Beaulieu Garden, 707-968-0975
Flower Girl Dress
Among their friends and family—who hail from California, Massachusetts, China, Taiwan, and India—Leslie and Jeffrey, both 28, are known as superb hosts. "Friends who stay with us say our guest accommodations rival those of a nice hotel," says the bride of their current digs in Boston. So when it came time to plan their wedding, the couple—she's a brand consultant; he works at a private investment firm—knew they had to deliver some serious hospitality. With help from event designer Gloria Wong, they resolved that their wedding would feel like an enchanted evening at their fantasy summer home. Ah, but where? Since the globe-trotting pair had met and fallen in love in San Francisco, they quickly decided on California. And when they drove down the half-mile-long, sycamore tree–lined driveway at Beaulieu Garden, a lavish estate in Napa Valley with acres of vineyards and lush grounds, their search for a dream venue was over. To evoke a cozy "welcome to our home" feeling for their June 19 bash, they set up displays that showcased some of their favorite things—photos from Santorini, Greece, one of their best- loved vacation spots; framed artwork; cherished books; and other mementos from their four-year courtship. In honor of their heritage, they sprinkled in a bit of the Far East, giving out Pocky sticks and pineapple cake (both popular Asian sweets) as favors, and choosing peonies, the Chinese symbol of honor, beauty, and prosperity, as their primary decorating motif. Says Leslie, "They're a good omen for a happy marriage!"
Her sister and maid of honor, Emily, zipped up the dress.
Says Leslie of these Manolos: "I wanted shoes I could wear beyond the wedding; these are the perfect shade of nude, and so comfortable!"
Before the ceremony, Leslie posed with the bridesmaids, whose dove gray J.Crew dresses and pink peony bouquets echoed the wedding palette.
Flower girl Emilie Su, 6, decked out in blush tulle and Silly Bandz, carried peonies in a silk-dupioni bag.
A pink ranunculus (center) was destined for the groom's jacket; pink and white calla lilies awaited the ushers.
Jeffrey was flanked by his two brothers and close pals shortly before the ceremony—not a jitter in sight!
The couple married under a canopy fashioned from white cotton voile and wooden poles; during the vows, "it felt as if time had stopped—nothing in the world could have penetrated our bliss," says the bride.
Decorating doesn't get simpler than this: Clear glass cylinders with floating pink peonies lined the aisle and were used throughout the site.
After the ceremony, "I had to pinch myself," says the bride. "I couldn't believe how happy we were."
Escort cards were printed in various shades of pink to look like paint swatches, then pinned onto a frame that was positioned on a console; a dish with keys added to the at-home feel.
Guests were encouraged to peruse the couple's book collection on the welcome display.
Leslie, waving her bouquet of blush peonies, and Jeffrey beamed after the I do's.
When night fell, twinkle lights and votives gave the festivities loads of sparkle. Dinner was served in the arbor, where the 125 guests were seated at tables decorated with clear vases (some elevated on books), paper-wrapped votives, and glass bottles sporting the party's signature flower. Extra votives in glass holders were hung with ivory grosgrain ribbon.
Menu cards, which doubled as place cards, featured three different designs, each corresponding to a different entreé choice; they acted as a secret code for the team of waiters.
The bride cut linen fabric into strips to embellish the reception chairs she and Jeff would use.
Leslie recalls that just before cutting the cake, "Jeff made a beautiful toast to our fathers—we felt really lucky that the next day, we could celebrate Father's Day by playing bocce with them."
Inspired by the pleating on the bride's Vera Wang gown, the ombré wedding cake resembled layer upon layer of ribbon in gradations of the wedding color. The wow accent: a sugar peony.
On the dessert buffet, cupcakes iced in various shades of pink were neatly arranged on white ceramic stands.
Leslie relived her first entrepreneurial venture—a lemonade stand at age eight—by treating guests to the classic refreshment.