As you know, I love, love, love traditions, they are such a fun a new exciting experience every time and it really helps me know and understand my couples and their families on a deeper level. Josh and Sonia’s Calistoga wedding was a dream to shoot, representing so many of their families and unique traditions, all while remaining true to their own personalities and style.
A Calistoga Destination Wedding!
These lovebirds opted for a destination wedding in Calistoga. They rented a gorgeous home to share with both of their families, who essentially met for the first time that week. Both Josh and Sonia live in Boston and invited their families (his from Boston and hers from Singapore and England) to celebrate their West Coast union.
The “Bride Bartering” and Tea Ceremonies
Josh and his best man (dad) and groomsmen/officiant/best friend/ brother-in-law (all one person) participated in the “bride bartering” ceremony, where Josh had to get into the house to find Sonia. It sounds easy, but it was far from it! As tradition goes, the bride’s family tried to stop him from getting to Sonia by putting up obstacles, and by obstacles I mean torturous, hilarious and sometimes even humiliating road blocks! It was amazing.
Josh was hazed, had to bribe people to get into the house, and had to do challenges to prove his love (but really to be made fun of). These challenges included having to do push ups, shots, sing ridiculous songs, eat disgusting foods if he didn’t answer their questions right, pop balloons without using his hands, drink warm beer from the pool, scoop rocks out of a bucket of Jell-o, and even eat doughnuts and a banana off of string without using any hands. Have you ever tried to peel a banana without your hands? If you want to see how hilarious it looks when your best friend has to hold a banana still in his mouth so that you can grab it, then scroll down!
Eventually Josh was able to get into the house and go into the room where Sonia was, but before she’d let him in he had to sing…and dance “All My Single Ladies” (By Beyonce, in case you haven’t heard of it) until Sonia was sufficiently satisfied with his attempt. Take note ladies and gentlemen…
After their first look, they proceeded into the living room where they performed the traditional tea ceremony for the families. Everyone took turns giving and receiving tea to the Bride & Groom, it was sweet, funny at times and intimate all at once.
Josh and Sonia’s big day was picture perfect with vibrant summer colors and flowers by Emily of Green Snapdragon Floral. Both of Sonia’s dresses were custom-made and stunning! Her look was completed with soft curls and makeup done by Alli Gilmore of Unique Sonoma Salon. When Sonia stepped out of the house in her knee length white dress the tears starting flowing and the time the vows started there wasn’t a dry eye in the bunch. It was a perfect ceremony full of love, laughter and tears, lots of tears.
After Josh and Sonia said ‘I Do’, the wedding guests moved on to the reception where they enjoyed a feast made by the family, making their special day that much more intimate and unique.
Josh and Sonia, I am over the moon happy for your two and know you are going to have a blast!
Florist: Emily Stryker, Green Snapdragon Floral
Makeup: Alli Gilmore, Unique Sonoma Salon