I can hardly think of a better way to start the week than with this incredibly lovely wedding from our talented friend and Select vendor, Meg Smith. From the bride’s sheath dress to the charming garden restaurant venue to the undefined color palette, each aspect of Stephanie and Kellsey’s July celebration was an invitation to guests to feel at home…
Says Stephanie: “I asked a local classic car club if they had any members who might be interested in driving my parents and me from our hotel to the ceremony, and a really sweet gentleman offered to drive us in his gorgeous midnight blue 1930 Lincoln. His kindness and generosity added a special feeling to the start of our wedding.”
The bride’s sister created the chalkboard “program.” Other DIY details included the invitations and save-the-dates, table numbers, cocktail menu, and honey escort card favors (all made by the bride), and the ring pillow and table runner (made by groom).
Why Barndiva? “It made sense to get married in the Bay Area since we met and live in San Francisco and it was convenient for most of our guests. I really wanted an outdoor wedding with lots of greenery, so we looked mostly in Sonoma County, where Kellsey grew up. Although we visited some stunning private estates and wineries, most were way out of our budget and had many restrictions. Barndiva had intimate garden spaces that fit our simple, down-to-earth aesthetic, incredible food and service, and we loved that they support local agriculture. Healdsburg is charming and has great access to beautiful parks, the coast, and wineries, so we knew our out-of-town guests would enjoy it as a destination.”
One of the bride’s favorite parts of the day was the speech her groom gave to her at dinner.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Memories of dining outside on warm summer nights from my childhood in Pennsylvania, the beauty and bounty of Bay Area farms, and creating a feeling of warmth and conviviality. We didn’t stick to a strict color palette, but kept the colors fresh and natural, mostly greens, gray and neutral. We got engaged under magnolias in Dolores Park in San Francisco, so I used magnolia flowers in the save-the-dates (which were inspired by vintage seed packets) and invitations. The favors we made – local honey in test tubes – were a nod to our having met while working in biomedical research labs. Our signature cocktail, the Whitman’s Waltz, is our favorite drink from our favorite restaurant in San Francisco, Range.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? We got up early in the morning and rode bikes through vineyards to Dragonfly Farm, the beautiful organic farm that did the decor for the wedding. We didn’t want to do a first look, so I really cherished having some relaxing time alone after the frenzied couple of weeks leading up to the wedding.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? We had lots of traditional elements – a ring bearer and flower girls, a first dance, and cake cutting – but strayed from tradition when it felt right. Kellsey and his groomsmen walked down the aisle as part of the procession – it seemed strange to have him enter as an afterthought – and I walked with both my parents. We also introduced something that was new to us, handing flowers to our mothers after our vows, to symbolize the joining of our families. My favorite was a tradition from the Basque side of Kellsey’s family… when a child is born, the grandfather makes a special vintage of wine to be served at that child’s wedding. The wedding wine that Kellsey’s grandfather bottled for him hadn’t aged spectacularly well, so Kellsey and his father distilled it into a wedding “whiskey” instead, which we used for the toast. It was fun, and a way to include Kellsey’s late grandfather in our celebration.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t let wedding planning take over your life or relationships. Have fun with it, get as much as possible done ahead of time and definitely leave yourself a couple days to spend some time relaxing together.
What advice do you have for other brides? DIY elements can make the wedding feel so much more personal, but be realistic about how much you, or your friends, can and want to take on. I love any excuse to do letterpress printing so designing and making all the paper projects and favors was fun for us. Originally we planned to make the centerpieces and bridesmaid bouquets, but at the last minute decided that we would prefer to spend the days before the wedding hanging out with our out-of-town guests. Our amazing florist, Asako Hana, didn’t have time to do more than my bouquet and Kellsey’s boutonniere, but luckily we found Bonnie [at Dragonfly Floral], who came to the rescue with gorgeous centerpieces.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Focus your efforts on things that really matter to you, and don’t worry about what everyone else does. The biggest cost savers for us were keeping our guest list fairly small, having a Sunday wedding, and using an iPod for reception music. Picking a venue that didn’t require much extra decoration also helped, and what we did buy (like a cute cake stand) were things we would keep and use later. Eliminating the dessert bar, simplifying drink choices, and forgoing entree choices allowed us to serve an incredible multi-course meal that our guests raved about, and kept the focus on our wedding cake. If there’s a wedding at your venue the day before or after yours, ask about sharing decor – we lucked out and the couple the night before had rented chairs we loved that we were able to use at no cost, and we let them use our lounge seating.