Balancing strong wooden features with a soft color palette, this picture-perfect wedding tucked underneath striking Oregonian trees makes my heart absolutely melt. Captured by Sweetlife Photography details like wine barrels & wooden signs celebrate the beauty of Oregon’s wine country. You can see every-single-detail of these nuptials in the gorgeous video from Caleb Rexius Productions and every moment here!
From the beautiful Bride… Andy and I met in college among good friends and at a perfect time. I was a Freshman; he was a Sophomore, and thus we experienced many of the ups and downs of our early twenties together- growing up, making choices, and learning what it meant to live with and without each other. Our journey has been adventurous, time-tested, and very real; so naturally, when it came to planning our wedding some nine years later, we knew that sentimental details and meaningful memories were a must to shape our big day!
As we began our planning journey, I, like many brides, wanted to create a wedding unlike any other, but was immediately overwhelmed by the abundance of inspirational ideas (hello Pinterest!) and advice that was at my fingertips. After a faltering start of swinging back and forth from one style of event to another, clarity emerged! We simply realized to accomplish a uniquely beautiful, elegant wedding we only needed to follow our hearts and make decisions based on experiences we had while falling in love, family heritage, and local possibilities. After all, how could our wedding not be uniquely us if every detail, from the dress to the china, was perfectly sentimental?
After a romantic Winter Solstice proposal in our own living room on December 21st, 2012 we quickly agreed on an August wedding in 2014 so as to fully enjoy our engagement and wedding planning process. The month of August in Oregon is warm with romantic light and coloring, and August 8th was the perfect date to recognize the symbolic “double happiness symbol” used in my parents’ Hong Kong nuptials. While Andy was raised in Portland, we met in the Willamette Valley where I grew up, thus making a beautiful vineyard setting an easy first choice… not to mention we both love Oregon wine! We chose Vista Hills Vineyard for its gorgeous panoramic backdrop, yet nicely shaded intimate ceremony area to ensure our guests’ comfort. We knew it would perfectly set the tone for our classic and refined vineyard wedding with old-world elegance and natural style.
With the winery tasting room built from rich textured cedar, it was quickly apparent that we needed to balance the strong wood features with an elegant and soft color palette. We were careful to choose blush, whites and creams to complement my red hair and light skin tone, adding dark charcoal to juxtapose and create a vintage contrast. We refrained from using photos on our save-the-date cards and invitations, instead choosing a more formal suite with classic designs and language to stay in line with the overall style. We even had the calligrapher stagger the address lines on the individually hand written envelopes to honor my mom’s British heritage and the way she was taught to address an envelope! We had fun working with a local artist to create a logo including the double infinity symbol to reflect our August 8th date. We were also fortunate to have savvy friends design and produce a custom website, stamp, and map to be signed by guests.
My dress was next on the list! I knew this would be a cherished moment, so I savored the experience by not jumping right to it. After listening to others’ advice and some dramatic stories, I shopped only with my Mother the first day. Once we had found “the dress” I set a lunch date a few weeks later and invited bridesmaids, Moms and Grandmas to come take a peek. This made for one of the most special and relaxing experiences. My very first “dressy” dress as a young woman was a little black Nicole Miller number, so when I found myself falling in love with her designs, it seemed a natural decision to choose this designer for my wedding gown. It was a fun way to help make such an important decision. After one day of shopping, I had found my dress and made a choice that held sentimental value!
When our special day finally arrived after 18 months of spreadsheets (I’m an organizer!), meetings, and DIY projects, everything seemed effortless. We lucked out with what some said was the most beautiful day of the wedding season with 80 degree weather and perfectly warm filtered sunshine. On the most important day of my life, it was with sadness that my Dad was no longer with us to walk me down the aisle, but my baby brother honored our life-long pact by giving me away as our classical guitarist played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. With Andy’s Dad being an Oregon Supreme Court Justice, it was an honor to have a fellow Judge and good family friend marry us. Our guests sipped on refreshments as Andy and I shared our personally crafted vows. Andy, known for his humor, provided many laughs and I remembered my Dad and how happy he would have been to see me find such a perfect partner.
Throughout the journey of planning our big day, one of Andy’s frequent requests was that our wedding should feel comfortable both for us and our guests. In order to accomplish this we settled on a long table format to create a summer dinner party feel. We opted to sit directly in the middle surrounded by our family and friends, rather than at a separated head table. It was a perfect way to reflect our casual personalities, yet still maintain a classic look. Lush and soft floral arrangements in old-world ceramic urns adorned each table from end to end. The smaller and smaller the details became, the more sentimental and meaningful our choices were – I cried as we picked out our elegant gold china to honor the plates my English Grandmother always let me look at (but not touch) as a little girl! Our rings were carried in an antique silver box, tied to a pillow that included an embroidered blue heart made from the cloth of my Dad’s old fishing hat. When it came to the menu, we made sure to infuse an assortment of high quality Italian meats to honor Andy’s heritage and Italian East Coast family, a leg of lamb to honor my English upbringing, and fresh salmon to give our guests a taste of the Pacific Northwest. We chose berry pies to ensure everyone got to experience the abundance of Oregon summer fruit. The “pièce de résistance” – our caterer crafted the most marvelous “cheese cake”, made up of gourmet British, Italian, and Northwest cheeses with local fruits lushly cascading down each layer – it was a huge hit! Atop wine barrels situated throughout the outdoor reception area were handmade wood signs with favorite quotes, cut from a tree found in the same county we met and were married in. It was our biggest DIY project and one that required both of us to work together.
Our wedding was everything we could have dreamed of due to our wonderful parents, family and friends who shared our special day. Our vendors, including an incredibly skillful and dedicated wedding planner, and photographers whom we now call friends, were carefully chosen and worked above and beyond our wishes to ensure our entire day was perfect from start to finish. With loving and cherished sentimental details sprinkled throughout, it was a magical and warm summer night that we will never forget as we entered into our newly married life together!
Photography: Sweetlife Photography | Videography: Caleb Rexius Productions | Coordination: Your Perfect Bridesmaid | Floral Design: Zest Floral And Event Design | Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller From The English Dept. | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Rings: Alchemy & Todd Reed (in Partnership With Alchemy) | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Catering: The Lamb’s Table Catering Co. | Hair And Makeup: Jein King & Shante Matlock For Powder, Inc. | Calligraphy: Lori Raines Calligraphy Studio | DJ: DjTj Exklewy | Wedding Venue: Vista Hills Vineyard | Cork Bridal Clutch: J.Crew | Earrings And Bracelet: Nadri | Groom’s And Groomsmen’s Attire: Vera Wang | Hair Comb: Wedding Belles New York | Invitations And Programs: Ecru Modern Stationer | Pies: Blue Raeven Farmstand | Rentals: The Party Place | Trolley Transportation: The Trolley Girl | Veil: Devine Design Bridal | Vintage Rentals: Something Borrowed