When Troy Arntsen’s former company took over the essentials company where Traci Hinkley once worked, they both got more than they bargained for. “He was introduced to me as my boss, and I knew I was in trouble,” remembers Traci. “I was very attracted to him.” But the emotional constraints of that hierarchical relationship didn’t last long, because Traci and Troy left their old jobs to start the highly successful candle and fragrance company Voluspa from their home kitchen in 1999. Doing double duty as both business partners and lovers agreed with the couple, and in 2004, Troy asked Traci to become his wife while overlooking the beach in Newport, CA.
With their first choice venue, Montage Resort & Spa, secured, the couple went about planning a small summer wedding for 60 guests. It was of the utmost importance to the newlyweds-to-be that the celebration reflected the spirit of their relationship. Fortunately, Traci and Troy were the ones ultimately responsible for every final decision. “There were no expectations from our families on either side. It was exactly what both Troy and I wanted and that made it very special,” says Traci. Using a subtle color scheme that paired baby pink, cream and pale green with their favorite color, chocolate brown, the bride, groom and coordinator Lisa Vorse designed a wedding that used the small guest list to its benefit. The ceremony, which was set against a view of the ocean, was grouped in the round with Traci and Troy standing in the center on a bed of pink roses. This unique arrangement allowed the couple to feel very connected to the group. It also gave every guest a perfect view as the groomsmen and bridesmaids (who, instead of bouquets carried satin purses decorated with roses) led the way for the bride’s entrance to “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel. Four brown pedestals supported exceptional arrangements of bare manzanita branches adorned with clusters of roses, hydrangea and hanging amaranthus that towered dramatically over Traci and Troy as they recited their moving original vows.
A wishing tree beckoned guests to pen thoughts and advice for the bride and groom on chocolate brown paper and hang each personalized note on one of its branches. The paper goods at the wedding, as well as the invitations, were made by Traci’s gifted hand and showcased her many talents in artistic design. At each place setting, a brown and pink menu was tucked into a pleated brown napkin, and each square table was wrapped in mocha linens with a brown runner. The centerpieces alternated between tree-like creations embellished by pomander balls (versions of the ceremony décor) and low grouped arrangements set in boxes. A larger brown box filled with a mixture of roses and hydrangea was accented by four smaller boxes done entirely in pink. The room, a sweet sea of chocolate and strawberry, was nothing short of scrumptious. After dinner, Traci and Troy each took a turn dedicating a song to one another and danced with guests to a custom-designed playlist on a glossy brown dance floor. “We chose corny songs like ‘The One That You Love’ by Air Supply and fun songs like ‘White Lines’ by Duran Duran,” admits Traci. At one edge of the floor, a display of chocolate ganache cupcakes–each topped with a tiny pink rosebud–was served in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. Upon departure, each guest took home Voluspa’s Cocoa Tamarind candle (a favorite of Halle Berry, notes Traci), which was set in a brown ceramic bowl and tied with a pink Midori satin ribbon. But for Traci and Troy, the sheer presence of family and friends at their special affair was all they ever wanted. They did not register for gifts and requested that none be given; they preferred, if anything, that gifts be intended for their baby daughter and center of their life together, Anais. “If you wish,” read the invitation, “we would love a book that has been important in your life to share with our daughter as we build her library.”