A Stunning Outdoor Amphitheater Created a Rustic, Romantic Backdrop for This Couple's Ceremony
A chance meeting during a night out at San Francisco's Brixton in 2016 hooked Elizabeth, a private wealth advisor, and Will, a software engineer, on each other from the start. "I was pleasantly surprised to meet a handsome man taller than myself—I'm 5'11, Will is 6'4"," says the bride. "Will was excited to meet a girl who was also saving for retirement." In February 2020, Will proposed on a Saturday morning hike on vacation in Lake Tahoe, where he asked Elizabeth to take a picture of him with the couple's dog, Juno. "Our dog is small, so Will was kneeling down with her and as I went to take a photo I noticed the ring in the frame—so I have a photo of the moment he proposed!" says Elizabeth. "It was perfect for us—a quiet moment outdoors, just the two of us and Juno—with a beautiful view of the lake."
Elizabeth and Will began organizing a 200-person wedding for June 2021, but changed their plans to accommodate a smaller ceremony at Meadowood Napa Valley due to COVID-19. "We loved the intimate, outdoor setting of the vintner's glen," says Elizabeth. "Unfortunately, Meadowood was destroyed by the Glass Fire that ravaged Northern California in late September of 2020. It honestly took us a few months to recover from the devastating news—we were so in love with Meadowood and the vision we created around the venue."
With help from their planner, Alexis Alexander of Alexis Raine Events, the couple pivoted again—this time, choosing to host 70 guests at the just-opened Montage Healdsburg on June 24, 2021. "We felt really good about our timing, as California reopened just a week before our wedding day and cases were low and falling," says the couple. "The food and drinks were incredible—a component that was very important to us, as we envisioned an elevated outdoor dinner party vibe." After the stress of cutting their guest list and losing their venue to the fire, Elizabeth and Will treasured every moment of their big day. "Our wedding day was sweet, intimate, joyful, romantic, and whimsical," they say. "It reflected our love for great food and wine, artisanal cocktails, live music, fresh air, and summer nights spent in the company of our closest family and friends."
Will and Elizabeth's invitations, made by Letter Perfect, combined a timeless script font with a formal block text and custom monogram. "We were short on time when it came to sending out invitations, so we kept them pretty simple," says the duo. "They were traditional and classic—we modeled them after Elizabeth's parents' wedding invitation from 1985."
All in the Details
Elizabeth and her mother took their time shopping for the perfect wedding dress. "We went to nearly every bridal salon in the city," says the bride. "We made a day out of shopping and ended up at Waterbar on the Embarcadero for Champagne and oysters more than once." In the end, Elizabeth chose a Mira Zwillinger gown with a sweetheart neckline, silk straps, and tulle skirt. "While there were several other serious contenders, I just loved the intricate detail on the bodice and the A-line shape of the dress," she explains.
Old and New
The bride chose several pieces of jewelry with sentimental history, including her late grandmother's three-strand pearl bracelet and a gold Cartier cuff that was a wedding gift from Will. She carried a light blue Cult Gaia clutch, and pinned her grandmother's sapphire broach to it; then donned T-strap Chanel heels she and her mother picked out together.
A lush collection of ivory-and-blush blooms from Loop Flowers were tied into a statement-making asymmetrical bouquet that previewed the event's other floral details.
Pretty in Pink
For her bridesmaids, Elizabeth chose Jenny Yoo satin and crepe gowns in two shades of pink—wild rose and petal. "My bridesmaid and best friend from college, who works in fashion, really helped me narrow down the dress styles and color palette based on what was available and ready to ship," says Elizabeth, "since we didn't have time to get the dresses made to order."
Black and Blue
Will complemented Elizabeth in a midnight blue tuxedo with a contrasting black shawl collar, sourced from J. Hilburn. He added a Cartier watch—a wedding gift from Elizabeth—and wore her late grandfather's heirloom cuff links. His groomsmen chose their own suits or tuxedos in varying shades of dark blue.
So in Love
Majestic trees framed the couple during their first look outside the bridal suite. "I was so excited to finally get into my dress, complete with hair and makeup, and see Will," says Elizabeth. "Our first look felt like truly the start of our wedding."
Rustic and Romantic
Will and Elizabeth's ceremony took place in an outdoor amphitheater, where guests sat on hewn redwood benches draped with soft blankets and plush throw pillows. "From the drive into Montage Healdsburg, we knew it was something special," says the bride. "We loved how the hotel was in a natural setting surrounded by beautiful oak trees—the property was stunning."
The grounded floral arch, filled with splashy dahlias and bouncy greens, defined the altar.
All in the Family
A long, paved path linked the main property with the outdoor amphitheater, creating a dramatic aisle for the couple and their bridal party—which also included Will's young niece and nephew and the couple's Corgi mix, Juno.
"Of course, Juno was a part of our ceremony," Will says. "I walked her down the aisle and she sat by our side."
In Their Own Words
Their friend Daniel Shane officiated their ceremony. "It was the greatest gift," says Elizabeth. "Daniel's wedding speech was incredible. He put so much thought into it and every word was so meaningful." Elizabeth and Will also wrote their own vows, which included personal statements before a recitation of promises. "Exchanging our own written vows to each other in front of our closest family and friends was so powerful," says Elizabeth. "While I was convinced I didn't need a handkerchief and wouldn't cry, I burst into a flood of tears moments into Will reading his vows."
After the ceremony, Elizabeth and Will spent a few minutes alone in their room for a private toast, where they sampled their three signature cocktails: whiskey sours, basil gimlets, and hibiscus margaritas. "So many guests mentioned after the wedding that our vows were their favorite part," says the couple, "with the signature cocktails a close second."
Sketches of Juno and the pair's Maine coon/tabby cat Muni—who stayed home—adorned custom cocktail napkins.
Comfortable lounge areas were set up on the hillside—where the couple hosted dinner and dancing after the ceremony—providing space for guests to socialize on rose-colored sofas, Persian rugs, and taupe ottomans.
Dining Al Fresco
Guests were seated at two long tables under a clear canopy draped with twinkle lights. Ivory linens and whitewashed chairs created a muted backdrop for a cheerful summer color palette of orange-and-pink tones.
The dining tables were lined with colorful centerpieces, natural beeswax taper candles in slim hurricanes, and fragrant potted herbs. "We envisioned an elevated, joyous outdoor summer dinner party with amazing food and wine surrounded by the people who mean the most to us," says the couple.
Bright and Beautiful
Sunny arrangements of dahlias, pansies, daisies, foxglove, roses, ranunculus, and nasturtium were displayed in a variety of footed ceramic vessels for an unfussy—but thoughtfully curated—selection of centerpieces.
Personalized menus—presented in vellum wrap with a custom floral watercolor design—sat atop white ceramic plates. At each place setting, a bundle of herbs and greenery was tied with a silk ribbon.
Pastry chefs at the venue provided the couple with a single-tier cutting cake—vanilla sponge with raspberry filling, fresh raspberries, and a smooth buttercream finish decorated with fresh flowers.
Elizabeth and Will chose Justin Bieber's "Lifetime" for their first dance, and then opened the floor to all of their guests—a decision they made only a few weeks before the big day. "At the last minute we booked a DJ to have dancing," says the pair. "Everyone was so excited to get out on the dance floor after a long year spent at home during the pandemic. It was so much fun and a highlight of our evening."
Photography, Janine Licare Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Montage Healdsburg
Event Planning, Alexis Alexander, Alexis Raine Events
Flowers, Loop Flowers
Videography, Lola Video
Stationery, Letter Perfect
Music, Synchronicity Strings (ceremony and cocktail hour); Justin Diaz (dinner); DJ Tony
Rentals, Event Services Plus; Hensley; Napa Valley Linens; Theoni
Bride's Gown, Mira Zwillinger
Bride's Accessories, David's Bridal veil; Chanel shoes; Belpearl earrings; Cartier bracelet; Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet
Hair and Makeup, Sherrie Long
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's Suit, J. Hilburn
Groom's Watch, Cartier
Lighting, Twilight Design
Transportation, Pure Luxury Transportation
Favors, Sebastopol Cookie Company
Guest book, Artifact Uprising
Paper goods, M. Design
Rings, LA Giacobbi & Co.
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