Today’s wedding makes us want to book a one-way ticket to California, stat. Would you just look at that light? Those rolling hills? And the grapevine chuppah?!
Yes, Adam, a real estate developer, and Lowell, who owns and operates a group dental practice, had a grapevine chuppah. The dapper duo married at Chalk Hill Estate, a winery in Sonoma County – just north of their San Francisco home – and their forest floor-themed wedding was basically an ode to the stunning venue.
The couple mixed traditional wedding flowers in favor of vines, branches, and forest foliage, and nowhere did they put this policy into better use than in choosing to have their chuppah constructed from vines and grapes from Chalk Hill’s vineyards. I just can’t get over how cool it looks — you’ve got to check out the close-ups. And if you were too nervous to eat pre-ceremony and found yourself feeling a little peckish, chuppah grapes to the rescue! Bonus?!
Photographer Belathà©e and videographer Dareen Baca of Reel Eyes Media captured everything about this day so beautifully, from that wonderful golden autumnal sunlight to the love between the couple.
On a poignant note, the devastating 2017 Northern California wildfires started on the night of Adam and Lowell’s wedding, and several towns surrounding their beautiful venue were destroyed in the course of the disaster. As the couple put it, “Like smashing the glass, this was a reminder that even at our happiest moments, there is struggle and hardship all around us.”
With that, we’ll turn you over to Adam and Lowell…
A Winery Venue
Adam and Lowell, the grooms: We were married at Chalk Hill Estate, a winery in Sonoma County. We’d always envisioned a fall wedding in Napa or Sonoma for a number of reasons – the food, the colors, the serenity, and because, for us, it’s a local “destination.” We toured many venues in Napa and Sonoma and were drawn to Chalk Hill because its vast landscapes had a rugged elegance that felt right for us.
A Forest Floor Theme
We cared about having a wedding that honored our favorite things – friends, family, food, and dancing – and that reflected our personal style. We worked with Koby Bar Yehuda (KBY Designs) who really listened to us and brought the event to life. Our Shabbat welcome dinner was hosted at the Shed, an electric market, restaurant, and community space in Healdsburg.
Welcome festivities continued Saturday, when wedding guests arrived for a “Fiesta Under the Stars.” We invited everyone to wear white since there was no bride at our wedding weekend. We spent the night enjoying live music, dancing, and a selection of empanadas, ceviche, and grilled meats in an open-air market.
For our wedding reception, we went with a theme of “Forest Floor.” We traded traditional wedding flowers for vines, branches, and forest foliage. Dinner tables were encased by wood pergolas draped with leaves and candles in hanging light boxes. Bundles of rustic green foliage served as table runners.
We incorporated elements of the venue and the season into our invitations. We used a wooden backdrop and tied dried fall leaves to the invitations with suede cord. We worked with Alana, owner of Bourne Paper Co.
Coordinated Canali Suits
Our wedding-day suits are from Canali. We were looking for suits that were coordinated, but not exactly the same. We fell in love with these suits because they were sharp and breathable without being overly formal. Our welcome party outfits were much harder to come by. We invited guests to wear all-white to our welcome fiesta before we realized that white is a very uncommon color in men’s retail. We worked with our favorite local tailor at Tailor’s Keep to design custom looks for the welcome party.
Burgundy and Blue Shoes
A Chuppah Made of Grapevines
A Personalized Ceremony
Instead of one person circling the other seven times, we each circled each other 3 times then did one walk around each other at the same time. This symbolized us entering each other’s orbit. Instead of the seven blessings at the wedding ceremony, we asked seven speech givers to each give us a personal blessing at the end of their speeches.
A Modern Ketubah
We searched and searched online but had trouble finding a ketubah that we liked and wanted to have in our home, so we worked with Alana, owner of Bourne Paper Co, to design a ketubah. We came up with a simple, modern ketubah design that used laser cut paper to create an interesting piece of art that felt more modern than other ketubahs that we’d seen.
Love You Like XO
Adam’s procession song was Naive Melody by the Talking Heads. Lowell’s procession song was XO by Beyonce. As a fun coincidence, we’ll get to see both acts at Coachella this month! The music throughout the wedding a was a mix of pop, r&b, disco, and indie electronica.
At the welcome fiesta, we had a DJ playing a mix of Latin and house music along with drummers, guitarists, and a saxophone player.
No Flowers, Just Foliage
We asked for no flowers at the wedding ceremony. We wanted only greens and browns. Studio Wildflower brought this vision to life sourcing foliage from Northern California farmers.
Our fabulous photographer and videographer
We reviewed Belathà©e’s work and were drawn to their approach. We wanted a laidback, editorial style of photography with a limited number of posed pictures. Annabel and Dorothee were so lovely to work with.
For our video, we worked with Darren Baca, owner of Reel Eyes Media. We absolutely love the videos that he produced.
A Chocolate-Caramel-Pecan Cake
Perfect Endings made our cake. We went with their signature Chocolate Candy Bar cake with layers of caramel, toasted pecans, and bittersweet chocolate. Overall catering was done by Chalk Hill’s in-house culinary program.
A DJ and Live Music
Israeli DJ Gil Fux played alongside live performers on both nights.
Local Flavors, Local Favors
Guests arrived to their hotel rooms that had gift baskets with local snacks and a bottle of wine from Chalk Hill.
The Northern California wildfires
The Northern California wildfires started on the night of our wedding. Several towns surrounding our venue were destroyed. Like smashing the glass, this was a reminder that even at our happiest moments, there is struggle and hardship all around us.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Go to couples’ therapy! Our synagogue offers premarital counseling to couples who are preparing for marriage and the rabbi at the time was a guy who had a real gift for connecting with people and coaching them through life. If you don’t really feel like you’d connect well with your rabbi, find a different therapist, but definitely do not pass up this opportunity to check in with your partner and a third party in the lead up to your wedding.
This is likely the happiest, easiest time in your relationship. Take advantage of it to surface things you’ve never been forced to articulate and to have conversations about to check all of the boxes of “things that you should definitely discuss before you get married.”
Adam & Lowell’s little white book
Photography – Belathà©e Photography
Videography – Reel Eyes Media
Wedding planner – KBY Designs
Venue – Chalk Hill Estate
Grooms’ attire – Canali, Louis Vuitton and Etro
Flowers – Studio Wildflower
Cake – Perfect Endings
DJ – DJ Gil Fux
Invitation and ketubah – Bourne Paper Co.
Welcome party suits – Tailor’s Keep