Alice Wang & Jason Chang
Anyone working in finance—or living in the United States, for that matter—will agree that the fall of 2008 was a very bad time. Lehman Brothers collapsed, Wall Street was in a free fall, and the U.S. government set up a massive bailout program to stabilize the crumbling economy. For Alice Wang and Jason Chang, both of whom were toiling in the trenches of the financial industry, “it was the longest week of our lives.”
Alice recalls that period as “one of the worst times … and hardest of our careers,” but those dark days led, as dark days often do, to after-work drinks, which turned into dinner, which turned into more drinks, which turned into midnight for the now-married couple. Though the two had been friends for a short while, it was during this crisis that they realized they could be more than friends.
And after dating for a couple of years—during which they both moved from Dallas to New York City and then to San Francisco—the couple married on September 2, 2012, at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley.
A visit to Napa left Alice unable to resist its breathtaking natural beauty. So she enlisted Jordan Payne of Jordan Payne Events to plan and design a Wine Country wedding.
Calistoga Ranch is an Auberge resort tucked into a private canyon filled with ancient oak trees. It is, at once, rustic and luxurious. With just 48 rooms, it is small enough to be intimate but large enough to accommodate a sophisticated wedding party. “It’s one of those places that if you just look at the website, you won’t have a clue about how beautiful it is,” Alice says.
Her vision for the wedding was “modern but grounded in romanticism.” To take full advantage of the property, she and Jordan planned a progressive party. The 5 p.m. ceremony took place on the lush Lommel Lawn, overlooking a valley on one side and a lake on the other. As the sun began to sink behind a mountain, the bride and groom exchanged their vows. The 50 guests then moved to The Lakehouse restaurant for cocktails before returning to the lawn for a seated dinner. By then, night had fallen, and a single long table set with pink and white flowers glowed with candlelight beneath a starry sky.
Guests ate guajillo chile-glazed prawns, beef short ribs, and pan-seared salmon. And when the fruit tart was done, the resort’s wine cave came alive with music and dancing—including that of a dancing lion, a nod to the couple’s Chinese culture.
“It was a perfect day,” Alice says.
Photography: Thisbe Grace Photography
Ceremony Site: Calistoga Ranch (Calistoga, California)
Bridal Gown Designer: Vera Wang
Bridal Gown Retailer: Vera Wang (New York City)
Hair & Makeup: Christina Chen, Makeup by Quis (Santa Clara, California)
Groom’s Attire: Vera Wang for Men
Bridesmaids Dresses Designer: Vera Wang Lavender
Bridesmaids Dresses Retailer: Vera Wang (Los Angeles)
Flowers: Jordan Payne, Jordan Payne Events
Reception Site: Calistoga Ranch
Cakes: Sweet on Cake (Napa, California)
Caterer: The Lakehouse (at Calistoga Ranch)
DJ: Mark Addington, Denon & Doyle (San Francisco)
Lighting: Denon & Doyle
Videographer: Ray Roman Films
Wedding Rentals: POSH Couture Rentals; Classic Party Rentals (Napa, California)
Wedding Planner: Jordan Payne
Wedding Designer: Jordan Payne