Samantha and Christophe’s July wedding in Northern California’s wine country was romantic, elegant, and modern, all at the same time. And the color! Says the bride, “We wanted our wedding to be full of life and color, and we were inspired by the natural beauty of summer at Annadel, so we tried to embody that in our “citrus and herbs” color scheme: blood orange, ruby red grapefruit, lemon yellow, grass greens.”

 Says Samantha, “Our wedding was a coming together of Taiwanese, Americans, and French. And in France, the civil (and official) wedding is always separate and held in city hall, where the mayor is present and the couple signs the official marriage certificate in the presence of friends, family and the state. To signal to all our French guests that our wedding ceremony in the winery ruins of Annadel was official and legitimate, we (and our witnesses and officiant) signed our official marriage certificate during the ceremony, to replicate the French civil ceremony. We also included bits and pieces from California and French civil code within our ceremony.”

The custom tent canopy was designed by Shannon Leahy, and created by Wine Country Party & Events.

The youngest guests enjoyed their own special table, plus a croquet game set up on the lawn.

Samantha and Christophe are total foodies, and their menu reflected that passion (see the full delicious menu at the end of the post). 

 Says Samantha, “In a typical Taiwanese wedding, the bride changes outfits several times throughout the reception. Although I only changed once, I did change into an amazing bright red (lucky color in Chinese) Oscar de la Renta gown that I found the week before the wedding.”

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted to get married in California’s wine country, not only because we both love great wine and good food but also because the wine country has become a special place for us as residents of the Bay Area. We probably visited every single wine country wedding venue in Napa and Sonoma counties, and we chose Annadel because the grounds were magical, from the old winery ruins to the barn. It was authentic, natural, and beautiful, without being pretentious and stuffy. It was also important to us that we could bring in our own wines, since the wines we served at the wedding would be a very personal choice for us. At the end of the day, we chose Annadel because we knew we could create a personal wedding experience in a stunning environment.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We knew that we wanted our wedding to be elegant and beautiful, but at the same time modern, and, most importantly, true to us as a couple. We were inspired by delicious local food and wine. I love fruit, and my mom is in the fruit export business, so she sourced seasonal California fruits that we incorporated all throughout the wedding weekend: nectarines, plums and cherries filled our welcome bags, and fruit was used as décor throughout the wedding. We also had local pasture-raised pig and lamb roasted on spits, because we love the concept of farm to table eating, and knew our French and Chinese guests would love it too. We sourced only domestic American cheeses, so that the cheese-loving French guests could see just how good artisanal American cheese can be. Wine was from Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties from some of our favorite local producers. We had a beautiful linen canopy structure built by Wine Country Rentals so that the Chinese guests would have shade during dinner. Everything we did held a little bit of meaning to us, or to our friends and family, so I guess you can say the people and things we love inspired us!

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  For both of us, our favorite moment of the day was when we said our vows to one another and promised to be husband and wife forever.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t confuse your wedding with your marriage. It’s great to have a beautiful wedding, but it’s much more important to have a beautiful marriage. This came from my now-husband.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Try to enjoy the process. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of beautiful wedding blogs, magazines, Pinterest, others’ weddings and details, details, and more details. At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be amazing, wonderful, and beautiful – and it will be that regardless of how all the little details turn out. Find vendors that you trust, so that you can let go when it comes to crunch time, knowing that they will be able to execute your dream wedding.


See the full gallery here.



Passed Hors d’Oeuvres:  local charcuterie board {cured and smoked local meats with mustards, garden pickles, and tapenades, dried and fresh fruit, crostini, crisps and breads} // summer fritto misto {crispy baby artichokes, meyer lemon and basil} // chilled heirloom red gazpacho with aged balsamico // crisp potato cups with black olive tapenade and tuna confit // little skewers of fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with crispy basil vinaigrette // wild salmon sake tartare in a cucumber ribbon

Plated First Course:  summer tartiflette {grilled eggplant, summer squash and oven dried farmed tomatoes with basil and redwood hill chevre}

Whole Roast Animals:  whole roast Clark Summit Farm pig {marinated in citrus, oregano, garlic, annatto and spices} // whole roast Clark Summit Farm pastured lamb {prepared with lemon zest, rosemary and garlic}

Accompaniments:  sweet corn salad {with grilled portobellos, crispy red peppers and bocconcini di mozzarella with oregano vinaigrette} // baby summer vegetables en papillote {local heirloom farm veggies steamed in parchment with lemon, thyme, white wine and strauss organic creamery butter} // shaved celery root salad {with house cured gravlax, grapefruit and pine nuts}

Cheese Course:  cowgirl creamery red hawk {triple-cream cow, Petaluma, California} // uplands cheese pleasant ridge reserve {aged cow, Codgeville, Wisconsin} // vermont creamery bonne bouche {ash-ripened goat, Websterville, Vermont} // bohemian creamery capriago {aged goat, Sebastopol, California} // served with organic baby lettuces

Sweets Bar:  macerated strawberries with orange almond meringues // fresh nectarine, peach and berry galette with whipped cream // dark chocolate drizzled cream puffs with custard cream filling // mini-lemon tarts // chocolate bark // chocolate, hazelnut and framboise truffles // gluten-free donut holes // wedding cake {lemon chiffon cake with passion fruit curd and lemon mascarpone cream bittersweet chocolate cake with passion fruit curd and dark chocolate ganache}

Oh my goodness… are you drooling yet?

Photographer: Collin Hughes / Venue: Annadel Estate Winery in Santa Rosa, California / Event Planner: Shannon Leahy Events / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Bride’s Red Reception Dress: Oscar de la Renta /  Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Makeup: Maria Nguyen / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Bespoke Suit: Stitched / Groom’s Shoes: JM Weston / Stationery: The Aerialist Press, Olive Route / Floral Design: Brown Paper Design / Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events, La Tavola Linen, Wildflower Linen / Lighting: Got Light / Music: Laurent Fourgo / Catering: Jessica Lasky Fine Catering, SOL Catering / Cheeses: The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, California / Desserts: Dynamo DonutsJessica Lasky Fine Catering
  • Vineyard Wedding at Annadel Estate

    5 November 2012
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    Some of my favorite vendors, including Rebecca Stone of Duet Weddings and Kate Holt of Flowerwild, to bring Megan and James’s romantic wedding to life – in shades of vibrant pink and red – and it’s just full of details to inspire and brighten your day!

    The aisle was covered in fuchsia petals, and lined with overflowing potted arrangements.

    The groom’s boutonniere perfectly echoed the bride’s red and pink bouquet.

    Escort cards were displayed with pomegranates: perfect for both the vibrant red color scheme and the fall season.

    Centerpieces included peonies, roses, and red (unripe) blackberries.

    In lieu of a traditional guest book, guests signed a globe on the location where they are from.

    Signature cocktails included a Spiced Pimm’s Cup, Blooming Champagne Cocktail with Wild Hibiscus, Raspberry Champagne Cocktail, and Sardinian Iced Tea.

    See the full gallery here.

    Photographer: Lauren Ross / Venue: private home in Pasadena, California / Event Planner: Duet Weddings / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Hair, Makeup: The Studio Agency / Stationery: Chewing the Cud / Calligraphy: Little Miss Press / Floral Design: Flowerwild / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals / Linens: La Tavola / Music: West Coast Music, Spazmatics / Catering: The Food Matters / Cake: SusieCakes
  • Romantic Pasadena Garden Wedding

    24 September 2012
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    The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami is one of those magical places that feels like it’s straight out of a fairy tale, so it’s easy to see why Ana and Andre chose it for their wedding.

    Says Ana, “I was thrilled to wear my great grandmother’s veil, which she wore in 1927, and was amazed by how seamlessly it matched my dress and shoes, so different from what she had worn.”

    Andre was happy to make use of his dad’s 1936 Jaguar SS100 for the wedding.

    The outdoor ceremony took place at night, adding to the drama of the unique venue.

    Ana on their ceremony: “Drawing from many influences – Judaism, Catholicism, Quakerism – we tried to create a ceremony that resonated with who we are. Our good friend officiated the ceremony, which wove together our backgrounds and included readings chosen by our friends and family. The readings they chose were incredibly moving – the humor, hopes, wishes, advice, fears, and love they shared made us both laugh and cry.”

    Here, some details from Ana about the day:

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Built almost a century ago, the historic villa and expansive gardens at Vizcaya combine Italian and French Renaissance designs with local materials, such as pink coral rock. The combination of art and history mixed with local detail was important to us.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  Simple elegance combined with personal touches and small idiosyncratic details inspired us. We wanted a wedding that was timeless and elegant yet full of character.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Dancing with Andre to Bon Musique’s rendition of La Vie En Rose, surrounded by our loving friends and family, I couldn’t have been happier. I will never forget as Andre tried to spin and dip me - we probably could have used some dance lessons – there was nothing I could do but laugh and dance and hope he didn’t let go.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We had a chuppah, broke a glass, and did the hora. My sister wrote a beautiful explanation about these traditions, specifically the chuppah and the breaking of the glass, which were read as part of our ceremony. Also, my grandmother, with the help of my mom and my aunt, made our wedding cake, a traditional English fruitcake, using a recipe that had been passed down from my grandfather’s family.

    See the full gallery right here.

    Photographer: KT Merry / Venue: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida / Bride’s Dress: Rivini / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Florist: Parrish Designs / Hair, Makeup: Korinne May for Artist Management / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Groom’s Suit: Michael Andrews Bespoke / Neck Ties: Thomas Pink / Invitations: Cheree Berry / Calligraphy: Tucci Cursive / Musicians: Bon Musique / DJ: Event Factor, Inc. / Catering, Lighting: Thierry’s Catering
  • Miami Wedding at Vizcaya Gardens

    19 September 2012
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    What does the Director of Wedding Design at J.Crew wear for her own wedding? Two gorgeous dresses of her own design, of course! Paired with a fabulous net veil, Valentino shoes, and vintage jewelry, Molly’s wedding look was nothing less than perfectly chic – and in head-to-toe Prada the groom looked smashing as well. The Gramercy Park Hotel was the perfect location for these stylish lovebirds to tie the knot…

    The couple took photos in nearby Gramercy Park. Says Molly, “Seeing each other for the first time was my favorite part of the day.”

    The ceremony and reception took place on the hotel’s rooftop terrace.

    After dinner, Molly changed into a fabulous flapper-style cocktail dress, also designed with the help of her team at J.Crew.

    A big thank you to Belathée for sharing these beautiful photos, and to Molly and Alex for sharing your wedding with us! From the couple, some details about the day:

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  The hotel has amazing ambience and we knew it was the right place for us the moment we stepped into the lobby, with its welcoming fireplace crackling and the air filled with Le Labo’s Santal 33. The location was very convenient for our guests, and together with the private park and roof terrace, it provided the perfect backdrop for our wedding celebration. The innovative yet grounded design and architecture of the hotel combined with all the incredible original art hung throughout the hotel really brought it all together.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We wanted a relaxed and personal evening with friends and loved ones that everyone would remember.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Something old: grandmother’s handkerchief tied around bouquet. Something new: wedding dress. Something borrowed: vintage earrings. Something blue: a temporary tattoo.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Keep it sweet and simple.



    Signature Cocktail:  Elderflower Smash  //  Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Lobster Salad with Chive and Cucumber, Salmon Tartare with Black Sesame and Lentil Cracker, Fava Bean Crostini with Mint and Pecorino, Seared Tuna with Fennel and Preserved Lemon, Mini Cheesesteaks with Gruyere and Onion Marmalade, Ricotta Raviolini and Snap Pea Salad  //  First Course: Grilled Aparagus Salad with Watercress and Hazelnut Vinaigrette  //  Entrees: Halibut with Swiss Chard, Wax Beans and Stewed Tomato OR Roasted Veal Chop with Heirloom Beans and Escarole  //  Dessert: Rhubarb Tart with Country Cream, Pistachio and Vanilla Cupcakes



    Photography: Belathée / Venue: Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City / Bride’s dresses: custom J.Crew / Bride’s shoes: Valentino / Veil: Leah C. / Jewelry: vintage / Groom’s attire: Prada / Wedding bands: Solange Azagury-Partridge / Stationery: Greenwich Letterpress / Flowers: Adore Floral / Favors: Mast Brothers Chocolate / Catering: Maialino / Cupcakes: Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery / Music: DJ Peter Makebish

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    How about an utterly unique wedding venue for your Tuesday? As the bride, Sarah, says, “Where else can you play rock music at 8:30am in a 2,000 year old world heritage site?!” She and Chris were married last September at The Roman Baths in England, and Dominique Bader captured it all beautifully…

    How much do you love Sarah’s totally chic pant suit?!

    After the ceremony, guests joined the newlyweds next door for a champagne breakfast.

    Guests were invited to enjoy the area before heading to Babington House for an afternoon lunch and cocktail reception. Says Sarah, “We have been members of Babington (Soho House Group) for many years, they are always everything you need them to be – impeccably unstuffy.”

    The couple did all of the simple decorating themselves: oranges in antique French slipware bowls and orchids in mercury glass vases.

    They also tied small jute bags with orange ribbon so guests could take home slices of cheese from the “wedding cake.” (How fabulous is that cake, with all that gorgeous fruit!)

    Sarah answered a couple questions for us…

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  There were no outside influences particularly – we wanted it to be simple and understated.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  Every second of it. Whenever or wherever we looked, people were smiling.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We respectfully broke most of the rules!



    Photography: Dominique Bader / Ceremony venue: The Roman Baths in Bath, England / Reception venue: Babington House in Somerset, England / Bride’s trouser suit: Richard Anderson / Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s jewelry: Georg Jensen / Groom’s suit: Richard Anderson / Groom’s shirt: Alexander McQueen / Groom’s tie: Roland Mouret / Groom’s shoes: Barker / Catering: Babington House / Cheese: Paxton and Whitfield


    Congratulations Sarah and Chris! You can see lots more from this beautiful wedding over on Dominique Bader’s blog.

    20 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites