This sweet pair of Texans had their hearts set on an al fresco wine country wedding, and they couldn’t have chosen a better venue than Sonoma’s Chalk Hill Estate. Just look at those rolling hills, and vineyards ripe for the picking! They took full advantage of those vineyards, of course, keeping the wine flowing for their guests to enjoy the celebrations all day, and long into the night. Read on for all the pretty details, from the stunning all-white florals to the oh-so-appropriate escort cards, complete with corkscrew favors!
Floor-length gowns in a variety of subtle metallics and neutrals pair so well with the traditional tuxes on the groom and his groomsmen – formal, and yet totally appropriate for the relaxed setting.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We knew right away that we wanted a destination wedding, and for me California had always been at the top of the list. We really wanted something outdoors – difficult to successfully pull off at any time of year in Texas, where we’re both from – and the more we talked about it the more the image came together. When it came down to it, there was no place other than wine country that we would have wanted. My parents came with me to look at venues in Napa and Sonoma, and we all knew this was it the moment we pulled into the driveway. With the breathtaking views, expansive grounds, and incredible natural beauty, it was truly a no brainer.
Jenna walked down the aisle on her dad’s arm, to Schubert’s Ave Maria. She says, “this choice of music was really important to me. It was one of my grandmother’s favorite songs, and was played at her funeral when she passed away more than 15 years ago. It’s held a special place in my heart since then, and walking in to a song so important to my family really meant a lot.”
Who officiated your ceremony? We settled on Reverend Charles Grande to officiate. Our wedding planners had directed us to a number of resources where we could research officiants of all sorts. Reverend Grande was traditional, but willing to work with us on exactly what we wanted, which really suited us.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It’s hard to pick just one thing, and the whole day is admittedly kind of a blur. But there’s this one moment, which thankfully was captured on our wedding video for posterity, that I think will always stick out. During our ceremony, we mixed wines to illustrate the joining of our families, and we were supposed to each drink from the cup after they were mixed. So right before Scott takes his sip, he raised the glass to me to say “Cheers!.” It was a perfectly organic moment in the middle of an otherwise completely out of the ordinary day, and just showed so well how that all at once it was huge, and yet also so personal.
Jenna and Scott walked back down the aisle to Handel’s La Rejouissance.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? There are a ton of people who are so excited for you and will want to do nice things for you. You have to realize that those offers are coming from a place of love and happiness, and you should let people celebrate your happiness with you.
We adore Jenna’s bouquet: a soft, romantic mix of cream garden roses and white tulips.
Jenna said the biggest lesson she learned in planning was to focus on the parts that really matter, like your love for your groom, and not to sweat the small stuff!
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We wanted to have as much of the day outside as possible, but Chalk Hill has this absolutely stunning pavilion that it would have been a shame not to use. After a cocktail at the Ridge Top, we moved everyone down to the pavilion. We ate dinner out on the terrace under open sky and string lights as the sun was setting over the valley. The band was set up in the pavilion, which already had wood floors perfect for dancing. We kept the doors open all evening even if you were indoors dancing you wouldn’t feel closed off from the scale of the venue outside.
What was your wedding menu? We had different food stations set up around our tables for dinner: carving/ grilling station; Italian station; pacific coast; sushi. We tried to have unique and exciting twists on traditional wedding meals that would cater to both the super foodies in the family and the people who weren’t as accustomed to some of the more out there options we picked. All of our food was absolutely incredible. Ramekins did such a masterful, beautiful job. I think it’s quite honestly the best meal both of us have ever had.
The soft cream florals and olive branches adorning the tables tie in perfectly with Jenna’s bouquet.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Andrea at Crisp was wonderful. All of the cakes were so carefully thought out, pairing such wonderful flavors that I never would have considered. We had difficulty picking only two for our cake when we tasted with her. We ended up choosing a chocolate cake with pomegranate chip filling, and lemon verbena cake with lemon curd filling. The entire cake was frosted in white chocolate buttercream.
How would you describe your reception? Classic, elegant, ethereal, romantic, natural.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Even before we got engaged, the most important part of our wedding to both of us was the commitment that we would be making to one another in front of our families and friends. If we were married at the end of that day, that was all that mattered.
While the weekend was a whirlwind, he and I also really locked into each other on our wedding day. It kind of felt like we were in this alternate universe where we were watching everyone celebrate, but we were totally separate, only with each other.
That feeling really magnified the moment I turned the corner to walk down the aisle. We locked eyes, and that was it. Nobody else existed the rest of the day. That feeling of connectedness, of being so truly bound to your other, and of being enveloped by so much love and happiness, is something I’ll hold onto the rest of my life.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The dancing is definitely at the top of the list. But Scott said it perfectly when I asked him this question: “Just one? It was the whole thing. All of it.”