There is much to admire about audacious couples who throw caution to the wind and opt for nontraditional nuptials that genuinely reflect their personalities, and this describes Laurel and Nick’s wedding approach to the letter. Laurel is an English teacher, and Nick is a voracious reader, so bookish elements, such as a card catalog–inspired seating chart and handmade coasters decoupagéd with dictionary pages, were a natural, meaningful choice. Given the newlyweds’ shared love of all things old-timey, eclectic vintage details—down to brooches worn by the bridesmaids and Nick’s cufflinks, salvaged from a thrift store in Glasgow—were a significant part of the day, which unfolded at the picturesque Sonoma Valley winery where the pair first met three and a half years ago: Cline Cellars, a 350-acre estate that features a tasting room set in an 1850s farmhouse, rustling weeping willows, manicured lawns framed by fragrant rosebushes, and a converted vintage rail car. Guests were treated to Chicago-style hot dogs, a nod to Nick’s hometown. S’more roasting took the place of cake cutting. And a silent film was projected onto the wooden doors of the winery’s richly scented vanilla and oak barrel room, where the reception was held.
Laurel and Nick’s exceptional photographer, Christina Diane, got every shot just right; there’s not a single imperfect frame. “I knew that the photos were going to be the most important detail for us,” Laurel said, “so an amazing photographer who understood our style was paramount.”
Q + A with Laurel
What’s your love story? How did you meet and fall in love?
Three and a half years ago, I was working in the tasting room at Cline Cellars when a large group came in. At the time, Nick was a wine club member, and he had walked in with a group of 13 or so of his closest friends to use his discount. It wasn’t until three months after that first meeting that Nick returned to the winery—or, rather, his best man did, masquerading as his absent friend. Despite the confusion of names, I became friends with the group and, in a bit of time, something more with Nick.
Can you tell us a little bit about the details of your wedding and your sources of inspiration?
The inspiration for our wedding was to try and combine the two of us as much as possible. Books, beer, and vintage details are just some of the elements that we wanted to stand out. I’m an English teacher, and Nick is a voracious reader, so the books and library card catalog were some of the first ideas to come to us. We wanted to seat people by the Dewey Decimal system, but thankfully we decided against it. Our wedding favors were handmade coasters covered with dictionary pages, which were stamped with symbols that meant something to us. The beer and wine choices that we offered were very carefully chosen, as these reflected significant memories for us throughout our relationship. Nick brews beer, so this is something we wanted to highlight. We incorporated numerous vintage details throughout the wedding. Besides the books and card catalogs, all the bridesmaids wore vintage brooches, and the groomsmen wore vintage tie clips. Nick’s cufflinks came from a thrift shop in Glasgow, and my engagement ring was made by combining our grandmothers’ rings. Additionally, trees played a role throughout the wedding. Nick’s wedding band was even made out of redwood.
What kind of advice would you offer to future brides?
It would be the acme of foolishness for me to suggest that a bride remain calm on her wedding day, since a bundle of nerves and matrimony go hand in hand. What I can suggest for a successful day is to know what you value and what you are willing to spend money on. Since Nick and I met at Cline, getting married there was a no-brainer. I knew that the photos were going to be the most important detail for us, so an amazing photographer who understood our style was paramount. While we wanted flowers, we’ve never been fans of heavily manicured table settings. Instead, we favored wildflowers, and purchasing the flowers the day before at the local supermarket meant we could save money and get more of the look we desired. Knowing what we didn’t mind cutting back on allowed for us to have the perfect wedding. Also, don’t be afraid of last-minute changes. The week before the wedding we decided to hire a Chicago-style hot dog vendor to supply our Chicago guests with one of their favorite delicious snacks, and we decided to project a silent film on the barrel room’s doors. These decisions, while impromptu, ended up being a big part of the night.
Photography: Christina Diane / Ceremony and reception venue: Cline Cellars /Day-of coordination: Dee Merz / Catering: Ray’s Catering / Flowers: Purchased at Lucky Supermarket / Music: AMS Entertainment / Hot dog cart: Roy’s Chicago Doggery / Photo booth: Photo-matica / Bride’s dress: Mia Solano / Groom’s suit, tie, and shoes: Custom made by Al’s Attire / Bridesmaid dresses: Coralie Beatrix / Special thanks: Rory McCarthy for organization