Kathy & Michael at Sebastiani

Kathy & Michael at Sebastiani

Kathy and Michael were originally going to be married in 2014. That was before Kathy found out that her brother, David, who is a Marine, was going to be shipped out. It was so important to both Kathy and Michael that David be there that they changed their date to July 20, 2014.  Kathy planned an amazing weekend for everyone. They had a barbecue at Moon Mountain Estate in Glen Ellen for the rehearsal dinner with a whole roast pig and all the fixings.

The wedding day was stunning. Kathy and Michael were married under the beautiful stone archway at Sebastiani Winery. With string trio, Musical Heart Strings, playing in the background, the fabulous Sebastiani wine trolley brought the girls to the fountain courtyard. There they were met by their groomsmen who escorted them, one at a time, to their place up front. Then Kathy was brought to meet Michael by her father. She carried a vibrant bouquet of locally grown DeVoto sunflowers. Father Skip Sikora of the White Robed Monks performed the ceremony. Several of Kathy and Michael’s relatives also gave their individual blessings to the marriage.

After the ceremony, Kathy and Michael were whisked away to the prestigious Cherryblock Vineyard for photographs while their guests enjoyed Bubble Tea, wine and hors d’oeuvres in the rose garden. Then the guests were invited into the romantic Sebastiani Barrel Room. After Kathy and Michael made their grand entrance from the top of the staircase that winds around the world’s largest wine barrel, they immediately went into their first dance. Then the guests and they dined on a scrumptious whole lobster dinner served family style by Park Avenue Catering.

Both Kathy and Michael changed into traditional Vietnamese dress between courses and spent time visiting each of their guests’ tables. The guests also enjoyed having pictures made in the Sonoma Room with Sonoma Photo Booth’s Tracy Page.

While Kathy’s wedding cake was gorgeous, it was her surprise groom’s cake that stole the show.  It was in the shape of a sand castle with a little surfboard next to it.

But there was an even bigger surprise to come. Directly after cake cutting, the guests were entertained by Jason Valdez and his Lion Dance Troop. But the most special thing turned out to be that one of the “lions” was Kathy’s brother, David! Imagine their parent’s surprise when he popped out of the costume.

Everyone enjoyed dancing to Max Alegria of Mixwell Entertainment.  Then after the bouquet and garter toss, the guests went outside to the fountain courtyard to bid Kathy and Michael goodbye aboard the Sebastiani Trolley.

 

www.sebastiani.com

www.parkavecater.com

www.musicalheartstrings.net

www.fedliondance.org

www.ocakes.com

www.mixwellentertainment.com

www.oncelikeaspark.com

www.devotogardens.com

www.thesonomaphotobooth.com

Mia & Gabe at Cline Cellars Great Lawn

Mia & Gabe at Cline Cellars Great Lawn

Mia and Gabe were an absolute dream to work with. Mia is so organized! They chose Cline Cellars Great Lawn area for their June 29th wedding.  The couple had their “first look” at the fabulous Cline Villa where their family had accommodations for the weekend.

They were married underneath a rustic willow branch chuppah beneath the “Wedding Tree” at Cline Cellars. Mia carried a classic bouquet of ivory calla lilies adorned with an antique locket that had belonged to her mother’s father. Her mother had passed away three years ago and her wonderful sister had put a picture of their mother in the locket.  It was Mia’s “something old.” Mia and Gabe had a lovely wine ceremony performed by Gabe’s father, Rob, and Gabe smashed the glass underfoot to cries of “Mazel Tov.”

After hors d’oeuvres on the Great Lawn, (potato lollipops, corn cakes with duck confit and peach salsa – yum!), guests enjoyed a wonderful dinner of parmesan crusted chicken and tri-tip with a Pinot Noir reduction sauce provided by Park Avenue Catering. True Confections Cakes made the simply perfect stacked square cake with silver ribbons and decorated with white phalaenopsis and green cymbidium orchids.

Then came my favourite first dances of the year when Mia and her father danced to a tune that we know as the “Chicken Dance.” It’s a simple polka with just a few notes that was originally called the “Duck Dance,” because it was written by an accordion player, Werner Thomas, who was tending a flock of ducks and geese at the time. Mia and her dad used to dance to it when she was a little girl, and it was sweet to watch them dance it again at her wedding day. Not to be outdone, Gabe, his mother and his brother re-created a Saturday Night Live routine where they are both Nerds trying to get the “babe” to dance with them. Gabe’s mom was perfect with her come hither looks! As you can imagine, everyone had a great time dancing to DJ Patrick Hugunin’s fabulous sounds.

 

www.clinecellars.com

www.parkavecater.com

www.movephotography.com

www.trueconfectionscakes.com

www.thelux.com

www.hugentertainment.com

Erin & Jim at BR Cohn

Erin & Jim at BR Cohn

What an amazing couple. Erin and Jim had originally scheduled their wedding at a winery midway between Sonoma and Napa about a year before their wedding date. The winery changed hands, however, and the new owner called them and canceled their contract just six months before the wedding! Fortunately they were able to stop the invitations that were just getting ready to go to print, and I found them an alternative site the same day (which they ended up loving even more).  BR Cohn IS a gorgeous site, and Vallerie Cohn was so kind. She made Erin and Jim feel at ease that everything was going to be just fine in moving from one site to another.

Erin called me one day asking if I could think of any way to use Jim’s grandmother’s wedding dress fabric in her wedding. I thought of covering frames with it and displaying family wedding pictures (including Jim’s grandmother), the ring-bearer pillow, etc. Then, when Erin told me she also had some silk handkerchiefs belonging to her late father and some brooches from her grandmother, it all came together. We commissioned her bouquet through a fabulous designer on the East Coast. It perfectly accented her movie-star wedding dress.

Erin and Jim were married under flawlessly blue skies under the heritage oaks at BR Cohn’s Oak Hill, privately located in the heart of the winery. Musical Heart Strings performed the ceremony music and Jim’s sister, Stephanie, acted as officiant.

They had their hors d’oeuvre reception at the ampitheatre with wonderful southern fried okra slices served in little bamboo cones, country ham biskets and pea soup shooters with pistachio and crème fraiche.  The family-style dinner in the Olive Grove with the 125-year old olive trees followed. Park Avenue Catering’s fun menu included classic southern fried chicken, jambalaya, macaroni and cheese, garlic-asiago mashed potatoes, and my favourite, a fried green tomato salad.

After a round of dancing, Erin and Jim cut into a flaky apple pie rather than the traditional wedding cake. Their guests and they then danced the rest of the night away. I’m sure Erin and Jim will have a very happily ever after!

All images from Laver Photography, Hair from Nina Dolcini, AMS Wine Country DJ

 

www.brcohn.com

www.laverphoto.com

www.musicalheartstrings.net

www.amswinecountry.com

www.parkavecater.com

Kirsten & Jeff at BR Cohn

Kirsten & Jeff at BR Cohn

Kirsten and Jeff were married in a lovely, intimate ceremony on a perfectly beautiful day in June at BR Cohn Winery’s Oak Hill, against a breath-taking backdrop of vineyards and mountains and underneath two heritage valley oak trees. Kirsten’s colours were lavender and ivory. Her dress was an elegantly simple A-line with a chapel-length train. She carried an ivory and lavender bouquet with accents of purple created for her by Lavender floral’s Josette Brose-Eichar.  Reverend Lisa Joslen performed the ceremony. Heartstrings duo Gretchen Egen and Kerry Borgen had fun not only with the ceremony music, but also threw in a rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Money” in honour of Jeff’s last name (Money).

Deb Laver captured these fabulous images of the couple through the heart-shape formed by twisted manzanita branches.

Guests enjoyed a cake and champagne reception while the couple were whisked away for more photos in the vineyards. Afterwards everyone dined at Casa Bianca in Santa Rosa. A perfect way to end a perfect day!

 

www.brcohn.com

www.lavenderflorals.com

www.musicalheartstrings.net

www.yourceremonymatters.com

www.laverphoto.com

www.itsadate.biz

Sheena & John at Sebastiani

Sheena & John at Sebastiani

Wow! I don’t know where to begin with Sheena and John. They are an absolutely amazing couple!!!  Sheena is a Captain in the United States Air Force, and John is a Major who puts his life on the line in Afghanistan. They both have enduring love and incredible courage. Their wedding at Sebastiani was a culmination of a team effort by everyone involved.  Alex and Gaspar at Sebastiani, Steve Sarna at Ramekins, Josette at Lavender Floral . . . we all wanted this wedding to be perfect for our patriots.

Sheena’s vision was that John and she could actually be married amongst the vines themselves.  Sebastiani made an exception to the rule that protects their precious Cherryblock designation to allow them to do just that.

The day was picture perfect. Guests met at Arbour Park where they were greeted by refreshing lemonade and tea, then walked the short distance to the vineyard where they listened to delightful music by the Musical heartstrings trio while waiting for the ceremony to begin. The bridesmaids and bride were brought to the site by Sebastiani’s picturesque trolley where the ceremony was performed by Reverend Lisa Joslen.  The bride carried a meticulously crafted bouquet made completely of vintage and modern jewelry with a wine bottle as the base. Her dress was an absolutely elegant matte satin with beaded lace applique sporting a royal cathedral length train.

After the ceremony guests went to the romantic fountain courtyard for passed hors d’oeuvres while John and Sheena had pictures made in the vineyards. Then the bride and groom snuck behind the world’s largest wine barrel via a winding staircase that wraps around both behind and in front.  They made their grand entrance into the barrel room passing through a sabre arch provided by the Travis Color Guard (the fee to pass through is a kiss from the bride to the groom). The immediately went into their first dance with music by AMS Wine Country.

Dinner was designed to be offered at stations. Ramekins Catering in Sonoma surpassed all expectations with beautifully crafted steak and pork sliders, a mouth-watering Mediterranean station and a scrumptious pasta station. The evening rounded off with a perfect sweets station and organic, locally roasted coffee in the Sonoma Room.

After cutting their personal-sized wedding cake, Sheena did a bouquet toss from the Papa Barrel stairwell and John delicately removed Sheena’s garter over her cowboy boot for the garter toss. Following was a traditional Hawaiian dance.

Then everyone danced the rest of the evening away until John and Sheena departed in their classic convertible.

Hair: Salon Novo, Andria Falcon
Makeup: Makeup Artistry by Alan, Alan Friedman

A footnote:  Several weeks after Sheena and John’s marriage, I received a package in the mail.  When I opened it, there was a gorgeous shadow box with a “Certificate of Appreciation” and an American flag folded in a triangle.  The note read:

Denise,

When John was deployed, we decided that we would purchase a flag and have it flown in your honour during one of his missions as a small token of our gratitude for all the work you had done for us up to that point in time.

Since then you truly went above and beyond everything we had asked for! We want you to know that ALL your time, your efforts, and your patience has meant the world to us! Our wedding was a fairy tale, and we owe every second of design and planning to you. Thank you, thank you, and forever THANK YOU!

God’s blessings to you and our family

John and Sheena (Pulealii) Belt

Yes, I cried . . .

 

www.sebastiani.com

www.ramekins.com

www.ceremoniesoftheheart.com

www.lavenderflorals.com

www.musicalheartstrings.net

www.amswinecountry.com

www.salonnovo.com

www.makeupartistrybyalan.com

www.ccwinetours.com

Private Small Wedding at Kunde Estate Winery Boot Hill

Private Small Wedding at Kunde Estate Winery Boot Hill

This absolutely lovely bride contacted me about her small wedding plans in August of 2012. After tons of emails and phone calls flying back and forth, she finally decided on the incomparable views from the top of Kunde Estate Winery’s Boot Hill.  A demure, petite brunette, her vintage-inspired all-over lace dress set off her lovely figure to perfection. She carried an amazing bouquet of heritage roses and peonies designed by Josette of Lavender flowers. The ceremony area overlooking the vineyards had matching florals in mercury glass vases on top of French oak barrels. String duo Musical Heart Strings played the enchanting walk down the aisle and the Reverend Peadar Dalton performed the ceremony.  After their “I do’s,” the bride and groom joined their family at a King’s table replete with beautiful floor-length lavender linens, china and crystal. Following a family-style dinner by Park Avenue Catering and fabulous Kunde wine (of course!), the bride and groom were whisked away in a classic ‘47 convertible Packard.

As this couple is very private, they asked that no recognizable photographs of their family or them be shared, so you’re going to have to be content with the views from a distance!

 

Hair and makeup by Katie Donaghy of “It’s a Date”

www.kunde.com

www.lavenderflorals.com

www.musicalheartstrings.net

www.yourceremonymatters.com

www.laverphoto.com

www.parkavecater.com

www.patisserieangelica.com

www.ccwinetours.com

www.itsadate.biz

Carolina & Matt at Cline Mission

Carolina & Matt at Cline Mission

Carolina is an attorney from Venezuela whose beauty is only surpassed by her kindness and consideration to others .  Matt and she met online when Carolina was living in San Francisco and trying to find someone who spoke English well.  There first date was wine tasting, so it’s really appropriate that they get married at Cline Cellars Winery!

They were married on sacred ground at Cline Winery’s mission site.  While the Catholic Church elected to build the last California mission in Sonoma, this previous site was the original place chosen and has been blessed and consecrated by the Church.  The Cline family has built a lovely, little replica mission replete with genuine, antique adobe bricks and topped with a mission bell. (222)

Carolina’s mother walked her down the aisle where Matt and she were married by Father Joe Bravo of the White Robed Monks. She carried a hand-tied bouquet of brightly coloured gerbera daisies, tulips and ranunculas designed by Richard Stuart of Dandelion Floral. (177). Matt’s boutonniere matched perfectly! (375) One of Carolina’s favourite memories was the candle-lighting ceremony.

Carolina’s theme throughout was vibrant colours along with a mix of country charm as featured in rustic burlap runners and galvanized watering tins (288) filled with flowers.  She also had a wishing cage for guests to leave their best wishes for the bride and groom (479) as seen in this photo by Jenny Hole of Hole Photography.

After a wonderful dinner of Alaskan halibut and grilled chicken, dancing with Runaway DJ’s David Craven was tons of fun for everyone!  Occasional Cake’s Christina Danner provided a gorgeous, lace edged cake topped with lovebirds and flowers. (307).

A spectacular conclusion to the evening was “hora loca” or crazy hour, when everyone dressed up in costume and danced the rest of the night away.

 

www.clinecellars.com

www.holephotography.com

www.dandelionfloral.com

www.ocakes.com

Pam & Kevin at Nicholson Ranch

Pam and Kevin are a lovely Canadian couple who wanted to be married amongst the vines in wine country.  Their family and they came down to beautiful weather and a lovely day at Nicholson Ranch Winery.

They were married on the lakeside lawn facing the vineyards in a beautiful, heart-felt ceremony by the Reverend Peadar Dalton. Then they went off for pictures while family and friends enjoyed hors d’oeuvres in the Nicholson Ranch aging caves.

Afterwards they enjoyed a lovely four-course seated meal in the Vintner’s Room prepared by Kinyon Catering.  Following dinner the Plaid Menagerie performed toe-tapping Celtic music with the guests keeping time on “spoons.”  It was amazing fun!

The centerpieces and lovely details were very much a family affair. Pam put together everything for her glamourous white feather (Think Great Gatsby) centerpieces. Kevin had fun with the rustic signs pointing towards the ceremony and dinner sites.

After dinner, music was on iPod with a professional sound system from Napa Valley Media. It sounded GREAT!

The bride, groom and guests danced until midnight, and while their carriage didn’t turn into a pumpkin, and the bride didn’t lose a glass slipper, I still think Pam has found her own Prince Charming in Kevin and that they’re going to have a fairytale marriage.

Hair and Makeup by Andrea Kobus, Essence Studio

 

www.nicholsonranch.com

www.yourceremonymatters.com

www.kinyonculinary.com

www.napavalleymedia.com

www.plaidmenagerie.com

Pam & Gene at Paradise Ridge

Pam and Gene are just the sweetest couple imaginable.  I worked together with them for nearly a year planning their wedding at Paradise Ridge Winery.  Pam’s dress was an ultra, figure-flattering delight of matte satin that laced up the back and ended in a luscious chapel-length train. Her bouquet, designed by Daisy Rose Flowers, was filled with eye-popping colours of orange, yellow, lavender and gold with deep purple highlights. And you have to love, love, LOVE those fuchsia shoes!

There’s a little story about a ring bearer who kept growling all the way down the aisle because he thought his mom had said she wanted him to be the ring “bear.”  That’s why this little guy is carrying his ring “bear” instead of the traditional pillow as seen in this photo by Laver Photography. Friends of the couple played for their ceremony officiated by Kimberly Thompson.

Afterwards, Pam and Gene spent some time for photographs in the sculpture gardens returning to Paradise Ridge for a seated dinner of macadamia-nut crusted sea bass or juniper roasted filet with a cabernet reduction sauce from Park Avenue Catering. Then they danced the night away with their friends with music by AMS (with just a short intermission for cake cutting and amazing cupcakes by Sift bakery Yum, yum!)

www.prwinery.com

www.daisyroseflowers.com

www.abeautifulceremonynapavalley.com

www.laverphoto.com

www.parkavecater.com

www.amswinecountry.com

www.siftcupcakes.com

Anna & Bill

Anna & Bill

Caption here

Just Married

Anna's Centperieces

Anna’s Centerpieces

It’s 2013! And my first wedding of the season was at the beautiful Vintner’s Inn Event Center, where the convenience of gorgeous Wine Country Suites meet with the loveliness of the vineyards and a spacious indoor area for those “off-season” weddings.

Fortunately for Anna and Bill, the weather was as nice as they were and Deb Laver, of Laver Photography, was able to take some wonderful outdoor pictures.  But you be the judge!

Bill and Anna are both Law Enforcement Officers who share a love of horses, dogs and agriculture. Their wedding was a perfect combination of the important things in their life. Anna chose to have her personal flowers professionally done, but wanted to add her own touch to her tables décor, so her mother and she crafted the centerpieces from galvanized tin and flowers her guests could plant in their own yards. Bill and she gave golden good-luck horseshoes as favours for their friends to hang above their doors.

Check out that fabulous cake by Patisserie Angelica! Anna really did lasso her handsome cowboy! The perfect figurine highlighted a delicious pastry perfection.

Food and drink by the fabulous Vintner’s Inn with lovely, local wine and champagne and an evening of dancing to Country Music provided by Vincent Blake of Napa Valley Media rounded out a perfect wedding day.