It’s been a little over a month since Sophie and Chad’s wedding.
Sophie is my sister’s middle daughter.
And my niece and goddaughter.
They had a small and intimate family wedding.
At a winery in the Sierra foothills.
There were just 20 of us.
It was perfect.
A couple of months ago I shared Kyle and Melody’s wedding details.
It was a very popular post.
I’m not surprised, there are a record number of weddings happening this year.
Google wedding searches are up 100,000%.
(I made that up.)
Today Sophie’s sharing all her wedding details with us.
Including her vendors and sources.
And of course, the stunning wedding photos!
Let’s hear what Sophie has to say about planning their big day.
You’ve been married for six weeks!
Uncle Jim and I had so much fun at your wedding.
You and Chad were engaged during the pandemic. How did this affect your wedding planning?
Yes! We got engaged in September of 2020. We were planning on a small elopement style wedding in the Lake Tahoe area. When I started making phone calls it was obvious too many things were up in the air related to the pandemic. With guidelines changing week to week venues could not give concrete assurances or commitments. We felt it was impossible to plan under these circumstances and said, let’s wait a bit.
You decided to have a very small and intimate family wedding which was lovely. What led you to make this decision for your big day.
After taking a long pause in the planning we considered eloping but ultimately decided on a ‘micro’ wedding. With a guest list of 20, we still wanted the elements of a traditional wedding on a smaller scale.
How did you decide on Dono dal Cielo as your wedding venue?
Dono dal Cielo has been a favorite local spot since we moved to the Sierra foothills several years ago. Their wine is amazing, the setting is beautiful, and we’ve become friends with several gals who work there. It was also the venue for my baby shower last summer which made it even more special. It had the backyard wedding vibe we were hoping for.
Auntie’s Note: You can read all about Sophie’s baby shower here.
You also opted to have the wedding on a Thursday night rather than a weekend. Tell us about that.
Thursday just worked. We had our hearts set on specific wedding vendors and with June being such a busy wedding month we knew a weeknight event would make booking them easier. Also, because it was a smaller event, it was more likely the vendors could fit us in without interfering with their larger weekend events. Also, our guests were strictly family members and we spoke to them all to ensure the mid-week date would work.
Auntie’s Note: Hosting a weeknight wedding is a way to secure a popular venue and can be advantageous cost-wise as well.
Sophie & Her Parents
Chad & His Family
Tell us about your wedding vendors and sources?
Venue: Dono Dal Cielo Winery & Vineyard in Newcastle, California
Event Coordination: Lori Niemi-Cardoza
Rentals: Celebrations Party Rentals
Catering: The Butchers Cleaver
Wedding Cake: Janay McCullough
Janay made my cousin Kyle’s wedding cake and it was so good. Kyle’s wife, Melody, put me in touch with Janay and she agreed to do it. We had the pretty cake for cutting and two small sheet cakes to serve. The cake was so yummy, here’s a description from Janay – Tahitian vanilla sponge cake with honey roasted strawberries, sweet cream Swiss meringue butter. That’s a mouthful!
Cake Plate: Crate & Barrel
Cake Server: My Great-Grandmother’s William & Mary Lunt Sterling Silver Server
Florals: Lynne Pearce Interiors
Photography: Taylor Brooke Photography
Special shout out to Taylor. We’ve been Instagram friends for a couple of years and I felt like I already knew her. I knew she had to be our wedding photographer. Not only are her photos amazing, but she was so much fun to work with … and it felt more like we were just hanging out. I was a little nervous, especially during the first few posed photos. And I was concerned about Chad, because like a lot of men he can be impatient with photos and offer up a man-glare. Our sunset couples photos ended up being one of the best parts of the day for both of us. Taylor made us so comfortable. Even Chad relaxed and had fun. And I think those photos turned out to be my favorites.
Music: Nathan North Music
Signage: Various templates purchased from Etsy (linked below).
- Welcome Sign
- Cigar Bar, Sparkler & Favor Table Signs … and I put them in these frames
- Sparkler Tag/Sleeves
- Personalized Cocktail Napkins
- Laser Cut Out Name Place Cards – We had two sets, one for the ceremony chairs and the other for the dining table
Corn Hole Guest Book: My father-in-law made the set and it turned out even better than I hoped.
Candles (on tables and guest favors): Natys Candles
Hotel: The Holbrooke Hotel, Grass Valley, California
Transportation: Platinum Limousine Service, Roseville, California
Getting ready at the Holbrooke Hotel
Where did you purchase your wedding gown, shoes, jewelry, etc.?
I purchased my gown at A & Be Bridal in Sacramento. It was the first and only shop I visited … I’d done a lot of research and it was totally my vibe. I worked with Adrienne. We clicked right away, she made me feel so special, and we’ve stayed in touch. She’s amazing and I recommend asking for her.
My earrings are Mejuri’s Bold Pearl Drop. I LOVE them and, surprisingly, they really stood out in many photos.
Auntie’s Note: Sophie, I think there’s something you’re leaving out!
Ok there was a little wedding dress drama. Shortly after we got engaged, I found the perfect wedding dress at A & Be Bridal. Thanks, Adrienne. Then came the pandemic uncertainties and a pause in planning. And along came Haddie. So, we decided to wait until the following summer for our wedding. As the date got closer it became apparent that my body had changed, I was still breast feeding, and my beautiful dress no longer worked. Back to Adrienne I went and found another perfect dress just in the nick of time.
And speaking of my dress. I still need to have it cleaned and I can’t decide if I want to save for my children or possibly sell or donate it. Maybe your readers can comment on this … and what did they did with their wedding gowns? I’d love to know.
I got this cute BRIDE tote from Amazon to haul all my stuff in. My mom’s mother-of-the-bride denim jacket came from this Etsy shop My Mrs. Rodr denim jacket came from Something New Bridal Box. And, baby Haddie’s denim jacket is from Old Navy.
And Chad’s suit?
Chads suit is from The Black Tux. They do rentals as well, but we decided to purchase. Every guy needs a dark suit in his closet.
Auntie’s Note: Wasn’t there some groom outfit drama too?!
Ha ha … yes! While getting ready for the wedding Chad decided he preferred his brother’s shirt and tie and they switched. You can notice the change between the getting ready photos and the ceremony photos.
He wore brown dress shoes he already had from Men’s Warehouse.
What about Haddie’s dress?
I bought Haddie’s dress at Justy Bae. I saw it featured on their Instagram and fell in love. I also ordered this cute romper from Amazon as a backup. We didn’t end up needing it. As it turned out, I was the one who needed a backup. We had these cute little shoes for her but she’s firmly on team no-shoes.
Chad’s brother, Rod, officiated the wedding. He was amazing. So sweet and funny too. How did you talk him into it?
We knew we wanted a family member to officiate, and Roddy was the obvious choice. He is a wonderful communicator and great with people. He knows us both so well and we knew he wouldn’t embarrass us too much. Joking. He was excited and enthusiastic about doing it.
You’re very close with your two sisters. How did they help and feature into the day?
We didn’t have a traditional wedding party. In other words, no bridesmaids or groomsman. But I wanted my sisters involved and there to support me with some special moments before and on the wedding day.
The night before the wedding we had a girl’s sleepover at my house. We did spa treatments, watched cheesy movies, and talked about our shared memories from growing up. It was a night I’ll always remember.
Also, Sam, my older sister is a wonderful hair stylist (Dallas Ft. Worth area), and she did all our hair on the day of the wedding.
Both Sam, and my younger sister, Shelby, were such a great help with baby Haddie on the wedding day.
Auntie’s Note: At the last-minute Sam saved my hair. I’d gone into town for an updo (not wanting to burden Sam with another head to deal with on that busy day) and it was a disaster. My sister came over to our room before leaving the hotel, took one look at me and said ‘come with me, Sam will fix this.’ Sam grabbed a comb, plugged in her curling wand and in minutes my hair was saved. Thank you, Sam. And Jane.
And the littles, how were they included?
We planned for Haddie to come down the aisle with Chad and he’d hand her off to one of my sisters or a grandma. As the day got closer, I decided it was probably a bad idea. Haddie’s at a stage where she gets fussy away from me or Chad and the hand off could have led to tears.
We had flower crowns made for Haddie and Mae, my 4-year-old niece. Mae had a flower girl basket full or rose petals but at the last minute she was not feeling the flower girl thing and we let that go. She wore this dress and these shoes.
Auntie’s Note: Justin, Sam’s husband and Wyatt, Beau and Maesyn’s dad got sick and was unable to travel for the wedding. We missed you, Justin.
What other special, meaningful things did you incorporate into the day?
We had an amazing artist, Nathan North Music, there to play and sing throughout the evening. His music was a real highlight and played a special role in creating a magical atmosphere. Everyone commented on how much they enjoyed his music.
Haddie fell in love with Nathan, and someone had to hold her near him most of the evening which kept her very happy. He was so sweet, and he sang to her and even played a couple of special songs that she really enjoyed. She was mesmerized.
Auntie’s Note: I think everyone fell a little bit in love with Nathan. From Chad’s 92-year-old grandmother to 10-month-old Haddie and everyone in between. He charmed us all. It’s hard to put into words how his music enhanced and elevated an already beautiful evening.
We used my great-grandmother’s sterling silver cake server to cut and serve our wedding cake. All my grandparents have passed, and it was special to have this heirloom that was so meaningful to my granny included in our day.
It was also a highlight to have Chad’s grandmother, Betty, at the wedding. She’s 92-years young and brought extra sparkle to the day.
Auntie’s Note: Grandma Betty’s joie de vivre inspired everyone. And she gave the sweetest toast. As Sophie said, she’s 92-years young. She’s truly a role model for how to do life.
Tell us about your lawn game guest book!
I wanted to do something different and something that would not get packed away after the wedding and rarely seen again. I asked Chad’s dad to make us a corn hole set for all our guests to sign and leave messages. He did a great job. We even used it at the wedding after dinner. Everyone loved it, especially the kids. And we’ve already used it several times since the wedding.
Looking back on the day, what really stands out for you?
It was so casual and intimate, and everyone was able to just relax and truly enjoy themselves and being with each other.
Were there any mishaps?
Nothing that I know of!
Oh wait, during the post-ceremony photos, my sisters and I were dancing a little too wildly and one of them (I won’t say who, but our photographer may have captured the culprit) smeared foundation on my dress. 😂
I also spilled pasta sauce on it at dinner.
We were able to get both stains out using hand sanitizer and Wine Away spray. Who knew!? Taylor, our photographer, said she’s going to start carrying Wine Away to all her weddings.
Did anything work out better than expected?
We were a little concerned about the heat, it was supposed to be in the high 90s. We were concerned because the wedding ceremony and dinner were both outside. Turns out it was cooler than expected (still warm) and no one’s make-up sweated off.
In hindsight is there anything you’d do differently?
Yes, I would not have eaten the pasta with red sauce!
Do you have any honeymoon plans?
No honeymoon. Chad returned to work on Monday following our wedding and has been pretty much gone ever since. I’ll see my new husband again after fire season.
Auntie’s Note: Chad is an engineer for Cal Fire and, obviously, quite busy this time of year.
Thank you, Sophie, for sharing the details of your special day.
Uncle Jim and I were honored to be there.
I couldn’t help thinking of Grandpa and Granny throughout the evening.
They would have been so proud.
I asked Jim how he’d describe the wedding and he said,
‘I don’t want to sound corny, but it was so comfortable and genuine.
Everyone was relaxed, happy and engaged.
It felt like we were not just witnessing a wedding, but we were part of it.’
LET’S LOOK AT MORE WEDDING PHOTOS …
Sophie and Chad’s wedding was relaxed, understated, and casually elegant.
My mother, Sophie’s granny, would have approved.
And that’s saying something.
We could not have asked for anything more beautiful for our beloved niece.
So, there you have it
Sophie and Chad’s small and intimate family wedding.
This was so much fun to put together and I hope you enjoyed it too!
As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
Do you have any advice for Sophie about keeping her wedding dress?
She’d love to hear it.
Cheers from Snowberry!