Summer Al Fresco Wedding in Napa Valley
January 7, 2016
California
Al FrescoLuxury VenueOutdoor Weddings
This prayer book has been carried by the women in the bride’s family on their wedding days since the 1800’s. It’s the kind of heirloom that makes our hearts swell, and the entire day planned by Laurie Arons perfectly follows suit. Starting with a stunning paper suite by Anticipate Invitations and calligraphy by Curlicue Designs and ending with an incredible celebration thanks in part to Zephyr Tents and Paula LeDuc. The wildly talented KT Merry told the story of the day, and you can peek at all her images inside The Vault.
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From The Bride...Rhys and I met 10 years ago on a snowy night in New York City. I was a 19-year-old student at Columbia and Rhys had recently graduated from Duke and moved to New York to work as an analyst at CitiGroup. We first encountered each other at the bar of an underground, candlelit nightclub that neither of us had ever been to before nor ever went back to (it’s long since closed). We left the club together, and as we were hailing a taxi, a truck drove by blasting dirty New York street slush all over us. Rhys gave me his coat and put his arm around me, and we hurried into a taxi together to warm up. And the rest is history. We had an instant connection, and in retrospect perhaps it was fate, but at the time we could never have imagined that 8 and a half years later we’d be walking down the aisle.

Rhys proposed 7 years later in the snow on New Year’s Day in Antarctica. It was the most spectacular, breathtaking proposal on a snow-covered mountainside at the end of the earth. That night as we made our way down the coast of Antarctica, the idea of getting married in Napa was brought up and we all knew that was the place to do it. Rhys and I go to Napa every year with my family and it’s become a very special place for us, and it just felt right. The perfect place to bring together all of our loves: food, wine, travel, the outdoors.

The wedding was a total dream. Our ceremony was held under an oak tree as the sun set behind the rolling hills in the distance – the sun was in my eyes behind Rhys’ head and it created a truly surreal, cinematic image as we said the vows we wrote for each other. There are many moments from my wedding that I will remember for the rest of my life – walking down the aisle on my parents’ arms carrying a prayer book that the women of my family have carried on their wedding days since the 1800s, hearing Rhys’ vows, our first dance which was performed by our best friends, my father’s speech that had everyone cracking up, dancing to late-90s hip hop with my best friend.

One of my favorite moments was right after the ceremony, Rhys and I snuck away with KT to take some photos in the vineyard at sunset. We were buzzing with excitement and energy and just overflowing with love and were so grateful for that quiet moment alone to revel in our happiness (and take some breathtaking photos).

Our favorite thing to do together is to travel, so when it came time to plan our honeymoon, we knew we had to go all out. After much debate, we landed on a safari in Kenya followed by diving in Seychelles. While the wedding was truly the best day of my life, it was on our honeymoon that I felt married for the first time. Especially when Rhys asked the lodge manager at Mahali Mzuri if we could keep the Masai warrior rubber ducky that came in our room for our future children.

We wanted to give something back as a part of our honeymoon. We discovered that the safari lodge where we stayed in northern Kenya, supported a local school, and so we reached out to the owner of the lodge to see if there was anything we could do to help. We came up with a plan to bring an individual solar-powered light to every family in the school – about 250 lights – so that the children wouldn’t have to rely on expensive and extremely dangerous kerosene lamps to study after dark. We thought Rhys was going to speak with a small class of the older students about the importance of solar electricity, but when we arrived at the school, the whole town had turned up for a massive celebration. We were in awe, I mean truly floored, and the outpouring of gratitude and love from this community. Passing out the solar lights and meeting the children and their families was one of the absolute best moments of our honeymoon, and helped set the tone for our marriage – we can’t wait to spend a life together seeing the world and giving back to it in any way that we can.

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