For Angela, 28, an elementary school teacher, and Jacob, 30, an energy trader, a California wedding was a no-brainer. The two were both from SoCal's Central Valley—just 45 minutes apart—and attended UC-Santa Barbara, where they met nine years ago. But even though they'd lived so close (if unwittingly) for their whole lives, they didn't start dating until Jacob had already graduated and moved away, and they didn't live in the same city throughout their six-year courtship.
Finally, after a holiday proposal in San Francisco's Union Square, they were ready to come together for good. The couple worked for months with Angela's mom and aunt to create a classic, romantic, and vintage-inspired reception filled with DIY details at Martinelli Event Center in Livermore, a Mediterranean-style event space and winery in California's Garré wine region.
Angela had two goals: to stick with decor so timeless, she wouldn't cringe when she flipped through her wedding album decades later, and to incorporate elements both of her Chinese-American heritage and Jacob's Dutch roots. Throw in some genius desserts and a string trio, and you've got one of the sweetest weddings we've seen all year.
Jacob had planned to propose on ice skates, at San Francisco's Union Square ice rink a week before Christmas in 2011. Angela arrived ready to go, bedecked in spandex in sequins, but the two realized they wouldn't have enough time for a twirl on the ice before dinner. Angela was starving, but Jacob convinced her to take a walk around Union Square before they arrived at the restaurant. When he got down on one knee, she was so surprised and overjoyed, she couldn't eat all night!
"I've always envisioned an elegant outdoor wedding that incorporates my Asian-American heritage and the Dutch-American heritage of my fiancé," Angela says. Chinese accents and parasols to keep guests out of the sun lent the affair a unique, global feel.
Angela and Jacob stuck with a color scheme of blush and ivory, incorporating gold and silver accents, which came through on their elegant lace-trimmed invitations.
Angela, her mother, and her aunts created the details on the invitations themselves, inspired by the lace and rhinestone accents on her wedding dress.
Angela knew her ivory lace Monique Lhuillier gown was "the one" the moment she saw it.
"I love the details that went into the dress—Alencon lace, Chantilly lace, sheer tulle, satin-covered round buttons, and a little bit of sparkle from the shiny rhinestone sash," she says.
She went ultra-glam with glittery gold Jimmy Choo sandals for the ceremony, a surprise gift from her maid of honor, and paired her feminine trumpet gown with dangling drop earrings and a fingertip veil. A classic nosegay of white, ivory and blush peonies and roses rounded out her timeless look.
Jacob wore a classic black Hugo Boss tux that reminded Angela more than a little of James Bond. His fitted white shirt was fastened with silver cuff links Angela gave him on their first dating university, one of only a few belongings to survive a house fire in 2010.
Before the ceremony, she says, Angela was so nervous about everything going smoothly, she twitched for two hours! Jacob is still giggling about it—in all their eight years together, he said, he's never seen it happen before or since.
Angela's bridesmaids looked ethereal in blush silk chiffon dresses by Amsale.
Groomsmen were decked out in Vera Wang tuxedos, chosen by the best man. They chose to forgo vest, cummerbund, and suspenders for a cleaner, more streamlined look.
Angela and Jacob were married on a hill overlooking the vineyard. "The ceremony site was decorated with a light layer of white rose petals running down the aisle. The site was so amazing on its own with the rolling hills and grape vines that I didn't want to take away from the natural beauty of the landscape with too much decoration," Angela says.
Handmade lace doily cones, filled with flower petals for guests to toss during the processional, hung on the backs of aisle-lining chairs during the ceremony.
Angela and Jacob's two flowers were both just 3 years old, and when it came time to walk the aisle they got lost and wandered over to a few guests standing away from the ceremony, to hilarious results. The girls were eventually redirected to the right path, but not before everyone had a good laugh!
The traditional ceremony was officiated by Jacob's great-uncle, a retired court-appointed judge in Sacramento. "It was special," Angela says, "because he'd officiated many weddings in Jacob's family."
As Angela walked down the aisle, a string trio played Edelweiss from The Sound of Music, one of her (and her family's) all-time faves. In fact, Angela was named after Angela Cartwright, who played one of the Von Trapp children in the movie! After saying "I do", Angela and Jacob led the recessional to "All You Need is Love" by the Beatles.
After a short and sweet ceremony—no longer than 10 minutes, but still too long for their ring bearer to stand still—the couple led guests through the vineyard to an indoor cocktail hour in Martinelli's Italian-style villa, before an outdoor seated reception in the courtyard.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I'm obsessed with oysters and a good steak," Angela says. The couple served oysters on the half shell, filet mignon, scallops, and Cornish hen.
Guests quenched their thirst with colorful lemonade in between rounds on the dance floor.
Angela and her family DIY'ed the menus to reflect the lace accents on their invitations and their blush, ivory, and metallic color palette. The menu cards were made up of three layers of ivory, pink, and taupe shimmer paper with raised gold lettering, accented by ivory lace and a rhinestone. The couple used low centerpieces of blush and ivory roses, hydrangea, dusty miller, stock and dahlias with ivory votive candles and linens. The result? A soft, ethereal, classic look in fitting with the romantic surroundings.
To incorporate her heritage into the reception, Angela entertained guests with traditional Chinese lion dancers. They were a smash hit: most of the attendees had never seen anything like it before, and some raved that it was the best part of the party.
Angela has a major sweet tooth. Fittingly, guests received pink candy in lace-trimmed apothecary jars as favors (and sampled it on the dessert table) for a delectable end to the evening.
Angela, Jacob, and Angela's mom traveled far and wide, from San Francisco to Paris, to test the very best French macarons around for their wedding. They settled on a pink (apricot-peach flavored) tower sourced from Sugarie, a local bakery, to coordinate with their warm color palette.
The pièce de résistance of the dessert table was a three-tier ivory cake, embellished with floral appliqués and topped with pink roses edged with rhinestones. "The design of the cake was based on my wedding dress," Angela says.
For a keepsake they can return to throughout their lives, the couple decorated six jars in which guests could place written well-wishes and advice for their first, fifth, tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, and fiftieth anniversaries.
Angela's advice to future brides? "Find a photographer you absolutely adore and trust. We gushed over the photos of Annie Tao, our photographer, for five years before I even got engaged!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Martinelli Event Center || Bride's Wedding Dress: Chinese Cheongsam: Ling Ling Chinese Dresses, Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier, Reception Dress: Sue Wong || Shoes: Ceremony: Jimmy Choo, Reception: Miu Miu || Jewelry: Nina and Nadri, from Nordstrom || Hair and makeup: Skyla Arts || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's Tuxedo: Hugo Boss || Groommen's Tuxedos: Vera Wang at Bridal Galleria || Bride's Wedding Rings: Steve Padis || Florist & Rentals: Delford West Flowers and Gifts || Invitations & Paper Goods: DIY, sourced from Papyrus, Cards and Pockets, and Lace Place|| Music: Ceremony: An Elegant Touch of Strings, Reception: Amos Productions || Catering: Garré Winery || Cake: Cake Delight || Favors: Sugarie || Videography: De Novo Studio || Photography: Annie Tao Photography