Napa Valley Wedding from Watson-Studios
November 6, 2012
United States
People always ask us what makes a wedding publish-worthy on SMP. Is it the perfect flowers? Or the tiny details, or the gown, or the shoes or the decor? Truth be told, it's a bit of all of those things but the real draw is simple. It's how we feel when we look at the photographs. Whether we're moved to tears or laughter, it's all about how each wedding affects us. And this one, simply makes me smile. It's Napa Valley at its finest with a couple that radiates joy and photography by Watson-Studios that tells the story to absolute perfection. Click here to see even more.
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From the Bride... Peter and I met at Blackberry Farm, one of the most beautiful and romantic settings in this country. Peter moved from New York City to head up the kitchen as executive chef, and I relocated from Washington, DC to plan and coordinate events. Our paths crossed over elaborate events, weddings and gourmet dinners. After a few months, it was clear that fate had brought us both to Walland, Tennessee, to start the next chapter of lives together. While enjoying our own gourmet dinner at Alinea in Chicago, Peter popped the question, and we knew immediately that we wanted to share some of the same qualities of this special meal during our own wedding: delicious food, tasty wine and incredible ambiance. We also knew we wanted to “run away” with our closest friends and family for an intimate, destination wedding. The location wasn’t a hard decision — one of our favorite spots is Napa, California. 

We found Mary Ellen Murphy with Off the Beaten Path Weddings and she introduced us to our venue. We couldn’t have found a more perfect spot. The property has multiple gardens, beautiful courtyards and pristine landscaping. We knew we wouldn’t have to do too much with this beautiful venue. We decided that simple, beautiful herbs would complement the property nicely. We found flowering thyme, oregano, sage and lavender and added in some vintage lilac and succulents. The flowers themselves were beautiful, but the antique grape harvesting bins we found really made the arrangements unique and very fitting. A few other details include table runners made by my mom, flour sack napkins and hand-pressed spoons that read “eat” “drink” and “marry.”  

Next, Mary Ellen introduced us to Sarah Heller, a private chef in St. Helena. Peter and Sarah planned a beautiful, seasonal menu that included many of our favorite things — black truffles for Peter and potatoes for me! What made this menu even more special is the fact that some of Peter’s favorite purveyors (and friends) throughout the country (and France) provided a lot of the products. Truffles from France, potatoes from upstate New York, artisan cheese from Pennsylvania, bourbon from Kentucky and country ham from Tennessee … just down the road from our house! These items, in addition to the local fare from Napa Valley, made our menu quite delectable. 

One of the best parts of our wedding is the fact that we had an entire weekend to share with our guests. We kicked off the weekend with a paella party at our rental home. Our friends from Cultivate Wines graciously provided some very special wine that paired nicely with a giant pan of paella from Paella del Ray! Friday included multiple wine tastings and a delicious gathering at Gott’s Roadside for some of the best burgers Napa has to offer. The weekend concluded at Twisted Willow Farm, our new favorite spot in Napa, with a beautiful ceremony, an unforgettable dinner party and dancing under the stars! 

Wedding Photography: Watson-Studios / Wedding Venue: A Private Farm in Napa Valley, California / Wedding Planning: Mary Ellen Murphy of Off the Beaten Path Weddings / Floral Design: Cathy Moss, Bill + Jeanne Tapp / Catering: Sarah Heller Cooking / Wedding Cake + Desserts: Bouchon Bakery / Wedding Stationery: The Happy Envelope / DJ: Michael Lewis / Rentals: Bright Event Rentals / Other Food Suppliers + Friends: Alan Benton of Benton’s Country Ham in Madisonville, Tennessee; Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry in Roscoe, New York; Julian Van Winkle of Pappy Van Winkle in Frankfort, Kentucky; Kristian Holbrook of Doe Run Dairy in Coatesville, Pennsylvania + Christopher Poron form Plantin Truffles in Puymeras, France / Wedding Dress: Watters via A Joyous Occasion / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Hair + Makeup: Veronica Passalacqua / Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff via White Lace and Promises / Men's Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Shoes: Billy Reid