Stylish Story Telling with Raw Emotion
Angie and Charlie first met over a decade ago during their freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. They became instant best friends, bonding over a shared, silly sense of humor and a deep love for music.
There’s something magical about the little bend in Sonoma Valley – sometimes affectionately called Valley of the Moon – that’s hard to put into words but easy to understand when you’re there. Located just 20 minutes north of Angie’s hometown of Novato, Charlie and Angie were drawn to Sonoma for its beautiful scenery, cerulean skies, fresh local fare, and of course…the wine. And in no department did their day disappoint. Amid a weekend packed with barbecue, bluegrass, and brunch, friends and family were gathering atop Kunde’s Boot Hill for the main event.
Their day featured elements of both Jewish and Chinese culture and the ceremony was extra special too as Charlie’s uncle David officiated. The pure bliss across their faces as they walked back down the aisle – freshly pronounced “husband and wife” – it seemed as if that their “first” kiss might actually have been their first kiss.
Angie and Charlie supported the area they love so much by serving exclusively local food and wines. The cocktail hour featured Pt. Reyes oysters, artisan cheeses, local beers, Kunde wines and even a mimosa bar serving Gloria Ferrer bubbles. As Oakland based trio Transit of Venus wrapped up their incredible cocktail hour set, guests were seated for the entrance of the bride and groom. Angie and Charlie danced their way into the reception as their band, the KJ Allstars didn’t miss a beat in kicking things into gear. Dinner and speeches followed but it wasn’t long before everyone found themselves back up on the dance floor and Angie and Charlie found themselves above the dance floor for an extremely entertaining hora (check the facial expressions – those chairs were not light!).
Just before leaving, the catering staff brought out a batch of cookies baked lovingly for the couple by Charlie’s mother and grandmother (her own recipe), truly a sweet ending to a magic day.
Lauren and Jon’s wedding and reception was held at the gorgeous Hammersky Vineyards and epitomized all that a central coast wine-country wedding can be. Translated, El Paso de Robles means The Pass of the Oaks, and the Hammersky property, nestled in the hills west of the main town of Paso Robles, truly embodies the areas namesake.
The wedding ceremony was held under the shade of an immense oak tree that’s rumoured to be over 400 years old and the guests were seated on transparent chairs that allowed the site to blend in inconspicuously with the natural beauty all around. The nuptials were performed by Jon’s slightly nervous sister and were fairly short and very sweet. The couple clearly intended the day to be one that was enjoyed with their guests so portraits and formal photos were kept to a minimum and socializing was the order of the day.
The theme of the day, decor-wise was modern, rustic elegance and the family-style tables in the reception area were covered with mirrored tops, then lavishly appointed with abundant floral arrangements, unique votive candle holders, and hammered steel flatware.
Food was served amuse-bouche style from various stations and represented the freshest and most beautiful selections of food from the sea, the land, and the farm. Speeches led to dancing, which led to more dancing and as the evening went on, the port and desert stations opened for business. Jon, a dedicated house music lover and proponent of taking the underground music experience above ground in the 1990’s had a special surprise in store for his guests. Guests who were dancing under the starry night sky were ushered into Hammersky’s barn where an after-hours themed experience was waiting for them with special guest DJ, Jon himself. After a seamless 20 minute set of some deep-funky-business, good friend and legendary house music icon, DJ Dan stepped up to keep the party going. The early finish time of 10pm was only a minor intermission in the evening and as soon as the music shut down, guests almost instantly vanished…on their way to what was certain to be a legendary after-party in town.
From the stark, monochromatic, urban landscape of the nation’s capital, to the expansive hilltop vineyards and red dust floor of Kunde’s Boot Hill, Dan and Liz brought friends and family to a place that is both naturally beautiful and significant to them as Sonoma is where they went on their first vacation together.
Liz is a political appointee in the Obama Administration, serving in the Department of Energy and Dan works for the National Nuclear Security Administration, within the Department of Energy. Despite having very stressful careers, Liz and Dan are self-proclaimed “fun-loving, balls-to-the-wall” kind of people; lovers of life and each other. Their wedding day was going to be all about having THE MOST AMAZING time with their best people.
The day was rich with personal touches and awash with emotion ranging from tears to laughter. Dan struggled with blurry vision as bridesmaids made their way down the aisle, each one giving him a handwritten note from Liz, before he got his first look at the gorgeous bride herself. The ceremony was long and personal, with friends standing up to speak throughout – it was one of their favorite parts of the day. Though, Liz’s single, happiest moment came during their first dance as the couple held each other close while her brother and cousin’s played their song, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, in the background as golden sunlight filtered through the giant oak trees.
As another beautiful summer day ended, a brand new party was about to begin and it doesn’t get any better than the couple crowd surfing, the groom doing the worm, AND the bride and groom getting on stage with the band to sing to their fans. Liz and Dan stayed true to their balls-to-the-wall approach and made the reception one of the most spirited parties of our season!!!
We always like to ask if the couple has any advice they’d be willing to pass along, so here’s Liz and Dan’s:
We’re nearing the end of a very busy year of photography and traveling, so when Sapna and Alex decided to schedule their engagement session in our neck of the woods, we were elated. Sonoma county has some pretty diverse places to get out and enjoy nature and a spot we particularly love is Crane Creek Regional Park. Crane Creek features stands of Alder, Buckeye, Bay, Black Oak, and Willow trees and even has meandering through it, an 18 hole disc-golf course. Despite the extreme drought conditions, the trees are still delicately clinging on to their leaves and provide a beautiful respite from the late afternoon heat. We had an unusually pleasant afternoon sandwiched between two heat-waves so we were able to have a great tour of the park, climb some Oak trees, dodge a few disc-golfers and make the loop around just in time to say goodbye to the sunshine. Alex and Sapna will be getting married next spring at Kunde Family Estate, one of our favorite local venues and we can’t wait to be there to document their day!
When you think 4th of July, you probably conjure up images of sunshine, barbecues, cheap beer, fireworks, and crowds of people soaking it all in to the sounds of Roy Ayers Jr… This 4th of July would be a bit different, and we were looking forward to spending this truly independent and mellow and monochromatic afternoon with a crew of people more colorful than anything the above description could’ve ever hoped to deliver.
Finding the perfect venue was the single most important consideration in the planning of Sandy and Scott’s intimate wedding. The reason they got in contact with us well over a year ago was through a connection they made with Goldie and Dan’s Big Sur Elopement, and they wanted something that felt similar for their day. The Sea Ranch Lodge provided just what they were looking for, a contrast of drama and lucidity, there, they were able to feel connected to each other, their friends, and the larger natural world around them; far from the commotion of every day life. When I spoke to Scott so many months ago – learning about them both individually and as a couple – we talked about lots of things from music, to movies, to wedding locations we’ve loved, and onto what being an editor entails; our talk was great and always rambled in all the right direction. Convincing friends and family to make the long drive up from Los Angeles wasn’t without it’s difficulties. But, the theme would always return to one constant, and that was making sure that Sandy was happy and had the best day ever; I liked these guys a lot.
The ceremony was short and sweet, and for as silly as these two are…there were all of a sudden some seriously poignant moments amidst the exuberance. Cocktail hour was held cliff side and the guests enjoyed signature cocktails and a selection of local cheeses and other delights while we took some very sweet family photos. The evening finished (for us) with dinner and a boatload of incredibly heartfelt speeches in the Lodge’s Fireside Room. The day seemed to go by too quickly, but that’s always how we feel after a great day, thanks so much Sandy and Scott for giving us a most memorable Independence Day.