Genie Song and Kiernan’s love story began on opposite coasts. As a Valley girl and recent UCLA grad, Genie was living in Southern California; and Kiernan, who hails from snowy Vermont, was residing in New York.
“During one of his visits to Los Angeles, he saw my picture through his cousin’s Facebook feed,” explains Emily. “His cousin happened to be one of my close friends, so she reached out to me and said that he wanted to meet me. We met, but then he went back to Europe. We had an instant connection; however, it wasn’t romantic from the start. It was more like a peculiar feeling that our futures were going to be intertwined. We stayed in touch for about three years after meeting – and then, all of a sudden, we began dating and fell deeply in love.”
“GENIE AND KIERNAN ENVISIONED AN UNDERSTATED, YET ELEGANT WEDDING WITH NATURAL AND RUSTIC TOUCHES.”
“Our paths crossed on one of Genie’s business trips to New York, when we met at a client event and ended up spending most of the evening together,” Kiernan explains. “We bonded over our shared sense of humor and love of college football. It wasn’t long before we were making numerous cross-country trips to see each other, until Genie moved to New York a year later.”
For Genie’s 30th birthday, Kiernan planned a trip to Napa Valley and knew it’d be the perfect opportunity to propose. He managed to pull off a surprise proposal, getting down on one knee in the gardens across from French Laundry. After Genie tearfully accepted, the French Laundry staff had celebratory champagne and custom menus waiting for the couple at the restaurant. Chef Thomas Keller also came by to personally congratulate them and give a private tour of his famed kitchen.
Genie and Kiernan envisioned an understated, yet elegant wedding with natural and rustic touches. The wedding planning process was aided by planner, Grace Song, and Bacara Resort was chosen as the wedding venue – its ocean views and Spanish architecture perfectly showed off the natural beauty of the California coast.
Before the big day, the couple decided to forgo tradition and spend the night together, which afforded them some peaceful alone time on the morning of their wedding. The ceremony was held at sunset on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and a live Spanish guitarist played in the background. A best friend served as the officiant, so the ceremony was very personal and filled with firsthand stories and inside jokes. The guests, many of them from out of town, also got a taste of the Hollywood experience as a paparazzi helicopter flew over the ceremony site and took photos, mistaking the scene for a celebrity wedding.
“We still get comments to this day about the delicious scallops and mushroom ravioli, as well as the grilled cheese and tomato soup dippers we served as a late-night snack,” the newlyweds say. “We danced and laughed late into the night, and set off the next day for Bora Bora and New Zealand. To this day, we look at each other with big smiles on our faces whenever we see a beautiful ocean, because it reminds us of our special day.”
Location: Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara, CA: Event Design and Planner: Charis Events & Design, Los Angeles, CA; Floral Design: Designer Dana, Los Angeles, CA; Cake: The Butter End Cakery Santa Monica, CA