Friday, April 12, 2024

A Napa Valley Wedding Brings Together an English Rock Band and a Slice of Young Hollywood

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When Virginia Gardner, an actress who starred in Marvel’s The Runaways and the recent film Beautiful Disaster, wed Jed Elliott, bassist for the English rock band The Struts, at Carneros Resort and Spa in Napa, California, she wanted the ceremony to be filled with the creative spirit that the pair and their friends nurture in their personal and professional lives. Over the course of three days, Gardner’s Sacramento-based family, Elliott’s relatives from across the pond, and the couple’s nearest and dearest gathered at the Sonoma Valley property for a weekend of events. “I wanted to give them the quintessential California experience and take them to some place that would be really beautiful,” Gardner tells ELLE.com.

ginny gardner wedding

Sean Thomas Photography

The couple, who met online in 2020, has no regrets about the decisions they made, however lavish. “We had gone back and forth on, do we want a big wedding, do we not? It’s expensive, it’s a lot of time and planning. We weren’t 100 percent sure that we were ready to make the commitment, but in hindsight, we’re so grateful that we did. Money will come and go, that will be there,” she says. “We don’t know if ever we’ll have all of Jed’s English friends and family out in one place together meeting my friends. It was just so special to have that time.”

Read on for a look at a wedding weekend that included two custom Jason Wu dresses, wine on a train, and an after-party complete with a performance from the groom’s band.

ginny and jed

“My whole wedding I really wanted to have the feel of whimsy and a bit of the unexpected,” Gardner says.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Setting

“The Carneros Resort is where I grew up going with my parents as a kid. We would spend holidays there, so that resort held a lot of importance to my family and I,” Gardner explains. Her major priority was finding a location that worked for her brother, who has autism and finds it difficult to travel. “It was really important to me that he was able to be there. He lives in Sacramento which was a short enough drive to get him to Napa.”

ginny and jed wedding carneros resort

The couple on a wine train ride the Thursday before the wedding.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Welcome Party

Gardner and Elliott started the weekend off with a six-hour catered train ride through Napa Valley for their bridal party and families.

ginny and jed wedding

“It was really made with love,” designer Jason Wu said of the dress he created for Gardner.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Dress

Gardner has attended Jason Wu’s fashion shows with her longtime stylist Zadrian Smith and was a fan of his custom work. “Jason has the most beautifully constructed corsets and he did the most beautifully constructed corset inside my dress. That was the biggest thing I went to him for; I wanted something that had a lot of volume,” she says. “I like lace, but I didn’t want it to feel like dated lace. I wanted it to feel elevated and high fashion.”

Wu has only created 12 wedding gowns over the course of his career, typically for friends and family members. “When Zadrian and Ginny asked me, I was so happy to say yes because I’ve known Ginny for years and she’s just one of the nicest girls I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” he says. He used a custom, hand-embroidered lace for the dress. “All the motifs from the bustier to the skirt has been laid out so that we knew exactly which flower was going to fall.”

The Food

Both the bride and groom are self-proclaimed foodies, and really wanted to create a menu that would feel special and celebratory for their guests. “My biggest thing was I wanted the dishes to feel colorful, seasonal, and have some surprising elements that maybe ordinarily you wouldn’t really see at a wedding,” she says. Highlights included braised short ribs and toasted farro.

ginny gardner wedding

Gardner with her bridesmaids, who each chose their own dress.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Guest List

For Gardner, the guest list was “a lot of coming together of different actors that I’ve worked with over the course of my career.” Among them were Victoria Pedretti, Oppenheimer star Dylan Arnold, Zak Steiner of Euphoria, singer Alex Aiono, and Cruel Intentions director Roger Kumble.

ginny and jed wedding

Peter Gabriel’s “The Book of Love” was Ginny and Jed’s first dance song.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Reception

“The element that I kept coming back to for the wedding, that I wanted to be reflected in the floral, in the dance floor, in our ballroom, was celebrating California for what it is and its beauty and the florals. I also wanted it to feel whimsical and not too stuffy or too serious,” Gardner says. The Struts planned to play, so Gardner wanted the party to have the feeling of a fun concert, too.

ginny gardner wedding

Gardner and Elliott cut the cake.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Performance

“Luke, the lead singer of the band, pulled me on stage with them which Jed had arranged. I had no idea that was coming. It was really fun as well to be on stage with the boys,” she says.

ginny and jed wedding carneros resort

Gardner’s second dress was made for dancing.

Sean Thomas Photography

The Dress, Part Two

Gardner had spotted a metallic fringe dress from Jason Wu’s resort 2023 collection. Wu recreated it in silver and at a shorter length for her. “The way it moved was really beautiful, it was really fun,” she says. “I really wanted that after-party dress to feel super unique and unexpected and reflect the fun, concert environment that we were trying to create.”

Wu offered some tough words to ensure the bride was able to enjoy herself without stress. “The after-party’s where you really want to have fun. She said, ‘What if the train gets dirty?’ And I said, ‘Ginny, you’re going to keep this forever but you’re going to wear it once and you’re going to just have to let it get dirty—but after the photos.’ Very strict instructions.”

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Adrienne Gaffney

Features Editor

Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.

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