The starting point for this winter inspiration shoot was the backgrounds of the models, a real-life couple. Sarah grew up in the California gold country, where mining left hundreds of miles of underground tunnels and caves. Alexei grew up in Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe, where brides traditionally wear floral wreaths and the holidays always include mulled wines. I envisioned the newlyweds hosting an intimate hors d'oeuvre and cocktail reception in a century-old stonewalled cave. This one, located at the Old Stonehouse Brewery in Nevada City, now serves as a venue for intimate gatherings. The color palette grew organically from the gray of the stonewalls and the burgundy of the wines. A simple menu of gourmet finger foods, champagne and mulled wine, ending with individual cheesecakes, allowed for a casual atmosphere where mingling with the guests was key. Reminiscent of the Daguerreotypes taken during the era in which the cave was built, the photographer captured a portrait of the handsome couple in black and white. Vintage silverplate and metallic linens, the bride's pewter beaded gown and her burgundy velvet coat, all coupled with an abundance of candlelight, set the tone for a velvet fantasy. (Photography by Anna Christine Photography; vintage elements from {storehouse}rentals)









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