Today’s feature is actually a rehearsal dinner, but I think it could just as easily be a really fun wedding, and it felt like a really fun theme for the Fourth of July weekend. Laurie Arons created this retro hoedown party for a bride and groom in Calistoga, and Thayer Allyson Gowdy captured it all in these great shots…

 During the cocktail hour guests enjoyed a full bar, including the signature drink of whiskey sours, as well as mesquite grilled prawns and chipotle deviled eggs. Dinner included buttermilk fried chicken, barbecue ribs, biscuits, cornbread and coleslaw.

 Everyone came dressed in their cowboy gear! Welcome baskets included the classic children’s book This is San Francisco, old fashioned peanut brittle, Popchips, sunscreen, a San Francisco/Napa Valley Zagat guide customized with the couple’s wedding date (a gift from the Zagats, close friends of the couple), a tin of roasted almonds from Torn Ranch, Calistoga mineral water, and a detailed welcome letter listing the weekend’s activities.

 Instead of numbers, tables were named after vintage western movies and shows.

 Guests enjoyed a country western themed movie about the bride and groom.


  Dinner was followed by square dancing, complete with a caller, and dessert. The bride loves cake, so Perfect Endings made a display of home-style favorites, including devil’s food, banana, spiced pecan, and red velvet. There were also s’mores (with organic dark chocolate, and homemade marshmallows and grahams – of course!) to end the evening. Guests were sent home with small burlap bags filled with retro candy.

If this doesn’t look like a fun time, then I don’t know what does! Congratulations Chrissy and Alex – see some pics of their actual wedding day over on Laurie’s blog.

Photographer: Thayer Allyson Gowdy / Venue: Durham Ranch in St. Helena, California / Planning, Design: Laurie Arons Special Events / Catering: Daniel Ripley Catering / Cakes:  Perfect Endings / Bluegrass Band: Innovative Entertainment / Table Numbers: PS Paper / Hats, Bandannas: Oriental Trading Company
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Happy 4th of July weekend! I hope everyone has something fun planned – beach? barbecue? appropriately-colored berry dessert? And for your holiday weekend enjoyment, here are some fun links from around the web…


Charming paper crafts for the 4th of July.

Two more delightful tables from the delightful Chelsea.

What’s more romantic than lavender fields?

Another incredible wedding from Josh Goleman.

Sweet seersucker invites.

Two perfect shots.

Wouldn’t your bridesmaids love one of these? via Oh Joy!

Irresistible color palette.

More fabulous flowers by Saipua.

Custom notes in the sand.

Jump for joy, via Brooklyn Bride.

Cleverest business cards I’ve seen in awhile.

Have a happy happy holiday weekend!

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Originally, Keren and Asaf wanted to get married in the bride’s parents’ backyard. When that didn’t work out, they didn’t want to sacrifice the low-key elegance of a garden setting, and opted to hold the wedding at the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The invitations were perforated to resemble a train ticket.

Keren’s bouquet was tied with beautiful French, Italian and Swiss ribbons.

The romantic flowers were designed and created by Matthew Robbins. Keren says, “I loved that he used vintage mirrored platters and had small vases with little variety of flowers so guests could each take something home as opposed to a huge centerpiece at each table. I love aromatherapy, so Matthew did an incredible job incorporating fresh herbs at the ceremony and reception.”

I thought I’d leave you with some wise words from the bride: “I went into the weekend telling myself that something will go wrong because that’s life, but not to worry – all those little things will give our wedding charm and make it memorable. With that thought in mind, really nothing went wrong. It was perfect. And it doesn’t even matter as long as you enjoy the moment and get back to what it’s really about: you and your new partner, your family and friends! Without those things, it just wouldn’t matter. So that would be my advice to someone else… plan and prepare as best you can and then let go of control for the big day. If you have fun so will everyone else!”



Photographer: Karen Hill / Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, New York / Planning, Coordination: Claudia Hanlin for The Wedding Library / Bride’s Dress, Shoes: Lanvin / Reception Dress: Marc Jacobs / Flowers: Matthew Robbins / Stationery: Mr. Boddington’s Studio / Cake: Ron Ben-Israel / Punk-Klezmer Band: Golem /


  • Sophisticated Botanical Garden Wedding

    30 June 2009
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    Have I ever told you how much I love road trips? Well I do – I love them! Right now, I’m in a hotel somewhere in Utah, with my sister and her two boys, on the way to spend a few weeks with family in Montana. Though I’ll have some great real weddings set to post while I’m away, mostly I’m going to take time to totally unplug – dial-up internet is a real disincentive to blog.

    Anyway, I was going to share some of my favorite links from around the web, but I just updated my operating system this morning, and apparently the little application that I use to keep track of my weekly links doesn’t like it. Too tired to figure it out right now, but I’ll have an extra long list for you next week.

    In the meantime, please share some of your favorite links with us in the comments, and of course have a happy happy weekend!

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