The Color Palette at This Montalvo Arts Center Wedding Will Make You Fall in Love with Pastels
Grace and Andrew "wanted nothing more than to have their wedding at a luxury chateau in the south of France. But with the groom finishing up his medical residency at Stanford and the bride's unwavering dedication to her law firm, they wouldn’t be able to pull off a wedding in France with such restricted schedules," recalls the couple's photographer. After a four-month search for the perfect venue, the couple settled on Montalvo Arts Center, a European-inspired villa nestled outside San Francisco in Saratoga, California. The European-inspired space gave the air of a destination wedding without having to leave the state.
"We wanted to gather our closest friends and family in a beautiful space to celebrate our declaration of love and to share a nice dinner with, so we looked for a venue that had natural beauty," says Grace. "While we love lush flowers and grand décor, we felt it was important to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible, so we did our best to incorporate eco-friendly aspects in the design and décor. The florals were installed at the ceremony site, then reused at the reception dinner and finally donated to nursing facilities the day after our wedding. We were not too fussed about color palette, the design direction was just beautiful soft colors that worked well together. On the reception, the inspiration was an intimate dinner with our friends and family. We wanted it to feel like an elegant dinner to celebrate our love, instead of the structured and typical wedding receptions with the various wedding games, traditions and activities. We accomplished our vision for the reception with setting up dinner on the veranda with long communal tables and the early summer California sunset in the background. We did away with the traditional aspects of weddings that didn’t resonate with us, such as a bridal shower, a gift registry, the cake cutting as a focal event and bouquet/garter toss. To pay respect to our Chinese heritage, we had an intimate tea ceremony in the bridal quarters, away from cameras and the majority of our guests, in order to honor our parents."
One of the most visually striking parts of the couple's wedding was their soft pastel color palette. Calming creams, purples, greens and blues permeated every element of the wedding's design. Notably, the couple's floral arrangements were lush and over-the-top, yet the refined palette ensured the dramatic display felt elegant and sophisticated. "The main florals were four 10-12ft floral trees, which consisted mostly of orchids, roses and peonies. The scale of it was breathtaking and provided the most beautiful backdrop for both the ceremony and reception. We also had large centerpieces in soft pastel tones. The florals really helped to add the romantic and beautiful secret garden feel," recalls Grace.
Beyond epic florals, the couple made their day special by layering in plenty of personalization. From details celebrating family to a delicious menu in honor of the couple's love of fine dining, each part of Grace and Andrew's day was planned with intention and pointed to their values and interests as a couple. In terms of focusing on family, "Grace’s younger brother was the officiant, and the wedding bands were hand made by her late dad. Since Grace’s dad passed away when she was young, her older brother walked her down the aisle to a pre-recorded song she sang, dedicated to Andrew (Adele’s Make You Feel My Love) with live harp accompaniment," shares the couple. In addition to celebrating their family, Grace and Andrew both cite their vow exchange as their favorite moment from the day; the moment when they became family to each other. "Grace really looked forward to reading the vows she wrote to Andrew, she spent a good amount of time cobbling together the right words to express to him what he meant to her, and what she wanted to promise to him. Andrew thought the most special moment was the exchange of vows."
Following their meaningful wedding ceremony, it was important to Grace and Andrew that the reception's seated dinner be truly outstanding. Grace and Andrew love "fine dining, so the food served was really important. Dinner was a catered five-course meal by a local fine dining restaurant, Le Papillon. Each course was beautifully plated and featured some of our favorite foods, lobster, crab, caviar, scallops, filet mignon and duck, served with wine paired by a sommelier to carry perfectly with each course. We also served boba milk tea for late-night snacks and a full suite of Momofuku Milk Bar desserts as parting gifts," they share.
Looking back on their successful wedding, Andrew and Grace encourage couples who are currently in the throes of wedding planning to "pick a planner who shares your aesthetic taste and overall values, then you can sort of just kick back and say “whatever you think works best” and will feel assured that whatever they decide will both look good and make sense. It’ll definitely lower your stress levels throughout the planning process."