Sometimes location is everything. When New Orleans couple Aimee and Matthew were deciding on a where to host their fall celebration, they opted for a destination wedding to keep their guest count small and intimate. The bride says, "We had a hard time deciding between New Orleans or a destination but ultimately, we decided on Wine Country, California because we love good food and good wine! We also thought it would be a lot of fun for our guests who traveled a great distance to celebrate with us to have a mini-vacation during harvest season. It honestly turned out better than we had hoped!
As for vision, we wanted small and intimate and a little rustic. I don't like to be the center of attention (nor does my husband) so we really just wanted our closest friends and family to be there to celebrate with us. We had 60 people which was just the right size--not too many, but enough to have a really great party!
We are both Catholic so we wanted to have a Catholic wedding and after lots of online searching we found Holy Family Mission Church in Rutherford, California. It's an old Spanish mission church which looked just as I imagined in my mind-- a small, intimate old church set right in the middle of the vineyards. It was perfect. I chose Marisa of So Eventful as our wedding planner after interviewing several coordinators. She was very helpful in the reception choice. We actually didn't visit any of our locations (church, reception, rehearsal) until our wedding week, relying on Marisa and Google to help us choose!
I bought my dress in Louisiana from a bridal store called I Do Bridal Couture. A friend from high school owns it and my decision wasn't that hard. I tried on several different styles but I knew I wanted a classic lace dress to fit the feel of the wedding. In the end, I decided on a Liancarlo gown which I adored!
We really wanted a small, intimate wedding so we decided on no bridal party. I had my sister as my matron of honor and my husband had his father as his best man. We had our nephew and a close family friend as ring bearer and flower girl (they were the only children at the wedding).
I used my grandmother's rosary as part of my bouquet. It had special meaning and it was so great how we were able to incorporate it into the bouquet (it was my "something old" and "something blue"). I also wore my grandmother's old watch for the day--a very dainty little gold watch--which was perfect. My grandmother made the trip with us (she was 82!) and she had a great time!
My husband's tux was a custom-made tux that he designed through a store in Raleigh called Lile's Clothing Studio. I think it turned out gorgeous! He thought he should be able to spend the same amount on his tux as I did on my dress...he came close!
I guess you would call our wedding style rustic, but still classic. I knew during harvest season the natural beauty of wine country would stand out, so i wanted to keep the flowers and decor pretty simple. I just found some sample bouquets that I liked on the internet and told the florist to make them similar with flowers that were in season. I actually wasn't too concerned about the flowers because I knew the outdoors would be gorgeous either way!
For the outdoor setup, I knew I wanted round tables because it make conversation so much easier in my opinion. I don't like long tables where people on one end can't talk to the people on the other end! Round tables allow everyone to be able to join in the conversations and i think it just makes it a little more classic! I wanted ivory linens, because it is also classic and i didn't want anything to take away from the scenery. The simpler, the better!
We ultimately decided on Calistoga Ranch because I loved the outdoor lawn where we had the outdoor dinner and combined that with the wine caves for dancing. We knew we would have a rowdy crowd, being from New Orleans ;) so the indoor wine caves allowed us to go a little later with the band and dancing!
We knew we wanted a live band for the dancing and Hip Service was outstanding. Our rehearsal was at Markham Vineyard's and one of our favorite events was at Goose and Gander in St. Helena. We had a welcome party (with cocktails and dinner) and had a blast there! We just reserved the patio and everyone had great food and good drinks! We arranged for wine tasting the next day (rented a large party bus) and everyone really enjoyed that too.
Hair: It's A Date at The Powder Room, Event Planner: So Eventful, Photographer: Scott Andrew Studio, Florist: Bella Vita Floral, Transportation : California Wine Tours, Ceremony Location: Holy Family Mission Church, Venue: Calistoga Ranch