Whitney and Ryan

Although I wear my love of Australian weddings on my sleeve, every now and then an international beauty drops onto my radar and I have to share. Not only because we have such a large percentage of international readers, but because confining inspiration to our own country is a little bit limited! I love seeing what brides and grooms around the world do to celebrate their wedding days. So as we head into Winter, this Summery Californian Winery celebration is just the thing to warm the cockles of your heart.

Here’s Whitney and Ryan’s story as told on their wedding website. “We met at none other than Mary’s Pizza Shack, in Novato, California.  Whitney was desperate for an easy job so she could pay for all of those dreamy clothes at Abercrombie and Fitch, and Ryan had been promoted to manager after dedication and hard work as a busser and server.  Of course, we had been attending the same high school for 3 years, but let’s face it – when you’re not running in the same circle of friends in high school, you may as well live on different planets.  Whitney began as a hostess, but quickly learned that the job entailed working early morning shifts making salads on Saturdays.  She was most definitely interested in one thing, and one thing only on the weekends: sleeping in.  Little did she know, Ryan was creating the schedules during those days, so the early morning shifts were the perfect opportunity for him to get to know the new hostess on the block.  We immediately hit it off, and in the words of some of our closest friends, “it was meant to be”.

Throughout the next 4 years we grew as individuals, yet consistently communicated with one another and continued a friendship.  As Whitney’s education in Chico came to an end, and Ryan was ready to embark on his journey into law enforcement in the Bay Area, we reconnected again.  Whitney was feverishly dedicated to her student teaching and studies in her last year at Chico State, which left little time for travel to visit Ryan.  He, however, reinstated the concept of chivalry and did everything in his power to court Whitney as often as possible. When Ryan was in town, we frequented a steakhouse in Chico called 5th Street.  Our favorite meal there is called “Nick’s Grill”, so when Ryan began planning and plotting the perfect proposal a year or so later, he had to include Whitney’s ideal steak dinner.

Ryan began gathering ideas and designs for an engagement ring over the next couple of years, which he made a reality by working with the same jeweler in San Francisco who created his mother’s engagement ring 20 years prior.  With all of the details in place and ready to execute, not to mention an entirely oblivious Whitney, we drove up to Truckee, Tahoe for a relaxing holiday trip before Christmas.  Our first night there was just lovely, with beautiful snow falling all around the cabin.  The following day, Ryan and Whitney ventured up to Squaw Valley to ice skate on the Olympic rink.  With Ryan channeling his inner Scott Hamilton, and Whitney gracefully falling on her rear countless times, we retired to some drinks by the fire in the lodge.  Back at the cabin in Truckee, and after a long day on top of the mountain, Ryan sent Whitney into the other room to rest while he recreated the steak dinner from Chico.  When Whitney came out from their room, the entire cabin was adorned with candles, and smelled like filet mignon and baked potatoes.  After a delicious meal, Ryan gave Whitney her “silly little present” he had brought up as an early Christmas gift.  While she opened the beautiful card he had written to her, Ryan got down on his knee, opened up a little black box, and proposed to Whitney.  And the rest, dear family and friends, is history.  She said yes, of course.”

Photography today is by Gerald Carvalho Photography whose light, bright and beautiful; photography is a beautiful way of looking at Whitney and Ryan’s wedding.

Grant Avenue Florist created luscious green and white floral arrangements.

Whitney chose a lace gown from Lazaro for her wedding gown. She remarks “His designs are absolutely fabulous.  When I saw the dress at The Bridal Galleria in San Francisco, I knew I had to have it.  Originally I didn’t choose this dress to try on, but when my wedding dress consultant held it out for me to slide into, it was so apparent this dress would be perfect.  The lace is to die for, and I danced literally all night long in it! I wore pearl and diamond earrings that belong to my mother, and they complimented the lacy gown just beautifully.  They were subtle, which is all I desired in comparison to the detailed dress.  My mother’s best friend loaned her pearl and diamond three-strand bracelet to me, which was the finishing touch!  It belonged to her mother, so I had my something borrowed covered.”

Whitney’s bridesmaids wore dark blue gowns from J.Crew and jewels by Emily Warner Designs. Whitney explains “Emily’s work can be found on Etsy.  She is such a doll, and wonderful to work with on designing jewellery.  Emily made several prototypes until I was thrilled with the design.  My bridesmaids LOVED the earrings!”

Whitney and Ryan chose B.R Cohn in Sonoma Valley for their wedding. Whitney remarks “B.R. Cohn was a dream come true venue.  It had every last detail we wanted – natural grace and elegance, with an at-home comfortable feel to it.  The venue has so many ceremony and reception locations to choose from, which provided a nice, spread out feel to it.  The staff is incredible, and the rolling vineyard views are absolutely to die for!  I couldn’t have asked for a better bridal suite in which to get ready, a stunning deck overlooking the vineyards on which to say my vows, and an enchanting olive grove where our guests were wined and dined all evening long.  We love B.R. Cohn!”

Whitney and Ryan met up before the ceremony.

Of their photographer, Whitney says “Gerald is positively amazing. After working with him, he feels like a part of our family. He is extremely thoughtful, and wants nothing more than to make your day exactly what you envision.  What I loved most about Gerald was the fact that he puts his opinion aside and focuses solely on his clients’ desires and dreams. Gerald guided us through our wedding day beautifully, capturing every last special moment, and with such incredible ease!  I can’t imagine our photos being taken by any other photographer.”

Whitney describes the wedding as “Elegant, wine-country wedding with unique, rustic details, highlighted by whites, greens, and ivory hues, delicious food, fantastic guests, amazing music, and best of all, unconditional love.”

Whitney walked down the aisle to a sentimental family song, flanked by her parents. Whitney recalls “I chose “For the Beauty of the Earth”.  It’s a hymn that my family has sung for years.  It was featured at my grandmother’s service when she passed away, and since she couldn’t be at the wedding, this hymn represented her in spirit.  I found a lovely acoustic guitar version, which was exactly what my husband and I wanted to have playing as I walked toward him as his future wife.”

Glass jars of coloured cookies were given as favors. Whitney says “We had cookies as our favors, and they were an absolute hit.  My darling mother-in-law spent the days leading into the wedding baking chocolate chip, ginger-molasses, oatmeal raisin, and sugar cookies.  They were fantastically delicious, and the cookie table itself looked so wonderful!  No detail was left undone.  My aunt does printing for Francis Ford Coppola, so she helped design the “cookie recipe books” that guests could take home along with their bags of cookies.”

Whitney loved “Marrying the man of my dreams, being surrounded by incredibly supportive family and friends, each little detail that represented our personalities and love for one another, yummy food and wine, and a lifetime of memories!”

Whitney’s sisters has a huge impact on the day. Whitney says “Our favors were definitely DIY,along with all of the chalkboard details.  One of my sisters is incredibly artistic, so she covered all of the chalkboard phrases and writing, while the other sister planned my entire wedding!  I am forever indebted to them.”

A three tier wedding cake was created by Flour Chyld Bakery.

The first dance was utterly romantic. Whitney recalls “Our first dance was like dancing on a cloud.  We were surrounded by the most important family and friends in our lives, yet we felt all alone and so in love on the dance floor.  We danced to Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” and every time I hear it now I can’t help but cry!”

The couple hired Quantum Music Event Planners for the wedding music. Whitney says “Our DJ was amazing.  He met with us once to go over our music taste and style, and absolutely nailed both the post-ceremony/cocktail hour music and the reception playlist.  That dance floor was jam-packed all night long!”

Congratulations Whitney and Ryan! Thank you for sharing your day with us! Thank you also to Gerald Carvalho Photography for sharing today’s beautiful images!