Ceremony Location: Church of the Nativity, Menlo Park, CA; Reception Location: Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, Menlo Park, CA; Cake: Cake Coquette, San Francisco, CA; Floral and Event Design: Ornamento, San Francisco, CA; Day-Of Planner: Samantha Bryer; Linens: La Tavola, San Francisco, CA and Napa Valley Linens, Concord, CA; Rentals: Hartmann Studios, Richmond, CA and Stuart Rental, Milpitas, CA; Entertainment: Keith Johnson All Stars Band, Vallejo, CA; Invitations: Bella Figura; Programs, Table Numbers and Menus: Shine Invitations; Calligrapher: Rona Siegel; Groomsmen Tuxedos: Calvin Klein; Grooms Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo; Tuxedo: Valentino; Flower Girl Dresses: Coren Moore; Hair and Makeup: Sarah E. Hyde Cosmetics, San Francisco, CA; Bridesmaid Dresses: Alix & Kelly; Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co.; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; Veil: Vera Wang; Wedding Gown: Monique Lhuillier; Videography: Weddings on Film, Larkspur, CA; Photo Booth: Night Owl Photo Booth, San Francisco, CA; Photography: Allegro Photography, San Francisco, CA and Boston, MA
"Though we are both from Menlo Park," explains Emily Griesedieck, she and James Simonson "didn’t meet until we were in college" when the couple bumped into one another at a Kappa Kappa Gamma pool party and realized that they knew who one another was. As James was leaving the party, he asked for Emily's number and later called her asking if she wanted to grab lunch. "We hit it off right away and I couldn’t stop smiling for a week after that date," smiles Emily.
The proposal came on Emily's 27th birthday. "I had an all-girls brunch at Madera restaurant at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel," shares Emily. Per their discussion, James had already agreed to stop by at the end to say hello. What Emily didn't know was that he also brought flowers and planned to whisk her outside to the terrace and ask her to marry him. "When he got down on one knee, I was so surprised that, at first, I dropped down to my knees too, but then got back up so he could ask me to marry him," describes Emily. "To my delight, he presented me with the most beautiful ring: a stunning emerald-cut diamond that was passed down from my mother that James had reset into a beautiful delicate micropavé setting." It was exactly what Emily had always wanted.
"I was so excited and emotional. I started crying and leaned back down to hug James," says Emily, explaining how her exuberance knocked them both to the ground. When they got back up, Emily turned around to see cameras flashing and realized that James arranged to have all of their friends and family show up for a surprise engagement party. "It was so fun to have a private moment all to ourselves, but then celebrate with our loved ones right after," notes Emily.
When it came to planning their wedding, they chose to go back to the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel for Fourth of July weekend and décor took precedent. Inspired by the song, “La Vie en Rose,” which literally means “life in pink” or more loosely, “looking at life through rose-colored glasses," Emily has always loved the words and meaning of the song and the inner Francophile in her desired French-inspired décor, while keeping things elegant and romantic.
One of the couple's favorite details was the “Dancing lounge,” which was lit so that the whole room would glow pink. From the fragrant gardenias to the shiny white dance floor, chic French lounge furniture, topiaries, a lighted bar, and highboy cocktail tables with white sequined linens, Emily's vision came to life. And their band, The Keith Johnson All Stars, "rocked the house and we barely left the dance floor!" remembers Emily. All in all it was a huge success.
The couple honeymooned at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the big island of Hawaii.
Copyright 2013 Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine