We’ve got more sunshine for you in this wine country wedding from Enjoy Events Co. and Cooper Carras! Beaulieu Gardens is such a spectacular venue, and I just love the bold palette of red, orange, blue, and green. Also, that gold-painted cake! And those flowers! Lots to love here…
“Planning the ceremony was hard, and we procrastinated on it for way longer than we should have! When we finally started to write the script for our ceremony, we realized we had no idea what components made up a traditional wedding. We knew there were vows, and someone pronounced us man and wife at some point, but that was about it. In light of that, we took to the internet for some research. We found some sample ceremony scripts, and cherry-picked the bits we liked from a variety of sources to build a template that reflected our personalities. Overall, it was important to us that we kept the ceremony short, but deeply meaningful, and I think we really accomplished that!”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, Non-traditional, Joyful.
Who officiated your ceremony? Dave has known his best man, Noah, almost his whole life, and Noah’s mother, Joan Tierney, really watched them grow up together. As Joan was a judge where we live in Seattle, we thought it would be perfect to include her in this next big step of David’s life. She did a fantastic job, and it was really wonderful to have a close family friend marry us.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Thinking about it, we really broke more traditions than we upheld. We walked down the aisle to a Kinks song, (“Strangers”). We didn’t incorporate any religious language in the ceremony. We decided not to light a unity candle or perform a sand ceremony, and we chose very playful readings (the “Love is a temporary madness” passage from Louis de Bernieres’ novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton). At the end of the day, these small choices led to a very personal, fun, and non-traditional ceremony.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows separately, and didn’t share them with each other until we got on the altar. We decided to follow a simple formula: in 300 words, say why we fell in love with the other person, what we love about the other person now, and then make our promises. Hearing each other’s vows for the first time at the altar wound up being such a wonderful surprise.
What was your favorite thing about your ceremony? Rachael: This is a tough question – there were so many moments that I hope to remember forever. I was so nervous waiting to walk down the aisle, but when I got to the altar and my Dad pulled my veil back, all my nervousness was gone, and it was just me and my (now) husband. I loved that. I also loved exchanging our vows. I actually think my favorite part might be after the ceremony ended. We had a short break following the first round of photographs, and we stood by the altar where we had just gotten married while we waited for our guests to find their seats in the reception area. It was so nice to have ten minutes to just stop, and breathe, and take it all in together. // Dave: Getting married!
“The venue was the first thing we chose, and everything else sort of flowed from that decision. Rachael’s mom lives in Napa Valley, so we knew we had a great excuse to get married there. We looked at several venues, but just fell in love with Beaulieu Garden in Rutherford, CA. It was green, and lush, and lovely, but our decision was made when we saw the arbor. Hundred year old trees intertwined to form a natural canopy over the reception area. It created an intimate space that we knew would be perfect for our reception.”
How would you describe your reception? It was elegant, but also playful and warm.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We were inspired by the natural beauty of the venue. We knew we wanted something that celebrated that beauty – refined but rustic, with lots of greens and blues and whites. We also knew that we wanted to contrast it with something a little harder and more modern; that concept led to the Edison bulbs hanging from the arbor, for example. So much of it came down to execution, though, and the team at Enjoy Events Co. excelled at taking our ideas and turning them into something cohesive and beautiful.
What was your first dance song? We danced to Ben Folds’ The Luckiest, and spent most of the dance talking about how surreal the moment was. We didn’t have a father/daughter or mother/son dance- neither of us are great dancers, and we didn’t want to make everyone watch us be awkward for 5 minutes!
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had the most beautiful cake, courtesy of Sweet On Cake. It was a circular cake, made of 4 tiers covered in white fondant. At the top of each tier was a circle of edible, gold paint that looked like it was swiped on with a paint brush, and fresh flowers cascaded down the side. It was delicious, too: two tiers of white cake with fresh strawberries and basil buttercream, and two tiers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. Towards the end of the evening, we served tiny fruit tarts with pastry cream, and salted caramel macarons. Really wonderful.
Did you have a signature cocktail? Dave and I each had signature cocktails! Mine was the Lusty Lady, a concoction of gin, lavender bitters, brandy-soaked cherries, and magic, from one of my favorite bars in Seattle, Tavern Law. Our wonderful caterer, Paula LeDuc, actually tracked down the recipe for us! Dave chose the Front Porch Cooler: bourbon, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, lemon, orange, sugar.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Not really – we had the traditional toasts, and the first dance, and we cut the cake together (and I had to try really hard not to smoosh it in my new husband’s face!), but that was about it.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I was so nervous in the weeks leading up to the wedding – I was so worried that things wouldn’t come together the way I imagined them in my head, and I was terrified of the public speaking. Standing up in front of everyone I knew and talking about my feelings seemed daunting and overwhelming. The best advice I got was from my mom, the night before the rehearsal. She told me to breathe. She reminded me that everyone who was coming to the wedding was coming because they loved me, and they loved Dave, and they didn’t care if things weren’t perfect. They were coming because they wanted to share a special moment with us, and the more authentic that moment was, the better.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Rachael: For me, this is a tie between listening to the toasts – which were so sweet, and so thoughtful – and dancing. I had so much fun dancing! It was the happiest night of my life. I really didn’t know that it was possible to feel that happy, and dancing was just the best way to share that with my friends, family, and new husband. And Dart DJs did a fantastic job with the music selection – they even got my little old Nana on the dance floor. // Dave: My favorite part was the dinner. Amazing food, family, and friends.