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A Micro Wedding in Napa Valley, California with Natural Touches

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Even though Erin Hanson and Erin Hennen grew up in the same Minnesota town, played in the same soccer league, and had cabins on the same lake, their paths never crossed. It wasn’t until they completed their medical residency in Cincinnati, Ohio during July 2013 that they finally met. “From the beginning, it felt like fate had brought us together,” the couple shares. They developed a fast friendship, and by the following July, they were a couple.

While they were dating, the pair went on their first trip together to Napa, California. “We fell in love with the city and made it a point to go back annually,” they note. On one of their annual trips in September 2018, they invited some of their closest friends and family to share the experience with them. Once they arrived at Clos du Val, one of the wineries they visited on their first getaway, Hanson popped the question. “After I said yes, she had an amazing dinner planned back at the house for all of us to celebrate,” Hennen recounts.

Since Napa holds a special place in the duo’s hearts, it only made sense that they hosted their nuptials there. “It was the perfect place to come full circle,” they remark. Because they were hosting a destination wedding, the brides flew to Napa several times to tour venues, taste the food, and finalize details. “Each time we went out there, it got us even more excited about our upcoming wedding,” they express.

Although choosing their wedding location was a no brainer, their overall planning experience wasn’t as seamless. Once a global pandemic emerged, they had to postpone their wedding, which was scheduled to take place on September 26, 2020. “Although we were extremely excited for our wedding and had nearly everything planned and confirmed, we knew it was important to push it back until we could safely have the wedding of our dreams,” the twosome explains.

One year later, on September 10, 2021, Hanson and Hennen finally tied the knot at Beaulieu Garden in Rutherford, California. “We envisioned a micro wedding that was elegant, intimate, and uniquely us,” they summarize. Keep reading to see how their special day unfolded, which was planned by Raquel Bickford Oranges of Roque Events and photographed by Love Tribe Weddings.

The brides kicked off their wedding weekend with a welcome dinner at Brown Ranch. For her attire, Hennen sported a yellow maxi dress with a V-neck and ruffled hemline, which she paired with neutral strappy heels. Hanson donned a blue floor-length gown embellished with black flowers, and coordinated the look with black heels.

Everyone dined at banquet tables wrapped in white linens and lined with floral centerpieces in vibrant shades of orange and blue. The duo had each place set with scalloped wooden chargers and minimalist menu cards tucked in between white napkins.

Both brides spent the morning of their wedding day getting ready together in satin floral robes. 

For her beauty look, Hanson selected a dark smokey eye and a subtle lip color. To brave the heat and humidity, she decided to wear her hair in an updo with wavy face-framing pieces. Since Hennen had the same mentality, both brides flaunted matching hairstyles. Natural makeup finished off Hennen’s beauty look. “I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis, so I didn’t want to go over the top with my makeup look,” she states. “I wanted to look back at pictures and be able to recognize myself.”

Hanson changed into a high-neck crepe gown with floral accents and a sheer cutout around the waistline by Rime Arodaky. “I was looking for a simple-yet-elegant dress,” she says. “I also wanted lace detail, but something non-traditional. The large floral lace immediately drew me to it. Once I tried it on, I knew it was the one.” She accessorized with a pair of diamond earrings from Olive + Piper since she didn’t want to overshadow her dress.

For her wedding attire, Hennen had two non-negotiables: cap sleeves and a high neckline. When she started shopping, however, nothing spoke to her. “I tried on quite a few dresses at multiple bridal boutiques, but either the material wasn’t right, the sleeves didn’t sit correctly, or the floral pattern didn’t fit the venue,” she reveals. Once she found this figure-hugging dress with a low back featuring floral lace embroidery from Pronovias, the search was over. Like Hanson, Hennen completed her look with diamond earrings from Olive + Piper.

The moment we turned around, it truly felt like the world stopped. Everything else just faded to the background, and it was just the two of us.

Before the day’s events, the couple wanted to share a special first look together. “The moment we turned around, it truly felt like the world stopped,” they recall. “Everything else just faded to the background, and it was just the two of us. We were able to take just a few minutes to enjoy the excitement we were experiencing for the upcoming day and for our future together as a married couple.”

Once guests arrived at the ceremony, a chic welcome sign with a floral design and trays of water and citrus-infused beverages greeted them.

“As the ceremony was in front of an amazing natural tree backdrop, we wanted to keep everything else simple,” they share. An aisle lined with flowers in nude, blush pink, and dusty rose hues led to an asymmetrical floral arch that blended seamlessly into the lush setting. For another organic touch, guests sat on wooden chairs.

Both brides walked down the aisle with their mother and father on either side of them while a string trio played “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. To complement the outdoor ceremony, they carried whimsically wrapped bouquets.

Our vows focused on the love we have built over the past years, our hopes for our future together, and the promises we were making that day and every day going forward.

Hanson and Hennen wanted everything about their ceremony to reflect their love story. For starters, they enlisted their close friend Corey to officiate the wedding. “Having someone who truly knows us and could speak to the specifics of our relationship and love made our wedding ceremony that much more personal,” they note. The brides also wrote their own heartfelt promises. “Our vows focused on the love we have built over the past years, our hopes for our future together, and the promises we were making that day and every day going forward,” they share.

After sharing their first kiss as newlyweds, the brides recessed to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne.

The couple invited just 30 of their closest friends and family members to attend their wedding. Many of their guests arrived from all over the country for the event.

Next up on the agenda was cocktail hour in the garden. The same string trio that played during the ceremony performed while guests sipped on beverages and noshed on appetizers.  

In keeping with the organic aesthetic, the couple chose wooden furniture with white cushions for their lounge seating. They also had the area adorned with floral arrangements. 

As self-proclaimed foodies, the brides put a lot of thought into curating the perfect spread. For appetizers, they served short rib beggars, figs wrapped in prosciutto, a seafood raw bar, and more. 

Of course, they needed to wash down their hors d’oeuvres with a refreshing drink. Guests could choose between two signature cocktails: a “Garden Martini” infused with cucumber, lime, and mint, or a “Besito Picante,” a tequila-based drink with mezcal, agave, lime, and habañero tincture.

Another important component for the newlyweds was their reception décor. “Given the small size of our wedding, we wanted one long table for all of our guests to sit at,” they explain. Friends and family dined beneath hanging greenery, twinkle lights, and antique brass chandeliers, which gave the space an intimate and romantic feel. 

Floral centerpieces in pink and red tones added a pop of color to the white table linens. The couple had each place set with pink velvet napkins, rose gold flatware, ornate chargers, and wooden place cards.

Before dinner, the brides’ parents and siblings shared a few words about the happy couple. “By the end of the speeches, there was not a dry eye at the table,” they say. Since the food was one of the focal points of the day, the pair went all out. “For dinner, we chose to have five courses,” they note. “Having a smaller wedding allowed us to get a bit more adventurous with the courses, such as salmon mi cuit and the brown butter ravioli, while staying a bit more traditional with the tomato and burrata course and the beef filet for the main.” All of the ingredients that Paula LeDuc Fine Catering & Events used were local and seasonal.

While the sun was setting, the couple snuck away to snap portraits while walking around the grounds of their venue. “We fell in love with Beaulieu Garden the moment we drove up the beautiful tree-lined driveway,” the two reveal. “The property was naturally beautiful and had multiple spaces to allow for a natural flow during the day.”

For their first dance, Hanson and Hennen swayed to “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner in the style of Noah Reid. “We asked our wedding band, Vybe Society, to learn our first dance song, and they did such an amazing job,” the two gush. “The female artist sang it as well, which was a special touch as we are a same-sex couple.”

After dancing the night away and creating memories with loved ones, the couple felt euphoric. Since they strayed from the typical wedding prototype, their nuptials were even more meaningful. “Feel free to think outside of the box,” the newlyweds advise other couples planning a wedding. “It is your day, so make it what you want. Even if it’s not traditionally done at a wedding, if it’s important to you as a couple, go ahead and do it.”

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