In December 2019, Nicole D’Andrea and Matt Anapolsky went out to celebrate Matt’s birthday—but it was Nicole who got the surprise. After the evening wound down and the couple was back home getting ready for bed, Matt got down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree. “I was in my PJs with our mini Aussie puppy, Tucker, by my side,” Nicole remembers. “I could not have asked for a cozier proposal.”
The San Diego couple, who met on a dating app in 2015, set to wedding planning, dreaming of a 100-person affair in Santa Barbara. Right before they mailed the save-the-dates, however, COVID-19 brought the world to a screeching halt. “As the reality of the pandemic set in, it brought waves of confusion, frustration, and stress,” Nicole says. So, they pushed pause on planning, and eventually decided to pivot. “We realized that the most important aspect to getting married was the union of marriage itself. A minimony was the perfect fit for us.”
The bride turned to her friend Dani Blasena—a fellow events-industry pro and owner of an incredible French farmhouse and vineyard in nearby Rancho Santa Fe. Nicole knew the property was the perfect setting for her vision of a fall-inspired al fresco dinner-party wedding, which came to fruition on October 10, 2020. The guest list? Just six people: both the bride and groom’s immediate families and the groom’s best friend.
“Because our wedding was an intimate celebration, we were able to customize so many details to make the day reflect our personalities and union,” Nicole says. Read on to see all the unique details brought to life by HauteFêtes Fine Weddings & Events and photographed by Kurt Boomer.
With a guest count of just six, the couple didn’t send out formal invitations. After making the decision to pivot from their original plan, “we both called our parents, picked a date that everyone was able to attend, and planned a wedding in only a few short months,” Nicole says. The paper products they did include—such as menus and place cards by Foundry Paper Co.—were textural and featured touches of leather as a nod to the horse community of Rancho Santa Fe.
The farmhouse venue Bastide de Bonheur—which translates to “cottage of happiness”—features Provençal architecture and abundant gardens. “When you are on the property, you feel like you are transported to Provence with the vineyard, olive and lemon groves, and lavender beds,” Nicole says. “The house itself feels like a French manor, giving it a really romantic and intimate feel.”
On the wedding day, my mom gifted me the prettiest pearl and gold earrings. It meant so much to have this token of love from her that I could wear when I walked down the aisle.
“On the wedding day, my mom gifted me the prettiest pearl and gold earrings,” the bride says. “It meant so much to have this token of love from her that I could wear when I walked down the aisle.” Nicole completed the look with a pair of Ted Baker heels with a satin bow detail and, of course, her unique east-west oval engagement ring by Kasia Jewelry.
Nicole’s gown by Israeli designer Liz Martinez featured a floral-embroidered bodice and layers of tulle atop a soft fawn-colored base. “I felt beautiful, feminine, and a little European in it,” she says.
Groom Matt accessorized his Friar Tux suit with a plaid tie and a pair of heirloom cufflinks. “They were his grandfather’s,” Nicole says. “When Matt was little, his grandpa lived in Coronado and his family would vacation there every year, making San Diego a special place full of great memories. This was one of the reasons we moved to San Diego. It was only fitting Matt wear his grandfather’s cufflinks.”
Nicole carried a loosely structured bouquet of Hot Cocoa and Koko Loko garden roses, butterfly ranunculus, and seasonal foliage, tied up with a cascading Bellame ribbon. Matt’s boutonniere matched the bouquet, with a single red Hot Cocoa rosebud and seasonal berries.
By focusing the day on who and what was most important to us, our wedding was even more authentic, meaningful, and filled with special moments that were inspired by our own love story.
For the couple, the wedding day was all about making each moment special. “One of the things I loved about working with Dani was how encouraging she was of throwing out any notion of a wedding ‘playbook’ for our day,” Nicole says. “By focusing the day on who and what was most important to us, our wedding was even more authentic, meaningful, and filled with special moments that were inspired by our own love story.”
A pair of weathered teak benches provided seating for the garden ceremony. Caramel-colored pashminas were draped over the back for guests to wrap up with after the sun went down. The couple stood on a custom weathered wood platform as they exchanged vows.
“Whereas most people think fall is about the color orange, we approached our palette differently, instead using the setting to drive our color story of rich tones of reds, apricots, dusty rose, golden yellows, and blue-greens,” says floral designer Kasia Mikulska of Plenty of Petals. “With so many wonderful fall leaf textures, we opted for a foliage-driven arch incorporating different shades of maple leaf, golden rain tree pods, purple fernleaf acacia, olive, and antique hydrangea.”
Nicole’s father walked her down the aisle. For the processional, they chose Kina Grannis’ stunning rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
Nicole and Matt wrote their own vows in custom handmade books by Foundry Paper Co. “It was the perfect way to personalize our intimate ceremony and share our true, unique promises,” Nicole says. “They are our love letters to each other.”
The bride’s sister did double duty as both maid of honor and officiant, wearing a floor-length gown “in the prettiest shade of dark teal blue-green,” Nicole says. “It felt sophisticated against the garden backdrop.”
After their first kiss as newlyweds, the couple recessed down the aisle to “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole.
More special moments came after the ceremony, when the couple walked through the vineyard for portraits. The venue’s grounds are abundant with plant life, including citrus and olive trees, roses, and beds of lavender.
To kick off cocktail hour in the front of the house, the couple poured champagne down a tower of coupes. “We wanted a few mementos [to keep] from the wedding, which prompted us to purchase etched-glass Champagne coupe glasses, knowing they would also be a fun reminder of our special day every time we bring them out during family gatherings and celebrations,” Nicole says.
For the reception, guests moved to the back of the house for dinner by the pool. They set down their champagne in favor of wine selected specifically from the couple’s favorite wineries: Margerum, Alma Rosa, and Riverbench.
The intimate tablescape was layered with texture and romantic details like soft velvet linens from La Tavola and a custom fringed runner. Formal Wedgwood china topped wicker chargers for a sophisticated-meets-rustic look, and floral napkins and bone-handled flatware completed each place setting. Place cards were hand-calligraphed and wrapped in leather.
“Dancing with Matt is always so fun, whether it is in the kitchen while cooking, or him just being funny,” Nicole says. “I always get the biggest smile while dancing with him.” Their first dance as newlyweds to the tune of “Stay With You” by John Legend was no exception.
Later, Nicole and her father danced to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King, which he used to sing to her at bedtime as a little girl. Matt and his mother selected The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” for their dance.
In order for their photographer to capture all the major moments of the day during daylight hours, Nicole and Matt opted to cut the cake before dinner, which became a special moment in and of itself. “My Grammie would always say, ‘Dessert first!’” Nicole remembers. “So it felt like she was there sharing this moment.” The bride laughs that choosing the cake flavor was one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning; they ultimately settled on almond mixed berry, and served it alongside locally sourced coffee from Lofty Coffee Company.
Dinner from The Farmhouse Catering began with individual cheese and charcuterie plates and cups of toasty butternut-squash soup. For the main course, New York strip steak was paired with Hasselback potatoes and a bourbon cream sauce. “It was all so delicious and seasonally inspired,” Nicole remembers.
Having a minimony gave us the exact intimacy we were looking for.
The setting was magical: Bistro lights and the flicker of pillar candles were reflected in the pool as the sun went down, and the scent of lavender and lemon blossom wafted in the air. “From the beginning, we always described our wedding as resembling something of an intimate dinner party, which reflected the importance of having close friends and family together enjoying good food, good wine, and great company,” Nicole says. “Having a minimony gave us the exact intimacy we were looking for. In the end, it was a celebration of the journey we’ve already shared, as well as a look to the future of what we’ve yet to experience on our adventure together.”
Venue Bastide de Bonheur
Floral Design Plenty of Petals
Bridal Gown Liz Martinez Bridal Wear
Bridal Boutique Kinsley James Couture Bridal
Bride's Shoes Ted Baker
Hair and Makeup Beauty Bespoken
Groom’s Suit Friar Tux
Rings Kasia Jewelry
Stationery and Vow Books Foundry Paper Co.
Maid of Honor’s Dress BHLDN
Mother of the Bride’s Dress Tadashi Shoji
Best Man’s Suit Men’s Wearhouse
Catering The Farmhouse Catering
Cake Hey There, Cupcake!
Rentals Bright Event Rentals
Linens La Tavola Fine Linen Rental
Ribbon Bellame Ribbon
Accommodations The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
Photography Kurt Boomer