A Relaxed, Wine-Pairing Wedding
in Napa Valley

Real Weddings

Photo: Meg Smith

Black Swan Lake, a private estate in Northern California's wine country, was the shoo-in setting for Breana and Scott May wedding. "Although we live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I was born in L.A. and grew up visiting the Bay Area, and my dad collects Napa Valley wines, so I always dreamed of getting married there," explains Breana, 26, a nutritionist and chef. She had been working as a sommelier when she started dating fellow oenophile Scott, an old friend she hadn't seen since high school. Six months after the rekindling, Scott, a 29-year-old grad student and former chef, proposed: "He got down on one knee at the empty farmer's market and told me I was the milk to his cookies, the macaroni to his cheese." And just like that, their wedding theme of foodie matchups was born.


"Scott and I exchanged gifts while we were getting ready; we were about a quarter of a mile apart and had a bridesmaid run back and forth with them," says Breana. The bride's Christian Louboutin shoes added four inches to her five-foot-three frame. She bought her lace gown from Kleinfeld in New York City: "My mom and grandma are New Yorkers—they insisted on it!" Breana's bridesmaids wore dresses by Thread.


"Scott's niece placed the flowers so carefully, it took her a whole five minutes to get down the aisle," says Breana. The nonpareil bouquets contained purple tulips, fuzzy lavender, baby artichoke heads, and green ball carnations. Breana and Scott exited the ceremony to Henry Purcell's Trumpet Tune in C Major. The estate's owner loaned the couple his vintage Ford Thunderbird for the day.


Wedding-dinner courses were paired with specific local wines. It took the food lovers about a year and a half—and four trips to Napa—to plan their "giant dinner party" of 110 guests. In fact, details were still evolving on the eve of the wedding: "We realized it would be too cold to have everyone sit outside," says Breana of the unseasonably frosty weather. "So we decided to have the reception inside a clear plastic tent. We had no idea what it would look like until we saw it, but luckily, it ended up being absolutely beautiful." The newlyweds' chairs were decorated with hand-tied posies of red leucadendrons, privet, and passion vines.

"One of the wines we served was blended when two winemakers got married—hence the name Unity, which is why we used it." Plates of pork belly and fava-bean puree were paired with a 2008 County Line Sonoma Coast pinot. Dessert was a convincing trompe l'oeil: Guests grabbed at the basket of berries not realizing it was cake. At the end of the night, the couple danced to "You Are Loved," by Josh Phillips Folk Festival.


Photos: Meg Smith

Photographer: Meg Smith || Planner: Napa Valley Celebrations || Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Florist: Kathy Hoffman Flowers || Cake: Fleur de Lisa || Rentals: Classic Party Rentals; La Tavola Linen; Five Star Productions || Music: Lark Angel Productions; DJ Dukes || Caterer: Paula LeDuc

Visit our Real Weddings page to find more Northern California style inspiration.

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