It was only fitting that winemaker Andrea McBride got engaged surrounded by vines. Even better, Fabian John's proposal story was pretty much the stuff movies are made of. Under the guise of celebrating their fifth anniversary, Fabian bought out a St. Helena, California, winery for the day so that he and Andrea had the place entirely to themselves. "One moment we were sipping Sauvignon Blanc in the vineyard, and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee proposing," Andrea says. But the made-for-the-movies magic doesn't end there. "He commissioned an oil painter to paint us post-engagement as we sat in the middle of the vineyard, drinking wine and nibbling on this amazing spread of meat and cheese." Sigh.
The couple's July 11, 2016, wedding was just as magical. With a ceremony held at San Francisco's epic Palace of Fine Arts and a reception at a chic city restaurant, the couple blended breathtaking backgrounds with clean, modern design and delicious food. They also added a hint of their various cultures — from New Zealand and Barbados to Iran and even Alabama — into the decorations of the day. "We wanted to keep things simple, but still very unique to us," the bride explains. Read on to see how Flutter Events helped this twosome bring their vision to life, as captured by Amina Touray.
Andrea looked incredible in her Badgley Mischka wedding dress, and she has a last-minute change of heart to thank for her finding it. Just six weeks before the wedding (and despite having already bought another dress), the bride-to-be went shopping again. "I just felt like the first one wasn't me," she says. "As soon as I put this one on, I said, 'yes,' out loud."
The dress stood out with it's crystal-embellished shoulders and fitted bodice. "It reminded me of a very decorated military uniform, in a way. It felt like a metaphor for how I've lived life, earned my stars and stripes through the good and the bad and now I was ready to walk down the isle as an accomplished woman to marry the love of my life," says Andrea, who works as an entrepreneur and wine maker.
The couple's rose gold wedding bands were purchased at Cartier. And of course, the couple had plenty of celebratory wine on hand for the big day, including a selection from the bride's own label, McBride Sisters.
Along with her bridesmaids, who wore a variety of peach-hued dresses from J. Crew, Andrea welcomed a brides-man into her party. The brides-man and Fabian's groomsmen all donned black tuxedos for the big day, but Andrea's attendant stood out by wearing a skinny neck tie rather than a bow tie.
The couple incorporated their cultures into the wedding in the women's bouquets. Ferns, the national symbol of new Zealand, and camellias, the state flower of Alabama, were the primary blooms in each round arrangements.
The couple chose the Palace of Fine Arts for their ceremony site not only because it's an iconic venue, but because it's one of their favorite places to visit together. With its ornate arches and stone architecture, Andrea and Fabian knew they'd need little in the way of décor. They added an arch made of lush greenery and twisted branches held in two rustic urns as their altar. There, the couple exchanged vows they wrote themselves, and asked two friends to share readings. "One of our friend's changed the words to the song, 'No Diggity,' and personalized the lyrics to us," says Andrea. "We laughed so hard."
Everyone then moved to Sens Restaurant, which is owned by one of the couple's dear friends, for the reception. "We often happy hour there and have celebrated multiple New Years Eve's there," Andrea says, so it was a natural choice for their wedding day. Another plus? The restaurant has the most amazing views.
Since they knew they loved the bones of their venue, all Andrea and Fabian really needed to do was add a little personalization. On a seating chart, as well as their invitations and menu cards, guests found a custom crest that represented both the bride and groom's different backgrounds. The design featured the fern and camellia that the newlyweds included in their flowers, and also added in a Persian lion and the national bird of Barbados. The menu reflected their cultures, too, with choices like New Zealand grilled angus flat iron, Fattoush salad, and southern friend chicken. Naturally, each meal came with generous pours of McBride Sisters wine.
Andrea and Fabian kept the design of their reception clean and modern, with long white tables decked out with white floral arrangements and gold flatware. Rows of chairs were made more comfortable with the addition of plush white pillows.
"We used green moss to cover the windows and add a nice pop of color, along with some hanging greenery installations over the tables," says the bride. "And you know we had to have the best stemware for the wine!"
Photo: Amina Touray
In addition to a five-piece band that played throughout the night, the couple hired entertainers who carried giant bottles of McBride Sisters wine, complete with sparklers.
Andrea and Fabian served a three-tier wedding cake made of layers of carrot, lemon, and salted chocolate caramel cake.
At the reception, Andrea changed into a Balmain dress that had no fewer than 5,000 beads. "It literally felt like it was 40 pounds," says Andrea. "I had to have my sister help lift it onto me and zip it up."
As amazing as wearing that dress was, Andrea says the best part of their big day was having all their friends and family there to celebrate with them. "It was the United Nations of weddings," she jokes. "We had family and friends from 19 countries in attendance."
Ceremony Venue: Palace of Fine Arts
Reception Venue & Catering: Sens Restaurant
Wedding Planner: Flutter Events
Jewelry: Ritz Jewelers
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair & Makeup: Style Bee
Bridesmaids' Dresses: J. Crew
Groom's Attire: Tom Ford
Wedding Bands: Cartier
Florist: Revel Floral
Invitations: ID 26
Cake & Favors: Natty Cakes
Rentals: La Tavola Linens; Classic Party Rentals
Videographer & Photographer: Amina Touray