Photography by Josh Gruetzmacher.
Today’s gorg bride Kelly says her wedding was inspired by “a glass of pinot, a bouquet of lavender, and some southern funk.” What more could you want when you’re marrying in California wine country on a gorgeous spring day? From her one-shouldered Mira Zwillinger lace and chiffon gown, to the fresh pastel palette of white, palest lilac and mint green, this wedding is a modern take on rustic, that is just so pretty!
Kelly is the graphic and web designer behind KLN DESIGN and designed the invitation suite, welcome bags, ceremony program and menu herself, plus a custom wedding website. She tells us “I started with designing a simple ‘K | R’ logo that would work throughout our wedding design. I wanted a clean and modern vibe to reflect the look and feel of the venue. I chose soft, dusty green typography to flow with the elegance of the outdoors and my floral palette. for save the dates, I mailed out wooden corkscrews engraved with the wedding date along with a card in a kraft brown box with a letterpress belly band. The letterpress sheets were backed in a walnut veneer, giving them weight and a lovely tactile experience on the front and the back. The invitations were letterpressed on cream paper overlaid with a vellum logo-stamped sheet and placed in walnut wood lined envelopes. The same vellum was used for the menu and garnished with a leaf to keep a clean airy aesthetic. All of the letterpress printing was done by hand on equipment built in the early and mid-1900s. The screen-printing of the muslin bags and the wood-backing of the save the dates were also fully done by hand. When all was said and done, between save the dates, invitations, menus and welcome boxes we utilized five methods of printing – letterpress, offset, digital, screen-printing and laser engraving. We sourced elements from all over the US and forged some wonderful connections with small-batch manufacturers in the process. Thanks to Meredith at Clandestine Press, Lars at Logos Graphics, Bianca at Little Miss Press and our planner Elise with Shannon Leahy Events. It definitely took a village!”
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Yes, I did the ‘something old, something new’ tradition. My something old was a piece of fabric from my mother-in-law’s wedding dress – she gave it to me and it was wrapped around my bouquet. Also, my grandmother let me borrow a clutch she cherishes. She is 93, still a fashionista and looks amazing; it was one of the most special things to have her fly all the way from Houston to attend. My something new was earrings my dad gave me when we had a special father-daughter date the Wednesday night before the wedding. My something blue was a ring my mother-in-law gave me.
Ryan’s mom gave him a handkerchief that was embroidered with an H (for his surname) and a coin that says “Always remember how much I love you. Love, Mom.” And we served Brandy Freezes after dinner which is a family holiday tradition!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I would say sort out the big things first that are most important to you. We chose our location, band, photographer and caterers first and then we worked out other vendors based on what was leftover in the budget. For the smaller things like assembling invitations, I asked friends to help. You’ll be surprised with how many people are excited to help you!
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We were blown away by the picturesque views and natural beauty of California wine country. Sonoma in particular is a special place for us — it was where we fell in love and got engaged. We live in San Francisco and it’s only a short drive from the city, so we’re regular adventurers there. Since most of our guests would be coming in from out of town, we wanted them to have a full wine country experience and Chalk Hill fit that to a tee.
What was your ceremony music? Jesse Ray Smith was our musician, he is a long time friend and it was amazing having him up there. The keyboardist, John Robin Varn, from Jesse’s band was incredible. Together, they played: Processional (Bridal Party) – In My Life by The Beatles / Bridal Processional – The Wedding Song (There is Love) by Paul Stookey / Recessional – Two of Us by The Beatles.
Your ceremony in three words. OK, I couldn’t settle on three! Natural, personal, inviting, cozy, bohemian.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I planned the ceremony based on a few template examples from my wedding planner and some friends’ ceremonies. I just took what I liked out of each of them and used them to help work out an order. It was important that the ceremony was special and unique to us, we didn’t want it to be like every other wedding.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Our officiant was Jerry Koch, one of my Dad’s best friends and someone he has known since childhood. We chose him because of his playful wit, warmth and charisma.
What were your vows like? We chose to write our own vows because we we wanted to make it personal. We wrote them separately and it was special to reveal them to each other in front of our loved ones.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Our ceremony was lighthearted and fun, yet intimate and personal. Neither of us are very religious, however, we wanted to incorporate some of the traditions we were raised with. I grew up Catholic and Ryan Jewish, so that’s why as readings we included scripture and the Seven Jewish Blessings. We also broke the glass at the end, yelling “Mazel tov”!
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Everything was perfect. The view behind us out into wine country was amazing, and we got to see all of the faces we love witness our special moment. We chose to stand up there just the two of us and our officiant, as we didn’t want any distractions, and we are so pleased we did.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Enjoy every minute because it will go by fast! (Which it did!)
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Take your time, pause, breathe and don’t rush decisions. Things that drive you crazy at the time, you’ll be able to laugh about later.
How would you describe your reception? The reception came together perfectly – it was spectacular! After drinks and passed hors d’oeuvres outside, we moved to an indoor, vaulted dressage arena made with Alaskan Yellow Cedar and situated in the foothills of the Mayacamas on the Chalk Hill Estate. The entrance was made through a large barn door, lined with local trees and draped with string lights. We had long rectangular tables, a central bar, lounge areas, photobooth and a dance floor with a large stage at the back.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? I had a few, but one that stands out is when our planner Elise of Shannon Leahy Events let us walk into the reception area first so we got to see everything before the guests. I loved seeing everything come together – the table settings, the flowers, the cake, the bar. And Elise surprised me with cowhide rugs, bringing in some of our Texas roots!
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? I loved the idea of having an outdoor ceremony and it was a bonus that the reception could be on the same property. Once I saw the dressage arena at Chalk Hill I was sold.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Since I am a graphic designer I pulled inspiration from everywhere. Elise and I had a lot of planning sessions, made mood boards and collected ideas on Pinterest. I also went through architecture and gardening magazines, as well as bridal magazines, blogs, and Instagram.
What was your wedding menu? Passed Hors D’Oeuvres: Squash Blossom Beignet, Sweet Pea Ricotta / Slow Smoked Spring Lamb, Carrot Marmellata, Petite Herb Salad / Crudite of Tiny Farm Veg, Tarragon Creme Fraiche, Hazelnut Soil / Meyer Lemon & Green Garlic Shrimp, Puffed Arborio / Seared Beef Cigar, Leek Ash // Amuse: Strawberry and Prosecco Soup, Black Pepper, Pickled Green Strawberries / Plated First Course: Dungeness Crab, Grilled Asparagus, Shaved Purple Asparagus, Radish, Sauce Maltaise, Sicilian Pistachio // Family-Style Main Course: Grilled Whole Beef Tenderloin, Crispy Spring Onions, Artichoke Salsa Verde / Wild Alaskan Halibut in Cartoccio, Favas, Fennel, Citrus / Smashed Cast Iron New Potatoes, Castelvetrano Olives, Tender Herbs / Baby Turnips, Snap Peas, Young Carrot // Late Night Snack – French Fry Bar: Fried Manchego, Romesco Aioli / French Fries & Ketchup / Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, Orange, Bitters.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a four tier vanilla cake adorned with vanilla buttercream, fresh flowers and fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. We also served mini bite sized pies of apple, peach and cherry.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? When choosing your photographer, narrow down your choice based on their style, but ultimately make it based on their vibe. You’ll get the best photographs if you feel comfortable and enjoy their company. Josh Gruetzmacher, our photographer, was the best. He is easygoing, so nice and amazing to work with.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? First Dance: You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates // Father/Daughter: I Loved Her First by Heartland // Mother/Son: I’ll Be Around by The Spinners.
We hired Compositionz Band, a soul band from Mississippi. They came armed with brass instruments and deft footwork to keep the party entertained…and boy, did they do a great job. I absolutely LOVED them, they were so much fun and brought everyone young and old out on the dance floor. Ryan and I helped the band close out the night!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Truthfully, no. I would do it again in a heartbeat.