What are you lovely folks doing this weekend? We’re taking Caroline to her first Giants game, and then Sunday will be an exciting day of meal prep for the week. We’ve been living on takeout and last minute spaghetti for the past four months, and it’s starting to get old, but I realized that if I’m going to start cooking dinners again it’s going to require some advance planning. Thankfully my husband is on board to help chop onions and things, so I’ll get to spend some quality time with him, too.

PS – I got a sneak peek at some of the pics from my sister’s elopement, and I can’t wait to share them with all of you soon!

Donut balloons.

Would love to see this starburst headband on a bride. And at $32 it’s a steal!

Statue of Liberty’s face, pre-installation.

Glitter girls!

Flower beards.

Get ready for fall with a hot toddy. Or three.

Gratitude for all occasions, via PoP of Joy.

Frida Kahlo paperdoll.

Habits of supremely happy people (sent to me by my life coach husband).

How fun is this gray wedding dress?!

Um… chocolate espresso soup? With marshmallows?

Carousel as alternative energy source, via Kelly’s Pinterest.

 

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

Honey of a Thousand Flowers is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.

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I have some really fun weekend links for you in just a bit, but first I wanted to highlight some of the awesome wedding vendors who helped us launch our exclusive vendor guide, Snippet & Ink Select

Trent and Dara are the husband and wife duo behind Trent Bailey Photography, and their photos are timeless, effortless, and a little bit magical. Beyond capturing moments and details, their images tell a story – images that will be framed with pride, that belong in an album to be love-worn by children and grandchildren in years to come.

Looking at the perfectly orchestrated weddings that Rosemary Events puts on in Northern California, you can tell that owner Rosemary Hattenbach has a meticulous and beautiful aesthetic, but you might not guess that she’s also totally easy going and fun-loving. To paraphrase one of Rosemary’s clients, instead of imposing her vision, she puts wings on yours. (Photos by Lisa Lefkowitz.)

Kate Murphy‘s photography brings to mind words like clean, elegant, thoughtful. Her images are classic, but never formulaic; stylish, not trendy. It’s obvious that she is truly present at every wedding she photographs – she delights in capturing her clients at their best, and documenting the moments of such an important day.

Sarah Winward from Honey of a Thousand Flowers is inspired by her clients as much as she is inspired by season and location. The result is lush floral arrangements that are romantic and personal to the couple, and that showcase the textures and movement of flowers in nature. Put another way, her flowers steal the show. (Photos by Leo Patrone and Grace Elizabeth Collins.)

No matter how big or small the celebration, Ritzy Bee pays attention to every last detail, creating memorable custom events in the Washington D.C. area. Whatever you dream of for your big day, they will take your vision and bring it to life, starting with a detailed design and ending with a flawlessly orchestrated wedding that you and your guests will never forget. (Photos by Abby Jiu.)

 

Snippet & Ink Select is a handpicked selection of wedding vendors and companies we believe in. These are the vendors we would recommend to our sisters and our best friends, because their work represents the best the wedding industry has to offer. Learn more about Snippet & Ink Select.

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For many couples, California’s wine country is a wedding destination. But for Mary Robb and John, they call the Napa Valley home, so it was only natural to tie the knot there, on the groom’s family ranch…

The bride wore the family sixpence in her shoe and her grandmother’s Belgian lace veil, also worn by her mother and aunt.

Says the bride, “We wanted the evening to feel intimate and faithful to what we cherish most about living in the wine country. For us that meant a reverence to nature, or ‘God’s first cathedral.’ We were married under an oak tree in the horse corral on John’s family’s ranch in Napa Valley, where, three years before, John took me hiking the hillsides on our first date.”

“The Reverend Dr. Mark Anschutz baptized me as an infant and he flew in from Cape Cod to officiate our wedding.”

“Our reception was held in a beautifully restored barn on the property. We hung white twinkly lights and colorful streamers, on loan to us from our favorite wine bar, Bergamot Alley.”

SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS RUSTIC WINE COUNTRY WEDDING.

 

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  John’s a winemaker, so the wine country is our home. And – as is often the case – our calendars are shaped by the seasons of the vine. Our goal was to be hitched before harvest! … when spouses become what is affectionately referred to as “harvest widows.” With five months to plan, we pulled upon our family, our friends, our neighbors, and our favorite local go-tos.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  We were toasted by our sisters, then our brothers, and then my parents.  My mother snuck kazoos into the barn and surprised us by leading the entire party in a rendition of You are my Sunshine! The sound of 135 kazoos under the roof of our candle-lit barn was a magical thing, just bursting with joy and love.

Tell us about the menu.  Dinner was family style, prepared by Gerard’s Paella, which we first discovered at the Occidental Farmer’s Market. Dinner was accompanied by a Sauvignon Blanc from the ranch and a Syrah produced by one of our dearest friends, John Lockwood of Enfield Wine Co (who also deserves credit for introducing us!). We served a local sparkling, Schramsberg, and a keg of our very favorite local pale ale from Chau Tien Brewery. We placed bottles of wine along the center of each table so that our guests could help themselves. Dessert was prepared by another dear friend, Katherine Bishop Remy, who created the most exquisite rose-geranium scented heirloom vanilla cake with lemon curd and seasonal berries. Also, as an ode to my childhood-friends from summer camp who were in attendance, we served root beer floats at the end of the evening.

Any DIY details?  We were married on a ranch, so no better reason to bring out the cowbells! We spray painted them gold, tied escort cards to them with baker’s twine, and they doubled as each guest’s seat assignment. Our guests loved having something to ring, especially during the toasts!

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  You plan, you plan, and you plan… then, on the big day, you let go! Allow yourself to feel like a guest at your own wedding. It will unfold naturally and take on a marvelous life of its own. Your wedding night is a rare opportunity to have everyone you love in one place. Pay attention to the beauty in everything, breathe it all in, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Choose your coordinator and photographer well – it’s worth the investment! You’ll be spending your whole wedding day (and more) with these people, so you want to enjoy them. Your wedding day can be hectic, and they are there to be “anxiety reducers:” calm, grounded, forces for good. If they’re top notch, maybe they’ll even help settle your rambunctious nephews, so you don’t have to!

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Go to your rolodex! You may just have a friend who’s a professional pastry chef. Also, ask a wedding coordinator to consider offering his/her services just 60-90 days out from the event. You’ll need to book most or all of the major vendors but the coordinator can help you with the final punch-list and, most importantly, their presence will allow you to enjoy some really important quality time with your guests when they arrive.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  When the sun fell low, a heavy and orange full moon rose over the hillside and we roasted s’mores. Then I tossed the bouquet, John and I ran under the row of sparklers, hugged our parents, and hopped into the 1947 Packard convertible awaiting our send-off. As we pulled away, the barn behind us was glowing, the low-hanging full moon was glowing, but we were glowing most of all.

Photographer: Megan Reeves / Venue: Private Estate in Napa, California / Event Planner: Jennifer Stone of La Grande Fete / Dress: Oscar de la Renta / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Jewelry: Kate Spade / Hair, Make-up: Katie Nash Beauty / Suit: J. Crew / Bridesmaid Dresses: Bloomingdales / Flower Girls: Gilly Gray / Ring Bearers: Kelly’s Kids / Stationery: Jack and Ella Paper Press / Floral Designer: Ken Pacada of Decked, 415-203-9102 / Rentals: Classic Party RentalsEncore EventsSo Fine Event DesignLa Tavola Linens / Bluegrass Band: Ed Neff Band / Swing Band: Swing 7 / Catering: Gerard’s Paella / Syrah: Enfield Wine Co
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George and Anna can’t seem to agree whether they dated eighteen days or a full month before getting engaged. Anna maintains it was the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas of their senior year of college, and George claims it was shorter. But either way, it was short! Anna says, “It’s nothing short of amazing to me that we’ve been married for 37 years.”

George remembers the first time he met Anna: “We ended up taking a spring microeconomics class together, though it was very large and we never really spoke. I’d noticed her, she always seemed alive and vibrant and smiling, at least until the econ started. At the final, which was several hours, she arrived wearing shorts, softball cleats, and carrying a bat. She finished the exam an hour earlier than everyone and ran out the door…I was impressed, and thought, Wow, I have to meet her.” They met the following fall and became friends. They started dating around Thanksgiving, and were engaged by Christmas!

After their whirlwind courtship, Anna and George set out on a honeymoon world tour. “After George and I were engaged, and started planning the wedding and honeymoon, George realized that family leave was part of his father’s contract in Saudi Arabia which meant that we could take his allotted ticket and trade it in for two coach round-the-world tickets (life was simpler back in 1976 as far as air travel was concerned). Since our wedding was planned for April in Chicago with our jobs not starting until July in New York, we booked a trip with stops in the Caribbean, Europe, Saudi Arabia, with stops in the Far East, Hawaii and San Francisco before returning to Chicago with enough time to prepare for our move to New York.

“What we discovered after 3 months of traveling together, is that if you can live in close and sometimes really strange quarters, moving from place to place as nomads, sometimes staying in a hostel or hotel, and other times with relatives or friends, in different cultures and timezones, then you have a pretty good proxy for married life. Nothing like 8 hour flights and 5 hour delays, missed connections, trying to communicate in a foreign language, time zone changes, and navigating in uncharted territory to prepare you for married life. I’d like to think that we learned that each day is an adventure, and it’s what you make of the stops along the way that matter.”

After their epic honeymoon, Anna and George moved to New York to start their first post-college jobs. Anna says, “In retrospect, we took on a lot of change within a short period of time: relocation to a new city, married life, full-time employment, and building a new base of friends without immediate family nearby. It was a little bit of a trial by fire.”

But they took the changes in stride, and have come up with systems that draw on their strengths. For example, Anna explains, “Both George and I love cars, and it’s when we have to negotiate the purchase of a car that we outwardly work best as a team. We have often switched roles in the midst of a negotiation, with one of us as the interested buyer and the other the one who needs convincing, or in some cases, we take turns playing good cop/bad cop. In many ways, our approaches might be different but we have similar goals, and that provides a working framework for most everything we do, especially in our role as parents. The truth is that most things in life are enriched if you can share them with someone else – the heavy lifting and the celebrations are enhanced when they are experienced as a team.”

After thirty-seven years of marriage, George advises newlyweds to keep the bigger picture in mind, “All I can offer is to say have faith and stay focused on what matters. It’s not always perfect but what’s being built, or has been built, is worth everything.”

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
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