Finally bringing Dona & Justin’s Purple Orchid Resort and Spa wedding to the blog! Ah, we are so excited to share this wonderful Livermore, California wedding with you today. Dona is the sister of a former bride of ours (shout out to Domi & Larry!) and it was such a treat to see their entire family again. As well as meet her fiancé Justin’s family, all of whom were equally as warm and welcoming to us. We traveled down to the California wine country of Livermore on a warm October weekend last year for Dona and Justin’s big bash.
Dona and Justin’s wedding day began with a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony at Dona’s childhood home. We photographed them in the warm morning glow of California’s impeccable sunshine and felt like part of the family. Which was easy because we did already know most of the family! Vietnamese tea ceremonies for weddings are one of our favorite wedding traditions to photography. Aside from the rich history that is so important to the family, these ceremonies are a touching time to witness the coming together of families. Dona’s parents and Justin’s parents were attentive, loving and so gracious with one another. It is a true reminder of what it means to get married. You are not only blending the life of a couple together but also that of their families. We felt so honored to be a part of this special moment in their wedding day.
A few hours later, we arrived at The Purple Orchid where Dona and Justin were getting ready for their second ceremony and wedding reception. But first a little bit more about this venue, which was completely new to us and such a California wine country gem!
Livermore, California Weddings
Livermore itself is the heart of a sprawling wine country scene with some of the finest wineries in California. Set against rolling green hills and charming countryside, this unique California wine country area is not to be missed. Downtown Livermore is so cute, busy and just plain fun. You can have a nice dinner with a fine bottle of wine from the local wineries. Or pull up a stool at a funky bar and grab yourself a beer with fries while live music plays on the town’s main courtyard. The night before the wedding, Daniel and I did both of these things!
We didn’t have time to explore Livermore’s nearby hiking trails. We did walk their tree lined streets, listen to a little live music and hop into more than one downtown Livermore boutique. We will definitely be back and can’t recommend this area enough. Especially if you are looking to get outside of California’s traditional Napa wine area and explore an area with a little more hometown feel. Don’t worry, there are still 50 award winning wineries in the area to choose from.
The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa
Tucked away down a little country road outside of bustling Livermore, California, The Purple Orchid Resort and Spa is an outdoor wedding venue. The Purple Orchid itself is especially unique when it comes to Livermore’s wedding venues. The grounds have so much to offer. From quaint gardens and draping vines to the rows of Manzanilla olive trees that surround the property. From the pool that swims up to a rock waterfall fountain to the luxury bed and breakfast accommodations which are perfect for weddings. We were so pleasantly surprised and we immediately began scouting every possible photo location for Dona and Justin!
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Livermore, we loved how Purple Orchid Wine County Resort & Spa offers both winery elegance with a cozy b&b vibe. The attention to detail and sense of privacy is one of kind for these types of resort. Oh, forgot to mention there’s a spa. Not much more to say there, so let’s get back to Dona and Justin shall we!
Dona & Justin’s Wedding at Purple Orchid Resort & Spa
Dona and Justin chose to have their ceremony facing the Purple Orchid olive groves and in front of a gorgeous green hedge. These two literally danced down the aisle and grinned ear to ear throughout the entire ceremony. They just looked so damn happy to get married. Family and friends looked on with equally huge smiles. While a few tears were shed, it was such a joyous and fun ceremony to capture. The kind of joyous energy that just radiates.
Speaking of, Dona simply radiated in her Sottero & Midgley gown. Her hair (Bay Area wedding hairstylist Annie Ho did an incredible job!) swept down her back and her makeup by Huong Vo was simply stunning. She was a goddess, y’all. Justin chose a really cool, textured and patterned deep color suit from a shop in downtown LA. Simply put, these two were a SIGHT and we couldn’t stop taking their photos. We captured wedding day portraits of them on every inch of the Purple Orchid. In the rose garden. Under the shade of the olive groves. Under the lovely green arbor. At sunset with the California sun dipping into the horizon. Heck, we even made good use of a cactus that we just thought looked cool.
We can’t leave this blog post without talking about their reception. Dona and Justin were so thoughtful in their details. Each guest received a handwritten note that expressed their personal gratitude with an old photo attached. Guests were handed a “ticket” to their table. Tables that represented places the couple had traveled. After incredibly heartfelt speeches and one hilarious moment presented by Dona’s dad, we were serenaded by Dona’s sister-in-law. She beautifully sang Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Ray just as the sun made its final descent. Needless to say, we all had goosebumps. From there, Amos Productions, a California wedding DJ, took us into the most fun, energetic and wild dance party that any photographer could hope for.
Dona and Justin truly had a perfect day and they deserved every moment of it. Thank you to this couple, to her sister Domi who constantly recommends us after her wedding was nearly 10 years ago, and to the entire family for welcoming us into this special day. Cheers and congrats!!!