Exclusive: Go Inside Molly McQueen and Andy Favreau's Timeless Poolside Wedding in California's Wine Country
Actress Molly McQueen and actor Andy Favreau knew they wanted their wedding to take place on a warm night—good music their nearest and dearest were just as high on the priority list. "But the thing about wedding planning is that everything else keeps changing!" Molly tells us. "There was a month at the beginning where we were convinced we were going to be married in Mexico. Then we were dead set on a ranch in Wyoming. And then we moved onto a mountain wedding. Luckily, we finally settled on Napa. At the end of the day, it made the most logistical sense for our initial vision."
That vision was a timeless, romantic event—one that called for an amazing venue. "We got so lucky with Black Swan Lake," says Molly of the private estate in Calistoga that instantly caught their eye. "It's the sort of place you walk into and, immediately, you can't see yourself getting married anywhere else. Nothing else even came close. It is meticulously kept and very private—the lake surrounded by weeping willow trees is something out of a storybook."
Personalizing every detail was the most exciting part of the pair's planning process. "From the flowers to the dance floor to the music selection, we chose every single thing and just wanted the night to reflect us as a couple," says Molly. The pair wrote their own vows and coordinated table settings with the wedding party in mind. Another personal, special memory from the day involved the speeches. "They were truly so funny, heartfelt, and special," shares Molly. "I think everyone cried and laughed at every single one. There was just such a happy, loving energy."
The couple's save-the-date, invitation suite, and day-of paper materials were custom made by Lotus & Ash and featured calligraphy by Katrina Centeno-Nguyen. "We wanted them simple and timeless, with florals and a pop of color," says Molly. A watercolor map of Napa was included to help guests navigate the area, and a key-card suite provided the schedule and details for the weekend.
That weekend began on Thursday, with a private dinner with immediate family only—and then the revelry truly kicked off on Friday, with the rehearsal dinner. It was a whirlwind, says Molly, which is why she says remaining present throughout the entirety of your celebration is paramount. This is also why pre-wedding events are helpful. "By the time Saturday came around, we'd already had time to say our hellos and chat individually with everyone, so at the reception we really just got to dance and enjoy ourselves," says the bride.
Find Your Seat
At the rehearsal dinner, guests found their seats—set up poolside, must as they were at the Saturday reception—on a long, calligraphed scroll.
Under My Umbrella
Casual pink linens and unfussy centerpieces defined the tabletops, which were surrounded by folding wooden chairs. Umbrellas provided shade overhead, while bistro lights added ambience as the sun went down.
The private estate featured a beautiful stone manor, where the bride and her entourage got ready for the big day.
The Willow Has It
Wedding dress shopping at the Monique Lhuillier salon began with the popping of a bottle of Champagne—and there may or may not be video evidence of the bride dancing around the store. When she got down to business, Molly initially skipped past the embroidered trumpet gown she eventually fell in love with, but on her second pass through, she decided to give it a chance. "When I put it on, I had a pretty good feeling it was the one," she says. "When I found out it was called the 'Willow' gown, I smiled to myself knowing it was a sign—our wedding property is known for its beautiful weeping willows surrounding the ceremony site."
Feeling obligated to try on other dresses, Molly went to a few more stores; however, her first instinct was right, and she returned to the salon for the beautifully embroidered gown with off-the-shoulder cap sleeves. A silver pair of Gianvito Rossi shoes complemented her ensemble.
An Ethereal Veil
The corresponding veil (also named "Willow") coordinated flawlessly with her gown.
Gorgeous Flower Girls
Molly's three little cousins, Jemma, Jade and Nova, wore simple white dresses with pink ribbons from BHLDN and sparkly flats. "The girls felt so special because they'd all gotten blowouts that morning, and loved the flower crowns that Moon Canyon had made for them," says the bride. "Unplanned, they all ended up holding hands as they walked down the aisle, which was so sweet."
The bride knew she wanted a pink-ish color palette for the bridesmaids' dresses—something bright and summery to complement the scenery. "I've never loved the look of matching dresses, and I wanted them in something they felt beautiful in, so I left it up to the girls to choose," Molly explains. "Luckily, all of my friends have great taste, so I wasn't worried."
Molly's matron of honor donned a floral gown for the day with tiers of fluttery ruffles. As for the bride's bouquet? Wild grasses accented the petite arrangement of butterfly scabiosa and blush caramel phlox.
A Custom Tux
Andy wore a bespoke tuxedo from Battistoni in a timeless style, complete with a peak lapel, classic bow tie, and covered-placket tuxedo shirt. "The whole process of getting fitted for the tux and picking out the fabric and style was the best part," says Molly. "We made fun, celebratory dates of the fittings."
The groom's attendants were handsome in gray. "We wanted something simple, classic, and that they'd most likely already have in their closets," says Molly. "The dark grey looked great with the bridesmaids' dresses and complemented the scenery."
A Father-Daughter First Look
While Molly and Andy wanted the first time they saw each other to be at the altar, the bride did share a first look with her dad. "It was one of the most special moments of the day for me—highly emotional and very full of joy," says Molly. "My mom passed away when I was younger and her favorite color was purple. Our planning team, Bash Please, orchestrated our first look—my dad and I had no idea where we were going—so that we were surrounded by purple flowers."
Blended Ceremony Décor
The couple wanted ceremony décor that would complement the beautiful willow trees that marked the altar, so Moon Canyon arranged low-standing florals from local farms with Queen Anne's lace and California grasses that they foraged on the hillsides of Napa. "The florals blended with the neutral oak benches and the surrounding greenery," says Molly.
A Very Personal Vow Exchange
Molly and Andy wrote their own vows, which personalized the service. "We always knew we were going to write our own," says the bride. "It's always our favorite part at other weddings and we couldn't wait to do it at ours. Getting through the vows without crying is a whole other story, but we both did our best!"
A special moment during the exchange is one the bride will always remember: "As I mentioned, my mom passed away when I was younger, and one of the most important things for me was to make sure she felt present during my wedding day," she says, "and she was. As soon as I mentioned her in my vows, there was a huge gust of wind telling me she was there. Everyone felt it."
Onto the Cocktail Hour
Guests mingled in the property's lush summer gardens during the cocktail hour, and sipped on old fashioneds and spicy margaritas.
A Bite to Eat
"Appetizers are always our favorite at weddings so we took this part very seriously," says Molly of the cocktail hour menu catered by Paula LeDuc, which included everything from Peking duck mini tacos and individual Caesar salads to buttermilk fried chicken bites.
Classic Escort Cards
Guests found their table assignments from traditional cards situated on a custom stand, which continued the wooden elements of the day. Baskets of flowers stood sentry on either side of the structure, while manicured shrubs and trees provided a beautiful backdrop.
Come the reception, long tables, which framed the pool, were draped in cream linens; the natural wood motif, first executed through the ceremony benches, was carried through to the dinner chairs and overhead lanterns.
All in the Details
Twinkle lights floated above dinner tables and vintage lounges surrounded the pool. Napkins in a soft, slate gray coordinated with the groomsmen's suits, while classic menus marked each guests' place setting.
Petite Floral Arrangements
Shades of pink, tangerine, and white composed the floral centerpieces, arranged in terra-cotta vessels. "Our colors emerged in the gorgeous florals in custom ceramics, which were accented with cool candle tones," Molly describes.
A Memorable First Dance
Molly and Andy secretly took dance classes before the wedding so their first dance—to "Fly Me to the Moon" by Bobby Womack—would be flawless. "What started out as just not wanting to look like amateurs on the dance floor turned into us acting like we were preparing for Dancing with the Stars," says the bride.
A Bridal Transformation
Prior to the cake-cutting ceremony, Molly slipped into a second gown that she wore the rest of the evening. "I wanted a different vibe for the reception, so I changed into a silver Naeem Khan dress," Molly explains. "I took down my hair, changed my makeup, and went for a whole different look. It was the complete opposite from the ceremony, which I loved, because I got to experience both."
The couple's simple, buttercream-frosted one-tier confection was funfetti on the inside; on the outside, it was dressed up with seasonal foliage and flowers.
Andy and Molly say having a silent disco as one of their best big-day decisions. "I don't have words to describe how fun the silent disco was," says Molly. "At 10 p.m., headsets were handed out to every guest and a dance party took place that we will never ever forget. We still reminisce about it more times than is probably healthy. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. Best. Decision. Ever. Made."
Photography, Erich McVey
Venue, Black Swan Lake/Private Property
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Bash Please
Videography, Shark Pig
Flowers, Moon Canyon
Invitations and Stationery, Lotus & Ash
Calligraphy, Katrina Centeno-Nguyen
Bride's Ceremony Gown and Veil, Monique Lhuillier
Reception dress, Naeem Khan
Jewelry, Broken English
Shoes, Gianvito Rossi
Flower Girl Dresses, BHLDN
Bride's Hair, Christine Symonds
Bride's Makeup, Kelsey Deenihan
Bridesmaids' Hair and Makeup, Katie Nash
Groom's Attire, Battistoni
Wedding Bands, OK
Music, Dart Collective
Catering and Cake, Paula LeDuc
Rentals, Barker Décor Service; Bash Please; Found Rentals; Hensley Event Resources; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; Standard Party Rentals; Theoni; The Water Cottage
Transportation, Napa Valley Tours & Transportation
Lighting, Got Light
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