A bit from the bride and groom from our questionnaire –
When and how did the two of you meet, and what is most memorable about your first meeting?
We met in college where we were both playing basketball at UC Davis. A teammate of mine was
throwing a party at her house and invited the men’s basketball team. At the time, Joe had a sprained ankle
and was wearing a walking boot to take pressure off his ankle. When talking to him, I accidentally spilled
my entire glass of wine down his boot.
When and where did the proposal take place, and how did it unfold?
Joe proposed a few days before Christmas at his parent’s home. He led me outside to their pool
house accompanied by our dog Riley, and asked me to marry him.
Who gave you the most planning advice?
My mother and mother-in-law were a fantastic sounding board during this wedding planning
process. My mother is amazingly creative and helped with all of our DIY items and décor, and my mother-
in-law had experience planning Joe’s sister’s wedding a few years prior and was instrumental in pulling
What was the best planning advice you received?
“Don’t stress”! Although weddings are supposed to be a celebration of the bride and groom, it
often gets very stressful and overwhelming. To remember what the day is all about is very important.
Who helped you make the final decisions?
While I took the reins on the wedding planning, I wanted Joe to have the final decisions on
everything we had at our wedding. Although he wasn’t concerned in choosing between a champagne and
beige linen, he was very involved in deciding how our wedding would feel.
What was the main decision-making factor ? (Service, reputation, availability?)
When selecting vendors, I first searched from a ‘suggested vendors’ list from my wedding
coordinator. I then researched different companies to find which service would be best suited for our
Was there anything particularly surprising or unexpected about the task of wedding planning?
I was surprised how far in advance vendors get booked! We began looking at venues a full year
and a half before our hopeful wedding date, and the two dates we wanted were already booked.
Wedding guest count?
What did you base your choice of locations on?
The biggest factor in choosing Wente Vineyards as our location was it’s ambiance. We knew we
wanted to be surrounded by vineyards and have a rustic, elegant, and relaxed vibe. Wente has gorgeous
greenery as well as beautiful rolling hills around the property.
Please describe any specific family or cultural traditions that were important to you during your wedding
We had 1,000 paper cranes hanging on trees surrounding our ceremony. In the Japanese culture
(my mother is Japanese) it is believed that paper cranes at your wedding will bring good luck to the bride
and groom. Per this tradition, the bride cannot fold any of these cranes herself, so my mother and mother’s
family folded all one thousand cranes.
Did you plan the look of your wedding around a specific theme or color scheme?
The wedding was planned around a neutral and clean color scheme. Our goal was to create a rustic
and elegant feel, so we incorporated the greenery from the vineyards, white flowers, and neutral décor in
everything we planned.
Please describe your floral arrangements and/or your reception centerpieces:
My bouquet and the bridesmaid’s bouquets were an assortment of all-white flowers. My main flowers were
peonies and accompanied by fressias and sweetpeas.
Please describe your wedding favors, if applicable:
Instead of traditional wedding favors, we rented a photo booth for our guests to enjoy. Guests to able to
take home 2 prints from every photo shoot they did.
Was your family involved in the wedding planning?
My mother helped with all of our DIY projects: table runners, signs, floral arrangements, table numbers,
etc. and my father printed our Save the Dates and invitations. Joe’s mother advised us when selecting
vendors and Joe’s father assisted with our wine and spirits selections.
What were the non-traditional and/or personalized components of your wedding ceremony?
Our personalized touches including having our dog Riley walk down the aisle and participate in the
ceremony. We also had my sister, Kimi and Joe’s sister, Kate share in a reading of a poem together.
What aspects of your wedding most reflected your personality?
We planned our wedding with the idea of making it as unique to us as possible. This was reflected in our
choices of great food, live music, good wine, and dancing under market lights.
What was your most memorable moment?
Our most memorable moment was taking our sunset picture in the middle of our ceremony. Our
photographer had scouted out an amazing spot on Wente’s golf course to take the picture, so we hopped in
a golf cart and drove up in the hills of Livermore. At this specific spot, we were able to look down at our
wedding reception and have a moment to ourselves to take in the night in progress.
Is there anything you would do differently?
The only thing I would have changed was to start the ‘getting ready’ process a bit earlier. In order to have
enough time to take pictures before the ceremony, I had to rush a bit to make it to Wente from my hotel in
time. Poor Joe was left waiting for me for a while!
What is your best advice for brides and grooms planning their own celebration? Did you follow this advice
My biggest piece of advice for a couple planning their wedding is to keep in mind that this is their day.
Often times wedding become a big event for the families involved and other people’s wishes become a big
influence over decisions that are being made. I would remind the bride and groom to remember that this
wedding is to celebrate them and it should be exactly how they want it to be.
Which feature of your wedding was the most unique? (Food, favors, music, etc.?) Please describe in
Our most unique feature was our live reception band. Joe is close friends with Wente’s head winemaker,
Karl Wente, and he agreed to have his band play at our wedding. This band was a crowd favorite and
played outlaw country/folk music.