Diosselyn (Diossy) Gonzalez and Charles (Chas) Johnston have a romance that would make the Greeks proud. No, not the tragic heroes and mythical gods Greeks. This love story is more of a "sorority girl meets fraternity boy, boy falls in love, and girl plays hard to get for months" type of epic. But it all worked out in the end, and Chas wooed and courted Diossy for eight years before proposing in a dramatic fashion, during a private dinner on the black sand beaches of Bali.
The New York couple decided to make it official on May 24th, 2014 in Napa, falling for Calistoga Ranch and it's sprawling lawn and wine cave. "We loved being able to give our guests a few different experiences throughout the evening," says Diossy. With planner Stacy McCain, the couple created a sophisticated, modern celebration that highlighted good food, great wine, and lots of love — all photographed by Larissa Cleveland.
Diossy walked down the aisle in a strapless lace mermaid gown with a tulle and horsehair skirt by Monique Lhuillier. "I'd tried the dress on before, and didn't think it was a top contender. But when I tried it on the second time, I let the stylist add a veil, and we were all in tears!" says Diossy. Definitely a case of the right place and right time.
The bride's accessories were totally timeless. Diossy wore embellished Manolo Blahnik pumps as her something blue, and carried an all-white composite rose bouquet. Around the handle, she tied a cross that her late brother had given his wife on their wedding day. "It meant everything to me to have a piece of him with me," she says.
A gown that glam requires an equally formal groom, so Chas donned a bespoke tuxedo.
Diossy's three bridesmaids wore convertible dresses from Two Birds in a soft pink color, and carried all-white bouquets of calla lilies, while Chas's groomsmen matched him in classic tuxes.
For the ceremony, guests gathered on the ranch's Lommel Lawn, where acrylic chairs and lush white arrangements were waiting.
White orchids, hydrangeas and roses contrasted perfectly with the rolling green hills. Light pink parasols were left on guests' chairs to shade them from the afternoon sun.
Before Chas and Diossy exchanged vows, their rings were passed around amongst the 56 guests.
Guests sipped champagne at the Lakehouse restaurant while the ceremony area was transformed for the reception, then returned to the lawn to find their seating assignments written on antique mirrors hung on moss walls.
Long white tables greeted guests for the four-course dinner. Chandeliers on the tables, as well as around the lawn, gave the evening a warm glow.
"My husband and I are definitely foodies, which is why we went all-out with a sit-down dinner with four courses and wine pairings," says Diossy. On the menu? Beet carpaccio, roasted prawns with faro, Alaskan halibut, and filet of beef. On the tables? Roses, orchids, peonies, and hydrangeas in white and the softest blush, mirrored runners, and lots of candles.
A string quartet played covers of Top 40 and 80s hits as guests dined and dusk fell.
Once dinner was over, everyone headed into the wine cave for dessert and dancing. Sugar flowers and stripes led up to a top tier of cake inscribed with Diossy and Chas's vows. Flavors ranged from cherry almond to coconut passion fruit and caramel toffee.
"We used lighting and rented furniture to create a cool lounge space in the wine cave," says Diossy. A 10-piece band played all night, including during the newlyweds' choreographed first dance. "We were so nervous, but the second the music started, we just had fun with it. And Chas literally swept me off my feet!"
The wine lovers headed to Africa for their honeymoon, going on a safari in Botswana, stopping in Franshhoek in South Africa to visit their favorite vineyards, and finally getting some R&R in Seychelles.
Says Diossy, "Remember that your guests will be happy if you're happy. So get on the dance floor, celebrate, and have fun — they'll be right there with you!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Calistoga Ranch || Wedding Planner: Stacy McCain || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair & Makeup: Professional Makeup Artistry || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Twobirds || Groom's Attire: Michael Andrews Bespoke || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Hers - Lorraine Schwartz, His - Blue Nile || Florist: Fleurs de France || Invitations & Paper Goods: Cheree Berry || Music: ceremony - Synchronicity Strings, reception - The (415)s || Catering: Calistoga Ranch || Cake: Sweet on Cake || Rentals: Blueprint Studios, Twilight Design, Classic Party Rentals || Videography: Artisan Production || Photography: Larissa Cleveland
Did you love this vineyard wedding? Then watch another couple tie the knot in Napa in the video below!