Sara and Ramsen

St Helena, California



Photography | Wasio Photography | @wasio

Photography | JBJ Pictures | @jbjpictures

Venue | Charles Krug Winery | @charleskrugwinery

Welcome Party & Brunch | Meritage Resort & Spa | @meritagecollection

Floral Design | Amy Burke Designs | @amyburkedesigns

Planning & Design | A La Francaise Events | @alafrancaiseevents

Vintage Lounge | Found Rentals | @foundrentals

Linens | La Tavola | @latavolalinen

Rentals | Standard Party Rentals | @standardpartyrentals

Reception Chairs | Blue Print Studios | @blueprintstudiosevents

Lighting | Magical Lighting | @magicallighting

Cigar Roller & Lounge | Oye Productions | @oyeproductions

Videography | Amor in Motion | @amorinmotion

Musicians | Synchronicity Strings | @synchonicitystrings

DJ | Caliber DJs | @caliberdjs

Cake Designer | Palette Cakes | @palettecakes

Caterer | Park Avenue Catering | @parkavenuecatering

Customs Signs | JBG Designs | @jbg_designs

Invitation Designer | Hyegraph | @hyegraphinvitations

Paper Goods | Smitten on Paper | @smittenonpaper

Calligraphy | Calligraphy By Cristine | @calligraphybycristine

Hair & Makeup | Sherrie Long | @artistsbysherrielong

Gown Designer | Enzoani | @enzoani

Bridesmaids Dresses | Hayley Paige | @misshayleypaige

Groom’s Attire | Suit Supply | @suitsupply

Groomsmen’s Attire | Men’s Wearhouse | @menswearhouse

Guest Transportation | Napa Valley Tours & Transportation | @napavalley_tours

Transportation Limousines | Anthem Limo

Officiant | Your Ceremony Matters

Sara and Ramsen live in Chicago, but have family and friends scattered across the US, Europe and the Middle East, so Napa provided an exciting, stunning and of course sunny destination to greet their multi-cultural and sophisticated guests. It’s difficult to find a wedding with more unique features as they were fully committed to delivering an unforgettable guest experience.


The ceremony was held on the great lawn nestled between heritage oak trees with a gorgeous vineyard backdrop and a view of the Culinary Institute of America. At the entrance, guests were greeted with a welcome station serving fresh lemonade and fruit punch before being seated in wooden white crossed back chairs draped with lovely floral arrangements. A red bow was neatly tied at the entrance of the ceremony aisle which was covered with a burgundy and blush petal runner. Sara and Ramsen took their vows under a magnificent archway decorated with white draping, a crystal chandelier and stunning floral décor.


Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour was also held on the great lawn adjacent to the ceremony. The life of the cocktail hour centered around a white vintage bar setup at the foot of a cluster of majestic giant oak trees. Edison light bulbs were hung over the bar to add to the vintage feel and light up the bar into the evening hours. Bar cocktails were handwritten on a chalkboard menu by a professional signage artist.


Another hotspot for guests was the vintage lounge which included a burgundy Roma couch, white arm chairs and a blue ottoman. Edison light bulbs also were hung above the lounge and on either side of the burgundy Roma couch laid a stack of old-fashioned suitcases and an antique bar cart with early 1900’s decanters. To add to the fun, a cigar table was setup near the vintage lounge with a professional cigar roller who entertained guests with stories and hand wrapped cigars.


Scattered throughout the lawn were old wine barrels setup as cocktail tables and decorated with small floral bouquets. One wine barrel held the custom guest book and family pictures of the bride and groom. In the center of the cocktail area, a champagne tower was on display made of crystal champagne saucers and placed on a table with a velvet pinot linen. At the conclusion of the cocktail hour, this became the epicenter of the party as guests circled around and cheered for Sara and Ramsen as they gracefully poured the champagne into the glasses. The escort card table was placed in the lawn just outside the carriage house with the cards neatly placed around a small wooden tree embellished with orchid florals and an arrangement of pomegranate fruits which had a special importance to the groom and his mother.



The reception was held on the second level of the historic Carriage House built in 1881 with soaring cathedral ceilings, arched doorways and dramatic views of the great lawn. The 24 person long rectangular head table was placed opposite the entrance in front of a large wooden archway window.


In the center of the room, hung a stunning period chandelier brought to life with a series of organic bouquets and foliage blended perfectly into each section of the chandelier. Placed directly under it in the middle of the ballroom was the cake table with oatmeal velvet linens holding a designer tiered wedding cake with multi-colored edible sugar flowers and surrounded by long burgundy candlesticks.


The tables had a mix of Kendra ivory linens with navy velvet napkins and gold infinity chairs with ivory cushions. The table settings included gold Oro flatware, gold-rimmed chargers, Roma gold glassware and blue Bari goblets. On the tables were a mix of small and large centerpieces displaying a lush arrangement of equal parts greenery and blooms of blush, champagne, ivory, light peach with accents of burgundy, deep plum and navy. The head table was decorated with a variety of pieces including bud vases, mini arrangements, gold candelabras, single taper candles, vessels of farm fruit compotes, loose fruits, and gold mercury glass votive candles. On either side of the bride and groom were two large majestic centerpieces. The flowers and foliage used for the reception was a mix of peonies, hydrangea, magnolia, ranunculus, roses, garden roses, mums/spider mums, irises, dahlias, scabiosa, oak leaf hydrangea, fall hydrangea, lisamachia, Queen Anne’s lace and many more varietals.

What did you envision your wedding being prior to planning?

We wanted a setting that would accommodate a larger wedding without losing the charm of smaller Napa venues while still feeling upscale. Charles Krug Winery provided a mix of both history and modern restorations that incorporate the vintage flare and culture of the winery, from the Carriage House’s ceilings that come from their retired wine barrels to the beautiful, natural setting, among the large cedar trees and vineyard backdrop.


What was your color palette and your style vision?

Deep shades of burgundy and navy with gold accents. We wanted the invitations, flowers and other decor to bring in more light by mixing in taupe, cream and light blush amongst the deep tones. We were going for an elegant look and feel for our wedding.


What unique elements did you include?

Since this was a destination wedding, we wanted our guests to have a fun, unique and memorable experience. We did this by providing areas that would be both entertaining and photo-worthy, such as providing a vintage bar and lounge and cigar rolling/smoking set up. We also extended festivities by having a welcome cocktail reception Friday evening, and farewell brunch the following Sunday.


What was your favorite moment?

We both love music and wanted to include songs that are atypical, had meaning, and would leave a lasting impression on our guests. We had a quartet playing an instrumental version of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” when I walked into the ceremony, and we we kicked off the reception with our first dance to the original recorded version. It was a nice way to tie in another piece of the event and a song that will always be sentimental to us both.


Your favorite crafted detail?

It’s a three-way tie! 1 We incorporated pomegranates into the decor and food as a nod to Ramsen’s Middle Eastern culture and the fact that his mom still opens and fills large take away containers for him! 2 The wedding cake! The cake was designed and made by an artist and baker, Kellie, of Palette Cakes, whose sugar flowers are not only breathtaking to look at, but are also 100% edible. The flavors we chose were Cinnamon Pistachio on Vanilla, and Hazelnut Frangelico on Chocolate. It was as delicious as it was stunning. 3 Ramsen helped source large format ice cubes for the brandy old-fashioned drinks. This was another nice way to tie in the ambiance of the day for our guests who appreciate a good cocktail (as well as not melting as quickly on the 85 degree and sunny day)!

Tell us about your flowers, your gown, your favors, your cake, etc.

We opted out of favors in lieu of offering guests an open bar Welcome Party on Friday evening and a Farewell Brunch the following Sunday with a full brunch, mimosas and bloody mary bar. Flowers and food/beverage were two of our top priorities. We wanted a symmetrical arch for the ceremony setting, which was draped elegantly in ivory chiffon. A mix of burgundy, ivory, taupe, and blush colors of hydrangeas, ranunculus, David Austen garden roses, and anemones accented with green foliage completed the frame. A crystal chandelier hung in the center adding a hint of drama and romance to the setting. A large chandelier dangling from the center of the carriage house was the focal point of the reception with green foliage cascading around the outside ring and each light accented with bundles of flower in an array of accent colors.


The food – The cocktail hour kicked off with a selection of hors d’oeuvres including crispy ahi wontons, crispy bacon wrapped chorizo-filled dates, fried calamari with jalapeño aioli and goat cheese and tomato tart. A ginormous charcuterie and cheese board was also available. Moving on to the dinner, an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup in a slender espresso glass was placed in the center of the plate to start, followed by a salad course of pomegranate and fennel and entree selections of a Bistro Filet with a Tangy Chimichurri Sauce, Chicken Breast with Lemon-Arugula Pesto, or Wild Mushroom Risotto accompanied by Roasted Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Grilled Market Vegetables. Cuban Sandwiches and Slider Burgers served as the late-night snack for guests.


My dress was an Enzoani gown called McKinley. It’s a full length dress with a beading and lace deep sweetheart top, dainty rhinestone spaghetti straps with a low-cut back and crepe material with lace along the cathedral length train, which provided a touch of drama. It was form fitting without being too sultry and modern with vintage touches. It was both exciting and yet classic; a nice compliment to both the bride and groom’s fashion taste! The cathedral length veil was placed toward the upper-back of the head and included similar lace along the edges.


Hair and Makeup were by Sherrie Long Artists. Nancy was my personal stylist for both makeup and hair and she didn’t disappoint. I decided for a more natural look with my hair down with slight waves. My makeup was overall natural and glowing.


What is one piece of advice that you could give brides-to-be?

You can’t control everything and things are bound to happen, so let it go.

The majority of your photos will be showing the top of your gown – something to keep in mind if you’re debating on a few dresses.


Do you have a personal story that makes your wedding unique/special? Or can you share any personal stories of your couple?

We met through a mutual friends during a party. Ramsen initially didn’t talk to me, so I made myself known by talking to him. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he was probably playing hard to get ON PURPOSE. From there, we had no intention of dating, knowing that he would be moving to NYC in less than a year for his fellowship. After months of trying to not date, we began hanging out more together and decided to give long distance a try.


We spent the next three years going back and forth between Chicago and NYC and using it as an opportunity to explore all the food, cocktails, and sites that New York had to offer (mostly grilled cheese and mac and cheese spots, and bloody mary bar crawl tours). We always looked forward to when Ramsen would move back to Chicago. He finally did and the rest is history!