Julia Engel and Thomas Berolzheimer’s story started in college. “Our friends were dating, and we both realized that we knew each other’s families as our grandparents are good friends,” explains Julia. “We also realized that said grandparents had been trying to set us up for years!”
They officially started seeing each other and quickly became partners both romantically and in business as Julia had recently launched her now hugely successful blog, Gal Meets Glam, which has grown into a lifestyle brand that covers everything from fashion and beauty to travel and home décor. During the course of their two year courtship, the couple spent hours working together—researching HTML code and watching Youtube videos on how to properly use DSLR cameras—and as they grew the site into what has now become their full-time jobs and family business, they fell in love.
Fittingly, Thomas proposed at the home, the same place where they spent their days working. “It was sweet and simple and romantic,” remembers Julia. “He asked me to marry him right after picking up the ring he had designed. He was too nervous to carry it around, keeping the secret to himself, so he just burst out with it right when he arrived.”
The Charleston-based couple was living in California at the time, and being from there, they looked for a wedding venue on the West Coast. “Many of the locations we scouted had a Tuscan feel to them or were really rustic,” says Julia. “We wanted something that felt more like a meadow—lush, green, and romantic.” After not really finding what they had hoped for, Julia turned to her grandmother for help. “I was describing what I wanted, and she mentioned that one of her friends had a property out in the country in Lodi, where I grew up, and that if fit my description perfectly. We headed out there the next day to check it out, and we knew immediately that it would be the spot!”
The home is situated on an estate surrounded by vineyards and has a large lake lined with willow trees, gardens, a covered bridge, huge lawns, and even miniature horses. “It was so dreamy—I was in love!” says Julia. A family friend was enlisted to help with the majority of the planning, along with Marisa Ferrell from So Eventful.
Ever the fashion expert, Julia had done her research prior to wedding dress shopping and had quite a few styles earmarked as possibilities. “I knew I wanted something classic, feminine, and timeless,” she says. “I didn’t want to look back someday and regret going with something too trendy.” Armed with print outs and clippings of her favorite brands and styles, she went to San Francisco with her mother and grandmother to visit some boutiques.“I tried on every dress I thought I wanted, plus several others, and began feeling like I would have to settle,” she remembers.“The dress that I was almost certain would be ‘the one’ before we started shopping ended up not looking the same in person, so I felt a little defeated. Then I slipped into a Vera Wang strapless dress with a fitted full skirt, walked out of the dressing room in front of the full-sized mirror, looked at my mom and my grandma’s faces, and we all knew it was the one. All three of us had tears in our eyes! The style was more dramatic than the flowy silhouette I initially thought I wanted, but it just felt right.” She paired her dress with a simple veil and nude pumps. And then, she, her sister and maid of honor, and all six of her bridesmaids had their hair, makeup, and nails done at Wine & Roses Spa the morning of the wedding. “I wanted to feel like an elevated version of myself,” says Julia. “So, I went with vintage-inspired curls and a neutral palette for my makeup.”
Always in search of a good deal, Julia’s maid of honor and bridesmaids all wore dresses that the bride found online for $100. “We ordered them thinking that if they didn’t work then we’d just move on,” says Julia. “We wanted dresses that were elegant yet simple, short, flattering on everyone, and in a soft blush hue—and when they arrived, we were shocked by how perfect they were.” For shoes, each bridesmaid selected their own nude pumps. Meanwhile, Thomas wore a light gray suit and tie, and his groomsmen wore light gray slacks with white shirts and gray polka dot bow ties.
The entire evening was set outdoors. Guests were seated facing a large willow tree that served as the altar, with the lake as the backdrop. “When my father walked me down the aisle, the jazz quartet played a version of ‘What A Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong,’” remembers Julia. “And then, Thomas and I recited vows we had written ourselves, which was incredibly special.”
After the ceremony, guests moved into two white tents with crystal chandeliers and a large wooden dance floor. A sit-down dinner of filet mignon, chicken, potatoes, asparagus, and salad was served. And then for dessert, there were two small cakes—“one for me and one for Thomas!”—and a table filled with all kinds of cookies, cupcakes, candies and pastries. Music was played by a DJ, and there was lots of dancing. They also had a photo booth area with cute, colorful streamer backdrops and fun, whimsical dress-up items where guests could create a photo card and write messages to the newlyweds. “The dancing was really important to us,” says Julia. “It’s our favorite part of a wedding, and we wanted everyone to get out on the floor and stay there the whole time, which is exactly what ended up happening!” At the end of the night, the new Mr. and Mrs. Berolzheimer ran through sparklers to a waiting white Bentley that took them to their honeymoon suite at the Wine & Roses Country Inn where they stayed overnight before departing on their honeymoon to Italy early the next morning.