Josh and Lori’s Sonoma Wine Cave Wedding

Planning a wedding is hard, planning it from afar is even more difficult. With much time spent researching and scouring the internet for vendors, Josh and Lori compare the experience of planning their wedding in Sonoma to organizing a mini-holiday for themselves and all of their guests. In the end, all their hard work and research paid off.

With a stunning vineyard venue and a romantic candlelit reception shared with 18 of their closest family and friends,  the couple couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful wedding day. A big thanks to Megan Clouse for sharing all the gorgeous photos with us!

Intimate Sonoma Wedding

Lori & Josh

Sonoma, California

Wedding Date: June 3, 2014

Number of Guests: 18

Wedding Ceremony Location: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards – Outdoor Arbour

Wedding Reception Location: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards – Wine Cave   (It was the photos on their website of the wine cave that really sold us on the venue. We were instantly in love with that place.)

Gloria Ferrer sign Sonoma vineyard black lily bouquet bride in black and white dress Sonoma wedding portrait vineyard at sunset vineyard wedding portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding?  

We both agreed that we wanted the day to be about us, and by keeping our wedding small we were able to not get so caught up in the details and lose sight of why we were doing it.

black wedding invitation wedding ring shot intimate-sonoma-california-vineyard-wedding-lori-josh-9 boutonnieres black mesh wedding shoes bride getting ready

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?  

It was more about planning a wedding at a place that we have never been before.  The fact that we chose to have a smaller guest list made some of the planning easier.  We spent so much time researching potential venues, hotels, caterers, photographers, etc.  Thank God for the internet!

bride portrait bride and groom portrait bride and groom walking in vineyard groom kissing bride on forehead bride and groom walking next to grape vines

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

YES!  We have a number of friends and family members that are close to us that we couldn’t invite.

chalkboard wedding sign succulent planter wedding cellist wedding vows written in gold on black vineyard wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?  

The circle ceremony. We had all of our guests stand around us in a circle. We wrote a “blessing” where we went around the circle and each person said a line from it.  The vows were also a highlight. We wrote our own vows and we didn’t share them with each other until the ceremony.  And last, but not least, the venue! We had an amazing view overlooking the Carneros Valley, and the birds and butterflies even came out during the ceremony.

bride looking at groom during ceremony bride and groom holding hands during ceremony bridesmaids blowing bubbles

What were the highlights of the reception?  

The dinner. We chose to sit everyone at one long king table and serve the dinner family style. The food and the cake were amazing.  Again, the venue was amazing. We chose to decorate with a lot of candlelight which gave the wine cave a dim romantic glow.  We loved listening to our family members give speeches.  The dances were another highlight. Our first dance as a couple was really our first dance ever.  We loved all of it.

wedding reception charcuterie wedding snacks wedding beers pouring champagne bride holding champagne flute sonoma vineyard

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?  

We were able to do things at the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception to make every guest feel welcomed and part of our day.

gold wedding initials wine cave wedding reception wine cave wedding reception wine cave wedding reception wine cave wedding reception chalkboard Mr. wedding sign on back of chair ruffled ombre wedding cake bride and groom with wedding cake bride and groom cutting cake

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?  

Make the details that you choose be meaningful to you and your guests.

bride and groom dancing


Photographer:  Megan Clouse Photography

Venue: Gloria Ferrer, Sonoma

Catering: The Girl & the Fig

Officiant: Tim Boeve

Cake: Crisp Bake Shop

Hair/Makeup: It’s a Date at the Powder Room, Katie

Cellist: Daniel Lemes

Florals: Stephanie Lauder (Family Friend)

Gown: Maggie Sottero

Shoes: Kate Spade 

Suit: Indochino

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10 Ways to Modernize Wedding Traditions

Wedding traditions are often passed down through the generations, and while they are still very popular, many couples have found a way to put a modern spin on these traditions. Here are 10 ways that couples are weaving the present into the past.

1. The White Dress

Before the popularization of the white wedding dress in the 19th century, most brides simply wore their best dress to marry in. These were not usually white dresses because white was seen as impractical and usually only worn by the wealthy. With so many stunning colours to choose from, white doesn’t have to be the only color of choice. If you want to get married in a scarlet red evening gown (which is also a custom for Indian brides) then what’s stopping you!

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We’re not going to lie, today’s color is not for everyone. Now, don’t get us wrong, we think red is just fabulous, but many of its shades can be difficult to pair with other colors and it’s a color that can veer towards tacky really fast. That being said, we love a good challenge and have managed to put together 5 palettes featuring cherry red – a particularly tricky shade to work with – that we think you’re going to love. These palettes aren’t for faint of heart, but  sometimes you just need to go big or go home!

Normally, a red, white and black color scheme would have us running as fast as possible in the other direction, but somehow the addition of pink and golden yellow – as random as it may seem – elevates this palette to a level of modern sophistication that we’re really digging.

cherry red color palette

This color scheme just screams fun, fun, fun! We dare you to use it for your wedding day and not have a great time.

cherry red color palette

While this palette is full of traditional fall colors – red, yellow, and orange – it is anything, but a traditional autumnal palette; in fact, this unconventional palette would be just as perfect, if not more so, for a spring or summer wedding.

cherry red color palette

This palette is for all you rustic wedding loving couples out there. It’s probably the most low-key of the palettes featured today, but the red still packs quite a punch paired against the neutral tones.

cherry red color palette

This rich, dark color palette is all kinds gorgeous and just might make you consider having a fall or winter wedding.

cherry red color palette

Photo one:; Photo two:; Photo three:; Photo four: whimsicalwonderlandweddings.comPhoto five:

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Marble Details: Wedding Trend

Marble details have such a pretty and romantic look. The effect is reminiscent of watercolor motifs and painterly prints. Marbling is a great way to introduce color in a soft and effortless way. You can work this trend into all aspects of the wedding decor, especially on tiered cakes and aisle runners.

A soft pink wedding cake with a deeper pink running through it, is a delicate choice.

Elevate balloons from children’s party fare to a modern decoration. This also makes for a fun DIY project that can transform your venue space on a budget.

Using marbled paper as the background for the menu or escort cards is a little detail that has a big impact.

For the minimalist bride, a grey and white marbled cake is the ideal addition.

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Aisle runners are such a lovely way to brighten up your ceremony space. Especially, this stunning marbled runner that adds just the right amount of decoration.

Family-style dinners are particularly gorgeous on wooden tables. Table runners can create enough of a centerpiece to accompany the look. A painted runner produces a similar effect to that of marbling, but with more detail.

Putting all of the marbled effects aside, is there anything better than the real thing? Serving canapés on marble slates is the ultimate in sophistication.

Chairs can always benefit from a makeover and sheer panels with a rainbow of colors can update your chair backs.

Painted eggs are always a welcome addition (even when it’s not Easter), especially when they have a marble and gold combination.

Carry on the theme with marbled wrapping paper for favors or bridesmaid gifts!

For a dessert with a difference or an edible favor, mini meringues are the way to go.

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Sonya and Jonathan’s Texas Outdoor Chapel Wedding

With the bride’s family living in Russia and unable to attend their nuptials, Sonya and Jonathan decided early on to keep things simple and small for their wedding day. And while their original guest list ended up more than quadrupling in size during the planning process, the couple still managed to keep their Texas ceremony and celebration at Chapel Dulcinea intimate, with just 30 guests – including the bride’s mother and sister, all the way from Russia – and a wonderful “family get-together” vibe.

Special thanks to Kat Bevel for sharing their gorgeous photos with us today!

Chapel Dulcinea Wedding

Sonya, 26 & Jonathan, 22

Austin, TX

Wedding Date: April 3, 2014

Number of Guests: 30

Wedding Cost: $6,500

Wedding Ceremony Location: Chapel Dulcinea

Wedding Reception Location: Chapel Dulcinea

Texas bride on tulle dress and flower crown groom wearing anchor socks groomsman playing guitar groom in suspenders and pink boutonniere bride and groom hugging at wedding ceremony bride and groom walking hand in hand intimate moment between bride and groom

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Because my entire family lives in Russia and none of them were going to make it, I wanted to elope. But then we decided that we want to share this day at least with Jonathan’s immediate family and our close friends. As we were planning, it turned out that my mama and one of my sisters were able to come and be there as we said our vows.

groomsman tying groom's tie groom getting ready groomsmen holding hands in prayer

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The guest list kept growing and our original number of 20 ordered invitations just weren’t enough. Also, as we were planning cake and champagne, we did not know how many people would toast and eat with us on the actual day.

bride putting on shoes bride putting on flower crown bride getting ready bride with pink garden rose bouquet

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

For us, it was more difficult to keep it from growing. Even though we love everybody from our family, school, church, work etc., we did want to elope in the first place. Our original list of 6 turned into 16, and by the day of the wedding we had 30 guests. One of the decisions we made that helped keep the list small was to have the wedding in Austin instead of Dallas where we live. And also the fact that it was on a Thursday kept a crowd of a hundred people from driving over.

bride portrait bride with her mother and flower girl groom portrait groom and groomsmen portrait bride and groom hugging on dirt road bride and groom hgging tightly bride and groom embracing bride and groom walking along dirt road groom with arms draped over bride intimate wedding portrait bride and groom walking away hand in hand

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

After everything was said and done, the closest and the dearest people to us were there. Everyone else was happy for us from a distance, sending tons of sweet-sweet texts our way.

Chapel Dulcinea sign groom waiting at the altar bride walking with flower girl

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

Well, other that the best man forgetting our rings in his car… It was just beautiful. We kept the ceremony short. The best man played “What Makes A Man” by City and Colour, as my little sister walked me down the aisle. Everything went like a dream. It couldn’t have been any better.

bride and groom at the altar bride and groom holding hands during ceremony groom smiling lovingly at his brde bride and groom first kiss happy bride and groom at the altar bride and groom exiting the chapel brideand groom exiting the chapel

What were the highlights of the reception?

We were just so excited to finally be together after the entire day of not seeing each other. We hugged our friends, toasted, cut the cake, danced to “I Wanna Be Yours” by Arctic Monkeys, laughed, and simply enjoyed the couple of hours that we had worked so hard on for the last few months.

wedding gest book wedding cupcakes wedding candy laughing groomsman with chapagne bride laughing with groom during reception bride and groom raising their glasses bride and groom kissing during reception

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

I loved being able to hug and to talk to every single one of our guests. It was one big family get together, and I’m happy everything turned out the way it did.

bride and groom cutting cake groom feeding bride cake wedding guests catching the bouquet groom getting ready to toss the garter guests catching the garter tin cans tied to car

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Don’t worry about not inviting your second cousin’s boyfriend’s sister. This day is about you. People who matter will never hold a grudge, but rather be happy for you! Plus, you can do more on your budget, if you choose an intimate wedding.

bride and groom kissing in car


Photography: Kat Bevel Photography 

Beautiful Flowers: Verbena Floral

Cake: Polkadots Cupcake Factory

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