Lake Tahoe is such a beautiful location year round, it seems especially so on the day of Jessica and Matthew’s June wedding. From the bride’s timeless look to the classic white cake, simple details let the natural beauty of the venue shine through.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS ELEGANT LAKE TAHOE WEDDING BY JOSH GRUETZMACHER.

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Jessica mother and sister rode with her to the ceremony. When she asked for some pearls of wisdom to a happy marriage, her sister advised the importance of each partner keeping their individuality within the partnership. “My mother quoted Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandschaften,” says the bride. “In chemistry, one compound alone is not stable until paired with another.”

 

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The Ceremony

“We wanted to get married at Lake Tahoe because of its breathtaking and pristine beauty and because of the sentimental value it has to us. This is where our romance started, where we got engaged and where we have our home.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Dream come true!

Who officiated your ceremony?  Mike Elmore, a friend that is like family to us. We wanted an intimate ceremony very personal to us. Because Mike knew us so well, he was able to give us spiritual guidance as well as add personal anecdotes to the sermon.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We each poured sand into a vase symbolizing unity. Our lives now being intertwined, impossible to divide once mixed together.

What was your ceremony music?  We had a live string quartet playing classical music during the ceremony. Matthew’s father joined them on his bassoon for a piece called “Plaisir D’amour” before the processional. The bridal processional music was “, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

What were your ceremony readings?  I am half German, so my father recited the Lord’s Prayer in German. Also the Sh’ma Deuteronomy 6:4.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our vows – it was very important to us to write our own. We did not know what the other had prepared beforehand. They were emotional to say and even more emotional to hear from each other. They are words I will never forget.

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  After the ceremony we had the fortune of taking a ride in the Thunderbird yacht. Just the groom and bride, no one else. We wanted that moment for just ourselves, by ourselves. This is when Matthew revealed the honeymoon location (Costa Rica & Nicaragua) which he had kept secret until then.

 

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The Reception

“The sit down dinner was outdoors, with a view of the lake during sunset. We had one very long feasting table where everyone sat. After dinner, the live band started playing and the guests danced, drank around the alfresco bar and smoked cigars in the outdoor gazebo. There was such a fun, happy, carefree feeling to the event!”

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The beautiful location inspired us most in designing the event. Being a destination wedding for our guests, we also aimed to make the day as special for them as for ourselves.

Why did you choose this location for your reception?  Our dinner location was on the lawn, the same as ceremony. The space therefore, needed to be transformed between the ceremony and the reception. During that time, there were cocktails served elsewhere on grounds and tours of the estate, gardens and underground tunnels were given.

 

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Special dances:
First dance: “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman
Father/Bride: “You Are The Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
Grandmother/Groom: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our first dance. I surprised Matthew by having my brother play “Feels Like Home” by Randy Newman acoustically on the guitar. My brother, in turn, surprised me with the most touching speech beforehand. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Matthew loves a good cigar, so I surprised him with a cigar bar set up in the outdoor gazebo after sunset.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  The bride personally hand-lettered the envelopes in calligraphy for the wedding invitations as well as the name place cards. Her sister made the bridal bouquet.

 

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What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t sweat all the tiny details so much. The day goes by in the blink of an eye and it doesn’t really matter if you chose the silver or the gold napkin rings. What matters are all the special moments during the day, most of which are unplanned, that will touch you and the ones you love and will be forever ingrained in your memory.

 

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Photography: Josh Gruetzmacher / Venue: Thunderbird Lodge at Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Nevada / Event Planning & Design Once Upon a Time Events / Officiant: Mike Elmore / Dress: Vwidon / Suit: District Homme / Stationery: Paper Source / Bride’s Bouquet: Bride’s sister / Hair: Lindsy Shontz / Makeup: Ashley Holz / Ceremony Music: Accent Music / Reception Music: Hip Service / Catering: Hyatt / Wine: Frank Family / Cake: Sugar Pine Cakery / Boats to location: Wild Goose, Woodwind II / Bride & Groom Boat: The Thunderbird / Floral Design: Thran Flowers / Rentals: Stage Commander

Josh Gruetzmacher is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. 
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  • Elegant Lake Tahoe Wedding by Josh Gruetzmacher

    13 May 2015
  • 0 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    This romantic urban wedding is full of inspiration for LA brides on a budget – or any brides, for that matter! From the romantic floral garlands, to the wedding cake piñatas, to the bride’s 20 “friendsmaids” – there’s just so much to love!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE FROM THIS LOS ANGELES WEDDING BY ALEX STEELE.

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    “We wanted a more intimate wedding,” says Rebbie, “so we chose to have a small private ceremony in the Los Angeles LDS Temple. Having a sort of ‘destination wedding’ made it so that the people who actually made the trip from our hometowns were our closest family and friends.”

     

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    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  “Make a decision and move on.”

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Just make it yours. Make it about your story. Don’t let the details become more important than the fact that you love each other, and that you have this one day with all the people you love most in the world to celebrate that. // Also, at a certain point, you MUST get off Pinterest! It’s an amazing resource, but it can also make you feel like your wedding will never live up to the internet’s standards, which can be pretty unrealistic.

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  It’s hard to share budget advice because everyone values things differently. I would just say pick two or three things that are really important to you, splurge on those, and then be smart about the rest.

     

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    The Ceremony

    “We had a more casual ring ceremony where we exchanged letters at our reception venue in front of a bigger group, which was totally different from the temple ceremony but so much fun!”

     

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    Did you have any attendants?  I’ve had too many amazing friends over the years to have picked just a few to have by my side on my wedding day. I also didn’t want to make them wear a bridesmaid dress (again, I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times). So I had “friendsmaids” instead! My twenty best friends from all stages of my life wore whatever they wanted and we all made flower crowns the day before. Some live in LA, some flew in from all over the country – one even came in from Scotland! I thought they looked so beautiful and I felt so honored to have them all there.

    Your ceremony in three words.  Religious, intimate, spiritual.

    Who officiated your ceremony?  My brother in law officiated our ring ceremony. We chose him because he’s the guy you always trust to say the right thing! He’s great with people, and he’s been a huge fan of Scott since the beginning.

    Ceremony music: 
    Processional: La Vie en Rose by Louis Armstrong
    Recessional: You are the Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne

     

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    What were your vows like?  We each wrote a letter to the other and read them.

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Hands down, Scott’s letter to me. He is usually pretty reserved, so to hear him read something he had written, and go out of his comfort zone to express his feelings for me so publicly was absolutely heart melting. He was so funny and articulate and I will never forget it.

     

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    “I came up with some ideas for flowers with my dearest friend from childhood but it was all really loose,” says Rebbie. “I picked up all the flowers at the LA Flower Market the day before, but I could not believe how beautifully she put it all together. I will never forget walking in and seeing the venue in all its glory. I loved that it was really loose and unplanned. We got what was in season, we were loose with the colors. It just felt very natural and not too perfect, which was exactly what I wanted.”

     

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    The Reception

    “Our reception was an intimate, love-filled party. I just wanted it to feel like us. I wanted to look like myself, I wanted to involve our friends, and to make every person there feel like they were a part of our celebration. From a design standpoint, I wanted to bring romantic elements into a hard space. I wanted the contrast between whimsical flowers and romantic greenery with the industrial brick, wood, and cement of our venue.”

     

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    Why did you choose this location for your reception?  Finding a venue in Los Angeles, especially a remotely affordable one, is nearly impossible. For me it came down to a few things: I have been to a million weddings and I wanted something different; downtown LA was special to us because it’s where Scott lived – we had our first date there and Scott proposed on his rooftop, so when I saw the rooftop at 440 Seaton I was kind of a goner; it was indoors (even though it’s LA, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of possible rain); the tables, chairs and linens were included in the venue cost; they let us bring in our own caterer. When you’re an LA bride on a budget, you’ve got to make some decisions based on logic!

    What was your wedding menu?  Scott is a Texas boy and a lover of barbecue, so we did a typical barbecue menu with kind of a gourmet twist: smoked beef brisket, pulled pork sandwiches on maple bar donuts, apple coleslaw, strawberry spinach salad, fancy cornbread. It was a dry wedding but we had Italian sodas that were delicious and so fun.

     

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    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  I am much too practical to justify spending so much money on a wedding cake that no one really eats. Instead we made wedding cake piñatas that we bashed, and served ice cream cookie sandwiches, inspired by LA’s famous Diddy Riese.

     

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    Special dances:
    First Dance: “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young
    Father/Daughter: “The Way You Look Tonight” by Tony Bennett
    Mother/Son: “I Hope you Dance” by LeeAnn Womack

     

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    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  I have to share two. The first was when we snuck up to the roof right after our ring ceremony. We somehow timed it perfectly right as the sun was going down and the light was PERFECT. I think we’d both tell you it was the happiest, most romantic moment of our lives. The second was when my whole family completely surprised us with a flash mob to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” I was so shocked! My typically shy father came out dancing with a bandana around his head and yes, that was a moment I will never forget!

    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Honestly my only regret is not taking a moment after the toasts to personally thank everyone for coming. Why didn’t I do that?! // Also, I would pay anyone any amount of money to make the piñatas for me! They took so much time!

     

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    Photography: Alex Steele / Venue: 440 Seaton in Los Angeles, California / Day of Coordinator: Kristine Metcalf / Dress: Leanne Marshall / Shoes: Nordstrom / Jewelry: Anthropologie, Karma / Suit: DTLA Fashion District / Tie: The Tie Bar / Shoes: Nordstrom / Stationery: Kimberly Linn / Floral Design: Annie Grow / Music: Ryan Anderson

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  • Romantic Urban Wedding at 440 Seaton by Alex Steele

    12 May 2015
  • 4 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    Though they live in London, Steffi and Toby chose to tie the knot at the bride’s parents’ home in Sweden. And once you see these photos from their summer celebration, you’ll understand why – what a gorgeous, relaxed place for a wedding! We especially love that the guests arrived on a tour boat, friends of the couple performed all of the music, and the tent was decorated with tons of leafy branches. If you’re looking for inspiration for a sweet summer wedding your guests will love, look no further!

    SEE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS SWEDISH SUMMER WEDDING BY NINA & WES.

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    “We live in East London but decided to get married in my family’s home in Sweden,” says Steffi. “The house is on an island outside of Vaxholm in the Stockholm Archipelago that looks out over the sea. It’s an absolutely stunning place and somewhere that means the world to my family. Toby and I have spent many lazy summer holidays there.”

    Steffi wore a vintage Reiss dress that she purchased on eBay for just £50. “I had it altered by my friend Natalie who is a costume designer,” says the bride. “I had my fittings backstage at London’s Royal Opera House amongst piles of tutus and robes, which felt pretty special!”

     

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    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  It’s just one day!

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Really think about what you want and what is important to you, rather than what is expected or conventional. It’s okay to question the traditions and how they really fit in or reflect your lives.

     

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    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  We were so wrapped up in the planning and anticipation that we didn’t really think about the photography side very much, not least because I am much more used to being behind the camera than in front of it! Luckily our fantastic photographers, Nina and Wes, knew exactly what to do and really held our hands throughout the process as our gorgeous photos prove. If I was doing it again, though, I might have asked to do a few goofy photos, maybe even just with sun glasses on or something, but I didn’t really think of it at the time!

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  Just how impressed we were that so many people traveled up to Stockholm from all over the world to be there with us – especially all our friends in London!

     

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    “Our guests arrived by old fashioned steamer boat from Stockholm, which gave them a tour of the archipelago. There was a traditional fika (Swedish for the act of sitting down with coffee and something sweet) on board with cinnamon buns.”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “Getting married in Sweden meant that we could have a service outdoors, in our back garden, as the person who marries you comes with the license (not the case in the UK). We felt really lucky to be able to do this as it felt like there was nowhere more poignant that getting married on our back porch, surrounded by all our loved ones, drinks in hand. I also loved the idea of it being super casual, that I could just get ready, walk down the stairs and out into the garden and get married to my favorite person.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Joyful, Informal, Short.

    How did you go about planning your ceremony?   We each wrote a letter to our officiant about each other and our relationship, which gave her something to use in her introduction. We knew we wanted some friends to sing and another friend (who actually introduced us to each other) to read a short poem. Our main focus was to keep it as relaxed as possible, we didn’t feel the need for the formality and gravitas of a lot of the weddings we’ve been to as we find that quite alienating and rather stiff. We wanted everyone to have a glass of fizz in their hands to make it feel fun, a real celebration. The ceremony also lasted all of about 10-15 minutes (after all, people were standing) – we don’t feel that long, drawn-out ceremonies are necessarily more meaningful, so we kept it short and sweet. It was perfect – a bit different, but very special.

    Who officiated your ceremony?  Estrid Landmark, a local registrar. We got in touch with a few in the area and picked her because she was the only one who was available in the summer (a time when lots of people are on holiday in Sweden). She put us at ease, was kind and seemed to genuinely love what she does.

    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  None whatsoever. We had a completely blank slate to do whatever we wanted, which was great.

     

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    What was your ceremony music?  As we got married on our back porch, there was no aisle or processing; we sort of just rocked up and got married – as I say, it was very casual! A group of very good friends of ours with lovely voices formed a mini choir and performed two songs. We gave them completely free reign to decide what they wanted to do and joked that they could even do an ABBA medley if they wanted (what with us all being in Sweden!). They learnt a traditional Swedish hymn (despite not speaking any Swedish!) and did, in fact, sing ABBA’s “I do, I do, I do” which made everyone chuckle.

    What were your ceremony readings?  A poem called ‘Being Boring’ by Wendy Cope which is about being happy to settle down and be as dull as possible as long as it is with the person you love.

    What were your vows like?  We had the standard Swedish vows, the long version (wich is only about 10 seconds longer than the short version). They are legally required but we really liked them as the words describe marriage as a partnership between two individuals who find strength in one another in their everyday lives. The words are perhaps a bit practical and unsentimental (perhaps a bit Swedish in that way!), but for us, having been together a long time and through a great deal, the words perfectly summed up our feelings about marriage.

     

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    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  How informal and joyful it felt and looking out to see everyone’s grinning faces.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  There was plenty of laughter. Toby even cracked a joke mid-vow by pretending he hadn’t understood the Swedish (though everyone knows he has been taking lessons for years), which had everyone in hysterics. // We also had a large basket of toy instruments for everyone to ‘make some noise’ with when the ceremony ended – Toby is a musician and many of our friends sing or play instruments so they were all over that!

     

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    The Reception

    “Our reception was casual, leafy and nautical! We had the tent set up right by the water so everyone could wander around, laze about on the jetty with their drinks and canapes. In Stockholm during the summer, the sun doesn’t set until very late and the weather was gorgeous so we were able to stay outside during the whole reception. Even our band and dance floor was outdoors! We even brought some of the outdoors into the marquee with very green and leafy decor.”

     

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    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We really started by thinking about what our ideal party would look like and went from there. We decided early on that we wanted the wedding to feel as relaxed as possible and for everyone to have the best time. The island location was also pretty inspiring – we let the surroundings do most of the talking!

     

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    What was your wedding menu?  The food was particularly important to me, as a food stylist, but again we wanted a relaxed feel. So we skipped the starter and instead had lots of nibbles and canapés (many with a Swedish theme so a fair bit of herring!), which meant that everyone could walk around the garden and relax on the jetty. We had a BBQ themed main course with a choice of beef, chicken or salmon and lots of vegetable sides (including delicious Swedish new potatoes and asparagus) and sauces out on the table for everyone to help themselves.

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  Dessert was a pavlova with lots of Swedish summer berries including blackcurrant sorbet, wild strawberry mousse and raspberries. I knew there would be an expectation for me (as a trained chef) to make a cake, but as neither of us love wedding cakes, we decided to avoid this by skipping it all together. Instead we stacked up some cheeses from the local cheese maker on the island next door, served with my homemade chutneys and chili jam. We also made traditional English biscuits to reflect Toby’s heritage (chocolate bourbons, custard creams, jammy dodgers and party rings) to have with tea and coffee. Favors were traditional Swedish pick and mix candy for guests to help themselves to.

     

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    Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We did lots ourselves, and luckily we also had an army of friends and family to help, from aspects of the food (chutneys, gin, biscuits, cordial) to the decor. We did the calligraphy ourselves – it was messy and imperfect and that was fine! We made fans for guests to cool down with and table runners from burlap, painted all of the menus and signs ourselves using blackboard paint, cut massive branches and potted herbs to decorate the tent with – it was all really lush, green and beautiful!

     

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    Did you have a signature cocktail?  For the ceremony we had a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand with elderflower cordial made from the tree in our garden. We also had Dark and Stormy cocktails and, as another nod to all the Brits, a cucumber gin and tonic, made with my homemade cucumber gin. Oh, and we also hung mini Swedish snaps bottles from a tree with some scissors for guest to cut down and enjoy
    as a nightcap!

     

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    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  I loved the toasts! We had them dotted throughout the dinner which is typical in Sweden but also made things feel a bit more relaxed. They were all so thoughtful and funny. I also really loved that we had as many women speaking as men, which felt really important to me – at English weddings normally only men speak! Our wonderful band, made up of friends and Toby’s bandmates, were also amazing – they really managed to get everyone on the dance floor! I also really loved that everyone seemed to be relaxing and enjoying themselves so much – some of our guests even went for a dip in the sea!

    What was your first dance song?  Our friends who are all in different bands formed our wedding band. Our first dance song was “Martha” by Tom Waits sung by our friend, Jim (Toby sang the first dance song at Jim’s wedding so he was returning the favor). After that, Toby and I got up on stage and joined the band by singing the chorus to “Do You Love Me” by the Contours – a bit of a surprise to our guests as we hadn’t told anyone we were going to be singing (apart from the band, of course)!

     

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    Photography: Nina & Wes / Venue: private home in the Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden / Event Planning & Design: JustGo Event Design / Floral Design: Berga Blommor / Dress: Vintage Reiss / Ceremony Shoes: Sergio Rossi via Far Fetch / Dancing Shoes: Dune / Earrings: Cadenza / Rings: Efva Attling, Serendipity Diamonds / Suit, Shirt, Socks: J. Crew / Shoes: Banana Republic / Stationery: Ruth Keating / Hair, Makeup: Andrea Nyström / Rentals: Tavet / Catering: Eriksberg Catering / Dessert: Local cheeses from Ostmakeriet

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  • Summer Wedding in Sweden by Nina & Wes

    11 May 2015
  • 2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    Arati and Chandan’s wedding is such a beautiful blend of vibrant Indian wedding traditions and classic wine country ambience. From the bride’s fuchsia lengha, to the elegant cocktail seating area, to the mix of hanging metal lanterns over the bridal party table, this is one of those weddings that we just can’t take our eyes off of!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS ELEGANT INDIAN WEDDING BY TANJA LIPPERT.

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    “Before our engagement, we took a trip to Napa Valley together and discovered the charming town of Yountville. We observed a wedding taking place at the nearby Vintage Estate and thought to ourselves how wonderful it would be to get married in such a beautiful outdoor setting. Vintage Estate has a rustic-chic, vintage feel reminiscent of Tuscany, and Napa is renowned for its fine wine and culinary culture, for which we, as a couple, share a profound passion. About a year later we got engaged, and we knew that we wanted the week of festivities to take place in a setting that would offer natural and peaceful beauty and good food. California wine country was perfect for us, and we looked forward to sharing it with our loved ones and making memories with them in a place that already had such deep meaning for us as a couple.”

     

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    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  Indian weddings are filled with pre-wedding rituals and celebrations that continue for several days. The day of our nuptials was preceded by a week of festivities that included mehndi (henna) application for all the ladies in the bridal party and an intimate outdoor mehndi party at the beautiful and picturesque Brix Restaurant & Gardens for all of my closest and dearest girlfriends. The vibrant colors of cocktail dresses combined with mehndi designs, colored glitter, and (after much vino) some fun Bollywood dance moves, made for some great photographs and memories. Our families also took part in the Haldi ritual, a fun and traditional gathering filled with music and chanting in which items such as turmeric and betel nuts are used to wish the couple good luck, prosperity, and beauty. This is meant to be a beautification process before the big day.

    Tell us about your beautiful jewelry?  Something old: My mother-in-law gifted me with a family heirloom: a gold necklace and earring set that her mother-in-law had gifted her on her wedding day, which I will pass on in the family one day as well. // Something new: Wedding jewelry from my parents. A wedding band and a mangalsutra (black and gold beaded diamond necklace), tied around my neck by my husband at the end of the wedding ceremony. Chooda (green bangles) and silver toe rings, which hold special significance in Maharashtrian Indian weddings and represent marital status. // Something borrowed: Gold jewelry pieces to wear during the various wedding festivities of the week. // Something blue: The Carrie Bradshaw-inspired, satin blue, Cinderella-like Manolos, which I wore during one of the wedding festivities of the week.

     

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    “The wedding ceremony was preceded by a traditional baraat (groom’s procession) – my groom looked like a true Mughal prince as he rode on a white horse (named Fabio), followed by his entourage dancing to the rhythm of the dhol (two-headed Indian drum) through the historic V Marketplace to the ceremonial mandap, where members of my family waited to greet and welcome them.”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “It was important for us to include a touch of our own style and individuality while still honoring our Indian heritage and traditional Hindu rituals. Thanks to the creative talents of our design vendors, we were able to transform Vintage Estate’s beautiful wedding arbor/gazebo into a picture-perfect Hindu mandap with simple white drapings, strands of white flowers and foliage, and vintage furniture pieces, complete with a fire pit, deities, and all other items required to perform a Hindu marriage ceremony.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Colorful, festive, heartfelt.

    What was your ceremony music?  The processional included various musical segments. My nieces, the flower girls, were accompanied down the aisle by my brother-in-law while “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole) played. My sister and sister-in-law, the bridesmaids, walked down the aisle to the song “Tere Bina” (A.R. Rahman). My husband loves the sound of the bagpipe, so we decided to hire a professional to play Highland Cathedral as my father walked me down the aisle. Friends and family members hymned mangalashtakas or blessings during various parts of the wedding ceremony, and the wedding party danced to “Feel So Close” (Calvin Harris) at the recessional.

     

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    Who officiated your ceremony?  A well-known Hindu Pandit in the northern California Maharashtrian Indian community officiated our marriage ceremony and led us through the symbolic customs and rituals.

     

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    Tell us about some of your ceremony traditions.  The Pandit recited mantras to auspiciously solemnize the wedding. A holy fire, or Agni, was lit to symbolize purity and to serve as a divine witness to the vows that we recited in Sanskrit to express our expectations and aspirations for one another. As each vow was uttered, Akshata (rice grains/flower petals) representing the blessings of our parents and other well-wishers were showered upon us. This was followed by the Mangalphera ceremony (circling the holy fire), which symbolized our walk together in life on a path toward mutual goals, and seven symbolic steps that represented oaths of Strength and Courage, Prosperity, Happiness, Good Health and Longevity, Mutual Love and Affection, Progeny, and Everlasting Friendship and Companionship.

     

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    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  I wanted to honor the spiritual presence of my brother on this special day. My brother had the most amazing drawing skill. The cover of our program book was a sketch that he had created of Lord Ganesha, a god of beginnings who is typically honored at the start of rituals and ceremonies.

     

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    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  The days and hours leading up to the ceremony were filled with hectic activity and attention to last-minute details, but as my groom and I at last stood together under the mandap, the afternoon breeze from the valley brought with it a beautiful sense of calm and serenity. It was an incredible feeling to stand before our family and friends who had gathered on the beautiful green lawn to bear witness to one of the most important days in our lives.

     

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    The Reception

    “We wanted our wedding to be a true reflection of us as individuals and as a couple. We wanted to complement the natural and rustic charm of the grounds with details that were simple, elegant, and meaningful, with a touch of the far East.”

     

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    How would you describe your reception?  Magical. Al fresco dining on the pavilion. The cocktail reception included vintage furniture pieces, hanging tea lights, mercury glass votives, and white floral arrangements. For dinner, long farm tables were left exposed and decorated with clusters of lanterns, hurricane vases, and votives in mixed metallics and mercury glass, as well as flowers submerged in small cylinders. Intricate lanterns added a far-East flair that melded seamlessly with the other elements. While our guests dined under the stars, the wedding party sat under an umbrella of suspended lanterns.

     

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    “We, along with some members of our families and some guests, changed from Indian attire to western formalwear for the reception,” says Arati. “I chose a full-length, form-fitting, vintage-inspired wedding gown made of lace and crystals to complement the ambiance of the night. My groom looked dashing in his steel blue suit.”

     

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    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Hire a videographer to capture the details and relive the special moments of the day. Relax and enjoy every minute.

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t feel obligated to invite everyone. This is your day and it should be shared with the people who know you the best and are important to you in your life. Stick to your vision and focus on making it an unforgettable and memorable occasion.

    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Absolutely not – we saw our vision come to life. It was a magical day for us that we will keep in our hearts and cherish for a lifetime. Our vision could never have been a reality without the support of our family and friends and the wonderful “dream team” of talented individuals that we were so grateful to have the opportunity to work with.

     

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    What was your first dance song?  Our first dance song was “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. We chose to coordinate the father/daughter and mother/son dance side-by-side, to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

    What was your wedding menu?  Our guests received personalized menus in ivory and gold calligraphy. Each course offered a true California-Mediterranean culinary experience using the freshest local ingredients. Instead of a signature cocktail we offered beer and local wine.

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We called it a night with a “perfect ending” complete with a Perfect Endings cake dressed with green ferns, foliage, and white flowers that complemented our wedding ceremony haars (garlands). The cake was made with rounds of café mocha, red velvet, and my absolute favorite, lemon poppy seed.

     

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    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Making our grand entrance as husband and wife and hearing the heartfelt speeches given by our family members and close friends.

     

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    Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  After dinner, we made our way to the Barrel Room. The entryway was lined with an assortment of lanterns and votives, while the inside of the Barrel Room was decorated with warm amber lighting, small votives, and lounges created from vintage furniture pieces. This is where we had our first dance and father/daughter and mother/son dances. We danced into the early hours of the morning to a mix of music from the 80s and 90s, popular Bollywood songs, and, of course, the groom’s all time favorite, Ska music. He had a great time “skanking” with his closest buddies when his uber-talented friend surprised everyone by rocking out his trumpet and coordinating a few famous Ska tracks with our DJ.

     

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    Photography: Tanja Lippert / Venue: Vintage Estate in Yountville, California / Event Planning & Design: Soiree by Simone Lennon / Floral Design: Floral Theory / Officiant: Prabhakar Sathe / Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Shoes: Chanel, Christian Louboutin / Suit: Tom Ford / Music: Fog City Entertainment / Bagpiper: Lynne Miller / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals, One True Love Vintage Rentals / Stationery: Union Street Papery / Calligraphy: Barbara Callow / Cake: Perfect Endings / Hair, Makeup: Maria Chang / Videography: Andrew Hsu
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  • Yountville Indian Wedding by Tanja Lippert

    7 May 2015
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    Midwesterners Cassie and Jacob wanted a seaside destination wedding, and found their dream location on the sandy shores of Alys Beach, Florida. We’re loving the cool, desert vibe of their relaxed celebration, the chic coffee shop where they held the intimate reception, and the eclectic décor they spent years sourcing for the big day – and we know you will, too!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS LAID-BACK FLORIDA WEDDING BY OLIVIA RAE JAMES.

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    Cassie wore a vintage-inspired dress from BHLDN.

     

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    “We wanted our guests to feel like they were on vacation, so we chose a location that we hoped they would enjoy. For us, spending a week near a beach sounded heavenly, so we opted for a destination wedding at Alys Beach in Northern Florida. It was the perfect backdrop for our informal, laid-back wedding, and we were able to spend an entire week there celebrating with family and friends.”

     

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    The Ceremony

    “We wanted our vows to be a list of promises to each other, essentially our love contract, and we wrote them together. During the ceremony, we read them aloud to each other, each sealing the contract with our words.”

     

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    Your ceremony in three words.  Genuine, simple, and family.

    Who officiated your ceremony?  My husband’s mother was our officiant. We chose her because of her ability to write beautifully and speak to a crowd. She also shared our spiritual ideas, and it was a real gift to us when she accepted. Together, we built the ceremony and the readings to reflect our past and future.

    What was your ceremony music?  The maid of honor and the best man walked down the aisle to “Sea of Love” by Cat Power, and my father and I to “Blackbird” by The Beatles.

     

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    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  The bride said, “My favorite moment of the ceremony was walking down the aisle with my father, observing all the guests and the beautiful scenery. There was so much love on that beach.”

    The groom said, “My favorite moment was seeing Cassie come down the aisle. Cliché, I know, but being on an open beach, I had to intentionally turn away as she approached. I heard my best man, Ben, whisper, “Wow,” and that was my cue to turn. I didn’t hear or see a single thing other than her in that moment. Time froze and I felt weightless.”

     

     

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t worry about what you’ve heard weddings are “supposed” to be. This day is for you, your future husband, and your closest friends and family. If having a traditional wedding isn’t your style, do what comes naturally to you and your partner. Try to infuse as much of your personality as you can into the celebration – it’s a choice you can’t regret!

     

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    The Reception

    “Our biggest inspiration for our reception was the environment. We wanted our wedding to be easy, stress-free and fun, with a focus on enjoying the simple things in life. Our guests have traveled a long way, so we wanted them to feel like they were on a memorable vacation.”

     

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    How would you describe your reception?  An outdoor dinner party with our closest family and friends, surrounded by beautiful scenery, amazing music, and good food.

    Why did you choose this location for your reception?  We wanted an outdoor reception that would feel like a laid-back dinner party, so we rented out Fonville Press, a lovely coffee & ice cream shop with a large covered patio. The environment was romantic and relaxed – just what we’d hoped for!

     

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    Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  My parents handcrafted almost all of the wood accents and lighting pieces, and the table settings, including glasses, plates, and décor, were collected during many antique shop hunts. It was probably 2 years in the making to collect & make everything at our reception!

    Please tell us about any special details or moments from your reception. We gifted our guests with small air plants to take a bit of the tropics home with them. We also installed a cozy pillow lounge near the DJ to create a laid-back atmosphere for dancing and chatting with friends and family.

     

     

    What was your wedding menu?  We served an Italian menu which included lots of pastas, soups, breads, and salads. The Italian appetizers served during cocktail hour were real crowd pleasers, too!

     

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    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a two-tier chocolate and vanilla cake, as well as individual mason jars filled with chocolate mousse made by my very talented sister-in-law, Roma.

     

     

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Dancing beneath the twinkle lights. I had no idea I had a family of dancers!

    What was your first dance song?  Our first dance was to “Come Away with Me” by Nora Jones. My dad and I danced to “Walk with You” by Edwin McCain, and Jacob danced with his mom and grandmother to “Over The Rainbow / Wonderful World” by Israël Kamakawiwo’ole.

     

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    Photography: Olivia Rae James / Ceremony: Grayton Beach / Reception Venue: Fonville Press in Alys Beach, Florida / Event Planning & Design, Floral Design: Fishers Flowers / Dress: BHLDN / Shoes: Steve Madden / Maid of Honor Dress: BHLDN / Jewelry: Anthropologie / Suit: J.Crew / Tie, Pocket Square: April Look / Shirt: Banana Republic / Watch: Seiko / Best Man Suit: Calvin Klein / Stationery: Bride / Calligraphy: Type & Title / Hair: Salon Twist on 30A /  Music: BBoy Productions / Catering: Caliza Restaurant / Cake: Sugar Art by Angela

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  • Laid-Back Alys Beach, Florida Wedding by Olivia Rae James

    5 May 2015
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