Photography by
Nightingale Photography

Shoko Yanagisawa & Shan Vosseller

May 2, 2015 in Yountville, California

Shoko Yanagisawa and Shan Vosseller met through a mutual friend who was hosting a “holy balls” Christmas party–essentially, a potluck where everything had to be in a ball shape. Over the course of the evening, the two became better acquainted and discovered they shared a mutual love of crepes. Without knowing, they both texted their friend after the party, telling her how they enjoyed meeting each other and felt something special between them.

After the holidays, Shoko and Shan had their first date at Cotogna, followed by a visit to a jazz supper club called Bix. The rest is history. “We knew for a long time that we were destined to get married,” Shoko says, “But Shan still wanted to have an element of surprise; so on one of our regular ‘month-anniversaries,’ he had a ring in his possession and was ready to pop the question.” He bought flowers and made a dinner reservation at the same table they sat at during their first date, but took a surprise route up a winding road to Telegraph Hill. As the wind was blowing and the couple came to a clearing overlooking the city, Shan got down on one knee and proposed.

Shoko and Shan wanted to create an event that reflected who they are, as well as their story together. They also wanted to host the celebration in California’s beautiful wine country. “We had guests joining from around the world, and we wanted them to feel comfortable and enjoy getting to meet each other,” Shoko explains.

Once the wedding weekend arrived, all of the events went off without a hitch. A welcome reception was held at Addendum, where everyone feasted on fried chicken and enjoyed a surprise singing of “Happy Birthday” for Shan. The next day, they ventured to the private wine country estate, which was a breathtaking sight.

The ceremony took place under a large willow tree near a river. With the bride’s maiden name meaning “willow tree near the river” in Japanese, it was an extra special location. “We both were so excited to finally be able to share this day in front of our family and friends,” she says. “Many times during the day, we paused and just absorbed the incredible event and memories that were unfolding.”

When everyone returned to Bardessono after the ceremony, live jazz music drifted through the air, and the newlyweds were met with a beautifully decorated space. Guests enjoyed an incredible selection of food and wine, and everything was prepared to perfection. Dinner was topped off with a mille crepe cake, signifying how they initially broke the ice when they first met. The toasts and speeches were also meaningful and touching, and the bride and groom teared up while listening.

A long night of dancing was followed by two after parties–one at the hotel, and another at a local dive bar. “We were both so overwhelmed with happiness, and exhausted at the same time,” Shoko says. “We finally retired to our room, and were greeted by a generous surprise from the hotel staff!”

Ceremony Location: Private Estate; Reception Location: Bardessono Hotel & Spa Yountville, CA; Floral Design: Kathy Hoffman Flowers Napa, CA; Lighting: The Lux Productions Sonoma, CA;