With nearly all their guests traveling from out of town, Thais and James wanted to host a wedding that showcased some of what they love most about their new home in Northern California. The chose Old Saint Hilary’s church for their ceremony, overlooking the San Francisco Bay, and then everyone traveled thirty minutes to Viansa in Sonoma for an intimate wine country reception.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WEDDING FROM JESSICA BURKE.

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We did DIY somethings. Initially we thought we could DIY the whole wedding but we quickly realized that was not just unrealistic, it was impossible. So we stuck to the things we knew how to do and did them well. Jim is a graphic designer by trade and therefore was in charge of our stationery. I was in charge of favors and took it to the kitchen, making “dolce the leche” (my grandma’s famous recipe), as well as our welcome bags.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  A friend of mine told me to take time to take everything in. The whole day goes by in a blur, and you won’t remember the details but you will remember that one moment. At one point mid-way through the reception I did just that – I stepped out and took a brief moment, I looked around and really did take everything in. Everything Jim and I had planned, envisioned, dreamed and at times, even argued about, for so long. That was it. A great moment and a precious memory that I will always remember and treasure.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Use Pinterest with caution! With so much inspiration online it’s easy to get caught up ideas and things you never thought were important in the first place. Online searching is a great tool to start the wedding planning process but it should not become the entire process. Having your own ideas and working with your vendors is a much better way to ensure your vision comes to life and stays within your budget.

 

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Thais’s bridesmaids wore gray dresses, and all the ladies carried bouquets with burgundy peonies, ranunculus, and anemones, echoing the pomegranates used later at the reception.

 

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The Ceremony

“We had just moved to Tiburon, California when we started planning our wedding and we immediately fell in love with Old St. Hilary’s Church, a historic mission church from 1888 that sits on the hillside of Tiburon, overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. We knew right away that was the place we wanted to get married.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, memorable, traditional.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  Since both our families are Catholic, it was important to us to be able to incorporate a spiritual aspect without having to commit to a traditional nuptial mass. Our officiant, Father Skip Sikora from the White Robed Monks, helped us through every step of the way, from choosing the right readings to including our parents during the ceremony. It was also very important to us to have a reading in Portuguese, my native language to accommodate and honor my family’s Brazilian roots.

 

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Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We had our mothers do the unity candle tradition.

What was your ceremony music?  Our dear friend Penny Oullette played the piano. Processional song: For the Love of the Princess by James Horner / Unity Candle Song: Clair de Lune by Debussy / Recessional Song: Clocks by Coldplay

What were your vows like?  We chose traditional vows.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Ah so many! I think the moment where we officially became husband and wife was definitely our favorite.

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  Since we opted for a separate venue for our reception, our guests were treated to apple cider and pastries right after the ceremony. It was a small but nice touch and worked out well since we wanted our guests to enjoy the views of the Bay after the ceremony while having a snack (also helped distract them for a bit while we did our family photos).

 

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“We moved from Boston shortly after we got engaged and Northern California was our first home as a couple,” shares Thais. “We never thought we would get married in California but just a few months after living in Tiburon we knew where we wanted to start the new chapter of our lives together. Everything we planned and envisioned for our big day had our families in mind, and the experiences we wanted them to have. Coming from that perspective was what drove us to plan and work hard through out the 10 months of planning. Being able to offer a great day for our families and friends was what made our wedding day so special to us”

 

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The Reception

“Our families traveled to California for our wedding, and for most of them, it was their first time visiting the West Coast, so we wanted to be able to offer as much of a California experience as we could. On our first trip to Sonoma we stopped at Viansa Winery and immediately fell in love with the grounds and the Tuscan-inspired building surrounded by the vineyards. The fact that Viansa is only 30 minutes away from the ceremony site in Tiburon was also super important to the timeline on the day of the wedding.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words:  Elegant, Rustic and Romantic.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Jim and I have very similar tastes when it comes to design and aesthetics. We envisioned our wedding to be an understated, timeless, elegant day that would be memorable for us and our guests. Having Northern California as the background was our inspiration and so everything we designed (alongside the wonderful help of Lauren Wakefield and Amanda Terpstra) from our stationery, favors and welcome bags to our church decor, centerpieces, signage and cake table had an effortless, organic feel in mind.

 

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Thais and James took some time for photos amidst the autumn vineyards before rejoining the celebration.

 

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Please tell us about any special or moments from your reception.  Cocktail hour on the terrace during the sunset overlooking the hills of Sonoma and the vineyards was just so magical! After dinner, we all headed to the dance floor on the courtyard, right outside the cellar it was so much fun to dance under the stars and bistro lights! The lounge area was also on the courtyard so guests could enjoy dancing and relaxing by the firepits all in the same place. One of our friends brought a “selife stick” and by the end of the night, he got all the guests together for one last selfie and surprisingly got all of our guests in one big shot, that was definitely a cool moment to end the night!

 

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The newlyweds’ chairs were adorned with wreaths and gold calligraphed signs.

 

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What was your wedding menu? We had cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and then opted for 3-course sit down dinner and dessert, which worked out really well for our intimate setting.

The hors d’oeuvres included: Gougeres, Mission figs and chevre, Seared Ahi Tuna, Wild mushroom and Brie / First course: County line greens, raspberries and chevre / Second Course: Surf and Turf- Filet of Halibut and Tenderloin or potato parmesan gnochi / Third Course: Selection of Cheeses from Sonoma County.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? For dessert we served cheese plates followed by cake. We served two cakes: Chocolate Candy Bar Cake and European Chantilly Cake.

Did you have a signature cocktail? Our signature drinks were: Pomegranate Martini and Classic Martini.

 

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Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  Well before the wedding, we started collecting family heirlooms and used them throughout the day. I wore a gold pendant from my mom. Jim wore his grandfather’s cuff links. We also took items from Jim’s mother’s and grandmother’s original wedding registries and used them at the reception, like the cake cutter, brass and old silver trays, and vases all added to our design and most importantly had true special meaning for us and our families.

What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? Our first dance song: Sleepwalk by Santo & Johnny / Father-Daughter Song: Corcovado (Quiet Nights) by Astrud Gilberto / Mother-Son Song: Young at Heart by Jimmy Durante.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Number one was our first dance. We were both so terrified of messing it up and when it came time for our first dance, it was as if nothing else mattered in the world, except for that very same moment. It was definitely a moment I did not expect to love so much but we certainly did! Our dinner was served in the winery’s vintage wine cellar. I think having our family and closest friends all gather in such a unique room enjoying a great meal was also one of my favorite moments.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  I am known to have a case of bad sweet tooth, I think the only thing I would have done differently is have more sweets! You can never have too much dessert!

 

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Photography: Jessica Burke / Event Planning & Design: Lauren Wakefield, Ryder Sloan Events / Venue, Catering, Cake, Rentals: Viansa Winery in Sonoma, California / Church: Old St. Hilary’s in Tiburon, California / Dress: Oscar de la Renta / Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters Wtoo via And Something Blue / Suit, Tie, Shirt, Shoes: Brooks Brothers / Groomsmen Attire: Mens Wearhouse / Floral Design: Mandolin Floral / Hair, Makeup: The Glamourist / DJ: DJ Von Woo / Cake: Perfect Endings
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Though these high school sweethearts are originally from Texas, Morgan and Charlton have called California home for the past ten years, and they wanted to share their love of the wine country with friends and family, so they chose to host their wedding celebration at Vintage Estate in Yountville. Meg Smith was there to capture the day on camera…

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS WINE COUNTRY WEDDING BY MEG SMITH.

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“I borrowed my grandmother’s dinner ring from my sister, and for my something blue my sweet friends gave me a beautiful Laura Merken clutch with my new initials monogrammed into it in blue,” says Morgan. “Additionally, as navy blue is one of our favorite colors, all of our bridesmaids wore blue dresses and they were considered my something blue.”

 

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Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  We are both huge fans of California’s wine country – the breathtaking vistas, the world-class food, and of course the best wine on earth! Yountville is special for us as we are both huge foodies and in particular fans of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. Vintage Estate provided the perfect combination of what we dreamed of for a wine country wedding: a gorgeous setting that featured the natural beauty of Napa, excellent food and wine that allowed us to showcase so much of what we love about the region, and most importantly the space needed for our large guest list without sacrificing an ounce of charm.

 

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How did you go about planning your wedding?  We wanted our wedding to be a showcase of everything we love about Northern California, but also just a really fun celebration of all the people in our lives. So the venue, flowers, photography, music, food and drink were all major factors for us. We enlisted the help of a wedding planner, Your Event By Erin, who was critical in helping us find the right details and helping keep everyone running together – and to say she was invaluable running the wedding on the day-of is a vast understatement!

 

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The Ceremony

“We are both huge college football fans and the my team was down to the last thirty seconds of a very important game when everyone told me I had to begin walking down the aisle. I tried to delay the start, but ultimately ended up walking down the aisle with seconds to spare in the game. When I first got up to the altar I asked if anyone could tell me the final score (my team had won)!”

 

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Your ceremony in three words. Beautiful, relaxing, and traditional

Who officiated your ceremony?  Levi Weintraub, one of our first and dearest friends from San Francisco, became ordained a few years before our engagement and we knew immediately we wanted him to officiate when we got married.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We had a traditional ceremony, however, we customized all parts of the ceremony to really relate back to our personal lives and the relationship we’ve built together. The readings we included played on our love for literature, but also told our journey with each other.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  The Eloquence String Quartet played the following which are several of our favorite songs:
Parents’ entrance: Yellow by Coldplay
Bridesmaids’ entrance: In My Life by The Beatles
Bride’s entrance: Moon River by Henry Mancini
Recessional: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles

What were your ceremony readings?  William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116″ and “Union” by Robert Fulghum.

What were your vows like?  We each wrote our own vows – Charlton has a tendency to get carried away, so we limited ourselves to 2 minutes each. They included a snippet of an email that I had written to Charlton in 2005, that was just as relevant then as it is today.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  During the ceremony, we both felt like we had tunnel vision and were alone with our officiant – which made it feel uniquely ours; as if it was our most private moment.

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We were high school sweethearts, so we had 12 years’ worth of close friends plus our family who we wanted to include. We’ve lived in California for over a decade but are originally from Texas, so we anticipated many out of town guests, which made it very important to us that the venue we chose reflect how beautiful and relaxing the place we call home can really be. We wanted people to feel the elegance and charm Napa offers but to also feel as if they came together effortlessly (I’m laughing as I write this).

 

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The Reception

“The reception was So. Much. Fun. The cocktail hour began immediately after the ceremony on the adjacent lawn, and featured signature cocktails from the bride and groom and some of our favorite California wines. Dinner seating was a king’s table for the wedding party and rounds for other guests, which led to some friendly rivalry about which table was the most fun – and later led to some truly hilarious outbursts during the best man’s speech. We kicked off the dancing with a twist – the DJ played R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” for a few seconds before moving into our real first dance, Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” After dances with our parents, Jackson 5’s “ABC” opened up the dance floor to everyone and it stayed packed until we called it a night with Mumford & Sons’ “Lover of the Light.” Guests danced, drank great wine, played corn hole on a custom California vs. Texas set, and laughed more than we had ever seen at a reception. When it was over, many guests (and both of us!) immediately had the same refrain: “Can we do it again next weekend?”

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail?
Groom’s drink: Vieux Carre
Bride’s drink: The Magdalena (tequila base infused w/ poblano pepper)

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Charlton made “birthday cake truffles” as thank you gifts for guests – miniature balls of cake covered in a shell of white chocolate and dusted cake crumbs (recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar, NYC). Also, we spent many hours at the Alameda Flea Market finding antique frames and decorations that help fit our rustic elegance theme.

Special songs:
First Dance: “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison
Father/Daughter: “Drive” by Alan Jackson
Mother/Son: “A Song For Mama” by Boyz II Men

 

Meg Smith | Snippet & Ink Meg Smith | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Take your groom and step back every hour for a full minute. Take a look at all the people you love that are around you and take a mental picture. These are some of my favorite memories and they are so strong in a day where so much was a blur (also thanks to my fabulous photographer and videographer, the day is much more put together).

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Make a decision and don’t second guess it. At the end of the day you could contemplate the details of every item and vendor up until your wedding day. Once you find one you love, move on and really just enjoy how it’s all coming together!

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
I wish I’d made the decision to get a videographer sooner! This was a last minute add on for us and truly one of the best things you can do. We look at our photos and video highlights constantly as nothing can bring your wedding day back to you like these two items. We really loved the people we worked with and having trust in them is critical.

 

Meg Smith | Snippet & Ink Meg Smith | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Meg Smith / Venue, Catering: Vintage Estate in Yountville, California / Event Planning: Erin Donoghue / Dress, Veil: Monique Lhuillier / Shoes: Prada / Monogrammed Clutch: Laura Merken / Drop Earrings: ABS by Allen Schwartz / Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters / Suit: Ermenegildo Zegna / Tie: The Tie Bar / Shirt: Eton of Sweden / Shoes: Versace Collection / Cufflinks: Paul Smith / Pocket Square: Turnbull & Asser / Socks: Happy Socks / Groomsmen Attire: Black by Vera Wang / Stationery: Antiquaria Design Studio / Calligraphy: Ruthanne Baker-Mander / Floral Design: Poppy’s Petals / Hair: Maria Aguilar / Makeup: Lanay Morrison, The Makeup Girl / Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events / Ceremony Music: Eloquence String Quartet / Reception Music: Boutique DJs / Cake: Susie Cakes / Favors: Homemade Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake Truffles

Meg Smith is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

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There’s something so special about a small wedding. There’s still lots of planning involved, but perhaps less production, so the whole thing feels a bit more relaxed and intimate. Not to mention it’s easier to DIY just a handful of invitations than to make a hundred of them! Erin and Mark tied the knot on a Friday evening with 19 guests in attendance, then everyone walked next door for a delicious meal at the newlyweds’ favorite local restaurant. If you’re aiming for a lovely low-key wedding with just your very closest friends and family, or even if you’re going big but you want some beautiful ideas, then read on!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS INTIMATE MAINE WEDDING BY HENRY + MAC.

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In addition to a few other DIY projects, the bride and groom made their own wedding stationery with watercolors and a unique monogram that appeared at the reception, as well.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  I didn’t receive any advice, mostly because I myself have been in the wedding business for 8 years. But the advice I gave myself was to have FUN!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  To relax, enjoy it, make sure it’s what you want and reflects who you are, and to go with the flow because not everything will work perfectly.

 

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If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  If we did it all over again (which I’d love to do because it was so much fun!), I think we would have an after party someplace.

 

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Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  We were on an incredible budget. I had just bought a house, we were coming out of a long and cold winter in Maine which drains everyone financially, and although our wedding was very important to us, we didn’t want to be drained financially after. From our attire, to food, to venue, to photographer, etc. we spent a total of about $4,000 (and about 80% of that total was the photographers because being a photographer myself, I knew that feeling confident with who we hired was essential). Otherwise, we traded. We have so many friends in the wedding business and they not only gifted us their talents, but we were also able to pay them back in other ways. We will be forever grateful to them! Our venue was very cheap, and we actually didn’t have to pay anything for our reception space, so that all cut down on costs. Also, the venue limited our guest list which was HUGE in terms of cutting costs. We were able not to skimp on food, alcohol, and other things because the guest list was small.

 

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The Ceremony

“The ceremony space is a beautiful, light filled, large room in an old mill building. We attended many art openings in the space when it was used as a gallery, and when we settled on our spot for the reception which was literally right next door, we knew this was the perfect spot to hold our ceremony and cocktail hour. It was such a big space for a group of 21 people, but I loved the fact that we were all huddled together during the ceremony. It felt so intimate, but spacious and free.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Love. Unique. Laughter.

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  One of my best friends is a marvelous officiant. She guided us through the process, gave us tips and pointers, and made us feel like everything was going to go very smoothly. The most important part for us was that it reflected who we were as a couple.

 

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Who officiated your ceremony?  Maria Northcott of A Sweet Start. She is fantastic, and even if she wasn’t one of my best friends, I would have still hired her!

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We did the usual exchange of rings, read our own written vows, and also did a ring warming where we passed our two rings around to all of our guests to hold and bless. It’s not really a tradition, but we stood on a very old rug that belonged to my late uncle whom I was very close with.

What was your ceremony music?  I walked down the aisle to a jazz song played by a talented jazz pianist I went to college with, who is part of the band Micromasse in Maine.

What were your vows like?  We wrote our own vows which turned out to be pretty funny. Mark read his first and they were really quick and short. I, however, had written quite a bit! I ended them with an excerpt from Beyonce’s song “End of Time” for some slight comic relief because everyone knows I have a little obsession with Queen Bey!

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  My favorite thing about our wedding ceremony was looking into my soon-to-be husband’s eyes and see how much he loved me. His favorite thing was seeing me walk down the aisle and hearing my vows.

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was fun, intimate, delicious, and full of wine and laughter and relaxing! Also, the room was gorgeous beyond my wildest dreams. The stylist (Emily Hricko of Emily Elizabeth Events) and florist (Amy Maloney of Pretty Maine Flowers) made a room that was so beautiful and stunning my jaw dropped when I walked in!”

 

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Why did you choose this location for your reception?  One of our favorite restaurants that we frequent regularly is Frontier Cafe in Brunswick, Maine. The restaurant is inside a big mill building, with beautiful wooden floors, white brick walls, and very large windows overlooking a river. And it’s right next to the gallery space where we held the ceremony. In the back of the space is a small room for private functions. When Mark and I tossed around the idea of having our reception at Frontier, I knew it was the perfect place for us. However, the space only holds 20 people max, which meant our guest list had to be severely limited. It was a hard decision, but we made it work!

What was your first dance song?  We danced to “My Romance” which is a classic jazz standard. Our friend played it on the piano.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  We made custom placemats for all of our guests which they got to take home with them. They were like mini chalkboards with each guest’s name written in chalk, then sealed so they wouldn’t smudge. Mark also made some unstretched paintings on canvas which become our “guest book” and we hung them in the reception room.

 

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Menu:  Frontier house salad: Mixed greens, shaved Parmesan, and Frontier vinaigrette // Goat cheese stuffed chicken: herbed goat cheese stuffed natural chicken breast, wild mushroom risotto, haricots verts // blueberry pork: pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin with a dijon and Maine blueberry pan sauce served with Yukon Gold and parsnip puree, and roasted baby Brussels sprouts

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a delicious spice cake topped with a buttercream frosting made by our friend and talented chef and baker Tara Barker of A Baking Life.

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Our love for one another and the life we’ve built together. We kind of infused our lifestyle and aesthetic into planning our wedding. The most important things to us our family, friends, food, and art! And we had them all.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  I think my favorite part was being able to thank all of our talented friends who made our wedding day so amazing.

 

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Photography: Henry + Mac / Ceremony Venue: Coleman Burke Gallery in Brunswick, Maine / Reception, Catering: Frontier Cafe and Cinema / Event Planning & Design: Emily Elizabeth Events / Officiant: Maria Northcott of A Sweet Start / Dress: BHLDN / Shoes: Madewell / Jewelry: Rand Papele / Tie, Shirt: J. Crew / Shoes: Sebago / Floral Design: Amy Maloney of Pretty Maine Flowers / Makeup: About Face Maine / Ceremony Music: Micromasse / Reception Music: Playlist using Demerbox / Cake: Tara Barker of A Baking Life

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This is probably one of our favorite weddings yet! Not only is it utterly beautiful, but bride, Whitney, shared so many special details with us on top of those you see in the photos. She and Vince were incredibly thoughtful about their wedding day, from choosing a date that was meaningful to their parents, to writing their own vows (you can read those right here), to including a special hors d’oeuvre as a surprise for the groom. Read on and be inspired!

SEE MORE FROM THIS SOUTH CAROLINA WEDDING BY VIRGIL BUNAO IN THE GALLERY.

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Says Whitney of their beautiful choice of venue: “My mom and step dad purchased property in Palmetto Bluff a few years ago. Upon our first visit, we immediately fell in love and started dreaming of the perfect wedding weekend. We live in Chicago, far from most of our friends and family, so we imagined spending a ‘mini vacation’ with our loved ones. We wanted everyone to fall in love with the place like we did, and take advantage of the many activities the resort has to offer (riding around on bikes, playing golf, kayaking, etc.) during their down time. Once we got engaged there was really no other location where we could imagine getting married. The reception and ceremony were in the same location. We wanted the guests to feel as if they were on vacation for the weekend so we kept everything within walking distance to avoid asking guests to drive around. This was also a great way to have everyone all together for the entire weekend.”

 

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“To me, it didn’t matter where within the property we said our “I do’s” but as we began the planning process it became increasingly clear that it was important to my husband for us to marry in a chapel,” says Whitney. “The Waterside Chapel at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff was too perfect to look anywhere else.”

 

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Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  My something old, borrowed, and blue all came from jewelry leant to me from my mom. I wore a blue ring from my great grandmother, which was worn by both my grandmother and mom on their wedding days. I also wore earrings my mom wore when she married my step father. I was honored to be wearing family pieces.

Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about?  Shamefully, I’m too much of a perfectionist to do any DIY. The closest I got were the amazing welcome bags my mom put together, which included local Southern favorites like Hilton Head Popcorn, Bluffton Brittle, and Grits Bits to give everyone a “taste of the South”.

 

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Did you do a first look?  Yes! Because we wanted our candlelit ceremony to take place while the sun was setting our photographer encouraged us to do a first look. Hesitant at first to see one another before the ceremony, we are both so happy we decided to do it! The day went by so fast, and it was so nice to get a few special minutes to ourselves before everything began.

 

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The Ceremony

“We asked our dear friend to officiate the wedding, so we worked closely with him and his wife to write it. We had several meetings to discuss the outline, and what was important to us. From there we compiled the words we wanted for the marriage intentions and ring exchange, and our friend wrote the address for us. We left portions of the ceremony up to him so that it felt natural. We did a ton of research on writing your own wedding ceremonies, and combined our favorites to make something unique and meaningful to us.”

 

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Virgil Bunao | Snippet & Ink Virgil Bunao | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  Intimate, romantic, emotional

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  Because we were removing religion from our ceremony, we felt it important to include ceremony traditions like our intentions to marry, exchange of the vows, and the ring exchange. We also included a poem by Taylor Mali, “How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog” (which was perfect for us dog lovers) and the Blessing of the Hands.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  We hired an amazing father/son duo (The Bob Williams Duo) from Charleston. (They also played during cocktail hour and dinner. They continued to impress us and really set the mood for the rest of the night.) Bob and his son play the violin and classical guitar, and are able to play everything from Pachelbel to Guns N’ Roses. We wanted the music to sound classic, yet have that fun twist we were striving for throughout the weekend. While people were coming into the chapel we wanted popular music that would be recognizable with beautiful acoustics, so the Prelude included songs like Jack Johnson’s “Better Together”, Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine”, Phish’s “Farm House”, and Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” // Seating of the Parents and Grandmothers: Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” // Bridal Party Processional: Train’s “Marry Me” // Bridal Processional: Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” // Recessional: Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

What were your ceremony readings?  We wanted the ceremony to be about our love for one another and the family we were about to start. We each have one living grandparent (our grandmothers) who both unfortunately lost their loved ones. We asked each of them to stand up and give their advice, or words of wisdom, on what makes a successful and happy marriage. It was such a unique and personal twist. // Some of the advice shared included: Live your lives honorably, so that you may respect yourself, and, in turn can be respected by your partner; Talk to each other and be sure to listen to what your partner is saying; Never go to bed angry; Practice random acts of kindness; Commune around your table with family and friends, sharing your talents and conversations, and let that table become a symbol of the love and respect you have for one another…”

What were your vows like?  We wrote our own vows, and are both so happy that we did. We wanted the ceremony to be personal and really capture the love we have for one another and felt that was the perfect way to do so.

READ WHITNEY AND VANCE’S PERSONAL VOWS RIGHT HERE.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Oh, our favorite thing…there were too many favorite moments! Looking back on our wedding weekend, the ceremony was by far our favorite part. The personal touches we put into it really made it so special and unique. We’ve had numerous guests tell us that our wedding ceremony was the most perfect, personal, and intimate ceremony they’ve ever witnessed and we are very proud of that.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  One of my favorite details from the entire weekend was a surprise for my grandmother. Unfortunately my grandfather passed away in late 2013. While we were saying our goodbyes, Vince and I spoke to him at length about missing the wedding. The three of us planned to surprise my grandmother and frame a photo of him (he picked the photo) to attach to her bouquet. We did this so he could “walk her down the aisle” even though he wouldn’t physically be there. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when we brought the idea to him nor the emotions the story brought to my grandmother on our wedding day when I handed her the bouquet. This small act perfectly represented the love my grandfather had for her, and it was so special to incorporate that love into our wedding.

 

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Why did you choose this date for your wedding?  Growing up I always dreamt of a wedding in the summer (my favorite season), but we ended up choosing to get married in the fall due to the continued importance of family throughout our planning. All three sets of parents have an anniversary in the first week of November, so we set our date (11.8.15) so we could always celebrate our anniversary together with our families.

 

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The Reception

“In planning our wedding, we were inspired by the Lowcountry. We wanted to embrace the scenery and really compliment it in our color palette and décor. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a beautiful resort located along the May River, and we wanted to complement the venue without overtaking the natural beauty. We chose the neutral colors of succulents (grays, green, pinks, purple hues) to complement the marsh. The resort is simple in its décor, and beautiful in its design. And that’s what we wanted our wedding to mirror.”

 

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What was your wedding menu?  When we were conceptualizing the menu with the catering team from the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, we wanted to capture some Southern favorites while also pulling in some seasonally appropriate family traditions. For our starter we served a butternut squash soup with fried veal ravioli and parmesan. I grew up eating butternut squash soup at Thanksgiving, and this Palmetto Bluff version was just delicious! We then served a salad coming from a family recipe (mixed greens with spiced pecans, chevre, and hot cider dressing). I didn’t want to fuss about which guest was eating what, so we served a dual entrée. It was a dish of grilled local grouper with Carolina gold dirty rice and charred okra alongside a filet mignon with a potato croquette, truffle hollandaise, and grilled asparagus.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We served a custom wedding cake from Minette Rushing which pulled in all of our favorite flavors. It was a vanilla pound cake covered in buttercream with raspberry preserve and chocolate ganache.

 

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Guests were directed to their tables with a seating chart written in white ink on the panes of a free hanging window.

 

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Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception.  During our cocktail hour I surprised my husband with cheesesteak spring rolls, an ode to our Pennsylvania roots. My sister was married at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia a few years ago where they served an hors d’oeuvre so good that my husband still talks about it to this day. I called the chef from the Four Seasons and he gave me the recipe (I’m so thankful). I worked with our wedding coordinator and the chef from the Inn at Palmetto Bluff to surprise him with the cheesesteak spring rolls. It was so fun to watch him realize what he was eating!

 

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Virgil Bunao | Snippet & Ink Virgil Bunao | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  When we played “Shout”… TWICE! A song favorite from our wild college days, playing it once was not nearly enough. After such a crazy rendition the first time (my husband and I were both tossed up in the air) I begged the band to play it again at the end of the night.

Special music:
First Dance Song: “You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac
Step-Father/Daughter Dance: “Stand by Me” by  Ben E. King
Mother/Son Dance: “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” by Stevie Wonder
Father/Daughter Dance: “Brown Eyed Girl” Van Morrison (We used this dance to kick-off the dancing: after 2 minutes we invited everyone out onto the dance floor. It was a fun way to really get the dance party started!)

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride?  A dear friend told us to take a moment for ourselves at some point in the night, and really take it all in. There likely won’t be another time in our lives where we have our closest friends and family there to celebrate with us. The day goes by fast and we were so happy we got to embrace quiet little moments, just the two of us. // And our wedding planner encouraged us to stop worrying about everything after our last meeting (the Thursday before), because at that point everything would be out of our hands. She suggested this so that we could enjoy ourselves and really feel like guests at our own wedding. While I didn’t quite finish everything I wanted (I still have cards for my bridesmaids sitting at home), I was stress-free the entire weekend and was really able to enjoy myself as if I was a guest. It was amazing!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Don’t get so caught up in all the little details! Throughout the planning process there were a few details (i.e. invitations) that I became so obsessed about. Seriously, I spent months approving the invitations (when in looking back the first version was just as beautiful as the final product). I was striving for “perfection” in so many ways. And when you do that you lose sight of the bigger picture, you aren’t as prepared when things don’t go exactly according to plan (they won’t). // In the end, our wedding day was perfect. Not because of my dress, or my obsession over our invitations, or the color coordination we had down to the groomsmen’s socks. It was perfect because I got to marry the man of my dreams, and celebrate with all of our loved ones.

 

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Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Our wedding story would not be complete without telling about our welcome dinner on Friday night. With family and friends traveling from all over, we wanted our guests to feel like they were on vacation and an integral part of the wedding activities. Rather than a typical rehearsal dinner, we had a welcome dinner where all guests were invited. We wanted to really set the tone for the weekend, so to kick off the festivities we took our guests on a sunset boat ride to a remote location. To embrace the Lowcountry we hosted an outdoor oyster roast, lowcountry boil, and barbecue full of our Southern favorites. Guests were entertained throughout the night by live country music (some guests even got up and sang with the band!), dancing, toasts, cornhole, and a seven-story treehouse. It was so fun to get to spend two incredible nights with everyone!

 

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SEE WHITNEY AND VINCE’S WEDDING VIDEO FROM LIFE IN REWIND RIGHT HERE.

Photography: Virgil Bunao / Venue, Catering: Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina / Event Planning & Design: Ashley Rhodes, Weddings and Social Events / Dress, Veil: Vera Wang / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Reception Dress: Herve Leger / Bridesmaid Robes: Girl With a Serious Dream / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Suit, Tie: Tom Ford / Shoes: Gucci / Socks: Etiquette Clothiers / Groomsmen Suits: Suit Supply / Ties: Bows-n-Ties / Invitations: Emily McCarthy / Day of Paper, Window Pane Calligraphy: Lowcountry Paper Co. / Floral Design: Sue Burden / Hair: Silhouette Hair Studio / Makeup: Skinzin / Rentals: Amazing Rentals / Ceremony Music: The Bob Williams Duo / Band: The Maxx / Cake: Minette Rushing

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Beatrice and Jonathan approached their wedding with a practical mindset: they wanted to make choices that would allow their wedding to run smoothly, and that showed their guests a great time. At the end of the day, it sounds like they achieved that goal, and they did so beautifully.

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE IMAGES FROM THIS NEW YORK WEDDING FROM KAREN HILL.

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The Ceremony

“We chose to have our wedding at India House for several reasons. First, it was a beautiful historic building. We’re not into trendy or overly showy locations. Second, the pricing per guest was quite reasonable. Third, it was close to mass transit and we were able to secure parking for our guests.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Traditional Korean-American.

 

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Who officiated your ceremony?  Rev. Milind Sojwal officiated the ceremony, following a traditional Episcopalian ceremony format. Beatrice attended his church so it made sense to choose him as our officiant.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  The ceremony music was a theme from the Twilight movies, selected and performed by our cousins on violin, cello and keyboard.

What were your ceremony readings?  We selected readings from the Old Testament and the New Testament.

What were your vows like?  We recited traditional vows.

 

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“After our ceremony and a cocktail hour, we included the Korean Paebaek ceremony which in the U.S. has been modified to become more of an entertainment for guests rather than an actual Korean wedding ceremony.”

 

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How did you go about planning your wedding?  We did most of the planning ourselves, with some suggestions from others. We knew we wanted to start with the ceremony, then cocktails, then a modified Korean Paebaek ceremony, followed by dinner and dancing.

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was held on the top floor of the India House.We’ve always believed that weddings are really for the guests, and we loved that everyone seemed to have a good time.”

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We kept in mind the mantra: “simple done well”

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Seeing all of our friends and family gathered in one place to celebrate a special day with us.

What was your first dance song?  “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne.

 

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Karen Hill | Snippet & Ink Karen Hill | Snippet & Ink

 

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Have a clearer schedule for the reception/dancing. We waited too long to start the dancing. But then again we had never planned a wedding before!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Gear the wedding around making your guests happy, so long as it doesn’t conflict with your personal tastes. If your family has difficult-to-pronounce names, make a recording of their names so whoever announces them can practice.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Nothing will ever go exactly as you plan, so try not to stress when they don’t. If you don’t have a planner, assign a key person or two who can help you sort out wedding day mishaps so you don’t need to worry about them.

 

 

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Photography: Karen Hill / Venue: India House in New York, New York / Dress: Alma Novia / Shoes: Michael Kors / Tuxedo: Bonobos / Shirt: Thomas Pink / Shoes: Cole Haan / Floral Design: Designs by Ahn / Stationery Materials: Paper Presentations / Hair, Makeup: Pas De Deux Salon / DJ: The Remixologists / Catering, Cake: Masterpiece Caterers

Karen Hill is a Snippet & Ink Select Vendor

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