A Backyard, Garden Wedding in San Marino
Emily and Grant
Not many couples can say they met on Instagram but Emily Day and Grant Wenzlau are one of the few who actually can. Emily, an event producer and designer, was hired to throw a party for the online design publication that Grant edited at the time. Before meeting to discuss the event, Emily decided to conduct a bit of what she calls "pre-call homework" and found Grant's Instagram profile on his company's "About" page. Thinking that he was handsome and that his work looked interesting, she hit "Follow." Shortly after, he sent her a direct message asking her to a wine rave. "Right when we got there, Emily and I got a bottle of wine and fled to the corner where we sat and talked the entire night and ended up being the last people to leave," says Grant.
On the one-year anniversary of that first date, Grant sent Emily on a scavenger hunt which ultimately led to an orange grove they had once walked through together. After enjoying a picnic, they read letters they had written to each other in honor of their first anniversary. When Emily reached the end of Grant's letter to her, she noticed that it asked her to look at him as he needed to ask her something. As soon as she looked up, he popped the question!
Eight months later, the pair wed on October 8, 2016, in the backyard of Grant's childhood home, only a few blocks away from where the couple lived in South Pasadena, California. With 120 guests in attendance, the big day was old-fashioned but also fun and modern. Though they looked at other venues, nothing felt as intimate as the backyard. "It felt so meaningful to officially become part of the Wenzlau family in the backyard where Grant grew up," says Emily.
Paperleaf Press printed the minimal yet traditional invitation suite that Emily and Grant designed themselves. In shades of white and blush pink, the stationery featured one of the couple's favorite mantras, "Never say 'No' to adventures," from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Feast Fine Art & Calligraphy artfully penned guests' names and addresses on the envelopes.
After seeing a photo of Jimmy Stewart in a peaked-lapel RRL tuxedo, Grant found the same style for his wedding day which he paired with Cole Haan shoes. Emily also drew her outfit inspiration from a photo—of a Monique Lhuillier gown in Martha Stewart Weddings. She loved the long sleeves, subtle golden color, beading, and lightness of the silk organza skirt.
The vintage setting of Emily's engagement ring showcased a diamond that had belonged to Grant's great aunt. The pair designed their own wedding bands and Emily also had her "something old, something borrowed, and something blue,"—her mother's sapphire and diamond ring.
The First Look
Just like on their first anniversary, the couple had written letters to each other, and they exchanged and read them right before their first look. Emily and Grant then took portraits on a side patio filled with plants and greenery, giving the space a secluded feel.
The Pre-Ceremony Drink
Before settling in to witness the nuptials, guests drank non-alcoholic twists on The Queen's English cocktail made up of cucumber, celery shrub, and lime compliments of Pharmacie.
The Bridal Party
The Flower Girls
These heart-shaped open back BHLDN dresses were a hit on Emily's twin nieces at the ceremony. But for dancing at the reception, the girls changed into tuxedo-inspired jumpsuits.
The Bridal Bouquet
Moon Canyon created Emily's bouquet of garden roses, white clematis, begonia, and seasonal foliage.
Here Comes the Bride
Emily's father walked her down the aisle to "Clair de Lune" by Debussy. "When Emily came into view with her dad, I seriously almost lost it," says the groom. "It was like all of the struggles and nerves and beauty and uncertainty in life were packed into one image. It made everything worth it. It gave me hope and made me believe that true love and happiness is possible."
At the ceremony, the bride's mother did a reading from Song of Solomon. The duo exchanged a riff on traditional vows created by their officiant, Father Charles Ara before recessing down the aisle to "Les Champs-Élysées" by Joe Dassin.
The Cocktail Hour
The Escort Cards
Guests found their names and seating assignments on a table adorned with these cloches featuring Japanese-inspired floral arrangements.
The Reception Setup
Grant's family installed bistro lights over the lawn for the reception. Inspired by old supper club vibes, the minimal tables showcased bright white tablecloths and hemstitch napkins from La Tavola Fine Linens and glowing candlelight.
The house and grounds determined the design scheme and color palette for the big day's details. Inspired by Victorian garden imagery and the wedding scene from Little Women, neutral shades—deep greens, ivory, and stark white—were used to offset the house's brick exterior. Of her florist, Kristen Caissie of Moon Canyon, "I felt like she just 'got' me and I trusted her completely in whatever she felt inspired to come up with," says Emily. The result were these centerpieces bursting with oak leaf hydrangea, garden roses, chocolate cosmo, and seasonal foliage. The reception tables featured a mix of these creations and glass bud vases holding simple blooms.
The Place Settings
The gold-rimmed glassware and silver flatware from Premiere Party Rentals sat beside the "Emerald Vine" Limoges plates from The Ark, topped with a menu printed on soft, bright-white paper and included a line for "A Wenzlau Family Tradition." Emily and Grant had gone to his parents' house for dinner every Sunday night and they would always have After Eight mints following the meal. So, at their wedding, the treats were put into custom sleeves and passed around post-meal. In another personal touch, all of the wines for the night were from Wenzlau Vineyard, Grant's family's business.
After family-style sides of salad, roasted baby carrots, summer succotash, and roasted fingerling potatoes from Whoa Nelly Catering appeared, guests were surprised when In-N-Out Burger was served as the main course. "I was so happy to be able to give our guests a fun night sprinkled with surprises like In-N-Out," says Grant. It was another photo-as-inspiration moment, this time with a picture of actor Christoph Waltz eating an In-N-Out Burger in a tuxedo. "We wanted it to feel like a momentous occasion but not stuffy," says Emily of the low-key touches.
The newlyweds danced to Chet Baker's "Time After Time" before Grant and his mother danced to Cat Steven's "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," an emotional moment for the bride. "I felt such joy watching Grant dance with his mother. They have such a supportive, loving relationship and exuded joy and excitement while they were dancing," she says. As for Emily's dance with her father, it was initially going to be to "More Than a Feeling" by Boston as "it is my dad's song," she says. Though they ended up selecting a different tune, Emily secretly arranged for it to be played at the end of the night. "The look on my dad's face when he heard it come on and the entire wedding group hug that ensued during that song was so special," she says.
Whoa Nelly Catering baked this coconut cake with chocolate frosting, enrobed with light honey buttercream on the outside. "It was so tasty and we can't wait to break into the top tier on our one-year anniversary," says Emily. The bride and groom also tried to do a secret cake-cutting in the middle of the dancing but got caught by their guests. "Everyone saw us and started tapping on the glass of the dining room window from the dance floor and waving," says Emily. "It was great."
Grant's favorite wedding moment was sitting in the backyard with his family and new wife after all of the guests had left. "We had a bottle of champagne and basked in the glow and fatigue," he says. "It felt like a symbolic moment when Emily was truly a part of the family."
Photography, Bryan from For the Love of It
Event planning, Firefly Events
Flowers, Kristen of Moon Canyon
Videography, Shark Pig Weddings
Officiant, Father Charles Ara
Stationery, Paperleaf Press
Calligraphy, Feast Fine Art & Calligraphy
Bride's gown and veil, Monique Lhuillier
Bride's shoes, Vince Camuto
Hair and makeup, Symmetry Beauty by Nyrie
Flower Girl dresses, BHLDN
Groom's suit, RRL
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's shoes, Cole Haan
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