See How One Couple Brought an Old World Feel to California's Wine Country for Their Fall Wedding

This black-tie celebration was packed with romantic gold accents.

Updated 11/28/16

Photo by Christina McNeill

Kimberley Zatlyn was working in London when her sister suggested she meet David Geffon, a longtime friend, for a drink. Their romance blossomed quickly, and Dave popped the question in front of the ocean on a trip to Maui. “It all made more sense after why he wore a rain jacket on a hot, but windy day in Hawaii — he needed to hide the ring somewhere!” Kim says.

The couple had an elegant black-tie affair with an Old World feel in mind for their October 17, 2015, wedding. After visiting a few venues in California's wine country, the grand entrance and breathtaking gardens of Madrona Manor in Healdsburg sealed the deal. The venue’s director of events, Arielle Larson, served as the couple’s day-of coordinator and helped bring their classic vision to life. Read on to see the stunning details, captured by photographer Christina McNeill.

Photo by Christina McNeill

Living less than two hours away from their Healdsburg venue made planning a breeze for this couple. Kim gathered inspiration and ideas from her two older sisters, and the decisive bride and groom chose not to look back once they made selections for their day. In fact, making big decisions about the wedding — like which venue to book and which photographers, baker, and florist they wanted — came easily for Kim and Dave, but that didn't mean they didn't face any challenges. "Planning a big honeymoon to Thailand and Tokyo and leaving the day after our wedding weekend was a lot to accomplish!" says the bride.

The couple’s invitations were simple and elegant, perfectly in keeping with the feel they wanted for their wedding day. “We carried many of the elements weaved into the invitations right through to the actual day,” Kim says, including their white, black, gold, and peach color scheme.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

As soon as Kim tried on this strapless Vera Wang silk mikado wedding dress, she knew it was the one. “The dress suited me perfectly,” she says of the mermaid silhouette, which was fitted through the hips and fanned out with a full train. The intricate jeweled detailing on either side of Kim's waist and her silver peep-toe pumps from Jimmy Choo added just the right hint of glamour.

Her bouquet was a composition of white and peach flowers including garden roses, dahlias, and anemones, all tied up with a white ribbon.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

Dave wore a Burberry tuxedo with a velvet bow tie by Yves Saint Laurent and black patent leather shoes. “It was such a dashing combination!” his bride says. The groom's boutonniere featured crisp white roses that were accented with touches of foliage.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

While Kim and Dave decided not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen, they did have three very important people in their wedding party: Their niece and nephews! Vera, the couple's adorable niece, served as their flower girl and wore a peach-hued dress that was hand-dyed to match the couple’s wedding invitations. Their nephews, Charlie and Jonas, were ring bearers. The two boys walked down the aisle hand-in-hand and carried a pillow topped with a doily made by the bride's grandmother.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

A guitarist performed during the ceremony, starting with “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles for the flower girl's and ring bearers' entrance. The bride and her father made their walk down the aisle as the music switched to "Spring" from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi. Dave’s brother, Jason, officiated a ceremony that was designed to be entirely personal to the couple. “Each word truly meant something to us and reflected our journey individually and as a couple,” Kim says.

The bride and groom both felt strongly about including their friends and family in the ceremony, so one of Kim’s closest friends recited a poem by Victor Hugo, Dave’s aunt gave a touching speech, and his cousin sang “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin. To honor loved ones that had passed away, the bride's cousin lit a single candle that was displayed alongside a cluster of wheat to represent Kim’s childhood home in the wheat fields of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

Kim admits that DIY projects aren’t her strong suit, but with the help of her mom, sisters, and niece, she was able to create a stunning seating chart for the reception. The women wrapped a canvas with a patterned linen paper in shades of gold, cream, and white, and pinned handwritten names and seat numbers to it. The final touch was a cluster of gold leaves found at the San Francisco Flower Market.

Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill
Photo by Christina McNeill

At the reception, guests were seated on the venue’s garden deck where they could take in the beautiful views of the property. Tables were topped with classic white linens and glass vases filled with peach and white flowers, including dahlias, roses, and ranunculus. A sprig of fresh rosemary was tucked into the napkin left at each place setting.

Cocktail hour included light bites like roasted bell pepper and caper crostini and blue cheese shuffle with apple butter, but those tasty options only warmed guests up for the three course meal ahead. The first course was a plate of beets and garden tomatoes, and then friends and family chose between salmon, dry-aged beef, or mushroom risotto for their main course.

Photo by Christina McNeill

For dessert, Kim’s mother baked a few of her infamous desserts, like homemade butterscotch confetti squares, marshmallow squares, caramel squares, and Nanaimo bars, a Canadian specialty. The newlyweds also had a choice of different candies on hand, including white Jordan almonds, peach candies, and gold M&M’s — one treat for each color used in the wedding décor.

If that wasn’t enough to satisfy a stubborn sweet tooth, the couple also cut into a two tier white chiffon cake with bavarian custard. The confection had a lace-inspired buttercream frosting and was topped with fresh flowers and pearl details.

Photo by Christina McNeill

Kim’s words of wisdom for brides-to-be: “Focus your energy on the areas that truly mean a lot to you as a couple. The planning is part of the journey, seeing it all come together on your wedding day is an incredible feeling.”

Venue & Catering: Madrona Manor || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Hair & Makeup: Wash & Brush Up || Groom's Attire: Burberry || Flower Girl's Attire: Doloris Petunia || Flowers: Erica Rose Design || Invitations: Cheree Berry Paper || Other Paper Products: Minted || Music: Double Funk Crunch || Cake: Costeaux Bakery || Photographer: Christina McNeill

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