We just love a vineyard wedding, and this sweet wedding held at Lucchesi Vineyards is no exception. Rebecca and Joseph are the sweetest couple radiating love in every image. Her beautiful dress with delicate cap sleeves, the incredible green vineyards, and a reception full of meaningful DIY touches from family and friends are just some of the special details of their day.
Photographed by Amy Nicole.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? This isn’t really a tradition but my sister and brother decided to put on the rehearsal dinner for Joseph and I. The night was absolutely magical. They held it in our family’s backyard. They set up a long table down the bocce ball court that sat about 70 people. My aunt and uncle helped to make all the food for the rehearsal dinner, my good friend since elementary school Max Fisher played guitar and sang. My aunt Miriam did all of the desserts for the rehearsal. She has her own cookie company and not only did her famous cookies but several other desserts. Several people gave toasts to Joseph and I—it was perfect.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? I would say think about your three top priorities. Also, if parents are helping with the cost, make sure you ask them what their three top priorities are. For us, we wanted an outdoor venue, excellent photography, and good food. Our budget reflected these priorities.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
I would have tried not to micromanage as much and not worry about how it would turn out. I think because there is so much pressure on the day, things become a bigger deal than they actually are. Keeping things in perspective would have helped me enjoy the process more.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We chose St. Patrick’s Catholic Church because it is the church that I (the bride) grew up attending. I went to the parochial school across the street for 1st-8th grade so much of my community and friends centered around the parish. For us, it was less about what the church looked like and more about the substance of it–the deeper meaning of our wedding. I wanted to be married–and in the Catholic faith it is a sacrament–in the same place I received all my other sacraments. I like the feeling of continuity, history, and rootedness.
“We met at a Benedictine University, where I was working, so we decided it was fitting to marry on July 11th, St. Benedict’s traditional feast day. Also, my husband is part Scottish and has always loved the bagpipes. We decided to surprise our guests and have bagpipes in our ceremony. I walked in to bagpipes, piped from above the congregation in the choir loft. Our good friend Terry Baxter was the piper. He also brewed all the beer for our Rehearsal Dinner, two different varietals and his graphic designer wife designed a custom label.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intentional, beautiful, God-centered
What was your ceremony music?
Seating of the Mothers and grandmothers: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire”
Bridal Party: “Highland Cathedral” on piano and violin
Bridal Procession: “Highland Cathedral” on piano, violin, and bagpipes
Exchange of Rings: “Take My Hand” from Les Miserables
Presentation of gifts: “Ave Verum Corpus”
Agnus Dei/Sanctus: “Missa de Angelis Setting”
Holy Communion: “Lord, I Need You”
Prayer of the Bride and Groom: “Ave Maria” by Arcadel. Sung by Naomi, Anna, and Macrina Hamilton.
Recessional: “O, God Beyond All Praising”
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Our parish priest, Father Sylvester Kwiatowski. He’s been very supportive of us throughout our engagement. He’s from Poland and has a very strong faith life. We wanted to have someone who we knew would continue to pray for us and think about us after our married life.
What were your vows like? We used the traditional Catholic vows. They are simple, but encompass what we want to bring to our marriage: fortitude in good times and bad, nurturing in sickness and health, and faithful love until death. For us, marriage is all about a choice to love. We are choosing each other and sometimes it won’t be easy, sometimes it requires an act of the will—a conscious decision to love.
What were your ceremony readings?
First Reading: Tobit 8:4b-8. “She stood up, and they began praying for protection, and this was how he began: You are blessed, O God of our fathers; blessed too is your name for ever and ever. Let the heavens bless you and all things you have made for evermore. You it was who created Adam, you who created Eve his wife to be his help and support; and from these two the human race was born. You it was who said, ‘It is not right that the man should be alone; let us make him a helper like him.’”
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 148 “Let all Praise the Name of the Lord”
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-9
Gospel: The Beatitudes, Matthew 5 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth…blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
How did you go about planning your ceremony? A lot of the ceremony for a Catholic wedding is already planned out but my husband and I did have a wonderful time picking out the readings and designing certain parts of the ceremony. We wanted to do the traditional “dedication to Mary” after Communion. We laid a bouquet at the feet of Mary while Joseph’s three sister’s sang in three-part harmony “Ave Maria”. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? I think my favorite thing was kneeling next to my new husband praying for our marriage while his three sisters sang Ave Maria. It was a beautiful moment. I also really liked watching my sister and Joe’s brother lead the “Prayers of the Faithful”.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? One of the moments I loved is riding with our wedding photographer to the reception venue. We had become friends with her and her husband after she took our engagement photos in San Francisco. As we were driving, Amy saw a great place for us to snap some pictures. It was just on the side of the road, up on a hill amongst these huge pine trees. We ran across the road and Joseph carried me up the hill to get some cool photos. I loved the spontaneity and the joy that we felt in that moment.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? I would say not to get overwhelmed by Pinterest or other inspirations. Once you have picked the direction of your wedding, just stick with that. There are a million ways to have a beautiful, stylish, and meaningful wedding—don’t second-guess your decisions because you see something else along the way. Also, focus on how you want to feel and your guests to feel at your wedding—not on how it will look. At the end of the night, what really matters is how your guests felt and how you and your husband felt about the day. How the day looks is important but I think even more important is what your wedding communicates to people. We wanted ours to evoke warmth, fun, and a deep love for each other—rooted in God.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? I think some of the best advice I received was something I read; it said to try to include as many people as you can in your wedding. I learned that friends and family members want to be included. Bridesmaids want to be able to do more than just walk down the aisle; they want to help and be significant. We had our close family friends do the flowers for our wedding and they were just beautiful—so much love went into them. The Hamilton brothers helped set up the reception venue, and the sisters sang at our Mass.
“We toured several different sites for our reception. We knew we really wanted it to be outside to take advantage of the wonderful California summer evening weather. Joseph has always loved places with views. He proposed to me on the top of a mountain with a beautiful view. The moment we saw Lucchesi and its panoramic views, we were sold. We also really liked all the trees and plants around the site and the vineyards.”
Please tell us about any special details or moments from your reception. Our tables were marked by library cards, with the names our favorite authors. We tried to sit people at tables where they had read the author or had some connection to the author. Continuing the literary theme, we had spineless books on several of the tables as part of our centerpiece.
How would you describe your reception? Outdoors, al fresco, fun, laid-back elegance.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Fresh flowers, gardens, casual dinners with family and friends on my family’s deck. I wanted the reception to feel natural, not contrived. This is one of the reasons that we didn’t do a head table or a sweetheart table. We just did a long table with Joseph and I surrounded by our wedding party and friends. It was more natural to be able to just talk to people across the table from you. We will have plenty of time to have dinners just the two of us, but our wedding was such a unique time to have all our friends and family from all over the country gathered together. I was also inspired by weddings with lots of dancing and joviality.
Menu: Mediterranean Charcuterie Plate with Assorted Cured Meats, Artisan Cheeses, Olives, Nuts, Tapenades, Crackers and Sourdough Bread // Garden Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Mushrooms // Grilled Summer Vegetables including Asparagus, Zucchini, Squash, Portabella Mushrooms, Corn and Sweet Red Peppers / Cajun Roasted Baby Red Tomatoes / Herbed Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast served with Mango, Papaya Kiwi Salsa / Chef Carved Tri-Tip with Creamy Horseradish and Chimichurri Sauce
Did you have a signature cocktail? We had two kinds of sangria—white and red, made by our Spanish caterer. Sangria is his specialty. We also had the winery’s wine, Lucchesi, and two types of beer.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We made bookmarks for favors. We hand-watercolored them. They were even more special because we used the exact same design as my parent’s wedding. We actually took one of their bookmark favors, changed the names and then copied them unto a new design. It was very special to have that link between weddings.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a cutting cake. My grandmother made it for us—her famous sponge cake recipe with whipped cream frosting. For the rest of the guests, we wanted to do pies. We felt like it would be better for the summer evening to do fruit pies with ice cream. The pies were made by all of our family friends. My mom coordinated all of them and we had 20+ pies made by all those who love us.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
First Dance: “Swept Away (sentimental version)” by The Avett Brothers
Father/daughter: “Daughters” by John Mayer; my dad took weeks to pick out the song and he loved that one.
Mother/son: “You are my sunshine” by Johnny Cash
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My aunt has been collecting hats and accessories her entire life. These include New Orleans masks, wigs, silly hats, and fun glasses. Everyone had so much fun trying these on and dancing with them—it just elevated the entire party and brought out so many fun personalities amongst our friends and families. Also favorite moments are my dance with my dad and my first dance with my husband.