Samantha & Christophe | Vineyard Wedding at Annadel Estate

After nearly nine years of blogging, we have some real gems in our archives, and it seemed a shame to think they might be buried by newer posts! So we’re dusting off our favorites…

Samantha and Christophe’s July wedding in Northern California’s wine country was romantic, elegant, and modern, all at the same time. And the color! Says the bride, “We wanted our wedding to be full of life and color, and we were inspired by the natural beauty of summer at Annadel, so we tried to embody that in our “citrus and herbs” color scheme: blood orange, ruby red grapefruit, lemon yellow, grass greens.”

 Says Samantha, “Our wedding was a coming together of Taiwanese, Americans, and French. And in France, the civil (and official) wedding is always separate and held in city hall, where the mayor is present and the couple signs the official marriage certificate in the presence of friends, family and the state. To signal to all our French guests that our wedding ceremony in the winery ruins of Annadel was official and legitimate, we (and our witnesses and officiant) signed our official marriage certificate during the ceremony, to replicate the French civil ceremony. We also included bits and pieces from California and French civil code within our ceremony.” The custom tent canopy was designed by Shannon Leahy, and created by Wine Country Party & Events. The youngest guests enjoyed their own special table, plus a croquet game set up on the lawn.

Samantha and Christophe are total foodies, and their menu reflected that passion (see the full delicious menu at the end of the post).   Says Samantha, “In a typical Taiwanese wedding, the bride changes outfits several times throughout the reception. Although I only changed once, I did change into an amazing bright red (lucky color in Chinese) Oscar de la Renta gown that I found the week before the wedding.”

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We knew we wanted to get married in California’s wine country, not only because we both love great wine and good food but also because the wine country has become a special place for us as residents of the Bay Area. We probably visited every single wine country wedding venue in Napa and Sonoma counties, and we chose Annadel because the grounds were magical, from the old winery ruins to the barn. It was authentic, natural, and beautiful, without being pretentious and stuffy. It was also important to us that we could bring in our own wines, since the wines we served at the wedding would be a very personal choice for us. At the end of the day, we chose Annadel because we knew we could create a personal wedding experience in a stunning environment.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We knew that we wanted our wedding to be elegant and beautiful, but at the same time modern, and, most importantly, true to us as a couple. We were inspired by delicious local food and wine. I love fruit, and my mom is in the fruit export business, so she sourced seasonal California fruits that we incorporated all throughout the wedding weekend: nectarines, plums and cherries filled our welcome bags, and fruit was used as décor throughout the wedding. We also had local pasture-raised pig and lamb roasted on spits, because we love the concept of farm to table eating, and knew our French and Chinese guests would love it too. We sourced only domestic American cheeses, so that the cheese-loving French guests could see just how good artisanal American cheese can be. Wine was from Sonoma and Santa Cruz counties from some of our favorite local producers. We had a beautiful linen canopy structure built by Wine Country Rentals so that the Chinese guests would have shade during dinner. Everything we did held a little bit of meaning to us, or to our friends and family, so I guess you can say the people and things we love inspired us!

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  For both of us, our favorite moment of the day was when we said our vows to one another and promised to be husband and wife forever.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t confuse your wedding with your marriage. It’s great to have a beautiful wedding, but it’s much more important to have a beautiful marriage. This came from my now-husband.

What advice do you have for other brides?  Try to enjoy the process. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of beautiful wedding blogs, magazines, Pinterest, others’ weddings and details, details, and more details. At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be amazing, wonderful, and beautiful – and it will be that regardless of how all the little details turn out. Find vendors that you trust, so that you can let go when it comes to crunch time, knowing that they will be able to execute your dream wedding.


See the full gallery here.



Passed Hors d’Oeuvres:  local charcuterie board {cured and smoked local meats with mustards, garden pickles, and tapenades, dried and fresh fruit, crostini, crisps and breads} // summer fritto misto {crispy baby artichokes, meyer lemon and basil} // chilled heirloom red gazpacho with aged balsamico // crisp potato cups with black olive tapenade and tuna confit // little skewers of fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes with crispy basil vinaigrette // wild salmon sake tartare in a cucumber ribbon

Plated First Course:  summer tartiflette {grilled eggplant, summer squash and oven dried farmed tomatoes with basil and redwood hill chevre}

Whole Roast Animals:  whole roast Clark Summit Farm pig {marinated in citrus, oregano, garlic, annatto and spices} // whole roast Clark Summit Farm pastured lamb {prepared with lemon zest, rosemary and garlic}

Accompaniments:  sweet corn salad {with grilled portobellos, crispy red peppers and bocconcini di mozzarella with oregano vinaigrette} // baby summer vegetables en papillote {local heirloom farm veggies steamed in parchment with lemon, thyme, white wine and strauss organic creamery butter} // shaved celery root salad {with house cured gravlax, grapefruit and pine nuts}

Cheese Course:  cowgirl creamery red hawk {triple-cream cow, Petaluma, California} // uplands cheese pleasant ridge reserve {aged cow, Codgeville, Wisconsin} // vermont creamery bonne bouche {ash-ripened goat, Websterville, Vermont} // bohemian creamery capriago {aged goat, Sebastopol, California} // served with organic baby lettuces

Sweets Bar:  macerated strawberries with orange almond meringues // fresh nectarine, peach and berry galette with whipped cream // dark chocolate drizzled cream puffs with custard cream filling // mini-lemon tarts // chocolate bark // chocolate, hazelnut and framboise truffles // gluten-free donut holes // wedding cake {lemon chiffon cake with passion fruit curd and lemon mascarpone cream bittersweet chocolate cake with passion fruit curd and dark chocolate ganache}

Oh my goodness… are you drooling yet?

Vendor Credits

Photographer: Collin Hughes / Venue: Annadel Estate Winery in Santa Rosa, California / Event Planner: Shannon Leahy Events / Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang / Bride’s Red Reception Dress: Oscar de la Renta /  Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Makeup: Maria Nguyen / Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s Bespoke Suit: Stitched / Groom’s Shoes: JM Weston / Stationery: The Aerialist Press, Olive Route / Floral Design: Brown Paper Design / Rentals: Wine Country Party & Events, La Tavola Linen, Wildflower Linen / Lighting: Got Light / Music: Laurent Fourgo / Catering: Jessica Lasky Fine Catering, SOL Catering / Cheeses: The Cheese Shop in Healdsburg, California / Desserts: Dynamo DonutsJessica Lasky Fine Catering


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