Handmade, Heritage Blending Garden Wedding in California

This handmade wedding is absolutely overflowing with lovely, personal details! Captured by Viera Photographics, Sandra and Brian were married on a gorgeous May day in an outdoor ceremony in wine country, California. The couple combined many aspects of Brian’s Jewish and Sandra’s Taiwanese heritage to create a wedding day filled with their own, new traditions. A strong love for food and wine shaped the couple’s reception; monogrammed cutting boards and serving spoons were give as unique favors! Be sure to read more about the couple’s inspiration for their wedding and a bit about all the handmade details below.

A few words from the bride:

Brian and I wanted our wedding to be uniquely us but at first we weren’t sure what that meant. We knew we were big foodies, loved handcrafted cocktails and wine. Venue in the heart of California wine country – check! Barndiva five course meal, two custom handcrafted cocktails, late night snacks and dessert bar – check, check and check! We also knew we both loved finding great deals at flea markets, sidewalk sales and our local Goodwill. Result – vases for the wedding, metal welded b+s initials, antique ammunition wooden crate, chalkboard cupboard door and much more! Check!

But how to incorporate both of our heritages with our new families and friends? Brian is Jewish and I am Taiwanese American. Which traditions to choose? And will it make sense to anybody? We started off by using the symbols חַי‎ ‘hai’ (Hebrew for ‘life’) and 囍 ‘shee’ (Chinese for double happiness’) for our save-the-dates and invitations. As the wedding date crept closer, we realized that creating a Jewish-Chinese home in itself is unconventional and that while we wanted to keep certain traditions alive, we were also creating something new. Ultimately, we decided to be married by Brian’s childhood rabbi under a chuppah (sewed from Brian’s bar mitzvah tallis) with traditional Jewish elements such as sharing wine, breaking glass and the celebratory hora. On the other hand, our wedding was on Saturday – traditionally the Jewish sabbath! We also decided to perform a Chinese tea ceremony after the wedding ceremony for all of our parents in front of our guests. Again, contrary to tradition, the Chinese tea ceremony is usually held in private, prior to the wedding ceremony and only for the groom’s parents. But this was the new ‘us’!

I can’t help but mention that almost everything was handmade… All the stationary from the Save-the-Dates to the programs to the wedding favor tags. I also made custom handkerchiefs for the guests, drew our ‘welcome board’ and sewed the chuppah covering. Brian saved used wine bottles and spray painted them with chalkboard paint for our table numbers. Family and friends chipped in as well, sewing all of the table runners, making the table seating chart, the chuppah poles and all of the flowers from bouquets to boutonnieres! It was a group effort!

Last but not least – our wedding day was also my parent’s 17th anniversary and my sister’s 11th anniversary. As we say, “Mazel tov!” and “Gong shee!” all around!

Photographer: Viera Photographics // Videographer: Motion Scope Weddings // Ceremony + Reception Venue, Catering: Barndiva // Bridal Gown Designer: Vera Wang // Bridal Gown Store: Glamour Closet // Bridal Shoes: Via Spiga // Bridal Veil/Headpiece: Custom by Wee Scotty // Jewelry Designer: Borrowed from mother of the bride // Bridesmaid Dress Designer + Store: J. Crew // Groom’s Attire: Indochino // Groom’s Shoes: Ferragamo // Groomsmen’s Attire: Own suits, Theory ties // Cake Designer: Fox and Fawn Bakehouse (vegan and gluten free)
Floral Designer: Bride and bridesmaids, flowers from San Francisco Flower Mart // Makeup Artist: Lena Chavez // Hair Stylist: Jade Tu // Invitation Designer: Bride // Guitarist: Paul Binkley // Band: Le Jazz Hot
Rings: Custom design by Neil Dahl Jewelers // Officiant: Rabbi Gordon Geller // All images by Viera Photographics // Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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