A Relaxed, Romantic Wedding at Retzlaff Vineyards Winery in Livermore, California

Inspired by the beauty and carefree feel of summer nights, Hope Bovenzi (25 and a systems engineer) and Jake Bucher (25 and a mechanical test engineer

Inspired by the beauty and carefree feel of summer nights, Hope Bovenzi (25 and a systems engineer) and Jake Bucher (25 and a mechanical test engineer) planned a romantic late-summer wedding with a palette of copper rose, antique gold, mauve, peach, blush and ivory. “My goal was for everything to feel romantic, so we picked an evening wedding in the late summer, so it would still be warm, especially at night,” Hope says. “I picked a palette that would reflect a romantic feel and the colors of the sunset. I then carried it throughout the wedding in the linens, emblems and other decor.” When it came to choosing a location to host their wedding, Retzlaff Vineyards Winery seemed like an obvious choice for Hope and Jake. The pair stumbled across the family-owned winery while visiting several other Livermore, California, vineyards, and fell for the intimate setting and welcoming staff. They were so head over heels that Jake suggested, out of the blue, that the two should tie the knot there one day. “He had never said anything like that before, so I was pleasantly surprised knowing that if he felt that comfortable in this location that must mean something! We weren’t even engaged yet,” Hope says. “After we did actually get engaged, one of the first things he said as we were starting to plan was ‘Remember Retzlaff? We should get married there.’ ” 

Hope and Jake took advantage of the stunning setting and hosted their ceremony on Retzclaff’s expansive lawn, providing their family and friends beautiful views of the vineyards and the rolling hills beyond. Every aspect of the ceremony was customized, from the handcrafted wedding arch that Jake’s father built to the personalized vows and a wine box unity ceremony. “Jake and I will drink it together on our five-year anniversary, read our vows to each other again and replace the bottle of wine to be enjoyed on our 10-year anniversary.” The celebration continued outdoors with a lively cocktail hour complete with corn hole and giant Jenga, both made by Jake’s father. “My favorite memory of him was hand-painting the corn hole emblem we used throughout the wedding. It was the last time I got to spend with him, and we spent the day being creative together,” Hope says. “I am forever grateful for that memory.” Dinner took place under a canopy of pepper trees and brightly lit bistro lights. Tables were dressed in blush, ivory, burlap and sequin-flecked linens and boasted cascading arrangements of ivory and blush blooms centered on skyward-reaching manzanita trees. After an al fresco dinner, Hope and Jake surprised their guests with ice cream tacos and cake pops from the Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos food truck in lieu of wedding cake. “Jake and I had three goals that we wanted to make sure we always kept in sight as we planned the wedding: to get married, spend time with the people we love and have a party,” Hope says. “I think everything about our wedding really reflected us as a couple.” A tip from Hope and Jake: “Our advice would be to focus on those same goals. If you’re worried or stressed, refocus and think about if these things are part of your essential goals. When it comes to planning, nothing is more important than the love you have for your significant other—that’s the whole purpose of the wedding in the first place. Everything else is secondary.” —Libby MacCarthy

“Jake and I didn’t follow many traditions besides having a wedding party, my dad walking me down the aisle and me wearing a wedding dress,” Hope says. The pair opted to write their own down, making their commitment to each other in their own words and performing a wine-box ceremony in lieu of lighting a candle.
The vineyard setting itself provided plenty of decor, but to create the romantic atmosphere they were after, Hope and Jake enlisted the help of Hector at Unique Touch Flowers. While the rest of the reception tables boasted a manzanita tree design, the head table was draped in floral garlands overflowing with blush and ivory roses and stock flowers and surrounded by votive candles that cast a warm, ambient glow over the reception tables.
In lieu of a wedding cake, Hope and Jake treated their guests to a few inspired desserts. The pair hired Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos, a food truck specializing in sweet treats, to serve up ice cream tacos and cake pops after dinner.
When it came to finding the perfect wedding dress for her “I dos,” Hope knew she wanted a lace gown that allowed her to move with ease, dance and show off her tattoos. “My goal was simple yet elegant because I wanted to be comfortable all day—I even chose comfy wedge shoes that I knew I could wear again,” Hope says. An A-line Maggie Sottero creation filled the bill with its timeless styling, feminine lace, illusion neckline and low back that gave way to delicate sheer lace.
During cocktail hour, guests sipped on cocktails, took in the sights and tried their hands at lawn games like corn hole. Jake’s father, a carpenter, made the couple’s corn hole set himself and helped Hope paint the couple’s monogram and wedding motif on each board. “My favorite memory of him was painting the corn hole boards with the emblem that we used throughout our wedding,” Hope says. “It was the last time I got to spend with him and we spent the day being creative together. I am forever grateful for that memory.”
Hope and Jake struck the ultimate balance of sophisticated and chic for the reception with neutral-toned table linens and inspired arrangements of ivory and blush blooms styled alongside skyward-reaching manzanita trees. Votive candles dotted the branches, lending a romantic feel to the centerpieces, while wooden planter boxes lent the decor a subtle rustic tone.
It was important to Hope and Jake that their dogs be a part of their wedding. Not only were they a part of the family, they had been present with the pair when they first discovered Retzlaff Vineyards Winery. When Jake made his way down the aisle, he ensured that their dog Blue was right by his side.
Surprising Hope is no easy feat, so when Jake decided to propose to her, he had his work cut out for him. The pair went ring shopping in November for Hope’s birthday, where she picked out a striking solitaire diamond set in a rose-gold diamond halo band, but didn't get down on one knee and pop the question until New Year’s Eve. “As we were counting down the few remaining seconds to midnight, Jake stopped the countdown, let go of my hand and started to say ‘I can’t imagine starting 2015 any other way,” Hope says. “I burst into tears, he got down on one knee, and at some point I said yes.”
Hope had three criteria for the bridesmaids' attire: They needed to be knee-length, coordinate with the palette and be something they would definitely want to wear again. The women chose their own lace-accented dresses in soft shades of pink, blush and peach, which created a playful ombre effect for the couple’s wedding party photos. “I wanted to make sure that they weren’t spending money on a dress that didn’t make them feel awesome, or they wouldn't wear again,” Hope says. “I wanted them to be comfortable on my wedding day too.”
When Jake sent invitations to their wedding party, he included a burlap bow tie and suspenders for his groomsmen, setting a casual tone for their wedding day look. “All they needed to do was add a white shirt, tan slacks and brown shoes. Simple, but man did they look dapper,” Hope says. For Jake’s look, he added a tweed vest and a blush bow tie that helped him stand out.
“I love flowers, so I was pretty easy to please when it came to these choices,” Hope says. “I had a few ideas of my own but let my florist, Hector, do his magic when it came to designing.” And with good reason. The talented team at Unique Touch Flowers blew Hope away with a cascading bouquet of ivory and blush roses for her walk down the aisle. “In honor of our wedding day, I even had this bouquet tattooed on my shoulder," Hope says. "It turned out so beautifully!”
Highlighting the beauty of the setting was high on Hope and Jake’s wedding to-do list, so a ceremony overlooking the vineyards and rolling hills beyond were an obvious choice for the pair. Framed by tall shady trees, the pair exchanged vows under a wooden arch made by Jake’s father. “That was probably the highlight of our decorations for the ceremony; he put so much hard work into it and was so excited that he could contribute to the wedding in this way,” Hope says. “It was an amazing labor of love,and the last gift Jake and I received from him before he died suddenly away two months later.”