Classic elegance, blooming gardens, and Spanish-style architecture made this couple and their guests feel as though they were transported to a European garden… and if it’s freezing cold wherever you are, then let their sunny SoCal wedding at Rancho Las Lomas transport you too!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS CALIFORNIA WEDDING BY ESTHER SUN.

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We chose this location for our ceremony because it was so beautiful – it’s almost hard to describe! The venue itself is a unique, private resort with beautiful architecture, and also had a small zoo. With the property and Spanish-style architecture, it felt like being transported to Europe. The ceremony site was an outdoor courtyard surrounded by trees with a beautiful ceremonial stage which was a perfect setting for us to exchange our sacred vows.”

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  Traditional, Light-hearted, Religious.

Who officiated your ceremony?  It was important to Matt’s mother and grandmother that we have a Catholic ceremony for our wedding. We had Father Christopher from St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Irvine, California officiate our ceremony.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our wedding ceremony was very traditional – we said traditional vows and had traditional Catholic readings. But, Father Christopher incorporated a brief Q&A with Matt and me and asked us personal questions which allowed our ceremony to be more light hearted and fun. Our guests also had a good laugh which we enjoyed as well. We weren’t expecting Father Christopher to incorporate the Q&A into the ceremony, so it was a pleasant surprise for us.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“After the ceremony our guests went upstairs to another courtyard located above the ceremony site with a beautiful fountain and our guests enjoyed cocktails and food. We transformed our ceremony site for the reception, using all round tables for our guests and a head table for us and our wedding party. Market lights strung across the dance floor set a romantic mood especially at dusk.”

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you work with a wedding planner?  Matt and I planned our wedding in six months. Due to our time constraints we hired Jenna Kang from Divine Day and she was a huge help. She was able to help us from the initial stages to the final stages of our wedding and we went with her guidance and knowledge. Planning was exhausting but it was nice to know we had an expert guiding us and making sure we had everything covered.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The venue really inspired us during the planning stages of our wedding. With its rustic, romantic, outdoor setting, we wanted to base the rest of the wedding details around that.

First dance song:  “Your Song” by Elton John
Father/daughter, mother/son dance:  “In My Life” by The Beatles

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a rustic buttercream cake decorated with greenery. We had two flavors, coconut and Nutella, and both tasted delicious. We also had a dessert table with an assortment macarons, cupcakes, cake pops and mini parfaits.

Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  My something old and something borrowed was a diamond bracelet I borrowed from my aunt. It was a beautiful bracelet that matched my dress perfectly. I also had a blue charm bracelet that I used for my something blue. // During our cocktail hour we incorporated foods from our ethnic background. Matt brought Vietnamese spring rolls and I brought Korean rice cakes to serve to our guests.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To slow down and take a moment amidst all the chaos during the wedding day because the day goes by too fast!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Although stressful and overwhelming at times, enjoy the planning process have fun, and don’t stress too much because it is one day and the most important thing is that you are getting married to the most important person in your life and that is what counts, not the minor details that may consume your time.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Start the wedding earlier in the day because it goes by too fast.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our favorite moment of the reception was just looking around the room and seeing all of our loved ones, our family, our friends who took the time to spend this special day in our lives.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Esther Sun / Event Planning: Divine D-day / Venue: Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California / Dress: Cymbeline from Panache Bridal / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bracelet: Van Cleef and Arpel / Bridesmaid Dresses: Little Borrowed Dress / Suit: Ralph Lauren / Groomsmen Attire: Friar Tux / Floral Design: Kristine Shin / Catering, Rentals: 24 Carrots / Hair, Makeup: Studio MM&B / Videography: The Seven Production / Cake, Desserts: Sweet and Saucy / Stationery: Exclusively Weddings / Strings Trio: Seaside Strings /
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  • Orange County Wedding by Esther Sun

    20 November 2014
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    We’re well on our way toward the winter holidays, and as a December bride myself, I always love seeing how couples bring this festive season into their weddings. Larkyn and Jim included red flowers and linens and a jingle bell send-off – plus how gorgeous is the bride’s vintage-inspired look?!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS FESTIVE WINTER WEDDING BY A BRYAN PHOTO.

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    “I didn’t even look at traditional white dresses,” says Larkyn. “When I found the Jenny Packham dress, it became the focal point of our Southern winter wedding”

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Larkyn and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of red ranunculus, pale pink roses, privet berries, lamb’s ear, and brunia berries.

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “I always knew I wanted to get married at the church I which I grew up, in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama,” says the bride.

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Your wedding ceremony in three words. Glamorous, Vintage, Classic.

    How did you go about planning your ceremony?  The upside (in my opinion) to getting married in a church is that the choices are sometimes limited – I actually spent much less time thinking about our ceremony than our reception because I didn’t have a desire to stray too far from the traditional vows, the traditional music, the traditional processional. We did feel like it was very important to have family involved in the ceremony, so all of my cousins’ children played roles, which was really special.

    Ceremony Music:
    Processional: Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke
    Recessional: Water Music – Hornpipe by Handel

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  We incorporated bagpipes at the end of our ceremony and it felt pretty magical – I studied abroad in Scotland and thought the unique sound of bagpipes would be pretty remarkable in the grand church in which we were married – and indeed it was!

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Try to throw your stress out the window once the wedding day arrives – I admit I didn’t take this advice myself, but I would pass it along to other brides! Also try not to lose your new husband at the reception. You are talking to so many friends and family, but you can’t forget the party is to celebrate your new life together, and you should enjoy that celebration together.

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  If your parents are helping to plan (and/or pay) for your wedding, find a middle ground that reflects your style as a couple but also allows for some compromises (such as the guest list) that will ensure they feel appropriately represented. It’s not going to be perfect, but some give-and-take is important on both sides.

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  It was helpful for us to start with an overall number to keep us organized and to prioritize. Often during the planning process, I wanted to splurge on everything, but there are many ways you can save money, and having a budget helps you identify which elements are the most important to you and where you want to splurge (the band and the photographer, in our case).

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    “My grandmother was a collector of all things vintage and antique – furniture, clothes and of course, jewelry. One of my favorite memories as a child when going to visit her house in Alabama was going through her piles of jewelry – and on special occasions, receiving a token of my own. I grew up with an affection for vintage jewelry and carried this with me to New York, where I currently live. When I got engaged, I knew I would get married back in Alabama and I wanted our wedding to feel classic and Southern, and to reflect my affection for vintage style. I didn’t even look at traditional white dresses; when I found the Jenny Packham dress, it became the focal point of our Southern winter wedding – with a bit of glitz, plenty of glamour and a nod to my grandmother who inspired it all.”

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Why did you choose this location for your reception?  I knew I wanted to do something somewhat traditional and vintage-inspired, but within a non-traditional venue, and BridgeStreet fit that mold.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  One of my favorite traditions is one my college friends began when the first of us got married in 2009. We have passed around a garter – monogrammed with our maiden initials and wedding date – to each friend on her wedding day. The most recent friend to have gotten married presents the garter while we are getting ready. It’s always a very special moment!

    Please tell us about any special details from your wedding.  I wanted the boys to look classic and really honed in on finding the right bowties. We found them at Billy Reid, a vintage-inspired clothing store based in Alabama – I got stuck on herringbone, so when we found them, we grabbed them all! // The flower arrangements that Buffy Hargett created were absolutely beautiful and really stood out as a uniquely winter element of the wedding that I was excited to incorporate – I gave her a general color scheme but let her run with it, and on the wedding day she emerged with bouquets that were richly colored and textured – a subtle acknowledgment of the holiday season but not overtly so. // In addition to my dress, my paper suite also served early on as a blueprint for the wedding – simple and classic but with uniquely vintage, art-deco elements. Mary came up with the idea to use the shell pattern found on F. Scott Fitzgerald book covers and we incorporated that into the save-the-dates, welcome bag cards and church programs (we kept the formal invitation simple and classic – a hint of red on the edges and a gold band).

    Signature Drink: Bourbon Apple Cider on Ice
    Cake Flavor: Red Velvet and French Vanilla with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
    First Dance Song: Book of Love by Peter Gabriel

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Did you include any DIY elements in your wedding?  Although I would not qualify my wedding as DIY, there were a few homemade elements that were very special. My mom hand-embroidered the initials of every member of the wedding party onto vintage handkerchiefs of my grandmother’s that she had been saving away for the right occasion. We also used pearls from one of my grandmother’s many strands to create bracelets for each of my bridesmaids and readers. My dad and sister also get credit for a truly DIY element – as a family, we created an assembly line of hole poking and jingle bell threading to create the mini jingle bell tambourines that guests shook as we were departing.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  As I was getting ready to leave for the church, I snuck away to read a letter that Jim had given me the night before. I didn’t have any photographers around, so it was a special moment to have alone. Although I won’t say all nerves dissipated, it was very special to read those words and remember the reason I was about to walk down the aisle in the first place!

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    Photography: A Bryan Photo / Event Planning and Design: Mariée Ami / Venue: BridgeStreet Gallery and Loft in Birmingham, Alabama / Church: United Methodist Church / Dress: Jenny Packham via Carriage House/ Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Earrings: Oscar de la Renta / Hair, Makeup: Celine Russell / Bridesmaid Dresses: Swoon, Bella Bridesmaid / Suit: Freeman’s Sporting Club / Bow Ties: Billy Reid / Stationery: Mary Baugh / Calligraphy: Steve Logan / Floral Design: Buffy Hargett / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Music: Robert Williamson Band / Catering: Savoie / Cake: Barb Sullivan / Bag Piper: Jim McGraw / Drummer: Todd Kelly / Lighting, Drapery: AG Lighting / Linens: BBJ
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  • Christmas Wedding by A Bryan Photo

    18 November 2014
  • 2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    This intimate Milwaukee wedding featured two very special guests: the bride and groom’s dear pups! From the invitations, to the ceremony readings, Lily “The Pill” and Max played a central role in Samantha and Jason’s celebration. Other aspects of the wedding were inspired by the Wisconsin location (local cheese and beer) and by the couple’s love of Sea Island, Georgia. Everything came together for a beautiful day at Villa Terrace!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR EVEN MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS MILWAUKEE WEDDING BY HEATHER COOK ELLIOTT.

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “Our favorite thing about the wedding ceremony was definitely the inclusion of our dogs Lily ‘The Pill’ and Max as our very non-traditional wedding party. Their presence and love were with us through multiple years of a long distance relationship and this most amazing moment of our lives wouldn’t have been anywhere near complete without them. Plus, they’re totally gorgeous and were very well-behaved!”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Your ceremony in three words.  Personal, Playful, Heartfelt.

    Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  It reminded us of one of our favorite (and most romantic!) places to vacation: Sea Island Resort in Georgia. It has wonderful mediterranean inspired architecture with stone work and a tile roof. It also has immaculate gardens and is on the ocean so the outdoor experience is as incredible as the inside. From the moment we saw photos of Villa Terrace we knew it had the same feel and features – just with Lake Michigan instead of the Atlantic and a lot closer to home.

    How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony?  We had help from both our wedding coordinator and our officiant. We followed a relatively traditional but non-religious template, and went outside the playbook a lot when it felt right. Every step of the way we chose elements that would be meaningful to us and make us happy, regardless of how they fit into convention.

    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We made a lot of new ones!

    What was your ceremony music?  We had an amazing acoustic guitarist who fit the feel of the wedding perfectly. He sang and played wonderfully, setting the perfect relaxed and inviting tone to the day. The processional was made up of only two songs: one for when our families and then “wedding party” (our two dogs!) entered and another for when Samantha came down the aisle. The first was James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (perfect for the dogs) and the second was “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, with only the guitar. The recessional was a favorite song of the couple, “When We’re Together” by Joshua Radin. The lyrics of the chorus fit the moment incredibly. “…I’m with you forever, cause we’re the best when we’re together. I’m with you forever, you are the only one and we’ve just begun…”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    What were your ceremony readings?  We had two readings. The first was a poem by Taylor Mali entitled “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” and the second was called “Love if Friendship Caught Fire” by Laura Hendricks. (See Samantha and Jason’s readings right here.)

    What were your vows like?  They were a traditional format but not traditional verbiage. We especially liked how the last line ended: “until the end of our forever.” That seems tangible and real, but still so full of love. (Read Samantha and Jason’s complete vows right here.)

    READ SAMANTHA AND JASON’S FULL CEREMONY RIGHT HERE.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  As the start time of the ceremony approached, a really thick fog rolled in off the lake – so thick it seemed like we were up in the clouds. At first we were a little disappointed to not have the amazing views of Lake Michigan during the ceremony, but exactly at the moment he was pronouncing us husband and wife, the fog cleared and a brilliant blue sky and sun came out. It was pretty incredible and although we had a non-religious ceremony seemed pretty divine. So many guests commented on how magical that moment was. (I’ll admit here that I (Samantha) only partially noticed it happening because I was so in love with my new husband at that moment… I probably would have missed a marching band, fireworks and a laser light show had they all been going on…)

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Are there any special details you’d like to tell us about?  In our welcome bags at the hotels, we used all things from Wisconsin: Sprecher root beer, Gardetto’s, Wisconsin shaped cheese. And the best thing of all were caramels that Samantha and her Mom made together. // We had a welcome BBQ at my parents home the day before the wedding. My mom and I made cupcakes with hickory nut frosting – the special part is that the hickory nuts were from trees at my parents’ home. My mom and dad picked the fallen hickory nuts, opened and dried them and then shelled them. If you’ve never seen a hickory nut, they’re small – really small – so shelling them is no small feat!

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    “Our reception was relaxed, inviting and fun. We tried to mix Wisconsin inspired ideas (had many guests from out of town) with the elegance of a Southern estate. We wanted everyone to feel like we were all celebrating together. To us that meant trying to make it feel the same as if we were throwing a party in the backyard… if our backyard was on a Southern plantation overlooking Lake Michigan.”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Menu:  appetizers: sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shooters / brie puffs with apricot and blackberry / bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Boursin / cheese plate with all Wisconsin cheeses (complete with Wisconsin shaped chalkboard menu) / caprese skewers // starters: caesar salad / lobster stew (made from a recipe from a little crab shack in Maine that we try to visit every year) // main course: beef tenderloin with green beans and rosemary red potatoes / chicken marsala over polenta

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a dessert station with ginger peach cobbler, schaum torte with berries, and tiramisu. Our cake was a white cake layered with with almond cream and Door County cherry preserves. Heaven.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  There are two… After everyone moved from the courtyard to the terrace for dinner, Jason and I were still in the courtyard with the guitarist. Believe it or not, Jason and I had never danced together! So the guitarist played one more song, just for us, and we had a “practice dance” together. It was really wonderful – private and perfectly special. And then the official first dance! We had dancing out on the terrace, in the same space the ceremony and dinner were held. Once the sun started to set during dinner, Edison lights strung over the terrace were lit, and one of my closest friends played the guitar and sang the first dance song (The Shape of Us, by Ian Britt) with the help of another friend. It was perfect – real, romantic, and only ours.

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER:

    Sam & J’s wedding lives in my memory the way a good meal in a perfect setting with the right people stays on the mental palette for years to come. It was intimate, romantic, playful, delicious – the kind of day that never feels hurried; the kind of day that slowly simmers every experience to perfection. These days Sam & J live and work together in Virginia where he’s from but they decided to marry back in her home state at the incomparable Villa Terrace, a little garden oasis in Milwaukee that reminded them rather a lot of a beloved travel destination of theirs – Sea Island, Georgia. Travel is something they’ve done quite a bit and in talking to them one gets little hints of lovely trips and awesome adventures in their past: the engagement ring was found in a little shop near Italy’s Lago Como and she had just returned from a Tanzanian safari when we did their engagement session earlier this year. And really, seen through their eyes, Wisconsin even becomes a bit of a destination, one who’s traditions and local fare they mixed with southern-inspired charm to create a simply gorgeous day. I adored the woven grass fans and moss covered gates paired with New Glarus beer (only available in Wisconsin!) and assorted Wisco artisan cheeses and playful bites like mini-grilled cheese & tomato shooters.

    Off and on the sun shone brightly, a perfect match for the gardenia in Sam’s hair and J’s summer suit, all of which combined with gorgeous lake views to trick the senses – maybe we are staring out at the Georgia coast after all …but then the mist rolled in and the edison lights overhead began to glow and it all felt very lakeside, very cozy, very Wisconsin again. My favorite part of the day was just after cocktail hour and before dinner when all the guests were seated and ogling the now sunny lake view, but Sam & J were missing. I spied them through the villa doors back in the courtyard dancing alone to one last song by the guitarist. I snuck upstairs and spied on them, capturing a perfectly serene, incredibly romantic moment between them; It was, like Sam & J, unplanned and spontaneous, sweet and real.

    And I have to say a little something about the most adorable and well-behaved bridal party a photographer could ask for. Fur siblings Lily “The Pill” and Max walked down the aisle and practically posed for pics all day, two constant companions for both Sam & J. I loved how they helped Sam & J feel truly at home on their wedding day, and how they made the Villa their own. They had both told me that it was inconceivable to them to get married without the dogs present and celebrated along with them. Thus the invites with the dogs silhouettes and instead of flowers on the aisle, little glassine bags with dog bones (as in “bridal party will beg for treats.) The bigger dog Max is J’s buddy so J wore a tie to match Max’s collar and Sam’s girl Lily got a little sparkle and flower treatment with a floral collar that any dog would be lucky to sport. And during their ceremony a dear friend read the most surprisingly perfect poem by Taylor Mali – titled How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog, the reading was the ultimate ceremony customization Sam & J could have planned.

    Photography: Heather Cook Elliott / Venue: Villa Terrace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Event Planner, Styling: Tailored Engagements / Dress: Jenny Yoo / Shoes, Bracelet: J.Crew / Floral Design: Marius Bell / DJ, Edison Lighting: Milwaukee Airwaves / Catering: Gracious Catering / Rentals: BBJ, Arena / Guitarist: Ryan McIntyre / Makeup: Tayla LaMachhia / Hair: Neroli Third Ward / Cake: Sweet Perfections / Fans: Hanson Ellis / Stationery: Paper Envy / Suit: R Coffee LTD / Tie: Pomp and Ceremony / Leash Accessories: R.E. Stowe / State Shaped Chalk Board: Chalk Style / Favor Recipe Card: Pickle Dog Design / Moss Initials: Cellar Window / Dark Chili Powder Favor: Eden’s Meat Market
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  • Villa Terrace Wedding from Heather Cook Elliott

    17 November 2014
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    Northern California’s wine country is such a wonderful place for a destination wedding, whether you go with a classic winery venue or something more quirky and fun like Brianne and Jay did with their choice of restaurant Barndiva. “We visited Healdsburg together a few years ago when Jay participated in the Vineman 70.3 triathlon in Sonoma County,” says Brianne. “We had such fond memories of Healdsburg and wanted to share it with our family and friends!”

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR EVEN MORE PHOTOS OF THIS COLORFUL FUSION WEDDING FROM CHRISTINA MCNEILL.

    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “It was important to us to have an intimate outdoor ceremony, incorporating our family traditions and readings by our closest friends. Our officiant, Lukka Feldman at Barndiva, did a great job of conveying the intimate, relaxed tone that we wanted to capture for the ceremony.”

     

    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink

     

    How would you describe your ceremony?  A joyous fusion of traditions.

    How did you choose your ceremony readings?  We chose readings that contained messages that were meaningful to us on love and marriage. (See which readings Brianne and Jay chose on their ceremony page right here.)

    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We included several South Indian Hindu traditions in the ceremony, and had that portion of the program narrated by a close friend. These included the lighting of a flame, the exchange of flower garlands, the presentation of a necklace to the bride, taking seven steps together around the flame, and the offering of blessings from the bride and groom’s parents. (Read more about the traditions in Brianne and Jay’s wedding right here.)

     

    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink

     

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Too many things to limit it to just one! The strings starting to play “Your Hand in Mine” (a favorite song of ours) as our parents walked down the aisle. Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony (we’d stayed apart the whole day of the wedding). And looking into the garden and seeing so many loved ones from different phases of our life gathered together in a beautiful spot on a perfect day.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  We intentionally kept our wedding party small (the bridesmaids were Brianne’s two sisters, and Jay’s two good friends were groomsmen) but were able to include other close friends as readers.

    SEE BRIANNE AND JAY’S COMPLETE WEDDING CEREMONY OUTLINE RIGHT HERE.

     

    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    Barndiva is a fantastic venue – full of inspiration. We were thrilled that we were able to hold the ceremony in a beautiful garden, followed by dinner with our friends and family in a wonderful outdoor setting. It really came together perfectly – we had a fantastic weekend, from start to finish.”

     

    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink

     

    How would you describe your reception?  Fun! Great food, great wine, and incredible music!

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our first dance together – Omega did an absolutely FANTASTIC job on the song, “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt.

    Father/daughter dance: “Something So Feminine About a Mandolin” by Jimmy Buffet
    Mother/son dance:  “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant

    Menu: 
    Cocktail Hour Hors d’Oeuvres:  Heirloom Tomato B.L.T. Sliders / Seared Ahi / Fresh Local Compressed Watermelon / Cheese & House-Made Tomato Jam Croquettes // First Course: Baby Greens with Strawberries, Walnuts, and Spanish Sherry Vinaigrette // Main Course: Filet Mignon / Salmon // Dessert: Vanille Genoise Wedding Cake with Orange Liqueur, Vanilla Cream and French Buttercream with Strawberries / Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies / Dark Chocolate Mousse Tulips / Mandarin Cheesecake / and Almond Financier with Blueberries

    Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We prepared gifts bags for our guests at the welcome reception, which included gifts from each of our home states (key lime cookies from Florida, chocolate from Delaware), a small wine bottle with a personalized label, and some other information about the area and the weekend’s activities. We stamped the bags with a custom crafted stamp. We also  gave our guests cookies in the shape of California, with our initials in icing, as they left the reception.

     

    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill, Barndiva | Snippet & Ink

     

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t sweat the small stuff – the wedding will be over faster than you can imagine, so savor the moment as best as you can! And be sure to take time for each other, even as you feel like there are deadlines approaching.

    If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Coordinating a destination wedding was challenging, and may have been easier had we hired a wedding planner, but we were ultimately happy to have worked on all the details together. It made the day more meaningful to us.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding?  We set up a 10K fun run for our friends the morning of the wedding, and also arranged a wine tour the day after the wedding, just so our guests had the chance to enjoy all that Sonoma County had to offer.

    Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  Brianne: My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary was the day after Jay and I got married, so we asked the band to learn their first dance song (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”) as a special surprise to celebrate their 40 years together! // Jay: My nephew was invited onstage to join the band’s horn section for the last song of the night, and he rocked it!

     

    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink
    Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink Christina McNeill | Snippet & Ink
    Photography: Christina McNeill / Venue, Catering, Cake: Barndiva in Healdsburg, California / Dress: Anna Maier / Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Suit: Armani / Groom’s Accessories: Neiman Marcus / Groomsmen Attire: Jos A Bank / Stationery: Rock Paper Scissors / Calligraphy: Simply Handwritten / Floral Design: Dragonfly Floral / Hair, Makeup: Brush Salon / Ceremony Music: Jeanne Geiger (Strings) / Reception Music: Omega Rae / Cookie Favors Angelica Made Me / Personalized Wine Bottles: Cornett at Vintage Estate Wines /  Hotel Accommodations, Rehearsal Dinner: Hotel Healdsburg / Bluegrass Band: The Cherry Pickers / Private Wine Tasting: Ann Tallman of Twomey, Silver Oak
    SEE THE FULL GALLERY
  • Barndiva Fusion Wedding from Christina McNeill

    11 November 2014
  • 10 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    I love this line from Jess and Alan’s wedding write-up: “The most amazing thing about our wedding day was the thing we couldn’t have planned or predicted…the rain! The thing that had us worried it would ruin our plans for a beautiful garden wedding, actually made it an epic, memorable fairytale.” And as you’ll see it really was such a beautiful day, in spite of – or perhaps because of – the rain. Also, these two kindly shared their complete wedding ceremony with us, including the vows they wrote themselves. So romantic!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS RAINY DAY WEDDING BY ASH IMAGERY.

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “We wanted a fairytale. We were looking for a place with stunning natural beauty and a sense of history. We also knew that we wanted to get married on the East Coast, near where Jess grew up. We looked a number of different places – everything from grand ballrooms to an old country mansion – but when walked through the garden walls at Greenville we got chills. Set atop a hill overlooking a beautiful valley, the property was built at the turn of the century as a summer estate for the DuPont family. The old brick walls, the slate roof, and the mature grounds gave it the perfect fairytale feel. After wandering happily for about an hour, Jess’ parents reminded us that she won the Delaware state tennis championship on the courts behind the house when she was thirteen. Just one more sign that it was the perfect place for us.”

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    Your ceremony in three words.  Timeless, Romantic, Fairytale.

    How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony?  Having a personal ceremony was really important to us, and we wanted to find an officiant that could give weight and significance to the ceremony without relying on religion. In our search we came across Journeys of the Heart and selected Bob Pileggi. We were able to collaborate with Bob via Skype and phone calls in the months leading up to the ceremony to come up with something that was uniquely our own. We felt strongly about including a few key themes: the idea of finding your soul mate, the importance of family, and the commitment to always put each other first. Bob helped find a number of passages that captured those themes, and he also helped guide us along the process of writing our own vows. After a few rounds of editing, trimming, and reworking, we landed on a ceremony that was perfect for us.

    What was your ceremony music?  Since our ceremony was in a garden, the idea of having string music was something we latched on to right away. We loved the idea of using classic instruments to play a few modern songs that meant a lot to us. Our grandparents walked down the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun,” which Jess listened to all the time with her family when she was growing up. The bridal party walked in to “Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap, which was on a CD that Alan gave Jess when they first started dating. Then Jess walked down the aisle with her dad to “Fix You” by Coldplay – it’s one of Jess’ favorite songs, plus the way the strings build up in the song is so romantic! Then, once we were finally announced as husband and wife, we dashed down the aisle to “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros just as the rain started to come down.

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    What were your vows like?  We knew from the get go that we wanted to write our own. It went back to that idea that we wanted our ceremony to be uniquely ours, and we felt strongly that only our own words would be able to capture how we felt about our commitment to one another. While it was actually a pretty intimidating idea at the start, it ended up being one of the best parts of the whole day. We also didn’t practice them with each other in advance, so the first time we heard it was during the ceremony. It was really personal and romantic. (Read Jess and Alan’s personal vows along with their complete ceremony right here.)

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  One of our favorite things was that we each wrote our vows in a journal that was a part of a very special memory for us. When Alan proposed to Jess a year earlier in a tiny restaurant in NYC (where we had our first date), he hid the ring in a journal that was used to bring the bill at the end of the night. Typically, patrons will sign their name and date, write a little review etc. That night, when Jess opened the book to write a little something, she found a diamond ring tied with a bow in the pages that Alan had hollowed out to hide the surprise. There were a few pages left uncut in the front of the journal and this is where we each read our vows from on the big day.

    READ JESS AND ALAN’S FULL CEREMONY WITH PERSONAL VOWS RIGHT HERE.

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  The most amazing thing about our wedding day was the thing we couldn’t have planned or predicted…the rain! The thing that had us worried it would ruin our plans for a beautiful garden wedding, actually made it an epic, memorable fairytale. Despite ten days of absolutely perfect weather leading up to the wedding, we woke up that morning to a forecast of major storms. We knew that they would be a gamble, and spent the day watching the radar and waffling back and forth if we should take the risk or just plan to be inside.

    Thanks to some support and guidance from some amazing people (our awesome photographer, the manager of Greenville County Club, and our planner), all hands were on deck to take the risk and make it happen in the little window of time in between the storms. The chairs were dried off, the aisle set up and we went for it! Throughout the ceremony the skies darkened and faintly in the distance you could hear the rumbling of thunder. But someone was looking out for us and the rain held off! Just as we finished our vows and Alan had kissed his bride, the first few drops of rain started to fall as we dashed down the aisle. We made our way back to a little tea house in the back of the garden with our parents and our bridal party and the skies opened up! The energy was incredible! Everyone couldn’t believe that we had just snuck in the ceremony. A lot of laughter and a lot of happy tears – now it was time to party!

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    “We hoped to create a feel of effortless elegance in terms of decor and details, but more than anything wanted it to be intimate. It was the only time we would ever have all of the important people in our lives in one place, and we wanted to create an atmosphere where everyone felt connected to the day’s events. The tent attached to the back of the house was the perfect backdrop for tons of string lights and loose arrangements of garden flowers. Our favorite details were the amazingly illustrated and designed paper items that Jess’ sister created for the event. From the program to the beautiful menus, escort cards and place settings, it really tied everything together.”

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    Why did you choose this location for your reception?  We loved that we were able to make use of all the amazing spaces at Greenville for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. While we snuck off to enjoy our first few moments together as husband and wife, guest mingled around the bar in glass rotunda that looked out over the terrace. The escort cards were placed on a large wooden table in the foyer with a grand fireplace in the background where guests could relax and chat in cozy couches.

    First dance song:  A few years ago we saw Ray LaMontagne in concert, and he played an acoustic, un-recorded version of “You Are The Best Thing” that totally blew us away. We weren’t engaged yet, but Alan remembered thinking that was the exact song he wanted to dance with Jess to on our wedding day. We were later able to dig up a live recording of the song, and the band was able to learn it for us. It made that first dance even more special!

    Father/daughter dance: “Have I Told You Lately” by Rod Stewart
    Mother/son dance: “Connected” by Eric Bibb

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Something old: The diamond from Alan’s mother’s original engagement ring was turned into a pendant necklace for Jess to wear. // Something new: Dress, shoes, and veil! // Something borrowed: Jess’ mother’s tennis bracelet. // Something blue: A vintage hat pin held the ribbon on her bouquet.

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  We have so many! The toast from Jess’ dad was one of the most memorable and poignant moments of the reception. He told an incredible story that captured how he felt about the two of us together and how special it was to have such an incredible group of loving friends and family in one place. There was also the spontaneous dance circle that broke out on the last song of the night: Phil Phillip’s “Home.” Everyone at the wedding was linked arm-in-arm moving around us in a circle and singing along.

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink

     

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We tasted a bunch of different flavors and all were amazing, so it was really hard to decide. We ended up picking two flavors: lemon poppyseed cake with lemon curd filling and butter cream frosting, and dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache frosting.

    Did you have a signature cocktail?  We had three! Jess picked a classic French 75, while Alan (a whiskey lover) went with a Manhattan. We also wanted to incorporate our puggle puppy, Velvet, in some way, so we added a third cocktail in honor of her: a sangria punch with late-summer fruit. Then Jess’ sister designed a really fun bar sign with each of our faces along with our signature drinks.

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Embrace the unexpected! We spent so much time working through the tiniest details and timelines, but some of the most memorable moments came from things we couldn’t have planned for! It can definitely be a little scary when you have to deviate from the plan on the big day, but we’d encourage other couples to just embrace the opportunity to create something special out of every moment.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  The whole night was capped off when we got to race out through what felt like a tunnel of sparklers, cheered on by all our loved ones and friends. The mist from the rain was still hanging in the air, and we jumped into a vintage Rolls Royce limousine and whisked back to the hotel. That was our favorite moment.

     

    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink Ash Imagery | Snippet & Ink
    Photography: Ash Imagery / Event Coordination: Afflair Events / Venue, Catering: Greenville Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware / Videography: Atlantica Pictures / Officiant: Bob Pileggi, Journeys of the Heart / Dress, Veil: Jenny Packham / Shoes: BHLDN / Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters / Suit, Groomsmen Attire: Sagets Formal Wear / Stationery: Paper Rock Scissors, Design by Julia Robinson / Floral Design: Flowers by Yukie / Hair, Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy / Rentals: JMW Lighting / Ceremony Music: Philadelphia String Quartet / Reception Music: Park Central CTO / Cake, Dessert: Crown Jewel Cakes
    SEE THE FULL GALLERY
  • Rainy Day Delaware Wedding by Ash Imagery

    11 November 2014
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings