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A Whimsical Garden Wedding With a Burning Man-Themed After Party

by Staff

Kirsten Harman and Zack Burns met the old-fashioned way: at a bar through a mutual friend. After dating for nearly eight years, Zack got down on one knee in July of 2019 during trip to Napa. “We arrived at Promontory, a stunning winery overlooking Napa Valley that I had been wanting to visit forever,” Kirsten remembers. “After finishing the tasting, Zack popped the question, and we continued the celebration at Meadowood resort.” 

It was at Meadowood, in fact, that they planned to tie the knot. “But 2020 had a different plan for us,” Kirsten says. The pandemic pushed their date out a year, but wildfires in Napa partially destroyed their venue: They were officially on to Plan C. “We decided to have the wedding at my parents’ home in Woodside, California,” the bride shares. “It was an easy decision given all that had happened—and one that would later prove to be more perfect than we could have ever imagined. Getting married at home gave us more flexibility to create an even better wedding.” 

Kirsten had long admired the work of photographer Jose Villa and floral designer Mindy Rice, so it was to them she turned first to express her whimsical and elegant garden party vision. The palette came alive with shades of green, blue, purple, and white, and a custom iron structure created a venue all its own. 

By the time everything was said and done, Kirsten felt like she’d planned three weddings—and, technically, she had. But, there was a silver lining. “It really taught us to go with the flow and accept things that were out of our control, and also to trust that what’s meant to be will be,” she says. “And, I enjoyed every minute of it.” Keep reading to see how their vision finally came together on July 17, 2021, as planned by Laurie Arons and photographed by Jose Villa.

Kirsten and Zack turned their wedding into a weekend-long celebration: The revelry kicked off with a welcome dinner for family and friends two nights before the big day. The next night, a rehearsal dinner and welcome party ensued. “Our rehearsal dinner took place at the stunning Green Gables in Woodside,” Kirsten shares. “It features a beautiful Roman pool where we had dinner. A harpist provided entertainment for the evening, and traditional Greek cuisine was served to honor my Greek background.” She donned a chic Carolina Herrera dress. After dinner, the party moved to Alpine Inn, a causal spot co-owned by the bride’s family, where the beer garden was transformed for an epic wedding kick-off. 

“Hailey Bieber is always the vision for makeup,” Kirsten says. “Her makeup always looks so effortlessly beautiful, and I wanted something similar with glowy skin and slightly smokey eyes.” Before getting in bed the night before, Kirsten used Tracie Martyn’s Enzyme Exfoliant mask to wake up with bright, smooth skin; the morning of, she hydrated even more with a Knesko mask. 

They say when you know, you know, but sometimes when you know…you still aren’t sure. Case in point: Kirsten tried on her floral appliquéd Mira Zwillinger gown not once or twice, but three times before realizing it was the one. “I went to every designer store and several bridal stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles,” the bride admits. “I wanted to try on every possible option before I made my decision. When I first tried this one on, I had another dress in mind and didn’t pay too much attention to it. The second time, I started becoming more intrigued with it, and the third time I fell in love and knew it was the right dress for not only the vision of our event, but also my personality.”

For his part, Zack opted for a Zegna tuxedo with a bow tie by Tom Ford, and a Panerai watch gifted from the bride. 

On the grounds of Kirsten’s parents home, Mindy Rice brought a whimsical garden to life. “The flowers down the aisle looked as though they were growing out of the ground, and they led to the beautiful altar that was filled with greenery and white and purple flowers,” Kirsten describes. 

Love survives and develops like the universe itself.

After processing in to a classic—“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis—the couple exchanged traditional vows as 250 loved ones looked on. “We had a reading called ‘Love is an Adventure’ that we really loved,” the bride says. “It begins with: ‘Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being.’” 

Then, a live string quartet took up Rüfüs Du Sol’s “You Were Right” as the newlyweds recessed down the aisle. 

Butterflies flitted through cocktail hour in the form of paper escort cards for guests. During this interlude, everyone sipped signature tequila and elderflower cocktails dubbed “Barefoot in the Garden” and chardonnay from Kirsten’s parents’ own on-property vineyard. 

“My vision was to have an open-air greenhouse,” Kirsten says of the reception. Wedding planner Laurie Arons delivered, enlisting Hensley Event Resources to create a completely custom structure to house the reception. The atrium was nestled between redwood trees and hung with greenery-adorned chandeliers. “Tables were draped with soft turquoise linens, lush florals, custom watercolor menu cards, and lots of candlelight.”

The newlyweds made their grand entrance as the sun set beyond the towering trees, and danced to “Cruisin’”by Smokey Robinson before guests tucked into dinner. “We are big foodies, so food was a really important part of the wedding,” Kirsten says. “To start we had fresh peaches and pesto and arugula salad, followed by pasta inspired by one of our favorite restaurants [from when we were] living in NYC, Carbone. Our caterers recreated the spicy vodka rigatoni pasta.”

They cut into a carrot cake adorned with sugar flowers crafted to match the appliqués on Kirsten’s gown; then her father, an accomplished trumpeter, surprised them with a performance. “My tip for future brides is to take time for yourselves at some point during the night,” Kirsten says. “We snuck away after the cake cutting for a few minutes and took the whole night in. It was pure magic!”

Newly reenergized, the couple was ready to switch up the vibe for an electric after party. “We love going to Burning Man, and have been going for several years,” Kirsten says. Inspired by that and their new last name, “we decided to have a ‘Burnsing Man’-themed after party, where we brought actual art from Burning Man by Hybycozo, and our planner created a desert vibe in the tent. Our friends got into character and brought costumes to change into.” Guests refueled with mini tacos and s’mores, a pizza truck, espresso martinis, and smoky Burning Manhattans cocktails. “It was the perfect and most fun end to the night.”

The next morning, everyone gathered for brunch at the Rosewood hotel to recap the weekend. “Everything else felt like a breeze compared to the challenges we were up against [while planning],” Kirsten reflects. “I felt so grateful, when the day finally came, that we were able to have our wedding. I felt calm, happy, and so excited to finally be able to celebrate with all our family and friends. It was truly worth the wait.”

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