When Sarah Merrill, founder of the popular Instagram account Big Kid Problems, and Brandon Hall, co-founder and chief brand officer of ONEHOPE Wine, started planning for their wedding, they wanted to have a "shirts-off-on-the-dance-floor, put-my-grandma-on-your-shoulders good vibe." While the grandmas stayed on the ground, the pair were able to pull off a gorgeous affair with a mix of heartfelt and laugh-out-loud moments.
"I was never one of those girls with a ‘wedding vision.’ I just knew I wanted it to be really fun," shares Sarah. "Brandon and I have lived across the country and have collected a lot of wild, eclectic friends, so we were most excited to bring them all together in a really fun vibe."
The couple first met in NYC on Sarah's 25th birthday in 2013. "We had mutual girlfriends and he had been scoping me out on their Instagram. After asking about me a few times, they invited him to my party," explains Sarah. "He showed up with a few friends and the rest is history."
Six years later, Brandon planned a surprise proposal, telling Sarah to meet him at a charity event in Malibu. "We had just been to another event there a few months prior so I didn’t think twice about it," says Sarah. "I even showed up an hour late! When I got there, there was no charity event, just Brandon at sunset on top of Malibu down on one knee."
The couple decided to host their wedding ceremony amongst the vines in front of the private residence that Brandon and his fellow co-founders help build, followed by an extraordinary celebration at ONEHOPE’s new winery. "Our venue is not a typical wedding venue so we needed to bring in everything from silverware to tables and chairs to toilets! Also, when we first started planning in 2019, the winery wasn’t completed yet so we ended up planning and replanning on three different spots on the property," Sarah explains.
Of course, planning got even more tricky once the Covid-19 pandemic hit. "We were supposed to get married July 18, 2020 and like so many other couples, had to make the difficult decision to postpone," Sarah shares. "The whole time, we were unsure if our new date—June 12, 2021—would even be good to go. About three months before, it looked like things were trending in our favor. But, the whole time we were nervous and stressed."
Despite their fears, the 150-guest wedding went according to plan and was a gorgeous celebratory event with their friends and family. Look ahead to explore the beautiful event planned by Jessica Pridonoff and day-of coordinator Marcie Reilly of the virtual service Flutter Social and photographed by Laura Schneider.
"I tried on about 80 dresses before trying mine on. The dress style that I thought I wanted turned out to to be the style I liked the least," Sarah says. "I was very surprised by what I fell in love with. It’s a lot like dating. Sometimes you think you know what you want and other times the one that isn’t exactly your type catches you by surprise."
Her lace-trimmed Randy Fenoli dress ended up being the perfect fit. "I loved that it felt very light and soft and had a romantic 'winery' vibe. It definitely felt like it fit where I was getting married," says Sarah. "Also, Randy was at Kleinfeld New York while I was there and we had the full 'say yes to the dress' moment. I am a big fan so it was a magical moment." However after delaying her wedding due to Covid, Sarah had second thoughts on her pick. "But, when you have your hair and makeup done and are in location, it will all click into place," she says.
The groom and his groomsmen all looked dashing in blue suits from designer Alton Lane. They accessorized their ensembles with polka dot ties and tan toecap shoes.
Having her father walk her down the aisle was an extra poignant moment for the bride. "He is one Chemo treatment away from being cancer-free after a long, scary year, so it was extra special," Sarah shares.
The couple set out with the goal of throwing a super fun wedding and it clearly was one from the start. "Instead of a flower girl, we had a flower man," shares Sarah. "He had a little basket which he threw to a friend in the crowd and then made it rain rose petals on everyone."
Getting married among the vines of ONEHOPE's estate was a meaningful decision for the couple. "Brandon has been building ONEHOPE from the ground up for 14 years. [He] started by selling wine out of the back of his and the other five co-founders cars," shares Sarah. "So, having all of our close friends and family see what came from that dream was incredibly meaningful. Also, bringing everyone to wine country was just so fun, especially exciting for our families who have not traveled in over a year."
"Brandon and I wrote super heartfelt vows and I’m pretty sure most of our guests cried," Sarah says. "While I’m the writer in the family, Brandon stole the show and vowed to love me unconditionally and always clean my cups out of our room."
"Our officiant—a good friend of ours—basically turned our ceremony into a roast and had the crowd (and both of us) roaring laughing," says Sarah. "He even played a snippet from a Chris Rock stand up special which 99 percent of our guests loved." She adds, "My mom was not one of them."
Our dog Tucker walked down the aisle and was my ‘something blue.’
I didn’t expect it, but my ceremony was easily my favorite part of the whole wedding.
After the ceremony, Sarah and Brandon took a stroll through the estate to take a few photos and celebrate their new marriage together.
Once outside, the wedding party was there ready to toast the bride and groom.
"I wanted to avoid the whole 'terrible bridesmaids dress' curse so I gave the girls a color palette—blush to champagne—and let them pick out whatever they wanted," says Sarah. "A bunch of my bridesmaids got pregnant during quarantine so I also wanted them to feel comfortable in a dress of their choosing. I love the way it turned out."
"For cocktail hour, we had a wood-fired pizza oven turning out specialty pizzas," notes Sarah. The couple took their pizzas to-go to make sure they could get in a bite and a little private time before the reception
Inside the winery, natural-hued linens, soft pink roses, and long farmhouse tables leant a modern rustic vibe to the reception. One standout piece of the décor was actually a DIY! "Meg Kloberdanz, ONEHOPE’s art director, created these unbelievable green hanging chandeliers with string lights, chicken wire, and long leafy strands," shares Sarah. "They were gorgeous!"
While the reception looked absolutely stunning, it wasn't originally intended to take place inside. "Three days before our wedding, we had some trouble with wind and had to replan—moving everything inside the empty winery. Luckily, we had some extra help," explains Sarah. "The team at ONEHOPE was incredible and everyone rolled up their sleeves to create a gorgeous new vision inside the winery. I wasn’t allowed to peek inside until we were being announced into the ceremony. I was blown away!"
The couple decided to have more than just wine on the menu for the evening. "We had a very talented bar Tipsy Horse design a few signature cocktails," shares Sarah. In addition to a spiked lavender lemonade welcome drink, a hibiscus paloma, and a citrusy whisky creation, they also brought in a special treat. "We surprised everyone with Bluestone Lane espresso martinis for dessert," says the bride. "Bluestone Lane was one of our favorite coffee shops and brunch spots in New York."
"Brandon and I moved to Nashville last year and wanted to bring a little southern flair to our reception. We served fried chicken, cheese grits, and fresh cornbread with honey butter," shares Sarah. The couple hired the local restaurant and catering business Southside to whip up the meal.
"I spent two years looking for our wedding song," shares Sarah. "I was honestly a little sad after seven years of dating we didn’t have ‘our song.’ About two weeks before the wedding we heard “Long Haul” by Ian Munsick and our ears perked up because our wedding hashtag is ‘#initfortheLongHall.’ In the song, Ian is basically saying ‘Run free, I’m not going anywhere. I’m in it for the long haul’ which is basically a convo Brandon and I had when I was still in my twenties and not ready to settle down."
"We had a dance choreographed and learned it in about two hours," she continues. "In the chorus when Ian sings 'Long Hauulllll' Brandon picked me and spun me around above his head. The crowd went wild!"
Brandon took to the dance floor with his mom to the song "Humble and Kind" by Tim McGraw. However, Sarah decided to switch it up a bit for her father-daughter dance. "I surprised my dad. We started off with “What a Wonderful World” and then the band switched into “Love Shack” by the B52’s," she says. "It was our first father-daughter dance song when I was eight. The look on my dads face was priceless."
The couple chose a simple two-tiered cake with roses and a topper for décor. A colorful funfetti filling fit the pair's spunky personality.
"We had an incredible band, The Freshmakers. They basically made our wedding," says Sarah. "Before our wedding they asked us the ‘vibe’ and we told them we wanted shirts off on the dance floor. They delivered! They changed into crazy costumes, had people on stage, and went on for an additional two hours."
Once the clock struck 10, Sarah slipped into a sequin style by ASOS to dance the rest of the night away. Clearly, this number was meant for the dance floor. Sarah even surprised her guests by doing the worm on stage with the band.
After an absolutely epic party, the couple took off on a honeymoon throughout the islands of Greece. The bride's final words of advice to any couples planning a wedding: "Elope! Just kidding."
Venue ONE HOPE Winery
Planner Jessica Pridonoff of Flutter Social
Day-Of Coordinator Marcie Reilly of Flutter Social
Officiant Matt Cohen
Bridal Gown Designer Randy Fenoli
Veil Bel Aire Bridal
Bridal Salon Kleinfelds
Jewelry Daryl Sandak
Shoes Badgley Mischka
Hair & Makeup Blush Makeup & Hair
Rehearsal Dinner Attire Nookie
Second Bridal Gown ASOS
Groom's Attire Alton Lane
Engagement Ring Universal Diamonds
Wedding Bands King's Jewelry
Floral Design J Blooms
Music The Freshmakers
Videography Stephan “Knight” Jeanpierre
Photography Laura Schneider