Love Story | Erika of Small Shop Studio

love story anniversary


I’m honored to have the lovely Erika of small shop (genius behind ever swoon branding!) sharing her love story with us on her wedding anniversary!  Her love story makes my heart smile, from the time they met, the NYC proposal, intimate and swoon worthy Napa Valley wedding, to their growing love and family today.  Be prepared to get some swoonbumps from their amazing love story!

Hello swooners! Erika from small shop here, excited to share with you that I’m celebrating my 9 year anniversary today, and I’m even more in love with my guy than I ever thought possible. He is truly my best friend and gives me butterflies to this day.

How did you meet?

Funny story: Justin was actually an INTERN at the architecture firm where we worked. We were put on a Disneyland restaurant project together (the contemporist that he is would never tell anyone this!). There was an instant connection but we were friends for a while and it was really sweet — like we both had big crushes on each other but didn’t want to ruin it. Plus, he was the INTERN! Come on.

Tell us your proposal story.

New York City, May 22nd (23rd), 2002. 2-1/2 years later, we went on a trip to check out grad schools for him. We went out to dinner for his birthday, but he was really nervous. I knew something was up. It was confirmed when he SET OFF THE METAL DETECTORS at the Empire State Building! I walked ahead to spare him the embarrassment (he had to tell the guards he had a ring in his pocket!). When we got to the top, it was so crowded with tourists he didn’t feel the moment was right. So instead he planned a picnic in Central Park the next day. He likes to remind me that I said “OK!!!” as soon as I saw the ring, before he even asked. So he never really got a “yes” out of me. ;o)

small shop: napa valley ceremony

What did you want the experience to be for you/your guests at the event?

My dad at the time worked at Chateau Montelena winery in Calistoga, so it was important to us to give our guests a unique Napa Valley experience. We found the quaintest church in St. Helena for the ceremony, and Justin insisted on a single cellist. It was really beautiful. Cocktail hour was held on the grounds of the winery — they have a pretty lake with two small gazebo-ed islands and connecting bridges — and the reception was held in front of the old stone chateau. Could not have been more perfect.

small shop: napa valley winery wedding

What was your favorite detail of the event?

We both have modern sensibilities, so we really wanted the reception to feel like a hip dining experience, a la Asia de Cuba (it was the hot spot at the time!). Hence, we went with lounge-y electronica music during dinner, and long all-white tables with small punches of color. But one of our favorite ideas would be our “Bubble Lounge” — a seating area we created next to the dance floor with clear blow up furniture. So fun.

small shop: napa valley winery reception

Please share any other facts/moments/details you would want people to know about your special day.

To this day I tear up (even now while writing this): When I walked down that aisle I was so nervous, I felt like I was going to cry at any moment. Justin was as solid as a rock, positively beaming! When we turned to face each other, he mouthed “I love you”…yep, almost totally lost it. But it was the reminder I needed that all of the other stuff is unimportant. The day belonged to us.

small shop: just married!

Any advice for those about to walk down the aisle?

I was a nervous wreck. It was pouring rain the day of, and I had never felt so responsible for so many people’s happiness — I put way too much pressure on myself, as we all do. A friend told me, “As long as everyone sees the bride having a good time, they’ll have a good time.” It helped me let go of the fears I had, and realize, it’s a party!

Thanks for having us today Tamra!

Photographer: Robert Marcos; Florist: Pat Friday; Bridal gown: Romona Keveza.
For more specific details and other sources,
you can view my post from last year here.

24 Responses to “Love Story | Erika of Small Shop Studio”

  1. viv

    This makes me smile! Big smile! I love that he set off the metal detectors!! haha

  2. Erika [small shop]

    Thank you Tamra! It was fun for us to walk down memory aisle again!
    We have a thrilling day of work to celebrate…LOL But seriously we may sneak out for a glass of wine this afternoon ;0)

  3. designstiles

    Intern. Ha! I love that they played lounge-y electronica music during dinner. Super hip.

    Happy 9 years Erika! Wishing you many, many more.

  4. Samantha Penner

    What a beautiful story! I love to hear how couples initially met and how they fell in love. I love all the special touches they added to the ceremony to make it uniquely theirs!

  5. Alexa

    Erika you were a gorgeous bride. Love the sleek simplicity of your dress and am in hysterics that Justin was an Intern. Isn’t it funny how that word has a whole new meaning now? ;) Great story and photos! xoxo

  6. Hilary

    Beautiful story Erika!! And, as I would expect, your ceremony and reception were beautiful. I especially love the origami paper detailing and your modern wedding gown train. Simply stunning!

  7. Aubrey

    I love their cute little story! Especially the setting off the metal detectors, *priceless*! (c: And what a gorgeous wedding! Storybook, to be sure (c:

  8. Brynn {chartreuse & a twist}

    oh my!!! swoonbumps for sure! and a few tears streaming down my face…this is such a real story of love…so beautiful :) i definitely know what she means when she says that she loves him more than ever thought possible…it is kind of incredible how that happens! happy anniversary to erika & justin!!! XO brynn

  9. classiq

    I laughed when I read the ring story. :) Oh, and I like the quote about the bride having a good time. That is so true. I think I and my husband had the best time, more so than any other guest, at out wedding. Nobody else really mattered and so it should. Beautiful story! xo

  10. Dawn {The Alternative Wife}

    So cute! I totally love that he was an intern and the ring story is great! I’m not surprised that Erika had such a picture perfect wedding. And I so remember the Asia de Cuba days :) xoxo

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