Sometimes, all it takes to meet your soul mate is a good wing woman — just ask Kate. "I met Brad on February 15, 2013, at a San Francisco dive bar. My girlfriend 'accidentally' bumped into him to give us an excuse to talk!" she remembers. And that little nudge worked wonders: One year later, on February 14, 2014, Brad proposed. "He'd planned a dinner date at one of our favorite restaurants, and on the way there he said we were making a pit stop in the Marin Headlands to take a photo," Kate says. Although the San Francisco fog blocked the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, it didn't stop Brad from getting down on one knee!
Brad and Kate gave themselves plenty of time to plan their wedding, deciding to wed on September 19, 2015. They spent a few months searching Northern California for the perfect venue, then realized the spot they were looking for had been under their noses all along: Brad's parents' home and vineyard in Lodi! "They have a large property with plenty of room for our 175 guests, multiple locations, gorgeous vineyards, and even an outdoor bar!" says the bride. What more could a California couple ask for? They spent over a year designing their outdoor wedding, dreaming up what they dubbed a vineyard ballroom aesthetic, and letting casual elegance inspire every detail. The soft, natural celebration (with wine made right on the family vineyard, of course!) was welcoming and comfortable, exactly what the bride and groom envisioned. Let their laid-back style inspire your big day, photographed by K. Stone Photography.
"We loved having the freedom to design exactly the day we wanted, with no restrictions on time or space," says Kate of her in-laws' vineyard. The classic invitation was a perfect match for Kate's elegant bridal style. She opted for a tulle ballgown with a beaded bodice — and a miniature version for her flower girl!
The practical bride didn't sacrifice her footwear's style, choosing sparkling Jimmy Choo wedges for the outdoor celebration.
"When I put on my Monique Lhuillier wedding dress, it instantly felt like a part of me," says Kate. "And Etta James' 'At Last' started playing in the store at that exact moment. I took it as a sign!" She paired the tulle gown with a fingertip veil, soft curls, and a white and blush bouquet of roses and greenery. Her grandmother's wedding ring was tied around the bouquet's handle.
Brad had always pictured himself in a classic black tux, so choosing the attire for himself and his groomsmen was easy. His white rose boutonniere looked as though it were plucked right out of Kate's bouquet. "Brad's ring was his grandfather's. I had it inscribed with 'my love,' and had the jeweler use the excess metal from when the band was re-sized to create a heart charm for Brad's mom," says Kate.
To both complement the groomsmen's tuxedos and fit in with the warm weather and vineyard setting, Kate had her 'maids wear iris-hued Donna Morgan frocks. Their bouquets also featured white roses, and were tied with trailing white ribbons.
Brad and Kate's wooden altar was hand-crafted by the bride's father, then draped with white fabric and white hydrangeas and roses. The ceremony program was written on a reclaimed window, a nod to the fact that you could see the ceremony spot from Brad's childhood bedroom.
Kate and her father walked down the aisle to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," then she and Brad exchanged vows they'd written themselves. Says Kate, "I was expecting my dad to be emotional as he walked me down the aisle, but I was surprised when I got emotional myself! My dad was my rock and helped keep me calm."
Seating assignments were also written on windowpanes, displayed on a table topped with fresh blooms and greenery.
The bride and groom truly did create a ballroom in the vineyard, with round tables topped with white linens and gold chargers. Each centerpiece combined hydrangeas and roses, all tucked into wooden boxes. The couple and their wedding party sat at a long head table, draped with a garland of greenery and roses.
For dinner, guests enjoyed an Italian menu of chicken picatta, pesto pasta, and Caesar salad, all served alongside a cabernet made by the couple and their families. "Over a year before the wedding, we harvested and pressed the grapes, then aged the wine in French oak. A year later, we hosted a bottling party, with family members bottling, labeling, and everyone drinking!" says the bride. They named the wine Nine Nineteen, after the couple's wedding date, and gave each guest a bottle to take home at the end of the evening.
For dessert, Brad and Kate served their favorite flavor of cake: Funfetti! The cake was frosted with white buttercream and topped with fresh roses. They also offered a variety of cupcakes, and Kate's grandmother made her famous Scottish shortbread cookies.
The flower girl nearly stole the show, twirling around the dance floor in ballet slippers as a nod to Kate's former life as a classically-trained dancer. Kate and Brad danced to "Angel" by Jack Johnson, then all the guests hit the dance floor. "It was one of the best dance parties I've ever been to," says the bride. "I don't think anyone was in their seat all night — even my 92-year-old grandmother was out there!"
The bride's advice is to trust your instinct. "Stick to your vision. There are so many ideas out there, so pick and choose the ones that fit into your overall design. No one will notice if something is missing or didn't work the way you wanted it to, so don't sweat it and enjoy every second!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Estate
Month-of Coordinator: Katie Rebecca (now Cotton and Oak)
Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Jewelry: Kate Spade
Hair & Makeup: The Spa at Wine & Roses
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan
Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Calvin Klein
Wedding Bands: May's Jewelers
Florist: Blossoms by Lisa
Invitations & Paper Goods: Wedding Paper Divas (now part of The Wedding Shop by Shutterfly)
Guest Book: Artifact Uprising
Music: Anderson Entertainment
Catering: Angelina's Spaghetti House
Cake: Frosted Flour
Photographer: K. Stone Photography
Can't get enough of this beautiful celebration? Then you'll love watching another couple's vineyard wedding in the video below.