To celebrate their nuptials, Brien and Leigh Ann knew they wanted to keep things simple – as the bride says, “We didn’t want a ‘wedding.’ We wanted a Dinner and a Marriage.” What a great way to think about it! They chose a the stunning Sunstone Winery for their venue, the bride carried an armful of olive branches instead of a traditional bouquet, and dinner was served in a candlelit wine cave.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS WINERY WEDDING BY MICHELLE WARREN.

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Did you have something old, new, borrowed, blue?  I did! Old and borrowed was an heirloom bracelet of my mother’s, the dress was new, and the shoes were blue.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To try and remain present throughout all of the festivities because it goes by so fast. Also, to let it all go come Friday morning. I’ve done what I can and the vendors will execute the rest. I did and I’m so thankful! I truly enjoyed the ride and every minute of it.

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink
Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t get lost in the details; it’s about the marriage and nothing else matters.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I would have hired a videographer. I’m terribly sad not to have it to watch.

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

“When we started talking about our wedding we decided we didn’t want a ‘wedding.’ We wanted a Dinner and a Marriage,” says Leigh Ann. “We enjoy dining and wine and wanted that to translate into an incredible meal with fantastic wine shared among family and friends. Naturally, that would be the celebration of the marriage but we didn’t want a wedding per se with all of the rote traditions (bridal party, tight-round bouquet, bouquet toss etc.). We didn’t want any of that; just a marriage and an elegant dinner to celebrate.”

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink
Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We’ve been going up to Santa Ynez because my family has a home there. We wanted an outdoor venue with oak trees and beautiful surroundings, and Sunstone has all that and a wine cave too. Plus Brien proposed to me there! It was our first and only choice for our wedding.”

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink
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Your ceremony in three words.  Meaningful, intimate and warm

Who officiated your ceremony?  Henry Kaney, our pastor, was a long-time family friend, who had also married my sister.

What was your ceremony music? Readings?  Anthony Ybarra strummed Canon in D on his guitar, and my sister-in-law read a poem called These Hands.

What were your vows like?  We exchanged traditional vows, in addition to writing our own to each other.

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  We asked our guests to stand with us during the ceremony and I have never felt more surrounded in love in my entire life.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  We asked our guests to put away their phones during the ceremony and remain present with us. You could feel the love, hearts and presence of everyone there.

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink
Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“Our reception was amazing, warm and relaxed. It was a warm, summer’s eve surrounded by the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and our family and friends. The food was amazing, the ambiance spectacular and the band was fantastic. We were relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.”

 

Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The surrounding environment which we loved! It’s filled with old oak and olive trees and I knew I could never compete with it so I simply tried to complement it.

What was your first dance song?  Ho Hey by the Lumineers

What was your wedding menu?  We had an amazing chef who created shared plates and a family style meal. It was very contemporary with a farm-to-table menu. Our guests still talk about the food and go back to our chef’s restaurant (Industrial Eats) repeatedly. We do too.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  A very small wedding cake with lots and lots of little pastries, cookies, etc. There was not a bite left and Brien and I didn’t get any! We actually went back to the bakery the next day to buy a box of what we’d served so we could have some!

Did you have a signature cocktail?  We made sangria from Sunstone’s chardonnay for the cocktail hour.

 

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Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink

 

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Because we were inspired by the environment and because we love trees, our friends made slices from tree stumps which we then burned the names of formative places in our relationship into them.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Amplified music was not allowed after 10pm so we asked our band to come into the cave and just play acoustically. They said they’d never done it before but it was the most amazing memory from the whole evening. The cave was candlelit and we all sang together and swayed arm-in-arm. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

 

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Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink Michelle Warren | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Michelle Warren / Venue: Sunstone Winery & Villa in Santa Ynez, California / Event Planning & Design: Tara Bassi Party Design / Floral Design: Toast Santa Barbara / Dress: J Mendel / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Veil: A Stitch in Time / Suit, Shirt: Hugo Boss / Shoes: Ferragamo / Stationery: Minted / Hair, Makeup: Sheila Raye Stone / Rentals: Town & Country / Officiant: Henry Kaney / Ceremony Music: Anthony Ybarra / Reception Music: Ry Bradley Band / Catering: New West Catering / Cake: Solvang Bakery
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We’re kicking off the week with Tiana and Bora’s Oakland wedding inspired by the style of the 1940’s Cotton Club. If you’re looking for a touch of retro inspiration, you’ve come to the right place!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS OAKLAND WEDDING BY YOUR DREAM PHOTO.

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Tiana’s accessories fit perfectly the 1940’s Cotton Club theme that she and Bora followed for their wedding – they even asked guests to dress in 1940’s attire to get everyone to feel part of the day.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice I received was to continuously show appreciation for my bridal party and during the wedding steal 15 minutes of private time with my new husband.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  My advice to couples is to not let planning interfere with the beauty of being engaged. Also make sure your wedding is a reflection of you both and not someone else.

 

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Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  From a budget standpoint I would suggest tapping into creative people within your network of friends and family. Is someone you know a florist or a baker? Use them! It will help you save in the end.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Nothing! I really loved it.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Choosing The Terrace Room in Oakland for our wedding was a no brainer. It tied in with our 1940’s Cotton Club theme and looked out on Oakland’s most cherished site, Lake Merritt. We wanted to limit commute time for our guest so we decided to have the ceremony and the reception in the same location. Keeping everything at The Terrace Room maximized time and saved on cost.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink
Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We both agreed that our ceremony needed to be quick but meaningful. We created our own template and made our own rules. It was important that our wedding be custom and a reflection of us as a couple”

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink
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Your ceremony in three words.  Short, sentimental, non-traditional.

Who officiated your ceremony?  Our officiant was my aunt. Family participation was key for us and my aunt was a crucial part of my upbringing. We couldn’t think of anyone more suitable.

What was your ceremony music? 
Processional (groom and parents): “Night & Day” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Processional (bride and bridal party): “Dream A Little Dream” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Recessional: “LOVE” by Nat King Cole

What were your ceremony readings?  We asked Bora’s sister Seda to give a reading and she surprised us by reading a quote from Bob Marley. It was flawless.

What were your vows like?  Our vows were so incredibly different and in my opinion equally powerful. We both wrote them ourselves. I started writing mine a year before the ceremony while riding the New York metro one day; Bora wrote his while out on a terrace staring at the Oakland skyline, the night before the wedding.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite thing about your ceremony?  The best part of the ceremony to me were Bora’s vows. He got about 15 seconds into them and began to cry uncontrollably, but through the tears he sang Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” to me. It moved me beyond deeply. I felt so enveloped in love – everyone else disappeared at that moment.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink
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The Reception

“Our reception was a beautiful blur and an absolute blast! Lots of laughs, tears, and smiles all around. Everyone’s energy was palpable and we both felt immense joy. We wanted our guests to engage and feel part of our important day, so we created a 1940’s themed wedding and asked our guests to dress up. We offered inspiration from musicians like Jospehine Baker and Duke Ellington and it worked!”

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your first dance song?  We danced to “So Amazing” by Luther Vandross.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  My favorite moment was dancing with my father. We’ve never danced together before. I will treasure that moment forever.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We’re not big on cake so we enjoyed personal banana caramel cheesecakes and eclairs. I’m obsessed with cheesecakes from Divine Slice and Bora can never pass up an éclair. EVER!

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Another incredibly moment was when our fathers gave speeches. My father told a story from my childhood when I ran around the house with a roll of toilet paper. Bora’s father doesn’t speak English so as he delivered his speech in Turkish one of Bora’s cousins translated for him. I loved the dynamic.

 

Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink Your Dream Photo | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Your Dream Photo / Venue, Catering: The Terrace Room in Oakland, California / Officiant: Mary Ella Davis / Dress, Jewelry: Burnbaum and Bullock / Shoes: Elie Tahari / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy / Suit, Shirt, Tie, Groomsmen Attire: Fabrika / Shoes: Aldo / Stationery: Zazzle / Floral Design: Nicki Martin / Music: DJ Crimson / Cake, Dessert: Divin Slice Cheesecakes, La Farine Bakery

Dessy and Zazzle are Snippet and Ink sponsors. 

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Golden Eye Iced Coffee from Camille Styles Golden Eye Iced Coffee from Camille Styles

Turmeric milk is pretty tasty, so I’m excited to try this Golden Eye iced coffee.

Darling little Valentine-y camper (anyone have a source for this pic?).

These tiny gold disk earrings are just what I’ve been looking for.

Would love to check out the Alabama on Alabama show in SF – what unique and beautiful pieces!

How kindness became our forbidden pleasure (loved reading this – such a nice idea in a world gone crazy with internet mob justice).

Tom Hanks’ letter begging to be discovered when he was 18 – this kind of made my day.

Is it possible to get tired of s’mores? I don’t think so. Especially in the form of a s’mores custard cake.

 

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“Story writers say that love is concerned only with young people, and the excitement and glamour of romance end at the altar. How blind they are. The best romance is inside marriage; the finest love stories come after the wedding, not before.” – Irving Stone

 

Artwork by Arabella June  for Snippet & Ink. Some Words To Love By are available to purchase as prints in our Etsy shop!

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