A Chic Winery Wedding at Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood, California

Renato Elui (27 and a project manager) met Patrick Bei (35 and a store director) while studying for his master’s degree in San Francisco, California. After graduating, Renato had to return to Brazil, his home country. “The 11 months we spent apart made us appreciate each other even more, and we felt like there was always a part of us missing when we were apart,” Renato says. Knowing that they were meant to be together, Renato and Patrick began planning their wedding in wine country while Renato’s US visa was being confirmed. They chose Chateau St. John Winery in Kenwood, California (near Sonoma, Patrick's hometown). The winery’s lush landscape inspired the day’s green, gold, ivory and beige palette. Renato and Patrick held an outdoor reception on-site; 160 guests took in the rolling vineyards from the winery’s terrace while seated at farm tables under draped white cabanas. “We decided to name our tables with cities that were important to us,” Patrick says. “We had wine bottles painted gold holding the table names, and on the label of each bottle there was the story about the city and why it was important to us. Renato made each bottle.” At the reception, a special performance helped highlight Renato’s home country while also revving up the dance floor. “It was really important to Renato to have Brazilian elements at the wedding, so we brought our DJ from Brazil and had a samba school perform and dance with the guests,” Patrick says. After enduring time apart, Renato and Patrick have optimistic advice for other couples: “The best advice we can give is not to give up on love. Even with uncertainty, sadness and distance making the tunnel look dark, there is always light at the end.” —Carolyn Meers