside the California coast, features carved redwood, inlaid seashells, and an abundance of stained glass.
Erik was also familiar with the Mendocino and Sonoma areas of California, so when Johanna introduced the idea of having the ceremony "at the chapel that looks like a hobbit hat," he was all in. The Sea Ranch Chapel, with a maximum capacity of 18, provided the perfect location for the couple's intimate ceremony, which only immediate family attended.
Give Me Your Tomorrow
"Our ceremony was short, sweet, and secular," Johanna says. Erik's sister, Sarah, who played an instrumental part in the couple's love story, served as the officiant. The brief ceremony was full of love and warmth, and included "great advice" and "a nod to Carrie Fisher," says the bride. For the recessional, Johanna and Erik walked out to "If I Were a Carpenter" by Johnny Cash and June Carter, which was an especially thoughtful touch given that Erik is a custom furniture maker.
Pretty as a Painting
Johanna and Erik's reception was held on Saturday, February 9, three days after their ceremony. They chose The Sutter Club, a private social society with deep roots in the downtown Sacramento area. While the couple was drawn to its stately, historic California style, Johanna also has family ties to the venue—her father is a member and she grew up attending the various social events hosted at the Club.
As for the reception's design? The bride had "a very clear vision" of the décor, which, thanks to her mother and personal academic studies, revolved around one central theme: Dutch art. The bride's childhood home was decorated with her mother's Delft pottery; she developed further appreciation for Dutch art through the oil paintings she was exposed to through her art history major.
To showcase this passion during her event, Johanna integrated blue-and-white vessels from her childhood home into the design landscape and trusted Scarlet and Grace to actualize the jewel tones often present in Dutch oil paintings through the floral décor. The "Dutch Masters floral still-life"—this stunning foyer instillation, which set the tone for the cocktail reception to come—was the manifestation of the bride's vision.
Since the reception took place three days after the ceremony, Johanna says the décor focus was all about creating an elevated cocktail hour vibe—hence the many lounge spaces. Johanna worked with Eileen of Theoni Collection to rent furniture which complemented both the natural beauty of the venue and the desired blue-and-white color scheme.
Guests had the option of traditional round table seating or cocktail-style high tops. Tables were adorned with either blue, white, or green linens; floral centerpieces referenced the many arrangements in the foyer.
A lit fireplace, topped with more Delft pottery from the bride's family home and a trailing floral garland, served as another big-day focal point.
Next-Level Menu Signage
When Johanna met Carey Lowe of The Idea Emporium through her position at La Tavola she said, "Never get too busy and fabulous to do my wedding!" However, 2018's devastating California wildfires caused Carey to lose both her home and her business—which unfortunately prevented her from serving as the bride's stationer. By the time Johanna was ready to conceptualize the reception's smaller details, however, Carey's business was back up and running.
Lowe was instrumental in designing several party accessories, which included small Delft style toothpicks, white signs with blue lettering and the couple's monogram, and blue matchbooks emblazoned with ornate floral motifs.
For their first dance, Johanna and Erik chose the romantic ballad "Late to the Party" by Kacey Musgraves.
Dinos and Dessert
Johanna and Erik trusted Freeport Bakery to carry out their wedding cake vision. During the initial consult, the bride provided their team with a photo of the Delft-style floral motif—which they were able to recreate by hand-painting white fondant. The golden buttermilk cake was filled with fresh bananas and strawberries and layered with whipped cream.
The couple substituted traditional cake toppers with whimsical white ceramic T-Rex sculptures, one with a tiny veil and the other with a mini top hat. The bride chose the La Tavola "Lily" linen, one of her favorites, to line the cake table; the black undercloth made the sequined gold floral fabric a true focal point.
The bride and groom also incorporated T-Rex motifs onto their wedding favors. As a custom furniture maker, Erik feels very strongly about coasters (Johanna jokes that Erik "is constantly hounding [her] about [her] coaster use"). As a special callback to both their T-Rex and coaster inside jokes, guests were given wooden T-Rex coasters, which were designed and laser-cut by the groom and his brother, Adam. The coasters were wrapped in La Tavola fabrics in various blue and white hues; a square of white fabric embossed with the couple's monogram was also added. The package was finished with a blue-and-white ribbon.
Photography, Weddings by Scott and Dana
Ceremony Venue, The Sea Ranch Chapel
Reception Venue and Catering, The Sutter Club
Event planning, Sarah Laird
Flowers, Scarlett and Grace
Stationery Printing, Valley Press Co.
Reception Paper and Event Accessories, The Idea Emporium
Cake, Freeport Bakery
Bride's gowns, David's Bridal
Makeup, Ryan Nemecek
Flower girl dress, Trish Scully
Groom's accessories, Brooks Brothers
Photo booth, Giggle & Riot