Neon is not a typical color you’ll find at a wine country wedding in California, but Ashley and Nick made it work.
The San Francisco-based couple headed north to Kenwood, California, part of the Sonoma County wine region, for a wedding weekend full of bright jewel tones, a packed dance floor, and an end-of-the-night karaoke session. Ashley and Nick worked with planner Julia Lake, who blended their love of bold color with the earthy palette of the landscape, fine-tuned their “fun party” right down to an exit under the moonlight. For the couple, the entire planning process turned out to be a good time.
“Nick and I both love to host, so putting together the party of a lifetime was truly epic and unique,” Ashley says.
Read on for all the details of Ashley and Nick’s colorful California wedding, planned by Julia Lake and photographed by Meg Smith Photography.
The couple set the tone for the wedding celebration with their eye-popping invitation suite from Swell Press. It featured textured paper invitations that resembled the coastal mountains near the venue. The colors even coordinated with their day-of paper goods, like neon-hued, acrylic menus and cocktail napkins. The marigold hue incorporated is also symbolic for brightness and positive energy in many cultures.
Since many guests were traveling to Sonoma wine country for the first time, the couple greeted each with a welcome tote, filled with necessities like snacks, water, and, of course, wine.
The couple hosted a welcome party at Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California. Ashley felt it was important to show their guests a vineyard while in wine country.
I was skeptical about the whole ‘you’ll just know’ thing, but the moment I put it on, it just felt right.
“I was skeptical about the whole ‘you’ll just know’ thing, but the moment I put it on, it just felt right,” Ashley says of her Blush by Hayley Paige gown that she found at The Dress Theory. She added bright pink Manolo Blahnik flats for her pop of color—which also proved practical given the grass at the venue.
One of the couple’s favorite memories was when Nick decided to “look too early” during the couple’s first look.
The couple’s planner, Julia, admits she was unsure of the neon hues and bold color palette that Ashley and Nick wanted for their day. “I always push my couples to work with the environment instead of against it,” Julia says. “It was a challenge to make the modern design feel cohesive with the natural, organic landscape of the area, but we managed to do it.”
One technique to tie in the hues was to hang brightly colored garlands of flowers from the couple’s ceremony arch, adding color while still maintaining an organic, grown-from-the-earth aesthetic. Marigolds are once again incorporated into the design here.
While the couple kept their vows secret before the ceremony, the pair actually happened to write down the same one. “We both promised each other that until the end of our days, we would dance around the living room to ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant’ by Billy Joel,” Ashley says. “That was not planned.”
Choosing the right music for each moment was an important planning step for Ashley and Nick. They had a saxophonist play for the ceremony, which included a cover of Ashley’s parents’ wedding song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” by Elvis Presley, and a last-minute swap for their recessional: Kygo’s remix of “Higher Love,” which was released just two days before the wedding.
Since Nick is “obsessed with passed apps,” the couple focused on cocktail-hour food with sweet touches. They included beggar’s purses as an homage to Nick’s love of them as a child.
The couple printed quirky details about themselves and their relationship on the cocktail napkins, which were handed out alongside their signature drink, the Paloma.
Yellow, pink, red, and orange hues accented the acrylic table-assignments board at the reception.
The reception took place in a sailcloth tent, with decor that nodded to both wine country and the couple’s vibrant color palette. Guests sat at a mix of tables to feast on a dinner catered by Paula LeDuc, which featured lamb chops and an avocado and snap pea salad.
Ashley and Nick shared a sweetheart table with neon accents, like the acrylic menus, as well as hot pink flowers, amber yellow goblets, and multi-colored tea lights.
To continue with the playful vibe, balloons hung from the ceiling of the tent.
Ashley calls their entertainment, Ground Control, “the best wedding band of all time.” Ashley and her family followed their own tradition of kicking off the dancing for the night. The bride stepped onto the dance floor in neon-yellow high heels.
Ashley and Nick then took their first spin on the dance floor to “Mine is Yours” by Cold War Kids. Later, the party would end with karaoke, grilled cheese, and Ashley belting Robin’s “Call Your Girlfriend.” “It felt so electric,” the bride says. “It was like a dream.”
Planner Julia Lake
Officiant Groom’s Father
Bridal Gown Blush by Hayley Paige
Bridal Salon The Dress Theory
Shoes Manolo Blahnik; Sigerson Morrison
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Alexia Maria
Hair & Makeup Marisa Perel
Bridesmaid Dresses Bella Bridesmaids
Mother of the Bride Dress Oscar de la Renta
Groom’s Attire Suit Supply
Groomsmen Attire J.Crew
Engagement Ring Katie Anderson Diamonds
Wedding Bands Derco
Floral Design Loop Flowers
Stationery Swell Press
Ceremony Music Justin Ward
Reception Music Ground Control, Elan Artists
Catering & Cake Paula LeDuc
Rentals Barker Decor; Frances Lane; Hostess Haven; La Tavola Fine Linen; Standard Party Rentals; Theoni; Zephyr Tents
Balloons Zim Balloons
Transportation Pure Luxury
Accommodations JC Room Blocks
Videography Shark Pig
Photography Meg Smith Photography