Today’s wedding in Napa is really making us crave some warm, sunny weather… Lexi and Al chose a private estate where they spent all their summers growing up. With the deep connection to the venue and all the memories they shared there, it made for the perfect location to celebrate their wedding with family and friends. From the brides amazing lace Monique Lhuillier gown, a delicious dinner and poolside cocktails, this wedding is sure to inspire any bride-to-be!

Photography by Weddings by Sasha.

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What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Enjoy it, it goes by quickly. Try not to get in fights or stress, because in the end, no one will notice what you think. It’s the feeling and the love people will walk away with.

 

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Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Something borrowed—a ring from my mom. Something old—my baby bracelet. It still fit! Something blue—my toes. Something new—my dress

Dress by Monique Lhuillier.  

 

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Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? We grew up in the same city and went to the same grade school and neighboring high schools. We never met until later in life. You just never know.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nothing—except I wish it lasted a little longer!

 

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The Ceremony

“We married in the home Lexi spent the summers of her life in. The setting was beautiful and the house exuded feelings of nostalgia for both our family and friends. We couldn’t imagine any other venue with a deeper connection. Most of our guests had spent as much time and shared as many memories as we had there.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Elegant, touching, intimate

How did you go about planning your ceremony?  We set our wedding date six months from the day we got engaged. We are both super busy and knew we needed help, so we hired wedding planner, Laurie Arons. She is brilliant at what she does. She made it seamless and stress-free. Lexi also provided many of her small touches that made it extra special and personal.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  We hired a quartet that played instrumental alternative rock and classical songs.

Ceremony Music by Synchronicity Strings.

 

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Who officiated your ceremony? Lexi’s best friend’s father married us, who just so happens to be a San Francisco Superior Court Judge.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We had family members recite a couple of readings, followed by our vows. We had a California civil ceremony.

 

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What were your ceremony readings? Love” by Roy Croft and “Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou.

What were your vows like?  We didn’t write our own. We wanted our ceremony to be short and very sweet.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride? Have a special place to retreat to as soon as the ceremony ends, so you and your partner can toast each other in private and soak in the very first few moments of what you just did. Have a good friend or family member provide a nice cocktail or glass of bubbles waiting for you and kiss your partner—then enter the party!

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was a blast—dancing, cutting a rug with family, and letting loose!”

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail? Aviation—gin, maraschino liquor, crème de violette, lemon juice. Tequila sour—tequila, lemon, agave, egg white, orange peel.

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The private estate and backyard weddings.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  You don’t need every person you ever knew at your wedding. Keep it to the people you call and care about.

 

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What was your wedding menu? Phenomenal, we basically hired the best caterer in town. The tasting dinner was a lot fun. Appetizers: Beggar’s Purses with Caviar and Crème Fraîche / Tuna Tartar / Fried Chicken Sliders / Soup shots // First Course: Fish Crudo // Main Course: Lamb Chops and Seasonal Vegetables. All served Family Style—so much more relaxed.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The after party of course, but the speeches also stood out the most for me. The speeches were touching, heartfelt and tear-jerking. Oh and the food! Paula LeDuc Fine Catering is the best!

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Dark Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel and Coconut Frosting, decorated with olive branches.

 

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What was your first dance song? Father/daughter dance?
First dance: “Baby, Come to Me” by James Ingram
Father/daughter: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

 

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Photography: Weddings by Sasha / Event Planning & Design: Laurie Arons / Venue: Private Estate in Napa, California / Dress: Monique Lhuillier / Floral Design: Valley Flora / Catering: Paula Le Duc Fine Catering / Stationery: Amber Moon Design / Calligraphy: Anne Robin / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Lighting: Illusions Lighting Design / Ceremony Music: Synchronicity Strings / Cake: Perfect Endings / Luxury Restrooms: Water Cottage / DJ: Chris Clouse

Laurie Arons and Paula Le Duc Fine Catering are Snippet & Ink Select vendors. 

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We’re so excited to share this amazing Indian fusion wedding filled with so many meaningful and stylish details. Shalou and Eric chose to have two complete ceremonies as a way to honor their families and cultures. From the marching band, to the impressively dressed groom riding in on a giant white horse, to the choreographed Bollywood dance party, this musical and festive celebration will leave you feeling overjoyed!

Photography by Q Weddings.

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? My relationship with Eric. Our passions. My family. My culture.

 

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Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  It goes back to the two or three details that you care the most about. Spend your money on those 2-3 line items to ensure you get exactly what you want and save money in the other areas because no one (including you) will remember those little details.

 

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Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Eric riding in on a giant white horse, both him and the horse in fancy Indian dress literally from head to toe, could not have been a better beginning to our epic 17-hour wedding day!

Baraat Horse service from Angeli Carriages.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride? Slow it all down so you can be in the moment, otherwise it will fly by way too fast and you’ll be left with very few memories from the day.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? As a couple, figure out and agree upon the two or maybe three things you really care about and make sure you get those components just the way you want them. The rest is not that important so don’t stress or waste too much time trying to perfect (or arguing over!) those details.

Music performed by Minor Mishap Marching BandDesi Junction DJs

 

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The Ceremony

“Our Indian wedding was full of traditions. The baraat, the dance-off at the end of the baraat, exchanging of fresh floral garlands between the two families uniting, and various exchanges and promises between bride and groom. Our evening ceremony was less about tradition and more about each of us, our relationship and our passions.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Colorful, festive, musical

Why did you choose this venue for your Indian ceremony? Austin is home for both of us. The Four Seasons on Town Lake was the perfect setting for our morning Indian ceremony. The baraat (groom’s procession) took place on the hotel’s lush lawn right next to Austin’s Town Lake, and the marriage ceremonies were held inside, appropriately in one of the opulent ballrooms.

 

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Who officiated your ceremony? The morning was officiated by a wonderful Indian priest who came recommended to us. He was personal but not too serious, which made our ceremony light yet still very special. And since we are not religious, we found a judge who was passionate about marriage and well known for putting her heart and soul into being an officiant. She did not let us down—not only did she shed some tears of heartfelt joy during our exchange of vows which we wrote ourselves, but our relatives can’t stop talking about the ceremony.

 

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Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  We love nature and simple structures, so the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was the perfect setting for the evening ceremony. The venue has so many different experiences in one location—butterfly gardens, a beautiful multi-purpose space with floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking a field of wildflowers, a look-out tower, and more—it suited our needs and our multi-faceted evening “itinerary” just perfectly.

 

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What were your vows like?  We wrote our own vows. Shalou’s was a heartfelt promise to Eric to be forever fun-loving and passionate, and Eric talked about their amazing love trajectory and followed that by singing a song he wrote about Shalou shortly after they met.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  Our music was so diverse! We had several different live bands—a marching band, Indian drummers and a sitar player, a modern string quartet and an amazing DJ who balanced the perfect amount of 80’s music with some amazing Bollywood hits. On the bus ride back to the hotel, members of my family made their own music—singing and dancing during the half hour commute back to the hotel!

 

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Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Personal details were so important to us, so we tried to incorporate many thoughtful touches along with hand-making or designing many of the elements on our own.

 

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The Reception

“Having attended a few dozen weddings, there were one or two that stood out to me as just feeling special and memorable. I drew inspiration from those celebrations and created a unique template for our day. Music was number one on the list for us—in the morning we had a marching band and Indian drummer for the baraat, sitar player during the lunch reception, a string quartet for our ceremony and cocktail hour and a high-energy DJ for the dance party at night! Food was really important, as well, so selecting talented caterers and working closely with them was key. Finally, our guest list was critical. Indian weddings can be obscenely large and thus impersonal. We went the non-traditional route and limited our invitations to family and only close friends.”

 

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How would you describe your reception? Lively and concluding with a very memorable dance party with nearly everyone on the dance floor busting out some serious dance moves—breakdancing included!

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I would have told my mom to change into her third and final outfit—another Indian dress. I forgot to tell her and she likes to remind me of this all to often.

 

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Eric created the graphics for all of the menus, name cards, programs, and various other literature. The table cards were my favorite. Instead of table numbers we had table names, named for each big adventure/trip we took together (i.e. Big Sur, Tokyo, Tamarindo, etc.). The table cards were monochromatic (utilizing colors from our wedding color scheme), the graphic was an aerial shot of the geographic destination and we added some text below the table name—a few words or phrases hinting at highlights or special moments of our trip.

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail? “The Diamond Ring”—French 75.  “The Good Karma”—Pimms Cup

 

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Menu: Morning menu: interactive stations with Indian Street food to start; a buffet that offered Traditional Northern Indian dishes and Indian fusion; Traditional Indian desserts, plus coffee & chai // Evening menu: Indian Fusion for the Passed Hors d’oeuvres / Traditional Northern Indian entrees and New American entrees presented buffet style.

Catering for Western Menu by Word of Mouth Catering.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Beautifully presented at the dessert table for the evening reception: Cakeballs, Dark Chocolate Covered Mint Leaves (they looked really cool and we both LOVE dark chocolate), Strawberry Shortcake Parfait.

Cake by Austin Cake Ball.

 

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What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First Dance song: “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS
Mother/son dance: “Young at Heart” by Frank Sinatra

Reception Music by Johnny Robinson of GrooveLabs.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Eric singing the song he wrote for me, and playing his guitar. Also, our surprise Bollywood dance performed by Eric, me and our entire wedding party. Eric and I took several weeks of Bollywood dance lessons in preparation and then with the help of one of my friends we rounded up all of our friends / wedding party a few times before the wedding and had a blast teaching the dance to everyone and choreographing some solo parts for Eric and me!

 

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Photography: Q Weddings / Event Planning & Design The Simplifiers / Indian ceremony Venue: Four Seasons in Austin, Texas / Western Ceremony Venue: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center / Floral Design: Pollen Floral Art / Dress: Carrafina / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Hair Piece: Tessa Kim / Suit: Hugo Boss / Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew / Hair, Makeup: Rae Cosmetics / Ribbon wands: Allison Burke / Videography: Elite Video Productions / DJ: Johnny Robinson of GrooveLabs / Music for Western ceremony: Arundel Ensemble / Sitar and Tabla: Amie Maciszewski of Sangeet Millenium Ensemble / Dhol drummers: Desi Junction DJs / Marching band: Minor Mishap Marching Band / Baraat Horse: Angeli Carriages / Indian Priest: Krishna Sripada / Rentals: Marquee Event Group / Lighting: Ilios, ILD / Stationery: Invitations by Ajalon / Cake: Austin Cake Ball / Catering for Western Menu: Word of Mouth Catering / Catering for Indian Menu: The Clay Pit / Henna Artist: Anju Garg of Mehndi Time

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Lisa and Jed celebrated their wedding day at the beautiful Carondelet House in Los Angeles. We love the traditional yet urban atmosphere that needed only a few soft touches to complete the wedding of her dreams. A reception surrounded by exposed brick walls and candlelight made their evening especially romantic.

Photography by Esther Sun.

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What was the best advice you received as a bride? Live in the moment.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Try hard not to lose sight about what the day is about, take moments with your fiance to reflect and to truly enjoy the planning process together because it goes by so fast!

 

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Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Before you begin, set your top priorities as a couple and budget for what’s important to you. Invest in areas that will give you lasting memories beyond your wedding day.

 

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The Ceremony

“We knew within moments of walking through Carondelet House that it was the perfect location for us. It had a charm about it and offered us a perfect intimate space that was exclusive for just us and our celebration. We also loved that Carondelet was an historic building with lots of character and vintage touches. It only took a few modern runners, a beautiful collection of vintage vases, hanging glass orbs and an adornment of soft white florals to make our ceremony and reception absolutely gorgeous.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words. Beautiful, personal, funny

How did you go about planning your ceremony? Our officiant helped us write our ceremony. He gave us questions that drew out special qualities about our relationship and story, and how we felt about each other. He wrote our ceremony based on his experience and thoughts about us as individuals and as a couple.

 

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What was your ceremony music?  The bridal party, along with our ring bearer and flower girl, walked out to an instrumental version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Falling Slowly”. The recessional was “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.

 

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Who officiated your ceremony? Scott Jones, a good childhood friend of Jed. We wanted our officiant to be someone that truly knew us and watched our relationship evolve and to be able to add a personal touch to our ceremony. Standing in front of our family and friends, we knew we would feel a little nervous and we wanted someone that we could feel comfortable with and could help keep us calm and centered.

What were your vows like? It was important that our vows were meaningful and special to us. We wrote them together along with our officiant. They were short, sweet and captured everything we wanted to promise each other in the moment and to our future.

 

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What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It made us smile and laugh. It was very personal and truly written for us. It allowed us to focus on each other.

 

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The Reception

“Our reception was an elegant and intimate dinner party with our closest family and friends—from the beautiful open air courtyards to the candlelit tables adorned with soft, lush white flowers, it made for a perfect white summer wedding.”

 

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Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I enjoyed designing and printing the individual menus and place cards, escort cards & signs myself. My cousin also made a beautiful bouquet for our flower girl made out of paper flowers with a matching bout for the ring bearer.

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our family and friends were our main inspiration. Since most of them were traveling in from all over the country and the world to be with us, we wanted to host them with an amazing celebration to honor our relationship and for their roles and support they have given us throughout our lives. We also made sure that our wedding truly reflected our style as a couple.

 

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Menu: Reception: Tray Passed Hors d’oeuvres of Fried Bearnaise with Seared Filet/ Smoked Gouda Arancini / Mini Lump Crab Tacos / Trout Deviled Eggs // Plated Served Dinner: Cherry Tomatoes tossed with Basil and Olive Oil served with Buffalo Mozzarella and Grilled Crostini / Seared Scallops / Grilled New York Steak / Potato Puree / Baby Artichokes with Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Catering by Tres LA.

 

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What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Our wedding cake was a Swedish Princess Cake which had layers of vanilla cake, raspberry preserve, homemade custard and covered in delicious marzipan. We also had a dessert table with assorted macaroons, brownie bites, assorted fruit and banana pudding.

Dessert by Tres LA.

 

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What was your first dance song? Our first dance was to “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss. We had a father-in-law and mother-in-law dance to “100 Years” by Five For Fighting.

Music by All The Above Events.

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? There was a moment after dinner was served when Jed pulled me aside and told me how great everything looked and thanked me for all the work I put in to our wedding. It was a sweet and touching moment between us in the midst of all the excitement, and one that I’ll never forget.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? For the most part, everything came together beyond what we could’ve imagined. Maybe we would’ve tried to eat more and enjoy all the amazing food that our guests raved about!

 

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Photography: Esther Sun / Venue: Carondelet House in Los Angeles, California / Event Planning & Design: Orange Blossom Events / Floral Design: Mille Fiori / Dress, Veil: Shin Bu Bridal / Shoes: Klub Nico / Suit, Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang / Stationery: Minted, Artifact Uprising / Hair, Makeup: Kelly Zhang Studios / Linens:  La Tavola  / Music: All The Above Events / Cake: Berolina Bakery / Catering, Dessert:  Tres LA / Videography:  Cotton Love Studios

Esther Sun and La Tavola are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.  Minted is a sponsor of Snippet & Ink.  

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Though couple Bryant and Alan call Virginia home, they chose to celebrate their wedding near her parents home in California at the beautiful and lush Witt Estate. There are so many details we love in this wedding, it would be impossible to choose a favorite. From the rustic yet refined barn, the elegant and ethereal tables, to the perfectly styled hale bale seating, this wedding will give you so much beautiful inspiration.

Photography by Christina McNeill.

 

 

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Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I wore my mom’s vintage diamond earrings and a family friend’s vintage diamond bracelet. My husband noticed last minute that I didn’t have anything blue and sweetly added a small blue flower to my hair.

 

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What was the best advice you received as a bride? Be present and breathe.

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Do what fits you two as a couple—even if it means serving donuts instead of cake. After all, it’s about you and your partner and surrounding yourselves with love.

 

 

 

 

The Ceremony

Witt Estate is close by my parent’s home. We wanted some place private, beautiful and unique. My parent’s friend, Erin Martin, of Erin Martin Design, helped my parents with their home in St. Helena and also designed the wedding site. We loved the aesthetic of both. It’s got a great casual vibe, a fantastic mix of rustic and refined. The estate is designed for entertaining with stunning grounds, sweeping views of Napa Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains.”

 

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Your ceremony in three words.  Non-traditional, full of love, fun

How did you go about planning your ceremony? Alison Events was our fabulous event design team with Jesse Tombs leading the charge. From the start, they understood what we wanted and introduced us to fantastic vendors to put it all together. They were our dream team!

 

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What was your ceremony music? We had a pianist play during the ceremony on the lawn surrounded by vineyards.
Processional: “Meditation de Thais” by Massenet
Bride’s Song: “Canon in D” by Pachelbel
During prayer: “Ave Maria” playing as background
Recessional: “Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi

Who officiated your ceremony? Rev. Blane W. Ellsworth. We chose Blane as we had a connection with him when we interviewed him via FaceTime. His style is to really get to know the couple and make it very personalized, sacred and lighthearted.

 

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Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We told Rev. Blane that we wanted our guests to be part of the ceremony. He suggested that we turn to face them rather than have our backs to them. We loved this idea and incorporated it.

 

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What were your ceremony readings? Simple and special to us. Blane took the time to get to know us the months leading up to our wedding and incorporated little stories we had shared with him into the ceremony.

What were your vows like? Blane was great at incorporating everything he knew about us into some amazing vows. We chose not to write our own and used traditional vows with a personal twist.

 

 

 

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Walking down the aisle with my father, taking it all in, and joining my husband at the alter. We loved how personal it all felt surrounded by our families and friends. It was held on the lawn surrounded by vineyards with a view of the mountains. We felt connected to our surroundings and felt pure joy being in such a beautiful setting with the people that we love.

 

 

Bride, Bryant, wore a cap sleeve heavy silk satin gown designed by Johanna Johnson.

 

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The Reception

“In our first conversation with Alison Events, we told them that we wanted our reception to feel like the BEST party we had ever attended and oh yeah, it’s our wedding day. We wanted our family and guests to be the main focus. We would describe our reception as the best damn party we have attended with great music, fantastic food, a beautiful setting and over the top florals and decor. It was perfection!”

 

 

 

 

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Why did you choose this location for your reception? The property was a private estate which made it very personal. Buses dropped off at the site and we didn’t leave. We flowed from the vineyard for the ceremony, to the pool for the cocktail hour to the party barn for dinner and dancing. The flow of the evening was easy and relaxed allowing our guests to wander the beautiful grounds.

 

 

The David Thom Band, a bluegrass band, played a set for the guests during the cocktail reception.

 

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Did you have a signature cocktail? We decided not to have a signature cocktail. We passed sparkling wine upon our guests arrival to the estate as well as iced tea and lemonade. After the ceremony we had open bars for the remainder of the evening.

 

 

 

 

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The setting—we incorporated what was already on site. The grounds were covered with olive trees, rosemary and lavender. We incorporated those into our floral arrangements.

 

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Texture was a main element of their wedding and was perfectly strewn throughout. Florals were textured with pops of white, with a focus on grasses, seed pods, and foliage. Tables were elegantly draped in raw linen topped with cheesecloth and soft votives which added a fresh and modern touch.

 

 

 

The couple chose an open buffet dinner in lieu of assigned seating. An extensive and delicious menu ensured all of their guests were satisfied. They also served a variety of desserts instead of a traditional wedding cake.

 

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Menu: Raw oyster bar with ​variety of fresh oysters from the pacific northwest, hand shucked during cocktail hour served on a bed of fresh seaweed with lemons bounty of poached spot prawns, c​hili lime granite, classic mignonette lemons and tabasco, heirloom tomato cocktail sauce // Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Thai style grilled beef with fresh mint, basil, fresno chili and chile dipping sauce / Crispy pomme frites wrapped in prosciutto with pink truffle salt / California tacos with crispy avocado, shaved cabbage slaw and aioli / Crispy warm zucchini and feta fritters / Tiny lobster burgers with slow roasted tomato, lemon mayo, fennel and long pain de mie buns // Grilled Pizzetta Bar: Thin crust pizzetta baked and griddled all evening long with a variety of beautiful toppings including grilled pears with prosciutto and point reyes blue, classic margarita with fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella / Shaved fennel and spicy sausage with grated carmody // Served buffet style: Grilled bundles of beef stuffed with rosemary, fontina and breadcrumbs on skewers with toasted baguette and charred lemon vinaigrette / Early Summer fresh peaches and burrata with toasted pistachio aillade shaved radicchio and kale ceasar salad with shaved parmesan, cubed pecorino and toasted walnut salad with parsley and lemon, chili flake and olive oil / Bountiful local artisan cheese and charcuterie board / Heritage whole pork loin stuffed and roasted with dried apricots and cherries sliced paper thin with house made pig-n-plow apricot mustard / Mesquite grilled fat asparagus and wild local oven roasted salmon with meyer lemon mimosa / Toasted farro salad with griddled artichokes, toasted pignoli, kumquats with warm chunky herb dressing / Fresh baked focaccia with green garlic, wild nettles, crispy pancetta, and speckly sage veggie focaccia with sea salt, braised greens and shaved pecorino pepato // Dessert: Fresh early season ​mini​berry cobblers with whipped cream served in little mason jars for nibbling / Scones with orange zest / Mini donut bites with maple sea salt, bittersweet chocolate glaze, meyer lemon / French style macaroons and gluten free cookies

 

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What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Dancing and hugging everyone!

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. My father’s toast was beautiful, tender, funny and very special. Also, seeing the party barn for the first time as we entered—we were blown away by how beautiful it was. We loved sneaking away for a few private moments of reflection.

 

 

 

Groom, Alan, went to see Tainted Love’s shows in San Francisco for many years—having them perform at their wedding was so special and important.

 

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What was your first dance song? We didn’t do a “first dance”. We chose instead to get our friends and family to the dance floor and party all night.

 

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Photography: Christina McNeill / Event Planning & Design: Alison Events / Venue: Witt Estate in St. Helena, California / Floral Design: Shotgun Floral Studio / Dress: Johanna Johnson / Suit: Canali / Shirt: J. Crew / Shoes: Barney’s New York / Officiant: Reverand Blane Ellsworth / Catering: Jessica Lasky Catering / Band: Tainted Love, David Thom Band  / Stationery: Rock Paper Scissors / Hair, Makeup: Betten Chaston / Linens: La Tavola / Transportation: California Wine Tours / Rentals, Lighting: Wine Country Party & Events / Pianist: Angela Takeishi / Portable Restroom: The Water Cottage / Dress Presser: Heidi Johnson /

Alison Events, Christina McNeill, Shotgun Floral Studio and La Tavola Linens are Snippet & Ink Select vendors. 

 

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If you’re thinking New Year’s resolutions are a silly tradition, you might think again once you hear this delightful story from the groom in today’s wedding…

In January 2011, Kate made two New Years resolutions: 1. To dress more ladylike and 2. To adopt a No Fear mentality for that year. It was Resolution #2 that prompted Kate to ask me on our first date. Kate arrived at the agreed Brooklyn restaurant in a Ford pick up truck, with a can of Budweiser in the cup holder playing Bruce Springsteen—for a boy from England, that was it. Continuing with the No Fear theme, date two was a trip to visit Kate in Aspen, where she was working at the time. A few days turned into a week with convenient snow storms stopping all flights; it was during this week that our love for each other began.”

Photography by Olivia Rae James.

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride? Take time to step away with your groom and admire the moment. You’ve created the most unbelievable day; you’ve brought your favorite people together in one place for the best party of your life! The perfect wedding gown is a mix of elegance and comfort. You want to look effortless in photos and be able to dance all night. My dress designer, Kate McDonald, did just that. She killed it. I would wear that dress to events if I could! I need to start a “Wear Your Wedding Dress” gala.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t forget it’s not all about you two. Family is very important in the process. This is so special for them. Include them. They want to help. But not too many opinions! And don’t sweat the small stuff. No one notices but you.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“Our wedding was inspired by our annual trip to the Wilderness Music Festival that is a wonderful celebration of arts, music, food, and wildlife in the majestic woods of a stately home in the Cotswolds. The wonderfully decorated tents and costumes are mind blowing—as is the music, food trucks and pop-up restaurants. We even rented festival flags from a man in Cornwall, England—Ben’s home town—who supplies the flags for Glastonbury Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in the UK. Ben’s brother brought them over in his suitcase!”

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words. Whimsical, Mother Nature, Personal

How did you go about planning your ceremony? We had great wedding planners—Gold Leaf Event Design—and our best friend Phil is an event designer who helped us with a lot of playful details too. Most important was it felt more like a festival of love than a wedding, and the location really solidified that—a big open ranch with mountains all around. Those mountains are magic and everyone felt the love.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Who officiated your ceremony? Our dear dear friend Nigel Winser. He is a world renowned explorer and conservationist and speaks so beautifully. He knew exactly what we wanted.

Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? The passing of the Festival top hat.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your ceremony music? We surprised our guests with a reading that turned into a song—the band popped out of the trees! Our very talented and wild friend Jamie, our official MC, lead the crowd in “When I’m 64″ by the Beatles. Such great lyrics. It was priceless.

What were your ceremony readings? A line from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a poem written by Ben’s sister and The Beatles “When I’m 64″.

Ceremony Music by Otone Brass Band.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What were your vows like?  Nigel wrote them. They were perfect.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The location. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. My father and I hid in a teepee a few hundred yards away and walked a very long beautiful walk to the altar. I wanted to have this long walk to slow down the moment and really remember it.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Very sadly, Ben’s stepfather Charles could not be there, as he was very ill back in England. To include him in the ceremony, we had a friend holding her cell phone with Charles on FaceTime. We even sent him a cowboy hat to don during the ceremony. He passed away a few months after the ceremony. We were happy he was able to see us marry, and now he will always be with us in spirit.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Music and food is most important. Keep both simple and quality. The songs people want to sing to, the food people want to eat. Nothing fancy. Always buy more booze than you think! Also, if you want to save a few bucks, e-mailed Save The Dates are just fine and the welcome bag is overrated in my eyes. An itinerary of the weekend at the hotel for each guest is fine enough—make sure to have all info online too.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“We found the most beautiful ranch land for our wedding. There was a ranch hand on the property that became our great friend, Arturo, and he helped us build the festival. For the structure we were married under, he found us fallen Aspen trees and we all built it together. My favorite part was Tipi Village. We drove two hours away for the tipis to a small village in the mountains. It took us two days to work out how to get those things up – the top knot was very challenging!”

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

How would you describe your reception? The biggest most beautiful dinner party we’ve ever been to.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? A vision of all of us dancing under the stars.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

The couple selected beautiful mismatched china for the tables, and paired it with a handwritten menu and a bundle of fresh herbs at each guest’s place.

Did you have a signature cocktail? Pink Gin & Tonic—a G&T is a classic English cocktail and you don’t get sick of them. Plus our friend Brooks makes a beautiful artisanal tonic called Jack Rudy. It’s delicious.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your wedding menu? A farm dinner served family style—tomato basil salad, pesto pasta, lamb and potatoes.

What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Croquembouche

Catering and dessert by Caribou Club Catering.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Benj’s speech.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?Blow up more 6 foot helium balloons. They took way longer than we thought! And were the coolest things ever. So basically, nothing.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your first dance song? “Rebel Rouser” by Duane Eddy. The horns from the band played and danced along with us on the dance floor. It was heaven!

Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. As the night picked up, our guests began getting into costume and suddenly I saw a rabbit head and giant carrot dancing with a galaxy girl. Benj is a big fan of “fancy dress” as he calls it – it makes everyone let go of all inhibitions. We have a Fancy Dress Box in our parlor at home. It’s very important to never take yourself too seriously.

Reception Music by DJ Paul Harris.

 

Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink Olivia Rae James | Snippet & Ink

 

Photography: Olivia Rae James / Venue: Private Ranch – Woody Creek, Colorado / Event Planning & Design: Gold Leaf Event Design / Floral Design: Carolyn’s Flowers / Dress: Kate McDonald Bridal / Shoes: Vince / Jewelry: Lizzie Fortunado Jewels / Bridesmaid Dresses: Suno / Suit, Groomsmen Attire: Suit Supply / Stationery: 42 Pressed / Rentals: Premier Rentals / Ceremony Music: Otone Brass Band / Reception Music: DJ Paul Harris / Catering, Cake: Caribou Club Catering
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