A Desert-Inspired Wedding at a Vineyard in Napa Valley

As freshmen at Miami University in Ohio, John Francis first spotted Amanda Sims at a dorm party, and asked her out on a picnic date. “I never took him seriously, but John really meant it,” Amanda says. In fact, he kept asking, but they remained just friends through graduation. After college, John went to grad school and Amanda moved to Chicago—but they reconnected two years later, when John also moved to the city. “I was at a party with friends from Miami, and I spotted someone I didn’t quite recognize on the other side of the roof,” she recalls. “I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was my old friend John!” Sparks flew that night—and John finally convinced Amanda to join him for a picnic.

In October of 2017, John and Amanda were living in San Francisco and decided to take a weekend getaway to Monterey, California. “When we finished packing, we headed out to walk our black Lab, Jackson, before dropping him at a friend’s for the weekend,” she says. They wandered through their favorite park, and Jackson began to get excited about something he spotted in a bush. “I turned around to see what he was looking at, and when I turned back, John was on one knee," Amanda says. (The distraction in the bush was a friend of the couple's—in full camouflage!—snapping photos of the big moment.)

For their wedding on August 4, 2018, the couple chose yet another destination to say "I do." “We knew most of our guests would be leveraging their vacation days in order to attend, so we wanted to treat our wedding as the ultimate weekend getaway,” explains the bride. To do that, they decided on Tre Posti in St. Helena, California, as their venue, ultimately bringing guests to Napa for a picturesque setting, sprawling vineyards, and a modern California vibe. And though Amanda says she thought planning a wedding would be a dream project, she admits that it was actually quite daunting. “We had high expectations and didn’t know how to bridge the gap between our vision and actually executing it,” she says. Enter Roque Events, which helped Amanda and John form a dream team of vendors to bring their desert chic inspiration to life in California wine country.

Keep reading to see Amanda and John's Palm Springs-meets-Napa wedding, as captured by photographer Taylor McCutchan and videographer Amor in Motion.

The couple made their desert vibe clear from the start, thanks to an invitation suite from Laura Lambrix Designs.

Amanda wore a lace-trimmed maxi dress as she got ready with her bridesmaids.

For her big moment, though, the bride selected an off-the-shoulder gown by Liz Martinez Bridal. “I went shopping alone, which helped me focus on what I really wanted,” she explains. Looking back, Amanda says she ultimately fell for the designer’s" iconic romantic, edgy style."

She paired her embellished gown with floral Kenneth Jay Lane earrings and a coral-pink lip to tie in with the rest of the day's decor.

John’s blue linen and silk suit, by Suit Supply, was a perfect match for the Cali weather. “He wore cuffed pants and loafers with no socks,” adds his bride.

Amanda had a "resort-chic" vision for her bridesmaids. To accomplish that, she set a palette of pink and coral hues and let her bridesmaids choose their own dresses from there. “The mix of fabrics and patterns was stunning!” says the bride. She and her ’maids all carried lush bouquets of proteas, eucalyptus, and air plants tied together with blue ribbon.

The ceremony took place overlooking the vineyards, where a geometric arch (accented with garden roses, dahlias, proteas, and greenery) was added to accent the couple's modern look.

During the personalized ceremony, a friend of the couple read the lyrics from “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen. “We love music, and really adore Paul Simon, so we had live musicians play ‘Proof,’ ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,’ and ‘I Know What I Know’ during the ceremony,” Amanda recalls.

Cocktail hour took place after the vows, during which guests gathered in styled lounges set on the vineyard’s tree-lined patio.

Modern black-and-white escort cards enhanced the desert chic atmosphere. Each card was printed with an image of a protea or colorful feather, and all were arranged in a tray filled with pink Himalayan salt.

Himalayan salt-block table numbers were also placed on each table, as were low arrangements of proteas, garden roses, and ferns, for dinner service. The meal was served family-style and featured additional nods to their California location. “The vegetables were from the Tre Posti gardens!” says Amanda. Dinner included a kale and faro salad with shaved fennel, pan roasted flounder, and spinach ravioli.

Heartfelt (and hilarious) toasts followed and set the tone for the rest of the fun-filled evening.

“Dancing under the bistro lights, surrounded by our closest family and friends, was an overwhelming and heartwarming feeling,” says the bride. “We really created a celebration that was about us. We skipped a few traditions and made the day our own.”

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