A Romantic Black-Tie Wedding at Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California
Just a few weeks before their California wedding Shanah and Mitchell made the difficult decision to downsize their wedding from 200 people to 28. Not only that, but they also decided to relocate the wedding to Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California. Despite the last-minute changes brought about by the pandemic, the couple's black-tie wedding day was an absolute dream filled with lush white-and-green flowers and classic white-and-navy details befitting of the romantic venue they settled on. "From the beginning, we wanted an elegant, black tie wedding that was timeless and classic, with a modern flair," says Shanah. "We gravitated toward a very clean color palette with white, grey, and a little bit of navy, with gold accents, which would allow us to bring the natural greenery of the wedding location into the design. The design was so beautiful that it could easily be translated when we had to postpone our wedding and ultimately change venues (5 weeks before) from Napa to Filoli due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Filoli was a perfect backdrop for our wedding, given how gorgeous the grounds were and only helped make our wedding even more beautiful than we could have imagined."
Flowers, and lots of them, were the main focus of the day's decor. "I love fresh flowers, especially peonies, so we made sure to incorporate those into my bridal bouquet," explains Shanah. "My nieces love anemones, so we put those into their flower girl bouquets as a surprise. For the rest of the decor, given my love of flowers, we used flowers in every place we could: along the aisle at the ceremony, adorning the chuppah, on every table at the reception, a few to decorate our wedding cake. Since we were keeping the color scheme simple, we went with white flowers throughout the design—a mixture of white flowers, which allowed the greenery and scenery of the venue to pop even more!"
In addition to planning a visually beautiful wedding, it was also important to Shanah and Mitchell that their wedding be steeped in tradition and filled with meaning. "We had a traditional Jewish wedding and incorporated quite a few traditions into our wedding, starting with the pre-ceremony signing of the ketubah (the marriage contract)," says Shanah. "The ceremony itself included being married by an old family friend/Rabbi, who also married my (the bride's) brother and sister-in-law. We also incorporated my husband's talit (prayer shawl) from his trip to Israel as a teenager. After being walked down the aisle by my parents, I circled my groom 7 times symbolizing the beginning of building a new home for the union upon entering the chuppah (the marriage canopy). During the ceremony, we drank from the kiddush cup, and were wrapped in my talit from my bat mitzvah for the seven blessings, which are seven different blessings bestowed upon the couple for a blessed life together. At the end of the ceremony, the groom broke the glass."
Despite all the bumps in the road during planning their wedding at Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, California, Shanah and Mitchell look back on the wedding warmly and point to the importance of maintaining perspective throughout the planning process. "Because of the pandemic, we were forced to postpone our wedding once, scale back twice, and change venues with 5 weeks to go, but what got me through was finding the humor and keeping things in perspective. So my biggest piece of wedding planning advice is that things will happen, hiccups will occur, and it may not go perfectly, but regardless, in the end, it will be perfect."