A Croatian-inspired wedding in a Californian winery? Friday, we’re in love!
Daniel and Mallory’s ombre-hued wedding day might just be our dream combination of styles.
When the couple knew that a destination bash to their favourite European haven was out of the question, they set about recreating an Adriatic backdrop in So Cal wine country.
And the results were pretty perfect.
Scaling tints of green and blue, sprigs of lavender, and splashes of not-quite-white, made their decor, (much of which was DIY), conjured that romantic, breezy, coastal feel, against the stunning inland backdrop of Ponte Winery.
Working with (super talented) planner, Joelle Charming, the couple created their dream destination day at home, and with time to spare. (Mallory says she had almost all her to-do list done a week before the wedding!)
And perhaps one of our favourite details about this wedding, is that the dreamy pictures were captured by the amazing Onelove Photography.
We’ve been big fans of this team for a while, so not only are we delighted to feature their work, it’s extra special when it’s with a wedding as beautiful as this one…
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
Danny and I met as teenagers in college. We were friends for a year or so before realizing we were destined for more than just friendship.
We dated for six years before Danny proposed, though we began talking about marriage long before (we navigated a long distance relationship for 4+ years when I moved to Oregon for graduate school).
For one of Danny’s visits to Oregon, I planned a surprise weekend trip to Portland. I told him what to pack, but he hadn’t the slightest idea where we were going.
To his surprise, we first arrived at Multnomah Falls and promptly began the chilly hike up to the bridge that spans the falls. We asked a kind hiker to snap our photo. Upon reviewing it, the photo looked great, but Danny insisted she retake the photo.
Before I knew what was happening, Danny was confessing his love down on one knee.
Our naïve photographer snapped a beautiful stream of photos as it all happened! We finished our hike and then drove to the city.
I already had the entire weekend planned with some activities in the city and fancy dinner. We love to joke that I unwittingly planned the perfect proposal for myself.
Our wedding color palette and theme were inspired by our favorite destination, Croatia.
The beautiful lightly colored limestone and pebbled beaches transform the Adriatic Sea into fabulous shades of bright blue and green. Lavender grows plentifully, the scent of which fills the market stands at Diocletian’s Palace in Split.
The rural hillsides on the scattered islands are picturesquely lined with vineyard after vineyard. The shutters on most stone homes are a soft green color, reminiscent of the sea at its shallowest depths.
A European destination wedding was not practical for our large families. Though Temecula, CA was a destination of sorts for our families, when we stumbled upon our beautiful venue, Ponte Family Estate, we knew it was “the one”.
I wanted to incorporate lavender as much as possible into the décor.
I purchased bundles and bundles of dried lavender and made the bridesmaids bouquets and aisle décor with the help of some family and bridesmaids.
For my bridal bouquet, I wanted a white, garden style bouquet. My bouquet was a combination of Queen Anne’s lace, green amaranths, seeded eucalyptus, white garden roses, white peonies, green coffee beans, and white liseanthus.
I loved the whimsical look of my bouquet, as if I had just walked through the garden and freshly picked the flowers myself!
Our centerpieces were also a combination of white flowers, mostly white hydrangea and eucalyptus.
The groomsmen wore simple boutonnieres eucalyptus and few flowers.
Shortly into the wedding planning process I fell in love with the wedding gown designer, Hayley Paige. I quickly scheduled an appointment for one of her trunk shows and fell in love with my gown, Star.
I could not stop staring at the intricate beading and sequins – they were just perfect! And I loved that the gown was not white or ivory… The color is called Alabaster, with layers of tulle colored soft purple, pink, and ivory.
My maids wore Donna Morgan dresses in a color, Beachglass, that reminded me of the beautiful shutters in Croatia.
We went for a simple and classic look for the gentlemen, though Danny wore a tie and the groomsmen wore bowties.
The Unique Details
Danny is of both Assyrian and Chinese heritage and we wanted to honor his ancestry. As a guest favor, we provided Asian Sandalwood Fans (which served dual purposes during the ceremony).
At the reception, we had a semi-traditional Assyrian grand entrance with Assyrian music, line dancing, and dance accessories (scarves for the women and kopalas for the men).
It was important to us to add these personal touches and our guests had a great time experiencing these traditions.
The Ceremony & Music
We kept the ceremony relatively simple, adding a few personal touches.
In addition to writing our own vows, we felt it appropriate to acknowledge our beautiful surroundings with a “blending of the wine” tradition.
Our family and wedding party entered the ceremony to Canon In D by Pachelbel (Strings). My father then walked me down the aisle to the instrumental version of A Thousand Years by The Piano Guys.
Our recessional song was Everything by Michael Buble.
We wanted a classic song for our first dance. I gave Danny full responsibility in choosing the song, and he did well! We danced to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.
I danced to If Not For You by George Harrison with my father, and Danny danced to Stand By Me by Ben E. King with his mother.
The Photography & Videography
Early in the wedding planning process I started to follow several wedding blogs. I recall looking at the photos on a “Real Wedding” post on one of these blogs and falling in love!
I loved the natural and romantic feel to the photos. To our good fortune, Onelove Photography is based in Pasadena, CA and I didn’t have to look any further.
Everyone tells you not to hire friends or family as vendors for your wedding day. We broke this rule, and we couldn’t be more pleased!
A dear friend of ours, Miguel Norigenna of MGN Cinematography, is an excellent videographer and he captured our day just perfectly.
The Decor & Details
With the help of my bridesmaids, I tried to DIY as much of the décor as possible. I also tried to keep the décor as simple as possible, as our beautiful venue really did not need any décor.
For the aisle, lavender bundles, colorful and billowing fabrics for the final row of chairs at the ceremony, and the framed loved quotes placed throughout the ceremony and reception; it all felt so perfectly us!
Our “splurges” were definitely our venue (ceremony and reception) and photography. We tried to save in other areas (flowers, décor) by DIY-ing as much as possible.
When it came to guest experience (food, beverage, entertainment), we found a hard time sparing too many expenses. Given that our guests were traveling from all over the country to celebrate us – We HAD to give them a good time!
Our guests enjoyed a variety of Ponte wines from arrival (guests were greeted with Moscato) to the last dance!
We served a formal, sit-down meal of grilled top sirloin and Scottish pan seared salmon.
We toasted with Moscato and enjoyed two flavors of wedding cake, Salted Caramel and Almond Champagne.
Advice for Other Couples
Organization is key. I followed a monthly “planner” provided by my wedding coordinator, which helped keep me on track and ensure I was thinking about the right things at the right time.
Set weekly manageable goals. Also, I was 99% complete with ALL things wedding over a week in advance.
I was able to enjoy the week leading up to the wedding with friends and family without worrying about a glaring to-do list.
Trust me, you’ll thank yourself!
It’s all so beautiful isn’t it? I love how thought-out all the details are, and the detailing on Mallory’s Hayley Paige wedding dress is so pretty. I love Mallory’s tips for keeping to your planning timeline too. What a pro!
Be inspired by more gorgeous real weddings.