Is there anything more gorgeous than the rolling hills of a vineyard in California's wine country? If there is, we can't think of it, and Jonathan and Renee agree. The couple took to Sebastopol, CA, for their August 17, 2012, wedding, where the venue's natural beauty was allowed to speak for itself.
Renee and Jonathan are proof that it never hurts to seek out the single bridesmaid or groomsman at a friend's wedding. That's just how they met—serving as members of the wedding party when their dear friends got married in 2010. They'd never met before, but began dating soon after their friends tied the knot. And the same friends that brought them together played a key role in Renee and Jonathan's engagement, too. "It was very unassuming," says Renee. "We were getting dinner with the friends who'd introduced us and, when dinner was over, Jonathan got down on one knee and proposed."
For their wedding, the couple sought out California's beautiful weather and endless rows of vines. With most of their guests flying in from the East Coast, this quasi-destination wedding embraced family traditions (as well as the couple's love of the kitchen) and let Vine Hill House's scenery shine through.
Oversized calligraphy in a bright, punchy hue gives Renee and Jonathan's fairly traditional invitation suite a playful touch. The eye-catching orange envelope seals the deal.
Renee's vintage-style engagement ring is surrounded by an intricate hexagon setting.
"I wanted something that didn't scream 'I'm a bride!' and was a little more unique than most bridal gowns," says Renee of her scoop-neck ball gown from Blush by Hayley Paige. The box-pleated skirt adds an extra touch of crisp volume. Bejeweled Badgley Mischka pumps peeked out from beneath the ivory silk.
A fabric flower accentuated the neckline of Renee's gown. She and her bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets in soft, sweet colors. Garden roses, dahlias, parrot tulips, hydrangeas, and pops of yellow from billy balls were ideal for the late-summer celebration.
The flower girl and junior bridesmaid are the couple's nieces, daughters of Jonathan's late brother. "We used diamonds from their father's wedding band to have earrings made for the girls, then used the remaining stones to make a necklace for Jonathan's mom," says Renee. The flower girl carried a flower wand decorated with billy balls, ribbon and tulle.
Jonathan's map cufflinks featured the locations of where the couple met, and where they were getting married.
The wedding party wore gray, a light sage green, and soft purple, tying into the natural, pastel hues of the wedding's décor. "Their suits were dressed up, but not stuffy or uncomfortable," Renee explains.
Antique frames hanging from the property's oak tree displayed the guests' escort cards. Tiny clothespins held the cards to stretches of tulle ribbon. A chalkboard featured the evening's menu.
Pastel-hued mason jars and milk bottles appeared throughout the reception. Colorful paper straws were on-hand for the couple's signature white sangria, which was made using Jonathan's recipe.
A vintage suitcase was the ideal receptacle for cards. "We both love being in the kitchen," says Renee, "so we decided to create something edible and homemade to share with our guests. We made Hot Pepper and Berry Wine Jellies, tying in to the vineyard venue." The guestbook was a unique take on the wine bottle guest book. Guests wrote notes to the couple and slipped them into empty bottles, which Renee and Jonathan will crack open so they can read the notes inside.
The simple, muted color scheme let Vine Hill House's landscape really shine. Neutral tables were arranged under large umbrellas, while heat-lamps were at the ready for when the sun set. Garden roses, dahlias, tulips, and hydrangeas in ivory, pink, peach, and yellow were used for the low centerpieces.
The three-tiered cake was decorated with fresh roses, dusty miller leaves, and hydrangeas to match the reception décor. In honor of the couple's grandmothers, who were "avid and wonderful pie makers," Renee and Jonathan served a selection of pies along with the cake.
Lights, strung from the branches, cast a whimsical glow over the reception.
Jonathan and Renee honeymooned in Maui three months after their wedding. "It was nice to have something to look forward to once the wedding was over," says Renee. But before the wedding has come and gone? "Don't procrastinate!" says the bride. "And don't be afraid to stay on top of your vendors. More than anything, though, enjoy every minute. Don't get caught up in the snafus that may happen. None of your guests will remember!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Vine Hill House || Day-Of Coordinator: Elsa Vera || Bride's Wedding Dress: Blush by Hayley Paige || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Jewelry: Janene's Bridal Boutique || Hair & Makeup: It's a Date at the Powder Room || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom and Groomsmen's Suits: Perry Ellis from Men's Wearhouse || Wedding Bands: Seelenbacher Jewelers || Florist: PoppyStone Floral Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: New England Invitations || Music: Ceremony - Golden Gate Strings, Reception - Denon & Doyle || Catering: Park Avenue Catering || Cake: Fleur de Lisa || Photography: Janae Shields Photography