A Luxe, Romantic Vision Drove This Couple's Elegant Outdoor Celebration in Napa Valley, California

bride and groom walking on trail
Anya Kernes Photography

When Frances Mbachu flashed her dazzling smile for a casual Snapchat photo while out with a friend one night, she had no way of knowing it would catch the eye of her friend's friend, Tobi Kehinde. "Yo, who is she?" Tobi messaged their mutual friend, and weeks later, Frances and Tobi were sharing sushi on a first date where they talked until closing time.

Nearly three years later, in December 2019, Tobi planned a date night at a local winery—surprising Frances first with an on-one-knee proposal (captured by a professional photographer hiding nearby). "In that moment I saw a very beautiful, vulnerable side of Tobi and to this day, whenever I am having a bad day, I reflect on that moment," says Frances. As the couple walked into a private room for dinner after their engagement, Frances saw their loved ones waiting for them, ready to celebrate. "I instantly broke out in tears," she says. "I was so happy to share such a special moment with my family and close friends."

Frances and Tobi planned their wedding for September 4, 2021, at Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, California. "One thing that describes my personality, and something I always say is, 'overstated but understated,' and that is how I wanted my wedding to be," says Frances. "The real deal—no shortcuts. We selected Auberge because of the class and reputation—and the breathtaking view." In August 2020, with COVID-19 jeopardizing their earlier plans, Frances and Tobi held a legal ceremony that Tobi self-officiated—but that didn't dampen their joy when partying with their friends a year later. "Be sure to enjoy your wedding day and take it all in," advises the couple. "It is truly a special time to have all of your close friends in one room, celebrating your love!"

01 of 22

Looking Forward, Together

farm at wedding venue
Anya Kernes Photography

The scenic views of Napa held a sentimental appeal for Frances and Tobi. "We went through a rough period while we were dating and we took a trip [to Napa] to just get back on the same page and focus on our relationship," says Frances. "We left with a new bond so it only seemed right to have our wedding there. Auberge du Soleil just had an effortless breathtaking view and venue that perfectly described Tobi and me."

02 of 22

Blush Touch

wedding invitation with flowers
Anya Kernes Photography

A modern, minimalist invitation card from Elsa Madeline Designs featured mauve letterpress, a custom-embossed monogram, and a hand-painted illustration on the vellum envelope liners.

03 of 22

Bride with a Bow

bride in wedding dress with large bow
Anya Kernes Photography

Frances tried on a variety of wedding dresses as a client on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, but none wowed her. After filming wrapped, the stylists brought out a few more options—these from Pnina Tornai—for Frances to consider. "The moment I tried on her dresses, I knew she was my designer," she says. She chose a "simple dress with a large bow at the back to give it that overstated look," she says. "It was beautiful, classic, effortless, clean, and so me!"

04 of 22

Plenty of Jewels

bride's shoes and jewelry
Anya Kernes Photography

The sparkling Jimmy Choo heels Frances picked out at the Madison Avenue store were a just-in-time find: "John Judge, a sales associate at Jimmy Choo, helped me find my perfect pair and had to order the last one in the world in my size to be shipped to my house," says Frances. "I was so grateful for him."

05 of 22

Lots of Texture

bride holding white bouquet
Anya Kernes Photography

A bouquet from Nancy Liu Chin Design mixed garden roses, spray roses, lisianthus, sweet peas, and Italian ranunculus in shades of white, cream, and ivory.

06 of 22

'Maids in Gray

bridesmaids in gray floor length gowns with bride on trail
Anya Kernes Photography

Frances joined her bridesmaids in Houston to choose their gowns from Bella Bridesmaids. "I wanted their dresses to complement mine and have similarities in the cut," she says. "The gowns fit within the color theme and had an elegant, classy effortless feel."

07 of 22

Dashing Groom

groom in tuxedo with white jacket
Anya Kernes Photography

Tobi chose a Tom Ford tuxedo, pairing a white satin jacket and black pants with a bow tie and Ermenegildo Zegna oxfords.

08 of 22

Tux Contrast

groom with groomsmen on trail
Anya Kernes Photography

The groom asked his best man to source the outfits for the groomsmen; black tuxedos were "chosen to align with the overall theme of the wedding—classic and sophisticated."

09 of 22

Full Circle

outdoor wedding setup with floral ring
Anya Kernes Photography

A circular installation covered in white florals stood atop a wood-floored terrace, providing wide views of the property and surrounding mountains as a backdrop to the ceremony.

10 of 22

Family Affair

groom walking down aisle with parents
Anya Kernes Photography

The groom made his ceremony debut on the arms of both of his parents.

11 of 22

Unveiling of the Bride

bride during processional
Anya Kernes Photography

Frances and Tobi decided not to see each other before the ceremony, so their first look came as Frances and her father walked down the aisle to "At Last." "When I saw Frances, she looked incredibly beautiful, and I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to be marrying such a kind, talented, and beautiful woman, while also appreciating that what truly makes Frances special is her compassion," says Tobi.

"When I walked down the aisle and saw Tobi's face, I felt loved," says Frances. "Tobi just loves so hard and I felt lucky to find him."

12 of 22

Sun Blockers

guests at wedding ceremony
Anya Kernes Photography

Paper parasols laid out at the ceremony helped shield guests from California's late summer rays.

13 of 22

In Their Own Words

bride and groom laughing during ceremony
Anya Kernes Photography

Frances and Tobi wrote their own vows; Tobi included lines like, "I promise to be your partner in all things," and "I can't wait to see your TED talk speech," while Frances improvised hers. "I had bullet points that I wanted to hit," she says, "and said my vows from the heart."

14 of 22

Portrait Session

bride and groom embracing each other
Anya Kernes Photography

The newlyweds shared a few quiet moments together after the ceremony.

15 of 22

Pretty Sips

cocktail at wedding cocktail hour
Anya Kernes Photography

While the duo posed for portraits, guests sipped margaritas and old fashioneds at the cocktail hour.

16 of 22

Lovely Lounge

lounge seating with round table for wedding reception
Anya Kernes Photography

A lounge, with a circular white velvet ottoman at the center, replaced the ceremony chairs.

17 of 22

An Inviting Entrance

escort card in wooden table
Anya Kernes Photography

Candles, white flowers, and a rustic workstation created a welcoming escort card table, where guests found their names and seating assignments on custom papers.

18 of 22


white wedding reception table
Anya Kernes Photography

Tables draped in white linens—and paired with white, rounded chairs—were lined with bouquets of lisianthus, roses, hydrangeas, and other all-white blooms collected in a variety of glass vases.

19 of 22

Creamy Colorways

place settings at wedding reception
Anya Kernes Photography

White china plates were topped with neatly folded napkins and menus embossed with the couple's monogram, while crystal-handled flatware caught the light from twinkling votives.

20 of 22

Deckle-Edged Cake

white wedding cake surrounded by candles
Anya Kernes Photography

A "work of art" dessert from Jasmine Rae Cakes provided guests with two flavors to choose between: coconut sugar cake with passionfruit curd, French buttercream, and toasted coconut, or vanilla bean cake with cherries and French buttercream.

21 of 22

Big Energy

bride and groom cutting cake
Anya Kernes Photography

"I am very big on energy and I couldn't have asked for better energy on our wedding day," says Frances. "Everyone just had so much fun, and it was seriously the best day of my life so far!"

22 of 22


groom kissing bride on cheek
Anya Kernes Photography

Photography, Anya Kernes Photography
Venue, Auberge du Soleil
Event planning, Parker Nichols Events and Design
Flowers, Nancy Liu Chin Designs
Stationery, Elsa Madeline Design
Cake, Jasmine Rae Cakes
Music, Ryan Hernandez
Rentals, La Tavola Linen; Theoni Collection
Bride's gown and veil, Pnina Tornai
Bride's accessories, Jimmy Choo shoes
Hair, Ninahwee Beautymaker
Makeup, Vani Leon Beauty
Bridesmaids' dresses, Bella Bridesmaids
Groom's attire, Tom Ford
Groom's shoes, Ermenegildo Zegna
Lighting, Got Light
Transportation, Sonoma Sterling Limousines, Inc.
Engagement ring, Blue Nile
Wedding rings, I. Gorman Jewelers

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