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Real Wedding | Sydney + TJ

Tell us a little about yourselves!

Sydney and TJ met in Oslo, Norway in the summer of 2016 while traveling abroad for a black tie event. At the time, TJ was living and working in Singapore, and Sydney was living and working in New York City. After a year of long-distance dating, Sydney and TJ moved to San Francisco together and started their lives in the Bay Area. They got engaged on Thanksgiving day 2018 in Budapest, Hungary.

TJ is currently a Product Manager at YouTube and Sydney is a Language Designer for the Apple Design Studio. They have two labradoodle pups, Honey & Gus, and the four of them split their time between San Francisco and Tahoe.

Sydney and TJ’s original wedding date was October 3rd, 2020 however, due to the pandemic they were not able to have the wedding on that date. Instead, they eloped privately on their original wedding date and pushed the wedding ceremony to the following October. Their 2021 wedding ceremony was held the weekend of their one-year elopement anniversary, which made the occasion even more special. After the wedding, Sydney and TJ enjoyed a long honeymoon in Bora Bora.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

We have always loved the ambiance and beauty of California’s wine regions. We knew most of our guests would be coming in from out of town, so we wanted a location that felt like a destination vacation for everyone. Napa was the perfect location, especially in October, because the weather is lovely and the vines are full and lush which provides beautiful scenery. Our venue was large enough to house all of our guests and offered options for so many activities, including a Friday evening dinner on the lawn, bowling, wine tasting, spa experiences, and lots of outdoor space for our ceremony and reception.

How many guests did you have?

We had 65 guests.

Tell us about your outfits.

Sydney wore a custom Vera Wang white strapless gown featuring a silk organza floral detail on the front. Her reception dress was a Galvan silvery fitted silk slip-style dress with one-shoulder detail and a scooped back. TJ wore a classic black tux with a vest from Suit Supply. He wore traditional, shiny tuxedo shoes for the ceremony and changed into velvet loafers for the reception.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

Florals were very important to us. We wanted the venue to feel like a fresh garden full of greenery and flowers. Vanda Floral Design created the most amazing floral designs for the arbor we got married until. It was lush and full and completely stunning. We also wanted to make sure our guests felt well taken care of with planned events throughout the long weekend. We organized a Friday night dinner on the lawn, a late-night after-party after the reception, and Sunday brunch on the final day.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

We loved the idea of walking eachother down the aisle since we were technically already married. It was extra special to have our harpist, Eleonora Pellegrini play as we walked. On our way down the aisle she played a harp rendition of “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and as we left the ceremony she played “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We wanted a special wedding favor for our guests, and we were lucky enough to find the talented watercolor artist Rosaura Unangst who painted guest portraits throughout the reception. We thought this was a more sentimental idea than a photo booth, and the paintings served as thank-you gifts for the guests to take home.

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during the pandemic?

Having our wedding be postponed tuned out to be a wonderful thing. We’re so grateful that we had the opportunity to have both a private elopement for just the two of us and then have a more traditional wedding experience a year later with all our friends and family. We love that we got the best of both worlds. So, the advice would be to try and find the silver linings and know that everything will work out in the end!

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

We adored our photographer, Jenna Gundelach. She has such a unique photography style and she captured so many intimate, candid moments. Anytime we look back at our wedding day photos we can truly feel the joy, excitement, nerves, and love of the day through the photography. And she captured so many little details and moments we otherwise would have forgotten about.

Photographer : Jenna Gundelach @jennaraephoto | Ceremony Location : Vineyard Deck at the Meritage Resort + Spa in Napa, CA @meritageresort | Reception Location : Vinter’s Room at Vista Collina Resort in Napa, CA @vistacollina | Celebrant : Leroy Sua (Bride’s father) | Entertainment : Ceremony Harpist : Eleonora Pellegrini @california_wedding_harpist | Reception DJ : DJ Armin @djarmin980 | Wedding Planner : Sean Dempsey @seandempseyn | Reception Watercolorist : Rosaura Unangst @pigmentandparchment | Flora : Vanda Floral Design @vandafloraldesign | HMUA : Dominique Latigue @everythingbeautybyneek | Stationery : Zola @zola | Groom's Tux + Shoes : Suit Supply @suitsupply | Bride's Ceremony Dress : Vera Wang SF @verawangbride SF | Bride's Reception Dress : Galvan @galvan | Wedding Rings : Blue Nile (Groom) + Marrow Fine @marrowfine (Bride) | Bride's Shoes : Badgely Mischka | Clutch : Twine + Love | Reception Earrings : Deepa Gurnani | Men of Honour Tuxedos : Jim’s Formalwear


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