A Fall-Inspired Wedding at a Summer Camp in California
Adam John Granger first met Chadé Shirl Severin in June 2009, when he was interviewing for a spot in her San Francisco apartment in the Mission. He got the room and the girl. Nearly a decade later, on November 10, 2018, the couple—they were back under one roof after doing a few years of long distance—spent the day at Tomales Bay Oyster Farm, where they marked their first anniversary years prior. "It's a beloved spot north of San Francisco where you used to be able to bring picnic supplies and eat oysters on the bay," explains Chadé. "We did a day of oyster tasting and then stopped for sweatshirts before Adam popped the question on a bluff overlooking the water." After Chadé said yes, they spent the rest of the day drinking Champagne and calling their friends and family to share the happy news.
The couple took a relaxed, collaborative approach to planning their nuptials ("We had almost two years to plan so it felt like it evolved in manageable stages," notes the bride), which started with two key decisions. The first was enlisting the aid of their most critical vendor, Jacqueline Hallgarth. "Hiring a wedding planner—Jacqueline in particular—was the best decision we made," says Chadé. Next up? Sourcing their venue, the Stanford Sierra Center in Fallen Leaf Lake, California—near Lake Tahoe. This choice ultimately involved a trip down memory lane: Chadé spent her summers in college as a counselor at the venue, which is transitioned into a summer camp during the warmer months. "In the spring of 2018, we had a reunion for camp staff and I got to bring Adam and show him the place. Even though we'd already decided it was our venue, he fell in love with it as much as I hoped he would, and all my old co-workers welcomed him so warmly," says the bride.
From there, the pair's "elevated camp" theme was born, which they—with Jacqueline's help—brought to life with an autumnal, opulent twist; they then crafted a weekend of events for their 147 guests, which culminated in their October 26, 2019, nuptials. Ultimately, though, the highlight was their ceremony, which showcased how in sync they are and always have been, long before they first met. "Even though Adam moved into my apartment randomly in 2009 in San Francisco, and he was from Michigan and I was from Oregon, it turns out we had so much in common. He was born in the same town in Iowa where my parents met and married, we both skipped third grade, we both studied abroad in Germany, and his grandparents live in the town in Iowa where my cousins briefly lived," says Chadé. "We were born 62 days and 1,800 miles apart, but it felt like across that span, I’d dropped a puzzle piece and Adam had picked it up."
Lotus & Ash created the couple's square invitation suite, which was wrapped in painted paper and sent to guests in vellum envelopes, so they could see the foliage-themed details upon receipt; an illustration of Fallen Leaf Dock, a highlight at their venue, the Stanford Sierra Center, was embossed into the paper goods, as was their monogram. Their initials together formed "CA"—a nod to their event's locale.
The same monogram was splashed across Chadé and Adam's welcome bags—and several of the items inside them, including custom beanies and the weekend itinerary.
Chadé had never heard of her wedding dress designer—Flora, a fashion house based in Israel—ahead of her appointment at San Francisco's Marina Morrisson. And even when she stepped into what would eventually become her gown, she was skeptical: "The one thing I knew I wanted was no lace, so my stylist had me try on just one lace dress to confirm we could cross it off the list," recalls Chadé. "I absolutely fell in love with it. It felt Old-World, and also fresh and sexy."
Complete with long, lacy sleeves, a deep V-neckline, and fluted skirt and train, the garment quickly became the top contender: "When I came out of the dressing room, everyone who came to the bridal salon with me just swooned. I knew it was going to be the one even though we had three other salons lined up that day." An opal necklace purchased in Chinatown—a tribute to her mother, who loved the gemstone—her father's wedding ring, a veil (a gift from her friend Kiira's family), earrings on loan from her sister, Beth, and Stuart Weitzman shoes finished off her look.
Seasonal, romantic blooms defined the bride's whimsical bouquet, including toffee and mustard garden roses, dahlias, cosmos, and other timely florals and foliage; a neutral silk ribbon tied off the arrangement, which was created by florist Amanda Vidmar Designs.
A Little Rusty
The bride gave her half of the wedding party free range to select ensembles—within the event's color palette of blush, taupe, ochre, and baked clay—they felt good in. "They all sent me options before they purchased them and all picked amazing looks. My only stipulation was no lace, since my dress was entirely lace," says Chadé. "They all looked amazing, didn't they?"
His groomsmen—and his sister, a groomswoman—donned dark blue outfits; the men wore navy suits, white shirts, black shoes, and DAZI ties to match the groom, while Adam's sister stepped into a dress (to match her counterparts, but stand out from the bridesmaids).
The couple's first look took place at "Witches Pond," on the western side of the camp. "I initially felt really silly standing there for such a staged moment, but finally getting to see Chadé in her dress was really special—and it was amazing finally getting to be together," reflects Adam. "It felt like our wedding was officially starting."
"All three of our nieces were true to themselves on the walk down the aisle: Francesca, 7, is the oldest and a big rules follower and people pleaser; she led the way, perfectly spreading the flowers," says Adam. "The second oldest, Georgia, 5, is extremely shy in the cutest way and had to be coaxed down the aisle, glaring the whole way. The youngest, Genevieve, 2, is extremely independent and walked down the aisle at her own determined pace without paying any mind to the ceremony happening around her."
Out in the Open
The ceremony unfolded in a grassy knoll, which was lined with wooden benches; a central aisle cleaved the space in two, making room for plenty of foliage-centric arrangements. A half-moon floral arch, composed of seasonal greens and blooms, defined the aisle.
A mix of white-and-gray sheepskin blankets and colorful wool throws were placed along the benches, contributing to the event's cozy camp vibe.
Here She Comes
Chadé followed Adam—who processed in to live musicians' rendition of "Love Is All" by Tallest Man on Earth—down the aisle, solo, to "No One" by Alicia Keys.
Until the End
Adam's uncle, a Lutheran pastor, officiated the pair's religious ceremony; prior to the service, he'd also reviewed their hand-written vows, which, says Chadé, involved a lot of serendipitous overlaps. "When we shared them with him, he said they were both fine, flowery statements of love—but that we each initially missed the most crucial part. We had to promise to stick by the other until we were dead—I'm paraphrasing, but that was the spirit," says Adam. "We could say whatever else we wanted, but we had to include, 'You are my main squeeze, no matter what, until one of us dies.''
After they were pronounced husband and wife, Chadé and Adam walked back up the aisle to "Love on the Brain" by Rihanna.
The cocktail hour was full of nods to the couple's engagement. First up? A Champagne tower, to mark the bubbly they sipped at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma, where they called their friends and family to share the news.
Throw Them Back
As for the second? Oysters on the half shell: The duo became engaged at Tomales Bay Oyster Farm, after a day of seafood tasting along the water. Chadé and Adam snuck in a few bites before jetting off for post-ceremony portraits.
Negroni cocktails—which the couple barrel-aged in Adam's sister's basement six months before the big day—were the third and final nod. "We got the idea from the night of our engagement when we drank them at the bar across the street from our dinner spot. Adam said, 'What if we had barrel-aged negronis at our wedding?' We thought it would be such a fun special treat and was very easy to do," says Chadé.
The bride's contribution to the drink menu was a gin-based cocktail; she added thyme to the bottles—sourced from a bar called Hotel Del Mano near her old apartment in Brooklyn—a few days before the event for an herbal touch.
Suspended, on-palette cloth scrolls guided guests to their seats at the conclusion of the cocktail hour.
Golden Hour Glow
The duo took advantage of golden hour to snap a few portraits on the lake—and took some time to reflect on the past few hours. "Do as much together as you can. This is the start of a lifetime of compromises and joint decisions so it's good to let go of any pre-conceived notions or anyone else's desires about your wedding and really savor making the experience your own," says Chadé. "You can design it for your guests, like we did, but save some really special moments and touches that you both can look forward to."
At the reception, a mixture of round and rectangular tables, covered in La Tavola's Burnt Orange linens, were arranged around a dance floor. At each place, gold-rimmed chargers were topped with ceramic ivory plates, letterpress menus (tucked into green napkins), and rust-colored place cards fastened with a pin from Lotus & Ash; copper flatware and olive bubble wine goblets completed the look.
Bowls of Fruit
Ceramic bowls filled with pomegranates, persimmons, and apples were added to the tablescapes as a nod to the season's harvest.
Sprawling centerpieces were arranged in low vessels and featured seasonal foliage and blooms, like dahlias, cosmos, garden roses, and ranunculus.
In Your Arms
The couple took their first married spin to "May I Have This Dance?" by Francis and the Lights. "It was a song that came out in 2016—the year we finally moved back in together after many years doing long distance. We had spent many nights cooking in our kitchen dancing to the song, and it just felt perfect," says the duo.
Their olive oil cake was a "complete afterthought," says Adam. "Neither of us cared about the cake nearly as much as the cocktail hour and reception menu," he says, noting that they did, however put some more thought into cutting it. "We both have some Norweigen heritage and ate our first bites using my parents' Norweigen wedding spoons; they are two spoons linked by a chain carved out of a single piece of wood. According to tradition, whoever eats the first bite makes the rules in the household—Chadé ate first."
Exchange Books, Then Vows
"Our wedding favors were copies of our favorite books that we bought from various used bookstores leading up to the wedding," says Chadé, noting that Lotus & Ash added their monogram to bookmarks that were tucked inside the novels. "We wrote up little recommendation cards and put the books out on a table the day before the wedding so people had some reading material for the weekend. It was so fun to see what books they picked! I wish we had asked them to write it down."
Photographer, Laura Ford Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Stanford Sierra Center
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Jacqueline Hallgarth
Videography, Tahoe Film Company
Flowers, Amanda Vidmar Designs
Invitations and Day-of Paper Goods, Lotus & Ash
Bride's Gown, Flora
Brides Shoes, Stuart Weitzman
Hair and Makeup, Nancy Rice Artistry
Groom's Suit, Beauge's Tailoring
Engagement Ring, Rebekah Brooks
Music, Vybe Society
Rentals, Celebrations Party Rentals; La Tavola Linen