Northern California’s wine country is such a wonderful place for a destination wedding, whether you go with a classic winery venue or something more quirky and fun like Brianne and Jay did with their choice of restaurant Barndiva. “We visited Healdsburg together a few years ago when Jay participated in the Vineman 70.3 triathlon in Sonoma County,” says Brianne. “We had such fond memories of Healdsburg and wanted to share it with our family and friends!”
“It was important to us to have an intimate outdoor ceremony, incorporating our family traditions and readings by our closest friends. Our officiant, Lukka Feldman at Barndiva, did a great job of conveying the intimate, relaxed tone that we wanted to capture for the ceremony.”
How would you describe your ceremony? A joyous fusion of traditions.
How did you choose your ceremony readings? We chose readings that contained messages that were meaningful to us on love and marriage. (See which readings Brianne and Jay chose on their ceremony page right here.)
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We included several South Indian Hindu traditions in the ceremony, and had that portion of the program narrated by a close friend. These included the lighting of a flame, the exchange of flower garlands, the presentation of a necklace to the bride, taking seven steps together around the flame, and the offering of blessings from the bride and groom’s parents. (Read more about the traditions in Brianne and Jay’s wedding right here.)
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Too many things to limit it to just one! The strings starting to play “Your Hand in Mine” (a favorite song of ours) as our parents walked down the aisle. Seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony (we’d stayed apart the whole day of the wedding). And looking into the garden and seeing so many loved ones from different phases of our life gathered together in a beautiful spot on a perfect day.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We intentionally kept our wedding party small (the bridesmaids were Brianne’s two sisters, and Jay’s two good friends were groomsmen) but were able to include other close friends as readers.
“Barndiva is a fantastic venue – full of inspiration. We were thrilled that we were able to hold the ceremony in a beautiful garden, followed by dinner with our friends and family in a wonderful outdoor setting. It really came together perfectly – we had a fantastic weekend, from start to finish.”
How would you describe your reception? Fun! Great food, great wine, and incredible music!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our first dance together – Omega did an absolutely FANTASTIC job on the song, “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt.
Father/daughter dance: “Something So Feminine About a Mandolin” by Jimmy Buffet
Mother/son dance: “Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant
Cocktail Hour Hors d’Oeuvres: Heirloom Tomato B.L.T. Sliders / Seared Ahi / Fresh Local Compressed Watermelon / Cheese & House-Made Tomato Jam Croquettes // First Course: Baby Greens with Strawberries, Walnuts, and Spanish Sherry Vinaigrette // Main Course: Filet Mignon / Salmon // Dessert: Vanille Genoise Wedding Cake with Orange Liqueur, Vanilla Cream and French Buttercream with Strawberries / Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies / Dark Chocolate Mousse Tulips / Mandarin Cheesecake / and Almond Financier with Blueberries
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We prepared gifts bags for our guests at the welcome reception, which included gifts from each of our home states (key lime cookies from Florida, chocolate from Delaware), a small wine bottle with a personalized label, and some other information about the area and the weekend’s activities. We stamped the bags with a custom crafted stamp. We also gave our guests cookies in the shape of California, with our initials in icing, as they left the reception.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff – the wedding will be over faster than you can imagine, so savor the moment as best as you can! And be sure to take time for each other, even as you feel like there are deadlines approaching.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Coordinating a destination wedding was challenging, and may have been easier had we hired a wedding planner, but we were ultimately happy to have worked on all the details together. It made the day more meaningful to us.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? We set up a 10K fun run for our friends the morning of the wedding, and also arranged a wine tour the day after the wedding, just so our guests had the chance to enjoy all that Sonoma County had to offer.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. Brianne: My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary was the day after Jay and I got married, so we asked the band to learn their first dance song (“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”) as a special surprise to celebrate their 40 years together! // Jay: My nephew was invited onstage to join the band’s horn section for the last song of the night, and he rocked it!