We see so many dinner-and-dancing weddings that it’s easy to forget: there’s more than one way to celebrate a marriage! Sarah and Alex opted for a delicious brunch wedding in the backyard of the bride’s childhood home, and with such sweet details and stunning photos from Ciara Richardson, I have a feeling it might make you rethink your evening wedding plans…

Tinge floral created dramatic centerpieces in shades of red and peach, adding rich color to the backyard venue. The invitation design was hand-painted by the bride.

Sarah’s parents made the tables from old barn wood. The bases of the tables (the legs and heavy-duty wheels) came from an old granite countertop company, that had gone out of business. “They were very industrial, beat up, and a perfect fit for the barn wood,” says Sarah.

The brunch menu included tomato and pesto salad, sweet and savory crepes in a variety of flavors, omelets, fruit skewers and yogurt, as well as other breakfast favorites, and watermelon punch with mint.

For dessert there was a selection of “naked” cakes in strawberry champagne, white chocolate raspberry, triple chocolate, carrot cake, lemon soufflé, and cinnamon almond creme (the bride’s own creation).



Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  I grew up in Northern California roaming the creeks and fields, my parents’ backyard has everything I ever dreamed of having for my wedding. It was full of stories and experiences, it was charming and “real,” a little bit rural but still could host a classy party, and it just fit us. Alex and I both loved the idea of an outdoor reception. // We chose to do a breakfast reception from 8:00 to 11:00AM rather than an evening dinner with lights and dancing, because it was so cheerful and beautiful in the mornings in my backyard. And it was different from other wedding receptions! We liked that uniqueness. We had a Crepe Bar, in addition to lots of cake, omelets, and other items on the menu that we just loved. Alex and I made crepes all the time when we were dating, we love them, so it was a bit of tradition for us. Something I hadn’t even considered until day of was that our photos would have that beautiful, California, morning light – that was perfect. It was great having the rest of the day to spend with our visiting friends and family, too. It was a continual party all day long! But, we didn’t get that “reception lag” you hear about so often. I think we could’ve done the reception day after day and never tired from it.

What inspired you when you where planning your wedding?  I wanted our wedding to feel authentically us. I think authenticity is so important and I knew that if I tried to be anything but “us” it wouldn’t work. I searched the web, read through magazines, looked at art, and just gathered things that I loved. On choosing colors, I went to a craft store with my mom one night and got samples of fabrics that I loved, we picked strands of beads, string, ribbon, even crafting materials like copper sheets, put them all together in little boxes, and all the colors worked together somehow. They were just textures and colors that I loved. We even ended up sending those “color boxes” to Alex’s family in Hong Kong and Australia as well as to my family that lived far away so we could all coordinate colors.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  “Just enjoy your day.” You hear that everywhere and from everyone, but I really did choose to enjoy the day, and it was perfect. Honestly, I don’t have one thing bad to say about it. It made me realize that anything could happen, but as long as you’re married, that’s the only thing that matters. I really wanted the day of the temple ceremony to be the biggest focus, and it was exactly that.

What advice do you have for other brides?  To other brides I would say, “choose your happiness.” Start day 1 of your marriage, your wedding day, happy. That is how it should be, and it’ll continue on and on. I guess I would say, too, to choose to be happy during the planning process – the day will be perfect even if every detail isn’t. I had bought my wedding dress 6 months in advance, but after a nightmare of this and that, 7 days prior to the wedding I didn’t have a dress! We scrambled and I ended up finding one at Avenia Bridal that really was even more perfect – I was thrilled with it! It was so different from my original dress, but it was ME. I was so comfortable and felt so classy. It was something that, when 7 days prior I realized I didn’t have a dress, I decided that after everything is said and done, maybe if I just wore a simple white dress from Nordstrom or somewhere, what was important was that I and my groom were happily married. Gratefully, however, I have wonderful parent’s who were so willing for me to go find another wedding dress, and it worked out beautifully.

Do you have any budget tips for brides?  I would say, don’t be afraid of DIY, and don’t be afraid of “less is more.” I had a vision in my mind, that when my wedding day all came together, I wanted quality over quantity. There were a few things and ideas we had thought about for decorating, etc. but when it came to the final price – we could either get those things REALLY expensive, or REALLY cheap – typically we decided to opt out all together. I am so glad we did. It kept it simple, and it was lovely.

Photographer: Ciara Richardson / Venue: private residence in Sacramento, California / Dress: Avenia Bridal / Shoes: Nordstrom / Bolero: Dress Barn / Shirt: Macy’s / Tie: J.Crew / Floral Designer: Ashley Byer, Tinge Floral / Catering: Cindy Medlar
  • Brunch Wedding from Ciara Richardson

    25 March 2014
  • 12 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    The beauty of this wedding from Select vendor Jemma Keech is breathtaking in its simplicity… just a few perfectly executed details, captured beautifully in these soft, romantic images…

    The bride shares her favorite part of the day: “Walking down the aisle and seeing Chris for the first time. I was incredibly nervous in the lead-up to the wedding, even more so on the morning of the big day. I am not usually good with being center of attention, so walking down the aisle was a daunting prospect. However, when the processional music started and at first sight of my husband-to-be, all the nerves disappeared, I was completely calm and incredibly happy. It is a moment I will never forget.”

    “It was important to us that our guests had a great night,” say Natalie and Chris. “We wanted to enjoy ourselves too, so we kept formalities to a minimum and tried not to over-engineer the day. In the end we had an amazing time and I think our guests did too.”



    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We had always loved visiting wineries and had spent many weekends exploring the wine regions of Western Australia. In fact, Chris proposed to me on one of our weekends away, so it seemed fitting for us to marry in a vineyard setting. Sandalford Winery was close to home with beautiful surroundings so it was the perfect location for us.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  In planning the wedding we wanted to make sure the day was beautiful and romantic but also relaxed. I got a lot of inspiration from bridal magazines and wedding blogs and became addicted to beautiful wedding images. I adore delicate lace, pastel colors and pretty flowers, so I knew I wanted to incorporate all of these things into our wedding.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  At the reception we displayed the wedding photos of our grandparents with a memorial candle to represent our loved ones who could not be with us on the day. We also wanted to acknowledge our parents in some way, so during his speech Chris surprised each of our mothers with a bouquet of flowers as a thank you for everything they had done for us. It was these small details that meant everything.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  It may be cliché but the best advice I received, from more than one person, was to enjoy every moment because it will be one of the best days of my life but it will go by so quickly. They were right, it was and it did!

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Keep it simple and don’t over think things. Have faith in your vendors and trust that they will do a great job. The planning process can be overwhelming, but stay the course, be true to your own style and know that your day will be perfect, even if things don’t go to plan!

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Spend money on the things that are important to you and try not to get carried away with the things that are not.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  No perfume, a forgotten heirloom for my bouquet and a missing groomsmen’s belt were some of the little imperfections of the day, however in the end none of it mattered. It was perfect to us – it was the best day of our lives.

    Photography: Jemma Keech / Venue, Catering: Sandalford Winery in Caversham, Australia / Dress: Jenny Packham / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Veil: Elle Boutique / Earrings: Linneys / Headpiece: Jannie Baltzer / Suit, Tie: Calibre / Shirt: Parker & Co / Shoes: Aquila / Cufflinks from Hugo Boss / Bridesmaid Dresses: Alice & Olivia / Stationery: City Bee Design / Floral Design: Zinnia Floral Designs / Groomsmen Suits: Tony Barlow / Music: Les Trois Amies, Baker Boys Band / Cheese Tower: Deli divine /  Hair: Kobe Armstrong / Makeup: Rebekah Clark / Officiant: Jill Barnes

    Jemma Keech is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

  • Sandalford Winery Wedding from Jemma Keech

    20 March 2014
  • 4 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites

    This is one of those weddings that I wish I could live in… the envelope liners alone are enough to inspire! Then there’s the whole invitation suite from Select vendor, Swiss Cottage Designs, the lush flowers by Poppies & Posies, the bride’s romantic Juliet veil from Twigs & Honey, and to top it all off, Jen Huang‘s incredibly romantic photos from the day…

    The bride’s gorgeous bouquet included bright pink peonies, peach garden roses, and clematis. The groom wore a rosemary boutonniere.

    Jen Huang | Snippet & Ink Jen Huang | Snippet & Ink

    Says the bride, “I drew inspiration from lots of sources and collected them all on a Pinterest board. After some time, the loose theme that came together was ‘Italian Garden.’ This theme best described for me the romantic, natural, and simple elegance of the design and decor choices that I made, and it inspired me to pull together a color palette of creams, greens, and lavender.”

    “The best advice I received was to try to live in the moment despite the whirlwind going on around me,” says Caroline. “I did my best!”

    Cakes to Remember created a strawberry orange blossom cake for the couple. The simple buttercream confection was adorned with a single sugar flower.



    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  After David and I decided we were going to celebrate our wedding in southern New Hampshire, near my hometown, we did a weekend of venue tours and didn’t fall in love with any of them. A lovely venue in Groton, Massachusetts, the Barn at Gibbet Hill, was booked until the fall of 2013 or into 2014 and we didn’t want to wait that long. In the end, we decided to go with LaBelle Winery, a sister location to the Barn at Gibbet Hill that was still under construction and hadn’t yet hosted a single wedding!

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  My favorite moments of the whole wedding weekend were all the opportunities to spend time with family and old friends. David and I felt blessed that so many people made the trip from far and wide to attend our wedding, and we cherished the experience of gathering all the people we love around us to celebrate.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  The traditions we included were religious ones. The ceremony was an interfaith service that combined Jewish and Episcopalian elements. We also signed a ketubah, said our vows beneath a chuppah, broke the glass, and danced the Horah.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  I’d recommend giving serious consideration to changing into a second dress for the dancing. Since I splurged on my dress, I decided wear it all night, but unfortunately it wasn’t conducive to really getting down on the dance floor and I wished I was more comfortable!

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  As I’m sure all brides come to realize, it’s really tough to stay within the budget. My approach was to spend what it took to hire a few essential vendors whose work I loved. We decided to forgo other vendors entirely. For example, we hired an incredible photographer but did not hire a videographer.

    Photography: Jen Huang / Venue: LeBelle Winery in Amherst, New Hampshire / Day-of Coordinator: Melanie Voros, Blissful Beginnings / Ceremony Venue: St. Paul’s School / Bride’s Gown: Mira Zwillinger / Veil: Twigs & Honey / Shoes: Gianvito Rossi / Stationery: Swiss Cottage Designs / Floral Design: Poppies & Posies / Catering: Fireside Catering / Organist: Nicholas White / Band: District 21,  857-250-2064  / Cake: Cakes to Remember / Groom’s Suit: Charles Tyrwhitt / Shirt, Tie: Salvatore Ferragamo / Bridesmaid Dresses, Shoes: Anna Elyse / Rentals: Ultra Pom

    Swiss Cottage Design is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor. 

  • LeBelle Winery from Jen Huang

    19 March 2014
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    When you’ve chosen one of the most breathtakingly beautiful venues for your wedding, you can keep the details simple and let the place speak for itself. That’s exactly what Catherine and Marcus did at their June wedding at Sea Ranch Lodge, and Leah McCormick (a Snippet & Ink Select vendor!) captured some utterly enviable shots of their day… this is just a sampling, so be sure to visit the gallery for the whole shebang!

    The bride’s dress and birdcage veil were both from San Francisco designer Jin Wang. Bridesmaids wore short chiffon dresses from J.Crew in dusty shale.

    The bride’s favorite part of the day? “The whole thing! Especially the ceremony, when the officiant had the entire group laughing.”

    Says the bride: “We kept things minimal because the natural setting is incredibly beautiful.”

    As often happens on the Northern California coast in June, the day had moments of both sun and fog.

    “Bridesmaids and flower girls helped cut hearts from maps of San Francisco and France where we’ve lived,” says Catherine. “We named the tables accordingly: Church Street, Vallejo, etc.”

    Leah McCormick | Snippet & Ink Leah McCormick | Snippet & Ink

    Canapés included Point Reyes Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad in an Endive Leaf; Vegetable Dumplings with Ginger Soy Essence; Mini Crab Cakes with Roasted Lemon Aioli; and Rosemary Lamb Skewers with Dijon Mayonnaise. The cake was vanilla coconut cake filled with lemon curd, fresh raspberries and raspberry jam.



    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  It’s gorgeous. We loved the remote, raw setting, and thought it would be a perfect location to focus on family and friends. It also allowed us to keep all activities in the same location, but in different settings (bluffs, barn, tent, fireplace lounge, etc.). We had guests traveling from many different places, and doing this cut down on travel time during the weekend, clearing schedules for spontaneous encounters and outings.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We wanted it to be naturally beautiful, comfortable, and a little free form.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t be hard on yourself as you plan. Only you will know if a design element doesn’t make it to the big day, and everyone is going to be happy no matter what.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Stay focused on what matters.

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  It’s not fun to budget, but it’s necessary. Be realistic and creative about what you can do.

    Photographer: Leah McCormick / Venue, Catering: Sea Ranch Lodge in Sea Ranch, California / Dress, Veil: Jin Wang / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Groom’s Suit, Shirt, Tie: Hugo Boss / Shoes: Magnanni / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Stationery: Paper Source / Flowers: Flowers in Gualala / Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events / Classical Guitarist: Leo King / DJ: Ed the DJ / Cake: Franny’s Cup & Saucer
  • Sea Ranch Wedding by Leah McCormick

    5 March 2014
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    Last September, my sister’s wedding was cancelled due to the catastrophic flooding in Colorado. Instead of postponing their nuptials, she and her fiance ran off to the wine country to get hitched that very weekend. This is the story of their elopement, with beautiful photos from Select vendor, Christina McNeill. And if you missed it earlier, you can see Part One of Lora and Grant’s wedding story right here, where my sister talks about planning a wedding that didn’t happen.

    On Friday morning, the day before their Colorado wedding would have happened, my sister says, “I woke up in our beautiful hotel room in Napa and prepared to exchange vows with my husband-to-be. Our wedding photographer lives in the Bay Area, so she was able to pick up some things from local loved ones: champagne and a few good luck trinkets from my sister, and gold bows for my shoes (and a glue gun to attach them with) and a beautiful bouquet from my godmother. I had my dress, which was just as I had imagined it. I had my veil to make me feel like a true bride. I did my makeup and hair. And I was so sure in what I was about to do, that I knew the day would be just as it should be, and I embraced it with both arms.”

    Lora’s dress was a simple white chiffon bridesmaid dress from J.Crew to which she added a polka dotted illusion top and sleeves.

    “Grant looked very handsome in his suit, and I felt gorgeous just from how he beamed at me.” Isn’t this how every bride wants to feel on her wedding day?!

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

    Lora and Grant walked up the steps of the Napa Valley courthouse, only to be told that they were in the wrong place… instead they needed to go around the corner, down a little alley, to the county clerk recorder’s office…

    The best advice Lora received as a bride? “Just go with it. The county offices where we got married weren’t exactly beautiful. They looked a little like a DMV. And the special room for weddings was particularly interesting. There was a large old 70’s photo of a vineyard, faded and yellowed, plastered on one whole wall, and it was framed by two polyester maroon curtains. Not exactly what I had been expecting or would have chosen. When we walked into the room our photographer didn’t skip a beat. “Just go with it.” She said. “This is amazing, I can see some great cheesy prom pose pictures happening in here.” I wouldn’t say that it was her words so much as how she delivered them. She wasn’t just telling me to go with it; she wasn’t going to allow anything else. It was such a relief and immediately took all of the pressure off! Grant and I were able to have fun with the space and our photographer and neither of us worried about the curtains or the poster. It became a fun part of the day instead.”  (See some of the cheesy prom pose photos in the gallery.)

    In addition to her something old, new, borrow, and blue, Lora’s earrings were a gift from the groom’s mother. They were custom made drop pearls, accented with diamonds that had once been part of her own engagement ring.

    The newlyweds celebrated with a post-wedding lunch from Bouchon Bakery, including a raspberry eclair (especially fitting since the bride is a pastry chef!).

    The gold and cream bouquet included cafe au lait dahlias, parrot tulips, lace cap hydrangea, ranunculus, passion vine, hellebores, blushing bride protea, wild grasses, and miniature pomegranate, accented with a gold brocade ribbon.

    After enjoying treats at Bouchon Bakery and R + D Kitchen, the bride and groom headed to the vineyards for some wine country portraits.



    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  I really enjoyed the entire day so much. Getting ready in the morning, the wedding ceremony, and the photo shoot around Napa Valley afterwards were all very special and fun. But perhaps my favorite part of the day was after all of that when it was just Grant and me, walking in the dark from our hotel to Bouchon for dinner. Yountville is so beautiful, peaceful, and quaint, it felt like being in a movie. Especially after the amazing day we had. We were both on such a high but both so relaxed. It made it feel real for me, that Grant was my husband and I was his wife, and we were walking to our first dinner together.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  I had planned on including a few traditions in our wedding, but due to all the last minute rearrangements, all that stuff sort of fell to the wayside. Luckily, I have one of the best sisters in the world and she sent a wedding tradition care package along with my photographer. Not only did she send celebratory champagne (and beer for Grant), but she also included something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence for my shoe. I didn’t know I’d feel this way beforehand, but I really appreciated having these little things to make me feel like a bride. Traditions have a way of transcending time and space, and taking part in this tradition allowed me to feel like I was a part of something bigger.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  To go with what feels right for you. I felt pressured to have the perfect wedding and that caused me to stray from what I knew all along I would really enjoy. Something small, personal, and private. Thankfully I got a second chance and was able to have my perfect wedding all along. But I really wish I had stuck to my guns from the beginning. It would have saved a lot of time, money, and stress.

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Something unexpected about the day was everyone’s positive reactions to us as we made out way through Yountville. We stopped at Bouchon Bakery for savory fouette and a raspberry eclair. Other customers beamed at us and gave us a polite congratulations. At the R + D Kitchen the hostess immediately congratulated us and quickly swept us to a seat at the bar, poured us some champagne, and gave us some delicious crostini to nibble on. When we mentioned how much we loved their bee champagne flutes, and if we could purchase them as a memento, she insisted that we take them, free of charge. The bartender and rest of the staff were all more than accommodating and really made us both feel like guests of honor.

    Photographer: Christina McNeill / Ceremony: Napa Courthouse in Napa, California / Restaurants: Bouchon BakeryR + D Kitchen / Strapless Dress: J.Crew / Illusion Top: Donna Savoy / Shoes: La Dolce Vita / Veil: Tessa Kim / Bouquet: Michaele Thunen / Groom’s Suit, Shirt: Calvin Klein / Tie: T.M. Lewin / Shoes: Cole Haan

    Christina McNeill is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.
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  • Last Minute Napa Valley Elopement

    25 February 2014
  • 26 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites