Grooms Jason and Eric say “I do” amidst the natural beauty of Napa
By Sarah Gleim
Sophisticated. Modern. Elegant. Masculine. Non-traditional. If we had to choose five words to describe the wedding of West Hollywood residents Eric Cook and Jason Somerville, these would likely be our top choices. And they’re fitting, too, because they describe the two men, as well, which is pretty much what the two had in mind for their wedding all along.
They held their July 2010 wedding at the lovely Carneros Inn in Napa, Calif., to incorporate their interest of wine and winemaking. But they also wanted a destination wedding that was convenient for their guests, most of whom were coming from Los Angeles. And considering Napa’s natural beauty, it was the obvious choice. “We chose The Carneros Inn because we felt like it matched our aesthetic perfectly—modern and minimal, but without a hard edge,” Cook says. “It has a distinct point of view artistically and architecturally, but is also warm and inviting, much like our own home in West Hollywood.”
Finding the location was the easy part. Planning the wedding was a little more complex, mainly because the two spared no expense and were very hands on and oversaw every detail of the weekend, right down to the vintage and antique stamps they selected for each invitation. “The stamps reflected our interests in architecture, United States history, modern art, and Jason’s interest in NASA and the space program,” Cook says.
Venue: The Carneros Inn
Photographer: Kate Webber Photography
Florist: Julie Stevens Design
Officiant: Kimberly Thompson
Music: Peter Cincotti
Music: Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers
Coordinator: Suzy Berberian
They enlisted the help of coordinator Suzy Berberian who helped turn Cook’s favorite color, orange, into the wedding’s overall design scheme, which included chocolate browns, and hints of apple greens for extra pops of color. Berberian was also instrumental in having a Steinway grand piano brought from San Francisco for the reception’s private performance by singer/song writer Peter Cincotti. “We had to get the piano to the reception room in time for tune up and rehearsals before the reception, and get it out of the reception room by midnight,” Somerville says. “It was quite a feat, and we pulled it off only because of Suzy’s dedication and tireless effort.”
But that was just the tip of the iceberg for what the guests were treated to at this luxe Napa wedding. It was an intimate affair—just 65 friends and family members attended, and each one received a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates hand-wrapped in chocolate brown paper and orange ribbon, and a handwritten note from Cook and Somerville upon arrival. They also enjoyed a cocktail reception the eve of the wedding at the Farm restaurant at The Carneros.
The couple also arranged for wine tastings at the Cuvaison Estate Wines and Etude Wine vineyards the day before the wedding, plus a send-off Champagne brunch at Brix Restaurant the day after. “We didn’t want our guests to just celebrate our union,” Cook says. “We also wanted them to enjoy themselves and have a wonderful weekend with us.”
The ceremony was held outside in an apple orchard, overlooking the expanse of the vineyards. Both men wore custom gray suits made Astor & Black Custom Clothiers, with Thomas Pink shirts and silver ties, also by Astor & Black. They incorporated flame-colored calla lilies, white and green spider mums, and green Kermit mums in small, sculptural arrangements. “We didn’t want the flowers to be overwhelming,” Cook says, “but instead a complement to the architecture of The Carneros and Napa’s natural beauty.”
Somerville was the first to walk down the aisle, accompanied by his mother. Cook, who was escorted by his parents, met him and their officiant, where they exchanged vows and rings. “It felt both unreal and so joyous to walk down the aisle and see so many people, so many friends and family, who made the trip in support of our union,” Somerville says. “Seeing everyone turned toward us and smiling as we walked down the aisle was a feeling we will never forget.”
The reception included three long king’s tables instead of round tables, and included more small flower arrangements and white pillar candle centerpieces. The four-course dinner was served family-style, and included a baby arugula salad, chilled calamari salad, seared dayboat scallops, lobster ravioli, roasted halibut, pork tenderloin and beef tenderloin, as well as a cheese and dolce course. And several cupcake and pastry selections were offered in place of wedding cake.
Not surprisingly, wines were an important part of the menu, and Cook and Somerville hand selected a different wine to pair with each menu selection. “We sourced Bindi pinot noir from Australia and Roderier Champagne from France,” Cook says. “We also chose a number of wines from the Napa and Carneros regions, including Cuvaison Estate Wines, which was one of the wineries we visited during the wine tasting.”
Music is equally important to the couple, especially given Somerville’s career as a music financier and investment banker, so it played a big role in the reception, as well. Between the dinner and dessert courses, Peter Cincotti performed his first-ever private concert on the Steinway they had especially brought up from San Francisco. Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers performed for Somerville and Cook’s first dance, and for their dances with their mothers.
“Everything was absolutely amazing,” Somerville says. “Standing up in front of your friends and family and making a commitment, there is nothing like it. It changes everything.”
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