Now that the year is coming to a close, we thought it would be fun to share our top fifteen weddings of the year with you! We’re so grateful for our sweet brides & grooms who shared their stories with us. So without further ado, our BEST OF 2016…
Though couple Bryant and Alan call Virginia home, they chose to celebrate their wedding near her parents home in California at the beautiful and lush Witt Estate. There are so many details we love in this wedding, it would be impossible to choose a favorite. From the rustic yet refined barn, the elegant and ethereal tables, to the perfectly styled hale bale seating, this wedding will give you so much beautiful inspiration.
Photography by Christina McNeill.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I wore my mom’s vintage diamond earrings and a family friend’s vintage diamond bracelet. My husband noticed last minute that I didn’t have anything blue and sweetly added a small blue flower to my hair.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Be present and breathe.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Do what fits you two as a couple—even if it means serving donuts instead of cake. After all, it’s about you and your partner and surrounding yourselves with love.
“Witt Estate is close by my parent’s home. We wanted some place private, beautiful and unique. My parent’s friend, Erin Martin, of Erin Martin Design, helped my parents with their home in St. Helena and also designed the wedding site. We loved the aesthetic of both. It’s got a great casual vibe, a fantastic mix of rustic and refined. The estate is designed for entertaining with stunning grounds, sweeping views of Napa Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains.”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, full of love, fun
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Alison Events was our fabulous event design team with Jesse Tombs leading the charge. From the start, they understood what we wanted and introduced us to fantastic vendors to put it all together. They were our dream team!
What was your ceremony music? We had a pianist play during the ceremony on the lawn surrounded by vineyards.
Processional: “Meditation de Thais” by Massenet
Bride’s Song: “Canon in D” by Pachelbel
During prayer: “Ave Maria” playing as background
Recessional: “Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi
Who officiated your ceremony? Rev. Blane W. Ellsworth. We chose Blane as we had a connection with him when we interviewed him via FaceTime. His style is to really get to know the couple and make it very personalized, sacred and lighthearted.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We told Rev. Blane that we wanted our guests to be part of the ceremony. He suggested that we turn to face them rather than have our backs to them. We loved this idea and incorporated it.
What were your ceremony readings? Simple and special to us. Blane took the time to get to know us the months leading up to our wedding and incorporated little stories we had shared with him into the ceremony.
What were your vows like? Blane was great at incorporating everything he knew about us into some amazing vows. We chose not to write our own and used traditional vows with a personal twist.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Walking down the aisle with my father, taking it all in, and joining my husband at the alter. We loved how personal it all felt surrounded by our families and friends. It was held on the lawn surrounded by vineyards with a view of the mountains. We felt connected to our surroundings and felt pure joy being in such a beautiful setting with the people that we love.
Bride, Bryant, wore a cap sleeve heavy silk satin gown designed by Johanna Johnson.
“In our first conversation with Alison Events, we told them that we wanted our reception to feel like the BEST party we had ever attended and oh yeah, it’s our wedding day. We wanted our family and guests to be the main focus. We would describe our reception as the best damn party we have attended with great music, fantastic food, a beautiful setting and over the top florals and decor. It was perfection!”
Why did you choose this location for your reception? The property was a private estate which made it very personal. Buses dropped off at the site and we didn’t leave. We flowed from the vineyard for the ceremony, to the pool for the cocktail hour to the party barn for dinner and dancing. The flow of the evening was easy and relaxed allowing our guests to wander the beautiful grounds.
The David Thom Band, a bluegrass band, played a set for the guests during the cocktail reception.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We decided not to have a signature cocktail. We passed sparkling wine upon our guests arrival to the estate as well as iced tea and lemonade. After the ceremony we had open bars for the remainder of the evening.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The setting—we incorporated what was already on site. The grounds were covered with olive trees, rosemary and lavender. We incorporated those into our floral arrangements.
Texture was a main element of their wedding and was perfectly strewn throughout. Florals were textured with pops of white, with a focus on grasses, seed pods, and foliage. Tables were elegantly draped in raw linen topped with cheesecloth and soft votives which added a fresh and modern touch.
The couple chose an open buffet dinner in lieu of assigned seating. An extensive and delicious menu ensured all of their guests were satisfied. They also served a variety of desserts instead of a traditional wedding cake.
Menu: Raw oyster bar with variety of fresh oysters from the pacific northwest, hand shucked during cocktail hour served on a bed of fresh seaweed with lemons bounty of poached spot prawns, chili lime granite, classic mignonette lemons and tabasco, heirloom tomato cocktail sauce // Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Thai style grilled beef with fresh mint, basil, fresno chili and chile dipping sauce / Crispy pomme frites wrapped in prosciutto with pink truffle salt / California tacos with crispy avocado, shaved cabbage slaw and aioli / Crispy warm zucchini and feta fritters / Tiny lobster burgers with slow roasted tomato, lemon mayo, fennel and long pain de mie buns // Grilled Pizzetta Bar: Thin crust pizzetta baked and griddled all evening long with a variety of beautiful toppings including grilled pears with prosciutto and point reyes blue, classic margarita with fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella / Shaved fennel and spicy sausage with grated carmody // Served buffet style: Grilled bundles of beef stuffed with rosemary, fontina and breadcrumbs on skewers with toasted baguette and charred lemon vinaigrette / Early Summer fresh peaches and burrata with toasted pistachio aillade shaved radicchio and kale ceasar salad with shaved parmesan, cubed pecorino and toasted walnut salad with parsley and lemon, chili flake and olive oil / Bountiful local artisan cheese and charcuterie board / Heritage whole pork loin stuffed and roasted with dried apricots and cherries sliced paper thin with house made pig-n-plow apricot mustard / Mesquite grilled fat asparagus and wild local oven roasted salmon with meyer lemon mimosa / Toasted farro salad with griddled artichokes, toasted pignoli, kumquats with warm chunky herb dressing / Fresh baked focaccia with green garlic, wild nettles, crispy pancetta, and speckly sage veggie focaccia with sea salt, braised greens and shaved pecorino pepato // Dessert: Fresh early season miniberry cobblers with whipped cream served in little mason jars for nibbling / Scones with orange zest / Mini donut bites with maple sea salt, bittersweet chocolate glaze, meyer lemon / French style macaroons and gluten free cookies
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Dancing and hugging everyone!
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. My father’s toast was beautiful, tender, funny and very special. Also, seeing the party barn for the first time as we entered—we were blown away by how beautiful it was. We loved sneaking away for a few private moments of reflection.
Groom, Alan, went to see Tainted Love’s shows in San Francisco for many years—having them perform at their wedding was so special and important.
What was your first dance song? We didn’t do a “first dance”. We chose instead to get our friends and family to the dance floor and party all night.