A Black-Tie, Tuscan-Inspired Wedding on a Private Estate in California

bride and groom smiling holding hands walking on gravel road
Jen Huang Bogan

When Steven met Gina at a wine bar in San Francisco in November 2017, he knew immediately their connection was special. "That night Steven told me, 'You're going to fall in love with me,'" says Gina. "I laughed and thought little of it. We went on our first date the following week."

And a little more than two years later, in February of 2020, Steven made it official by proposing on a hike to Alamere Falls in Point Reyes National Seashore. "Alamere Falls is a rare tidefall, a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean—there are only four of those in the United States," says Gina. "Steven got down on one knee at the top of the waterfall and I said 'Yes!' Our friends were there simultaneously popping Champagne and a crowd cheered to congratulate us."

Gina and Steven knew they wanted to get married in wine country in the fall; it was also important that they honor their shared Italian culture with a black-tie, Tuscan-inspired event. They booked Black Swan, a private estate in Saint Helena, California, for September 25, 2021. "I love to plan parties and our wedding was no different," says Gina. "The hardest part was all the small details. I was most interested in the design, but the detail-oriented work was a little tedious!" With help from Bustle Events, the couple settled on a color palette—light blue, lavender, cream, blush, and gold—and pulled together an elegant, al fresco ceremony and reception that married a formal atmosphere with the comfort of a Sunday family dinner (if a Sunday family dinner had 125 guests). "Spending time with our guests was truly a highlight," says Gina. "After a crazy two years of COVID-19, we finally got to see some our nearest and dearest. To hug, to laugh, and to make more memories together is something I'll never forget."

01 of 26

A Piece of Italy in California

private Californian estate wedding venue
Jen Huang Bogan

Since both Gina and Steven come from "big Italian-American families," they dreamed of recreating a Tuscan atmosphere for their guests—without the international travel. "Black Swan, a private estate in Napa Valley's Saint Helena region, captured our hearts from the moment we visited," says Gina. "The estate is lush with a private lake, willow trees, cypress trees, and even a bocce ball court. It felt like you were in Italy and we knew it was the perfect place for us to say 'I do.'"

02 of 26

Work of Art

baby blue and blush toned wedding invitation suite
Jen Huang Bogan

Every Little Letter designed am intricate custom crest for the invitation, which Gina and Steven then used throughout their wedding-day papers. A wreath of blue vines and flowers framed the invitation card, while gold accents, Italian artwork envelope liners, and blue envelopes previewed the design of the ceremony and reception.

03 of 26

True Love

bridal party helping with brides veil
Jen Huang Bogan

After shopping at boutiques in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Sacremento, Gina still hadn't found her dream wedding dress. "I must have tried on over 150 dresses," she says. "I didn't fall in love until I saw a wedding in Lake Como, where the bride wore this dress. I had never seen anything like it and I knew I had to try it on."

04 of 26

Helping Hands

bride standing under willow tree outside holding bouquet
Jen Huang Bogan

The gown—a corseted Elie Saab number with a mermaid silhouette and off-the-shoulder neckline—was only available at the designer's New York boutique, but COVID-19 prevented Gina from flying cross-country to try it on. Instead, the company shipped it to her home. "Elie Saab was very accommodating," says the bride. "My advice to brides who are wedding dress shopping is not to settle—just like with dating."

  • When's the Right Time to Start Shopping for a Wedding Dress?
05 of 26

Vine and Dandy

bride and bridesmaids holding large floral wedding bouquets
Jen Huang Bogan

Gina's bouquet from Max Gill Design included garden roses, hellebore, ranunculus, and anemones, with vines cascading from a hand-tied silk ribbon. Her bridesmaids—who carried "dainty and delicate" wildflower-inspired arrangements—wore Self-Portrait dresses in varying silhouettes, materials, and textures. "Their color, French blue, inspired the entire wedding palette," says Gina. "Each bridesmaid wore a different dress and fabric in alternating midi and floor lengths."

06 of 26

Touch of Sparkle

pointed toe with diamond ankle strap jimmy choo heels
Jen Huang Bogan

On the morning of the event, Gina's bridesmaids helped her buckle the embellished straps of her Jimmy Choo heels, straighten her lace-edged veil (also by Elie Saab), and get into her gown. "It was a team sport," she jokes.

07 of 26

Black-Tie Requested

bride hugs groom outside on gravel road
Jen Huang Bogan

Steven chose a black tuxedo from Tom Ford, which he wore with a black bow tie and white shirt. The groomsmen also wore black. "We wanted the men to be classic and timeless," says Gina of the men's attire.

08 of 26

Time Piece

rolex watch in green box
Jen Huang Bogan

The finishing touch? A Rolex watch Gina gave him as a wedding gift.

09 of 26

Petal Pusher

bride smiling with niece flower girl
Jen Huang Bogan

Gina and Steven enlisted the help of their five-year-old niece, Niko, to join the bridal processional in a BHLDN midi dress. "She was the most darling flower girl," says Gina. "She was smiling ear-to-ear down the aisle."

10 of 26

Arch Expression

large greenery and pink floral wedding arch in front of willow tree
Jen Huang Bogan

Bustle Events designed a custom arch "inspired by the architecture of the Italian churches," which was wrapped with vines of cream-and-pink flowers and flanked by weeping willow trees.

11 of 26

Glowing Aisle

white chairs lined for wedding ceremony outside
Jen Huang Bogan

Organic arrangements of blooms, which coordinated with the front-and-center arch, defined the sun-lit aisle.

12 of 26

Ready to Wed

bride walking to groom during wedding ceremony
Jen Huang Bogan

The couple saved their first look for the ceremony, where Gina walked to the altar alone as musicians from Lucky Devils Band performed "All My Life" by K-Ci and Jojo. "Walking down the aisle and seeing one another at the altar was such a special moment that we'll cherish for a lifetime," says Gina. "We felt totally complete, excited, and grateful."

13 of 26

Girl Meets Boy

bride smiling at groom
Jen Huang Bogan

Greeting each other at the altar was one of the highlights of the day for both the bride and groom. "I've never seen Steven look so handsome," says Gina. "He was glowing and that made me feel really perfect. It was everything we have ever dreamed of." The groom's sister officiated the ceremony, during which the pair exchanged vows they wrote for each other. "It was amazing to share this day with the many people who have supported us and loved us over the years," says Gina. "It was such a blessing to spend time with the ones we love the most."

14 of 26

The New Mr. and Mrs.

bride and groom smiling pointing at guests after wedding ceremony
Jen Huang Bogan

After the couple recessed to Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," guests moved through the vineyard to the garden where servers passed fresh figs with crème fraiche, truffled macaroni and cheese, and Tuscan veal pine nut meatballs.

15 of 26

Market Value

wedding seating chart display on produce cart
Jen Huang Bogan

An Italian farmer's market cart displayed the couple's escort cards—surrounded by colorful fresh apples, lemons, and artichokes. Strips of handmade paper were hand-calligraphed with each guest's name and pinned to the linen-covered board with the couple's wax seal.

16 of 26

Cocktail Hour with a View

wedding guests gather outside during cocktail hour
Jen Huang Bogan

Attendees mingled on the lawn, where they took in the Italy-inspired landscape.

17 of 26

Signature Sips

gold framed wedding bar drink menu sign
Jen Huang Bogan

An ornate frame spotlighted the pair's bar list, which offered a mix of beers, wines, and spirits.

18 of 26

Al Fresco Feast

outdoor wedding reception tables under hanging chandelier
Jen Huang Bogan

Guests were seated at two long tables surrounded by wrought-iron chairs; they were positioned under trees hung with candelabras. Cream-colored Italian linens set off low centerpieces and taper candles in glass hurricanes.

19 of 26

Romantic and Intimate

metal chairs lined long wedding reception tables draped in white linen
Jen Huang Bogan

"Steven and I really wanted our wedding to feel romantic and intimate," says Gina, "like a Sunday family dinner, which is a ritual most Italian families do once a week."

20 of 26

Garden Party

colorful floral centerpieces wedding reception tables
Jen Huang Bogan

Each low vessel was filled with a different arrangement of blooms in shades of blue, lavender, ivory, dusty rose, and pink, while gold-rimmed crystal glassware matched gold-rimmed chargers. Menus were tied with French blue silk ribbon.

21 of 26

Textural Touches

blue reception table number on gold stand
Jen Huang Bogan

Deep blue table numbers were emblazoned on crest-shaped, velvet-covered cards.

22 of 26


glass and gold wedding reception place settings
Jen Huang Bogan

The couple worked with Elaine Bell Catering to create an Italian-inspired menu of cacio e pepe pasta, peach and tomato with burrata, beef tenderloin, and layered eggplant and zucchini tartin. "We paired each course with a hand-selected natural wine from Italy," says Gina. "We love natural and biodynamic wines and we wanted to share them with our guests. To finish, we served Steven's favorite dessert—a made-to-order affagato from Hedge Coffee. We really wanted our menu to embody what we would eat if we went out for dinner on a Saturday night. It was to die for!"

23 of 26

Sweet Stuff

three tiered white frosted wedding cake with blue and white floral accents
Jen Huang Bogan

A three-tier cake from Flour and Bloom was covered in white fondant and draped with flowers. The couple chose two flavors: espresso chocolate chip and olive oil lemon.

24 of 26

What an Entrance

bride and groom walk by guests for wedding reception entrance
Jen Huang Bogan

To cheers from the crowd, the bride and groom made their reception debut.

25 of 26

That's Amore

bride and groom share first dance on outdoor dancefloor
Jen Huang Bogan

For their first dance, Gina and Steven chose a throwback track: Brian McKnight's "Back at One." "While we were engaged, we played this song and it brought back so many memories of when we were both young and longed for that special someone," says Gina. "Now we're adults and finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream with our forever person."

26 of 26


bride smiling after putting cake on grooms nose
Jen Huang Bogan

Photography, Jen Huang Bogan
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Bustle Events
Catering, Elaine Bell Catering
Flowers, Max Gill Designs
Videography, T&C Studios
Stationery, Every Little Letter
Cake, Flour and Bloom
Music, Lucky Devils Band (ceremony and cocktail hour); DJ Cams (reception)
Rentals, Bright Event Rentals; La Tavola; Theoni
Bride's gown, Elie Saab
Bride's accessories, Elie Saab veil; Jimmy Choo shoes; Derco bracelet
Hair, Nicole Konovaloff
Makeup, Lina Raja Mourey
Bridesmaids' dresses, Self-Portrait
Flower Girl dress, BHLDN
Groom's attire, Tom Ford
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's watch, Rolex
Lighting, Twilight Design
Transportation, Pure Luxury
Weddings rings, Derco

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