Sometimes knowing what you don’t want is the first step in defining what your wedding style will be. Intent on avoiding a hotel setting, Amy Tsai and Nicholas Noh stumbled upon a lovely alternative. “A wedding at a vineyard always seemed very
casual and yet still very romantic,” offers Nick. “Something unique and outdoorsy was attractive to us,” adds Amy, “and the beauty of a property in Temecula won us over.” The winery the couple chose used sustainable farming techniques, an aspect that was important to the bride. “Amy was very determined to make things as environmentally friendly as possible,” says Nick. “From the wedding invitations to the floral arrangements, everything was organic or friendly to the environment.”
The grapevine motif on the pair’s invitation suite inspired Amy’s choices for the event’s color scheme. “I selected shades of lavender and eggplant that matched the watercolors on the invitations,” she says. Distinctive floral design was high on the list of the bride’s priorities, and her vision of integrating fresh produce into the décor was flawlessly executed. Grapes, artichokes, kale, and herbs were worked into the flowers adorning the ceremony arbor. The bouquets held by Amy and her attendants included miniature purple artichokes among the peonies, roses, tulips, and mums. Local organic farms were tapped for the fruits and vegetables, and earth-friendly elements were used throughout the décor. “Our florist used recycled chrome pails for my aisle decoration and eco-friendly ribbons,” says Amy. “My wedding dress was made of organic hemp silk.” The bride’s gown and headpiece both featured dramatic floral detail, and the ring bearer held a pillow of green button mums accented with fresh sprigs of lavender.
A landscape view of the vineyard served as the breathtaking backdrop to the ceremony. The Christian service integrated the families of the couple and combined their ethnic backgrounds. The mother of the bride gave a reading from the Bible in Taiwanese, and an aunt of the groom gave a prayer in Korean. The service was concluded with a memorable dove release. “Because we left it out of the program, all of the guests were surprised when the doves flew out of baskets and into the sky,” remembers Amy. “It was beautiful.” Much effort went into perfecting the cocktail hour, where Amy’s culinary background influenced the dessert display. The bride personally selected a variety of treats from her favorite purveyors, and decorated apothecary jars in which to display them. “I purchased chocolates and Pate de Fruit from William Dean Chocolates; Yoku Moku cookies from Neiman Marcus; and pineapple agar-agar (jelly) candy from a local organic store,” she says. Amy’s mother brought Taiwanese confections, and friends picked up perishable items such as French macarons and petite madeleines on the day of the wedding.
Leaf-shaped seating cards attached to lemons and limes directed guests to assigned tables named for a particular vegetable or fruit. Wooden crates filled with the applicable produce and accented with herbs served as centerpieces. “It was earthy and simple, yet elegant,” says Amy. Everything coordinated beautifully with the barrel room where the reception took place. Eggplant colored table linens gave a splash of vibrant color to the space, and menus reflected the same design as the invitations. “Even the wedding cake had the grapevine design,” says Amy. Artichoke leaves made of sugarpaste also decorated alternating layers, and the cake was displayed on a custom stand of carved wood. Each place setting featured a favor from Matchstick Garden tucked into a napkin. “They’re like matchsticks you can pull out of a booklet and plant just like a seed,” Amy explains. “You just bury the ‘matchstick’ in soil, and a plant will grow from it.”
At the end of the night, the couple shared a same-day edit of the wedding video with guests. “My best advice for people planning their own celebration is that you should personalize it as much as you can,” concludes Amy. “You should do whatever makes you happy and not follow trends or traditions just because everyone else does. If you love ice carvings, have one.” And did the bride adhere to her own recommendation? “I think I did follow this advice,” she says. “And it was an amazing experience.”