To celebrate their nuptials, Brien and Leigh Ann knew they wanted to keep things simple – as the bride says, “We didn’t want a ‘wedding.’ We wanted a Dinner and a Marriage.” What a great way to think about it! They chose a the stunning Sunstone Winery for their venue, the bride carried an armful of olive branches instead of a traditional bouquet, and dinner was served in a candlelit wine cave.
Did you have something old, new, borrowed, blue? I did! Old and borrowed was an heirloom bracelet of my mother’s, the dress was new, and the shoes were blue.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To try and remain present throughout all of the festivities because it goes by so fast. Also, to let it all go come Friday morning. I’ve done what I can and the vendors will execute the rest. I did and I’m so thankful! I truly enjoyed the ride and every minute of it.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t get lost in the details; it’s about the marriage and nothing else matters.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I would have hired a videographer. I’m terribly sad not to have it to watch.
“When we started talking about our wedding we decided we didn’t want a ‘wedding.’ We wanted a Dinner and a Marriage,” says Leigh Ann. “We enjoy dining and wine and wanted that to translate into an incredible meal with fantastic wine shared among family and friends. Naturally, that would be the celebration of the marriage but we didn’t want a wedding per se with all of the rote traditions (bridal party, tight-round bouquet, bouquet toss etc.). We didn’t want any of that; just a marriage and an elegant dinner to celebrate.”
“We’ve been going up to Santa Ynez because my family has a home there. We wanted an outdoor venue with oak trees and beautiful surroundings, and Sunstone has all that and a wine cave too. Plus Brien proposed to me there! It was our first and only choice for our wedding.”
Your ceremony in three words. Meaningful, intimate and warm
Who officiated your ceremony? Henry Kaney, our pastor, was a long-time family friend, who had also married my sister.
What was your ceremony music? Readings? Anthony Ybarra strummed Canon in D on his guitar, and my sister-in-law read a poem called These Hands.
What were your vows like? We exchanged traditional vows, in addition to writing our own to each other.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? We asked our guests to stand with us during the ceremony and I have never felt more surrounded in love in my entire life.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We asked our guests to put away their phones during the ceremony and remain present with us. You could feel the love, hearts and presence of everyone there.
“Our reception was amazing, warm and relaxed. It was a warm, summer’s eve surrounded by the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and our family and friends. The food was amazing, the ambiance spectacular and the band was fantastic. We were relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The surrounding environment which we loved! It’s filled with old oak and olive trees and I knew I could never compete with it so I simply tried to complement it.
What was your first dance song? Ho Hey by the Lumineers
What was your wedding menu? We had an amazing chef who created shared plates and a family style meal. It was very contemporary with a farm-to-table menu. Our guests still talk about the food and go back to our chef’s restaurant (Industrial Eats) repeatedly. We do too.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? A very small wedding cake with lots and lots of little pastries, cookies, etc. There was not a bite left and Brien and I didn’t get any! We actually went back to the bakery the next day to buy a box of what we’d served so we could have some!
Did you have a signature cocktail? We made sangria from Sunstone’s chardonnay for the cocktail hour.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Because we were inspired by the environment and because we love trees, our friends made slices from tree stumps which we then burned the names of formative places in our relationship into them.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Amplified music was not allowed after 10pm so we asked our band to come into the cave and just play acoustically. They said they’d never done it before but it was the most amazing memory from the whole evening. The cave was candlelit and we all sang together and swayed arm-in-arm. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.