Emma Eckerstrom, from Germantown, Maryland, and Tyler Law, of Oakland, California, met in Richmond during the summer of 2012 working for senator Tim Kaine’s first senate campaign. New to the area, and working long hours, seven days a week, less than 10 feet apart, they spent a lot of time together as colleagues and formed a “uniquely strong bond” with their team. Emma remembers that Tyler was “gregarious, warm, and everybody’s friend,” she says. “I started after him on the campaign and even on day one, I knew I wanted to be in his circle.” Tim remembers Emma as “a cute little blonde, newly graduated but calm and confident.” Every third Thursday they’d head to a local bar in Richmond to see popular “yacht rock band” Three Sheets to the Wind and one particular Thursday night, sparks flew. “Dancing and yelling the lyrics to hits like Toto by Africa, we knew we were going somewhere beyond friendship,” Emma says.
The pair dated for more than five years, including more than a year and a half of bi-coastal long distance when Tyler was in California and Emma was in DC, both working in politics. One Thanksgiving Emma and her parents and two sister joined Tyler and his family in California for the holiday. “Tyler took us all on a daylong tour of some of the wineries we went to on my first trip out to California five years earlier,” Emma says. “Tyler was so nervous all day….” When they got to Trefethen, one of Emma’s favorites of the wineries, Tyler took Emma on a walk to a small redwood grove, got down on one knee, and popped the question. The families, who knew what was coming, waited to celebrate with the couple at a special private tasting. “We still have wine in our collection from that day. Anyone who knows us knows wine is a big theme to our relationship.”
The Wedding Planning
A winery in DC, then, was the perfect choice for their citrus-themed wedding, and the couple spent the next 15 months planning it at District Winery.
The Perfect Weekend
When they set out to plan their big day, Emma and Tyler knew they wanted to get married over a holiday weekend. “Most of our families live closer to the west coast than the east coast, and our friends were starting to move out, so we wanted to create a weekend that would provide ample opportunities for spending time together and exploring the city that we loved so much,” they say. They chose the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 2019 for the occasion. They also knew they wanted a great planner to help plan an “incredible event for guests,” and an “equally amazing band to make sure the whole night felt like one big party,” so they made both a priority.
A Citrus-Themed Wedding
For the design, they chose a modern citrus theme with a palette of pink, orange, yellow, and white, and to integrate the design throughout the day, they focused on incorporating custom designed paper products by Emily Baird Design, from the save-the-dates to the table numbers, to the show-stopping aisle runner, the larger-than-life hanging escort card board, and the thank you cards. To play up the paper decor, the couple opted to keep the florals more modest, still ultimately naming the two different “eclectic tablescapes that Sophie Felts so amazingly designed,” and Emma’s bouquet, as two of their favorite decor details.
The Food and Drink
As for the menu, they embraced their love of wine and skipped the signature cocktails. And as a couple who says cake isn’t really their thing, they chose a small olive oil cake with citrus glaze and garnish to match the tablescapes, and skipped a more expansive dessert bar in favor of a late-night snack bar that included chicken fingers, French fires, and sliders.
The Bride’s Attire
Emma says her backless Ines Di Santo gown, and cathedral veil felt like a splurge at the time, but “were absolutely perfect and worth every penny.” She paired the ensemble with Manolo Blahnik pumps that she says felt both on trend and timeless.
Following the wedding, the newlyweds honeymooned in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Photographer: Kristen Gardner Photography | Venue: District Winery | Planning & Design: Pamela Barefoot Events & Design | Florist: Sophie Felts Floral Design | Invitations: Emily Baird Design | Hairstylist & Make Artist: Amie Decker Beauty | Bride’s Attire: Ines Di Santo gown from Carine’s Bridal Atelier | Groom’s Attire: Custom suit from Suitsupply | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Jenny Yoo | Groomsmen’s Attire: The Black Tux | Music: Broadsound Band; Melissa Dvorak (ceremony harpist)