Natalia Calderon and Nicholas Guay-Ross met while volunteering in Uganda and stayed together upon returning to the U.S. Then one New Year's Eve, at her parents' annual bash at her childhood home, he got down on one knee.
He knew that family was important to her so he intentionally selected the party so everyone would be together. "For context, I have eight uncles and aunts and 21 first cousins only on my mom's side, so there were about 80 people at this celebration," she says. Not surprisingly for these lovebirds, it was all about making their families the center of their big day at Cline Cellars in Sonoma.
They commissioned Guay-Ross' 94-year-old artist grandfather to create a monogram representing their union. He fell ill halfway through their planning, but finished the lettering in his final days; his grandmother would finished the monogram. Made up of three elements, it fused the maple leaf of Guay-Ross' Canadian homeland; the guaria morada, the national flower of Calderon's native Costa Rica; and vineyard leaves and tendrils to represent California, the state they call home. The monogram became the central point in their decor, making its way into invitations, ceremony programs, dinner menus, and the seating chart.
Calderon wanted a simple look and selected an ivory A-line gown with a clean skirt, customized with an open-back and cap-sleeve lace bodice. Within the lace was a design embedded with the leaves of guaria morada.
The groom wore a custom navy blue three-piece suit with a white shirt and ivory tie. The personalization continued with sweet elements like their monogram embroidered on the inner lining of the jacket, grey and red maple leaf socks to pay homage to Canada, and his grandfather's cuff links, gifted to him by his grandmother.
"Our ceremony incorporated multiple Catholic and Latin American traditions, including the offering of orchids to the Virgin Mary statue," explains Guay-Ross. They also honored Calderon's late grandmothers with portraits at the statue's feet. The mixed culture festivities continued with a traditional Irish hymn, and two liturgical readings in Spanish and French. In order to enhance the natural beauty of the venue, they kept florals to a minimum with a white and ivory palette paired with dark, lush greenery. They used orchids to present to the Virgin Mary in a nod to Calderon's mother's wedding day.
Wine and cheese hour and took place alongside the pond in the gardens of Cline Cellars. For the reception, they strove to create a romantic and soft ambience. "Our biggest focus was candlelight from an array of glass hurricanes and mercury votives, surrounded by dark lush greenery," says Guay-Ross. "Our guests were surrounded by hundreds of magnificent wine barrels decorated with tea lights, and we did not want to take away from that natural rustic beauty."
Venue: Cline Cellars
Makeup: Bloom and Blush
Cake: Susie Cakes
Event planner: 2 Friends Events
Photographer: Apollo Fotografie