An Intimate, New Orleans-Inspired Wedding in Sonoma
As Morgan Robinson-Tashombe and Taj Tashombeâ€™s story proves, love at first sight is overrated. Morgan, a store marketing and events manager at Sephora North America, and Taj, the vice president of government affairs of the Oakland Athletics, initially met in preschool. "For the first 10 years of our lives, Taj and I shared milestone moments like school recitals, t-ball, and soccer games," notes Morgan. However, they lost touch when Taj moved to Seattle around the fourth grade. But, when a throwback Facebook post of their second-grade class reconnected the duo 17 years later, the spark was undeniable.
â€śTaj invited my cousin and [me] to his birthday party 'to break the ice.' The first faces I saw were Taj and his mother's,â€ť Morgan recalls. â€śThe nostalgia of our younger years rushed back and the rest was history.â€ť
The couple had their first date on election night in 2008, and got engaged nearly five years later in front of Disneyâ€™s Enchanted Castle. Along the way, their family grew with the birth of their two girls. After a long engagement, the couple swapped vows at an 18-person wedding which included their seven-year-old and two-year-old daughters as flower girls. The wedding took place on November 16, 2020, so the couple kept things intimate to keep their loved ones safe and had more guests join in for the festivities remotely.
Since Taj and Morgan are native Oaklanders and the brideâ€™s family has roots in New Orleans, they wanted to host a romantic day with coast-to-coast appeal. With natural details, an autumnal palette, and classic European touches, the family celebration turned out to be an absolutely beautiful event. Read ahead to explore this wedding, planned by Lea Stafford Events and photographed by Mashaida Co. and Lea Bremicker.
The couple planned their special day amid the pandemic, so they always had a limited guest list in mind. â€śHad the circumstances been different, Iâ€™d imagine a minimum of 100 guests,â€ť Morgan explains. Guests received minimalist invitations from Bourne Paper Co., while additional friends and family members were invited to tune in via Zoom.
Once we added the cape, it was clear this was the one.
The bride wore a sleek, off-the-shoulder gown from Alyssa Kristin and accessorized with a pearl cape, courtesy of Daughters of Simone. She found these beautiful pieces at Unveiled Bridal SF. â€śThere were so many great options, but it fit me like a glove, literally,â€ť Morgan says. â€śAnd, once we added the cape, it was clear this was the one.â€ť Rounding out the look was a pair of Christian Louboutin heels and jewelry from Anthropologie.
Taj donned a bespoke, three-piece suit, which he designed with his tailor based in Shanghai, China. He accessorized with black and tortoise glasses from CĂ©line, Prada boots, and several custom beaded bracelets. â€śTaj identifies with his beaded bracelets for their healing properties and balancing attributes,â€ť notes Morgan.
Taj and Morgan stayed true to their Bay Area roots by hosting the festivities in Sonoma County. But, two weeks before their wedding, their original location was canceled for a number of venue-related issues. So, the couple swapped vows at a private residence. â€śThe new venue provided a sense of familiarity we appreciated and provided the perfect backdrop for our family celebration,â€ť Morgan says.
Fortunately, the team at Lea Stafford Events made this last-minute change as seamless as possible. â€śHearing the news that the first venue backed out was stressful, but having someone take the wheel and search for a new venue in a matter of days was an example of problem solving like no other,â€ť the bride adds.
The couple decided to do a first look to give themselves some time alone together before the ceremony began.
For Morgan and Taj, it was important to have an intimate and romantic celebration, peppered with modern elements. The ceremonyâ€™s backdrop mastered the look, thanks to a compilation of European benches, settees, and chairs.
The altar was anchored with a custom arbor, which Lea Stafford Events created to look like a life-sized, modern picture frame. A beautiful mix of florals were affixed to the base to give it a burst of color and personality.
â€śMy grandfather passed away over the summer, so we created a beautiful memorial for him near the altar, close to my grandmother,â€ť Morgan shares. â€śI felt his spirit the entire day.â€ť
It was just us and our girls.
The coupleâ€™s wedding party consisted of their two daughters, who also wore white for the occasion. "It was just us and our girls," says Morgan.
The bride was escorted down the aisle by her brother, Leon Robinson, to the tune of â€śRocket Loveâ€ť by Stevie Wonder.
Since the couple wanted to keep their 18-person party as intimate as possible, it was only fitting they tapped a close friend to officiate the wedding.
In keeping with the ultra-personal theme, Taj and Morgan wrote their own vows. â€śMy vows focused on us continuing to write our unique story and promising to be my authentic self,â€ť she shares.
While the couple said their vows alone, they had their daughters come up to the altar for the end of the ceremony. â€śMy seven year-old was overcome with emotions, only to have her baby [sister] announce it to all guests, in-person and remote, and laugh about it,â€ť the bride adds.
The happy couple walked down the aisle to â€śFor the Love of Youâ€ť by The Isley Brothers during the recessional.
Do it your way, go with your gut, and donâ€™t second guess yourself.
For fellow couples planning their own weddings, Morgan offers some advice. â€śDo it your way, go with your gut, and donâ€™t second guess yourself,â€ť the bride recommends. â€śAnd, work with a team that is willing to work with you."
The couple traded in a multi-course dinner for a laid-back reception with the people they love the most. â€śThere was no dancing or some of the more familiar components of a wedding we are used to seeing,â€ť Morgan says. â€śJust spending time with family.â€ť
Just because the couple took a pared-back approach doesnâ€™t mean it was any less of a party. The reception featured a specialty cocktail called Vieux Carre, a tasty medley of whiskey, cognac, and bitters.
Lea Stafford Events included small, personal touchesâ€”such as a monogrammed wax sealâ€”to make this intimate occasion feel even more special. Guests were also offered pashminas to keep warm all night long.
Taj and Morgan mightâ€™ve ditched the dancing, but good food was still at the top of their priority list. According to the couple, choosing the menu was the easiest part of the wedding planning process. They tapped Red Door Catering to offer a delicious spread of Creole cuisine.
Admittedly, bringing a slice of New Orleans to the West Coast is no easy feat. However, Lea Stafford Events blurred the two regions seamlessly, thanks to European-inspired furniture, texture, and details. A velvet-lined family table was set with lush flowers, chestnuts, and figs, highlighting the special dayâ€™s autumnal palette.
At the end of the night, the couple cut into an artful three-tiered white cake by Danielle Estrella. But, the treats didn't end there. Guests left the party with an assortment of macarons in tow.
Some final thoughts from the bride? "Take it slow," she shares. "The planning takes far longer than the wedding experience. Itâ€™s here and then itâ€™s gone."