Catherine & Jeremy's Russian River Wedding / by Sonya Yruel

In honor of their five year anniversary that's just a few days away, I wanted to share a special wedding, with words from the beautiful bride!

Bride and groom on bridge in Monte Rio, over the Russian River.

How did you pick your venue?

"Nestled in the Russian River Valley’s tiny town of Monte Rio is the Highland Dell Lodge. As most of our friends and family were going to have to travel to the wedding from either the East Coast or elsewhere, we decided to make our wedding a bit of a destination. It’s quiet in Monte Rio. There’s spotty cell service and everyone seems to know everyone else. It’s exactly the sort of place we felt comfortable hosting an intimate wedding (around 90 people). Of course, Herb Loose’s food at the tasting blew us away, so there was that. We were able to rent the entire lodge for the entire weekend for the event. Herb and Ingrid were even kind enough to let us have an Easter egg hunt for the kids the morning after the wedding. It felt like having a wedding at your family’s house."

Welcome to Monte Rio sign and the Highland Dell Lodge, wedding venue on the Russian River.

How would you describe the style of your wedding?

"Our wedding was truly a unique mix of vintage and modern:  my dress was from a Rivini trunk show and never actually manufactured. My husband's suit was from Decades, the vintage store in the Haight in San Francisco. It's this beautiful sharkskin material from the 1960's, trimmed in black. It caught my eye on a mannequin and by some strange miracle fit him like a glove. He wore it with this tiny ladybug pin his grandmother gave him, and vintage cufflinks from the 1960's"

Bride’s wedding dress hanging on the historic Rio theater in Monte Rio. Flower girl holding lily bouquet.
Vintage cufflinks and a vintage sharkskin tuxedo for the groom. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
Groom tying bow tie in mirror and wearing vintage sharkskin tuxedo at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"Jeremy and I are huge fans of costuming from the early years of Mad Men, and thought it would be fun to have a Mad Men inspired wedding."

Custom screen-printed wedding invitations and the bride’s shoes at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"Tiny photos of my family and ancestors were printed out and put into little frames that adorned my bouquet. I felt like everyone walked me down the aisle that day."

The bride carried photos of her family in little picture frames tied to her bouquet. Bride adjusts her veil in the mirror at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The bride’s scalloped silk hat and vintage Dior pearl earrings. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.

"My mother gave me a beautiful set of double pearls that have been hers for some time. It's a tradition in the family to give pearls to the bride when she gets married. My sister lent me her vintage Dior earrings (she wore them to her wedding over 20 years ago.)"

Pearls given to the bride by her mother, and a portrait of the bride at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The bride and groom’s First Look while the bridal party watches at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"We couldn't find a wedding band (for me) that fit the idea I had in my head. On a trip to North Carolina we visited Ron at Stonehaven Jewelers and described what I wanted. He created my ring from a sketch at his gallery. I didn't see it until the wedding day. It was perfect!"

Wedding ceremony programs and wedding rings at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"We had set up a small table with photos of my ancestors and family where we lit some candles in their honor. Our ceremony was neither strictly Western nor strictly Vietnamese. We took a bit from each and blended them together to make our own unique ceremony."

During the ceremony the bride and groom visited a table with photos from their family, past and present. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.
You may now kiss the bride. Wedding ceremony at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The bride’s lily bouquet with framed family photos tied to it. The bride with the flower girl and ring bearer.

"The bridesmaid dresses were from designer Alfred Sung and all different, but in silhouettes that were true to the era while flattering each woman. I spent months prior to the wedding finding 1960's jewelry for the bridesmaids."

The bride with her bridesmaids in Monte Rio, California.

"The groomsmen wore Vera Wang black label tuxedos with Goorin Brother hats gifted from the groom."

The groom and groomsmen take a stroll in front of the Village Inn in Monte Rio.
The wedding party strikes a pose in front of the historic Rio theater. Portrait of the bride in Monte Rio, California. Shot on film with a Hasselblad 503cw.
The bride and groom in front of the historic Rio theater and the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.
The wedding party on the bridge in Monte Rio, over the Russian River. The bride and groom at the Highland Dell Lodge.
The reception at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The appetizers from the Highland Dell Lodge, including beef wellington and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.

"We had two Mad Men inspired drinks concocted for cocktail hour -- the "Cat-a-tonic" which is a drink with St. Germain that I love. The second was the "Madison Ave:" A Manhattan with gin instead of bourbon, Jeremy's pick."

Signature cocktail signs and the wedding table settings at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"The gifts were petit fours from Swiss Colony, the traditional Christmas cakes that Jeremy's family orders yearly."

Calla Lilly center pieces on vintage plates and petit fours for the wedding guests at the Highland Dell Lodge.

"We brought the cake we had at our City Hall civil wedding, from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco (passion fruit lime Bavarian covered in coconut). It was topped with our custom wedding cake topper made by my Maid of Honor."

Wedding cake from Tartine Bakery. Wedding reception toasts at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"I was really nervous before surprising Jeremy with my own rendition of “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson at the reception. But all went well and I only missed one musical cue when guests were clapping."

The bride and groom give toast at their wedding at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
A vintage photo lounge for a wedding at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The bride and groom cut their wedding cake and cupcakes for the guests at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"My maid of honor is devilishly good at baking and decorating chocolate cupcakes. She relented and made beautiful rose cupcakes for our dessert table, which was filled with nostalgic sweets:  carrot cake as the groom's cake (Jeremy's favorite), a jar full of Ghiradelli chocolates from San Francisco where we met, and another jar full of my mother's favorite chocolates, Ferrero Rocher."

Sweet treats for the guests. A wedding dessert table at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The bride and groom’s first dance in the smoke of a fog machine at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
The groom twirls the bride in Monte Rio, underneath the famous, “Monte Rio Awaits Your Return” sign.

How would you describe your wedding?

"People must say this all the time, but it was the happiest day of my life. It felt amazing to know that I was going to be surrounded by (most of) the people I love. It was an intimate and elegant, but cozy affair, filled with old and new traditions."

Vendor Love (not yet mentioned):

Coordinator:   Diane Wolk of Bustled Events
Hair & Make-Up Stylist:  Melisa Hall
Second Photographer:  Elizabeth Tichenor
Stationary:  Custom designed and silk screened by the bride and groom
Flowers:  From Pro Flower's Bridal division, assembled by bridal party
Officiant:  Bridesmaid Bich-Nga Nguyen
DJ & Lighting:  DJ Quantum of blueEDGE Productions
The Bride's engagement ring:  Cresalia Jewelers
Film Processing:  Photoworks San Francisco

The sketch of the bride's custom ring, by Ron from Stonehaven Jewelery:

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