A White Formal Foodie Destination Wedding in California

Rainy Wedding Day


What happens when a food editor and a wine connoisseur throw a wedding in Napa? Divine food, excellent wine -- and the best time of their lives.

This New York couple met at The Modern (The Museum of Modern Art's restaurant) when Elizabeth Gottfried, a food editor at Martha Stewart Living and Weddings was supplementing a food-heavy resume with wine classes and was introduced to Stephane Colling, The Modern's wine director, by a mutual friend. Over a year later, the two began their wedding-location search. There was New York, where they had eaten their way through every good restaurant, but the city's venues fell short, and France (where Stephane is originally from) had a brutal exchange rate. In the end, California won. Just hours from Elizabeth's childhood home lies a region nearly as famous as France for its wine: "I'm in wine, she's in food, and Napa has both to offer," says Stephane.

Even rain on their wedding day couldn't dampen the spirits of Elizabeth, in a gown and peep-toe heels by Oscar de la Renta, and Stephane, in a suit and shoes by Ermenegildo Zegna. The parasols are by Bella Umbrella.

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The Setting


Looking out over the beautiful landscape of Napa Valley, where Elizabeth and Stephane said "I do."

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The Ceremony


Olive branches and magnolia leaves hug an iron frame to form the huppa.

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Stationery Suite


Their engraved calligraphed invitations are understated and refined.

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Flower Girls


Flower girls Louise Colling and Sloane Weinstein -- the groom's and bride's nieces -- wear made-to-order dresses by Papo D'Anjo.

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The Bouquet


Elizabeth's all-white bouquet of peonies and late-season garden roses.

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The Beautiful Bride


The bride poses for a photo in her beautiful gown by Oscar de la Renta.

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Marriage Contract


An unfussy, unadorned black-and-white ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) by Stephanie Caplan.

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The Bride and the Groom


The groom shields the bride from the elements.

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Each boutonniere, created by Kathy Hoffman Flowers, was slightly different but carried through the theme of being romantic but understated.

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The Happy Couple


The pair share a pre-reception moment.

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Table Arrangements


Bulbous milk jugs, Paris flea-market finds, and chunky bottles hold blooms alongside new bowls.

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Matron of Honor's Bouquet


Peonies, roses, brunia, and ornithogalum in the matron of honor's bouquet reference the bride's without duplicating it.

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The Family


A family portrait includes the proud parents and the matron of honor.

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The Hors d'Oeuvres


One of the many French-European hors d'oeuvres served: fingerling crisps with caviar.

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Guest Book


Note cards stacked next to a box by Denise Sharp await guests' well-wishes.

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French Liqueur


A French liqueur made from Alps-grown elderflower is also served.

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Place Settings and Centerpieces


Instead of giving florist Kathy Hoffman pictures of specific flowers or centerpieces, the couple asked her to capture a mood -- romantic but understated -- and she did just that with her compositions of twigs, leaves, coral ferns, Japanese anemones, and peonies. In keeping with the invitations, calligraphed name cards and menus shun flourishes in favor of restraint.

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The Reception

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Candlelit chandeliers cast halos of light over an airy barn; the intimate, 75-person affair required only two tables, albeit extra-long ones.

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Champagne Toast


A 2000 Dom Perignon kicks off the reception.

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Pumpkin Soup


Caterer Elizabeth Eckholt of VedaGreen sources local, sustainable, seasonal foods for her dishes, like this pumpkin-and-squash soup with fried sage and brown butter.

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Regional Fish

Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Eckholt pairs seared regional sable (a young codlike fish) with heirloom-tomato butter and caper gremolata (a European parsley-lemon seasoning).

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The Main Course


The main course, filet mignon from grass-fed cows, is served with organic baby carrots. "It's always the most interesting dinners with them, because they love eating so much," says the bride's mom.

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The Couple Enjoying the Reception


The couple share a laugh at the reception.

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Guests at the Reception


Friends listen to each vintner explain his wine before it is poured.

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Cheese Plate


To go with a lineup of local cheeses, including Humboldt Fog goat with rose-petal jelly and Point Reyes blue with spiced pecans, Eckholt sets out mache -- a nutty, buttery European lettuce, Stephane's favorite.

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Wedding Cake and Dessert Bar

Wedding dessert table with wedding dress-styled cake and dessert assortment.
Meg Smith Photography

When she said, "It has these hoops and loops and ruffles," Elizabeth could have been referring to her gown -- or her cake, which was modeled on the dress. The cake, by I Dream of Cake, featured one tier of vanilla with raspberries and two of coconut. The other snacks (from left): pumpkin and cardamom creme brulee, rosewater meringues with golden raspberries, meringues with red raspberries, and hot chocolate. The dessert bar also includes orange-blossom panna cotta, chocolate molten cakes, canneles, caramels with fleur de sel, and honey madeleines.

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In keeping with the rustic aspects of the wedding, a do-it-yourself s'mores station tempts guests.

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First Dance


The couple enjoys a first dance to John Mayer's "Say."

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Cutting the Cake


Elizabeth and Stephane do what brought them together: delight in food.

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Wedding Favors


Clad in white grosgrain ribbon and black glassine, favor boxes -- printed with "Thank you for coming" in French -- hold pastel-hued macaroons by Mad Mac.

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A Lovely Table Setting


A gauzy table runner, lit from above by a votive-candle chandelier, embodies the wedding's focus on basic-but-lovely materials and textures.

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Event Planning: Rebecca Feeney of Custom Event Group
Catering: Elizabeth Eckholt of Veda Green
Flowers: Kathy Hoffman Flowers
Desserts: Janet Rikala Dalton; Rene Matthew; Nora's Patisserie
Calligraphy: John DeCollibus for Beyond Words
Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen; Classic Party Rentals
Tent: Zephyr Tents and Occasions Event Productions
Photography: Meg Smith Photography

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