St. Helena Farmstead Wedding from Christina Richards Photography
November 26, 2013
CasualRusticRustic Weddings
This is a wedding that makes you smile; a day that is sooo full of awesome, grinning from ear to ear is completely unavoidable.  It's also a wedding that was perfectly styled by Your Event by Erin and features a breathtaking Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch setting and one moment after another of pure love and personality.  In other words, it's a trifecta of amazing and you can see every last ounce of pretty captured by Christina Richards right here in the full gallery.
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From The Bride + Groom... If our wedding day had been anything like the day we got engaged, Matt would have been covered in red wine (he accidentally shattered the bottle just before popping the question at the top of Nevada Falls in Yosemite) and Agnes' ring would have been too small (her fingers were swollen from the altitude). But thankfully our wedding went much more smoothly than Matt's proposal (which all in all went pretty well, considering Agnes still said yes)!

When we started planning our wedding we had a very specific vision in mind. We wanted something simple, yet elegant. We wanted great wine, great food, and great music. We wanted an event where our guests could relax and have an awesome time. That was where our good friend Erin Donoghue, who also happens to be a fabulous event planner, floral designer, and the owner of Your Event by Erin, came in. Erin took our ideas and turned them into a wedding better than we could have imagined. Erin sorted through the countless Pinterest pins and SMP entries (Agnes blog of choice, of course) Agnes sent her to create a day that was just so wonderfully and completely us.

Agnes was lucky enough to fall in love with the first venue she saw, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California. Matt knew it was the perfect spot when he got a text from Agnes while sitting at his desk at work that said, "Hey babe. How is your day going? I think we are getting married June 15th!" And as luck would have it, a beautiful, quaint Catholic church just three blocks from Farmstead was also available for our ceremony. To top it off, Erin found us the perfect transportation to and from the church and Farmstead: a big yellow school bus. Between the ceremony and reception we sent our guests on a "wine crawl" with three cocktail and wine tasting stops on the short walk from the church to Farmstead. (They loved it!)

Our wedding was a very small and personal one, with only our families and closest friends, and since we wanted to make it a budget-friendly affair, everyone really pitched in with a lot of DIY elements to make it perfect. The YAY flags, programs, and escort cards were all made with love by friends and family.

One of the things that made our wedding feel incredibly unique was the cast of priests. Agnes was born in Poland, and one of her closest family friends is a priest who lives in Rome, Italy. When Agnes was a young girl, Father Waldek had promised her that when she got married he would go anywhere in the world to be a part of the ceremony. Father Waldek kept his promise and made the trip from the Vatican with another priest friend, Father Francisco, a soccer-loving, Real Madrid fan. Together Fathers Waldek and Francisco presided over the ceremony (with good humor) along with Father Emmanuel, Agnes and Matt's San Francisco parish priest, blessed dinner and brought tidings and gifts from the Vatican. Father Francisco and Father Waldek were the absolute hit of the party, and made the day more special than we could have possibly dreamed.

Agnes' instincts about the venue were right; Farmstead was the perfect spot for our reception. We chose to have the wedding dinner served family-style, both to create the feeling of an intimate family dinner and so our guests from all over the world would really interact and get to know each other. Farmstead is a farm-to-table restaurant, so all of the food was local, seasonal, and prepared right on site. It was incredible. We have had numerous guests tell us that it was by far the best food they have ever had at a wedding. Farmstead is so full of natural beauty that we wanted to highlight that. We didn't have any wedding colors, deciding instead to keep everything in neutrals, which was perfect for a space that has vineyards, gorgeous flowers, apple orchards, veggies, and herbs on-site.

After dinner we danced the night away while our guests sipped wine and played bocce under the bistro lighting that had been personally hung by Agnes' best friend of twenty-eight years and co-maid of honor. We even managed to get in a game of horseshoes! So fun.

The day was perfection (have we said how perfect it was yet?) and we had such a fabulous time that it is really hard to pick favorite moments. But mine (Agnes) include turning around to walk down the aisle for the first time as husband and wife and seeing the sea of YAY flags go up, and the surprise of receiving three touching, and inside-joke-filled cards from Matt throughout the day, delivered by various groomsmen at the most unexpected moments. And mine (Matt) was our first dance to a song by my favorite band (whom Agnes now also loves), Augustana. When it was time for our sparkler send-off, both of our faces hurt from smiling so much.

It truly was the best day ever.