Allison and Dan love California almost as much as they love each other, so they held their stunning wedding in Napa Valley at Auberge du Soleil - a magical spot with incredible views, romantic spaces, and the perfect blend of rustic elegance. Nancy Liu Chin's beautiful floral designs thoughtfully complemented the venue in every way, and photographer Michèle M. Waite perfectly captured every moment. One detail I particularly love? Allison's wedding day seamstress she had on hand to ensure the fashion was flawless. Heidi Johnson of Wedding De-Tailor ensured that every strap was hidden, every rumple was straightened, and not a speck of dust or lint was in sight. Love this brilliant idea!
The Couple: Allison & Dan
The Wedding: 10.20.12 - Auberge du Soleil - Napa, CA
What three adjectives best describe your wedding? Rustic glamour, intimate, and magical.
What was your wedding color palette? We wanted the gorgeous location in Napa Valley to speak for itself, so I chose colors and accents that lent an elegant, old-Hollywood glamour to the more rustic decor of the Auberge. We had silver linens with lots of mercury votives with tea-lights and used gray as an accent (bridesmaids dresses, groomsmen’s ties, striped straws). With that as a base, the flowers were a mix of ivory/cream and blush/peach with pops of burgundy to compliment wine country in autumn. The ribbon on the bouquets was burgundy along with Dan’s pocket square.
What inspired your personal wedding style, and how did you incorporate your style and personalities into your big day? It was important to us to infuse personal elements into our wedding so that it was a reflection of our style and relationship. We love California and wanted a destination wedding, so choosing Napa was a no-brainer! We wanted an intimate, California wedding with a glamorous and sophisticated edge, so the Auberge was the perfect location - intimate yet open, with a terrace overlooking Napa Valley. We brought in little touches to make it personal, including using wine bottles from Swanson, a local winery, as a guest book (people signed the bottles for our first, third and fifth anniversaries with metallic markers), and we had our logo printed on cocktail napkins for the cocktail hour. My maid of honor is a designer, so it was special for me to work with her to create the signs throughout the wedding, from the programs, to the menus to the “Love is Sweet” dessert sign.
We also transformed the terrace after the ceremony into a lounge area with café lights strung overhead, hurricanes with candles and sofas! It was a great way to cool off from dancing. Plus, the photo booth was out there!
Looking back, what are the moments, decisions or memories that you love the most about your wedding? One of the most special moments from the day was when my brother sang “You & I” by Wilco as a surprise. It is such a fond memory we will cherish forever.
We also are so happy that we wrote our own vows. Our officiant was truly amazing and made our ceremony so personal and meaningful, and then to say our vows to each other - it was more special than we could have imagined. I thought it would be more nerve-wracking than it was - it was just fun! I am glad we opted to do that because I don’t know that we’ll have the chance to say those words to each other in front of all our loved ones again!
What piece of advice would you give to a bride planning her wedding today? Just have fun with it and don’t over analyze every small detail. Trust that your vision will come together, and if you aren’t sure about what you want, ask a trusted friend or planner for help! Also, Pinterest is an amazing tool for brides. I had a shared Pinterest board with my florist, Nancy Liu Chin, that we used to narrow down the vision for the day.
Another thing I would recommend is hiring a day-of planner/assistant - Heidi, our wedding detailer, was awesome. She was on-site to press all the dresses on the day of and she really went above and beyond - I can’t recommend her enough! She fixed buttons on my mother-in-law’s dress, sewed bra straps in place, lint rolled and pressed the jackets, helped with my dress during pictures, washed my feet after the photos - I can go on and on! She was such an unexpected blessing but now that I look back, I couldn’t have done it without her.
Last thing - as a destination bride, I know that you can do almost everything via phone or email, so don’t go nuts making a gazillion appointments. It is literally the best day ever - enjoy it!
The Wedding Team:
Photographer: Michèle M. Waite
Event Planner: Erin Lail and Brittany Payton (from Auberge du Soleil)
Ceremony & Reception Venue, Catering: Auberge du Soleil
Officiant: Reverend Peadar Dalton
Invitation Designer: Jennifer Harrison
Florist: Nancy Liu Chin
Cake: Patisserie Angelica
Wedding Dress: Elizabeth Fillmore
Bridal Accessories: Head piece - Jenny Packham; Shoes - Jimmy Choo; Earrings - Badgley Mischka; Bracelets - Links of London
Bridesmaids’ Apparel & Accessories: Dresses: BCBG
Groom & Groomsmen Apparel & Accessories: Ralph Lauren Black Label & Hugo Boss
Hair & Make-up: Sherrie Long
DJ: David Carvalho
Live Music: Eloquence Stings
Transportation: California Wine Tours
Rentals: Wine Country Rentals
Rings: Hers - Dimend Scaasi; His - Bario Neal
On Site Detailer/Seamstress: Heidi Johnson, Wedding De-Tailor
Photobooth: Magnolia Photo Booth Co.
Thank you, Allison and Dan, for sharing your beautiful wedding!
Readers, are you planning your own wedding? Allison's florist, Nancy Liu Chin, shared some great info with us recently about how to prepare for your first meeting with a florist. It's a must-read! And for more gorgeous work from Michèle Waite, check out Jamie and Steven's stunning northwest wedding, and Sarah and Andrew's northern California celebration!