When Lauren Gross met Alexander Bernstein through mutual friends in January 2011, she had no idea she would become a bride-to-be in a little over two years. But by May 2013, the couple were planning the dream wedding day, and quickly settled on Rutherford, California's Beaulieu Garden. "We wanted to share California with our East Coast families," Lauren says of their locale. The couple worked with wedding planner Melissa Panico of MAP Events to create a rustic-yet-romantic outdoor wedding in a clean, neutral color palette. They enlisted photographer Gia Canali to capture their beautiful early fall day on October 4, 2014.
Lauren chose a form-fitting lace trumpet wedding dress designed by Inbal Dror. "It was unique and less bridal feeling," she recalls.
She played up the statement-making silhouette, complete with sheer details and a low back, with just a simple veil and drop-pearl earrings borrowed from a friend. A classic bouquet comprised entirely of white garden roses was the perfect arrangement for her bridal look and venue.
Lauren's six bridesmaids all wore matching knee-length navy dresses and carried similar, smaller garden rose arrangements.
Alexander commissioned a custom-made suit for his walk down the aisle. Inside the left pocket, the groom had his tailor stitch his and Lauren's names along with their wedding date.
Understated arrangements of white roses and hydrangeas decorated the ceremony space, while guests sat in simple wooden chairs.
The couple's one flower girl walked down the aisle in an adorable white dress with a navy sash to coordinate with the rest of the bridal party. Then, both the bride's mother and father escorted her down the aisle as a live string trio performed. Laura and Alexander opted to recite traditional vows, but personalized the ceremony by asking their siblings, a close friend, and cousin to each do a reading.
Cocktail hour took place at high-top tables where guests enjoyed passed appetizers. Instead of a signature cocktail, the couple served a selection of wines as homage to their vineyard venue.
Their seated reception was held beneath a vine-covered trellis complete with twinkling lights. The couple chose natural linens and wooden cross-back chairs to complement organic vibe of the space.
Low centerpieces of white-and-green roses and hydrangeas brought a pop of color to their otherwise neutral color palette, and the couple decorated their chair backs with fresh bundles of white roses and olive branches. Dinner included locally sourced California options like an heirloom tomato salad, grilled sea bass, smoked Sonoma game hen, and lemon-thyme carrots.
Lauren and Alexander cut into a two-tiered white-and-gold wedding cake filled with traditional vanilla cake and frosting. For those that weren't interested in cake, the couple offered a dessert table with everything from cake pops to fruit tarts.
After their wedding, the pair enjoyed a relaxing retreat in New Zealand. While the bride knows it may not be what most couples want to hear, she suggests keeping it simple when it comes to planning their own wedding.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Beaulieu Garden
Wedding Planner: Melissa Panico of MAP Events
Officiant: Peadar Dalton
Bride's Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror
Florist: Katherine Oliver of Cherries Flowers
Invitations: A Day in May
Ceremony Music: Starlite Strings
Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering
Accommodations: Solage Calistoga
Videographer: Byrne Video Productions
Photographer: Gia Canali