A California Winery Wedding with a Mountaintop Ceremony
March 4, 2016
Al FrescoWeddings in WineriesOutdoor Weddings
For this sweet Bride, a wedding at her family's winery was a dream come to life. The rolling vineyards and sweeping landscape made the perfect backdrop for a day designed with a "less is more" approach while still every bit as beautiful. Details like the seasonal floral arrangements by EV Floral Design and romantic invitation by Bella Figura quickly stole my wedding blogger heart, and thanks to This Love Of Yours Photography and Paperweight Films, you can see every bit for yourself.
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From The Bride...The vision for our wedding was an intimate gathering with the most beloved people in our lives at my family's winery. We wanted to get married on a full moon at the height of the growing season before harvest, so we picked Saturday August 29th for these reasons. Simplicity was key and we embraced a less is more attitude. We wanted the floral arrangements to be seasonal from the Napa area or gathered from the property, the food to reflect all the bounty that this region of California has to offer, and to drink the wine grown from the land right outside. There were three things we wanted: a mountain top ceremony, a cave dinner, and an afterglow with a campfire under the stars. We wanted to wear outfits in light colors to reflect the casual attitude of the ranch and the airiness of the mountain setting. The overall feelings were warm, intimate, wild, gathered, elegant, simple, and homemade.

I remember the whole week in such detail, and basically every moment would be worthy to write about here! If I had to pick just one from the wedding day itself it would be riding in the horse carriage with my dad from the barn to the ceremony site, coming over the hill, and seeing all of the most important people in my life sitting on the top of the mountain, and Scott at the end of the aisle. It was the culmination of so many emotions and I wasn't expecting it to hit me so hard. You get caught up in all the planning but there are moments like this that you just can't plan for. From sharing that special last moment alone with my dad and seeing him tear up as we approached, to riding with the draft horse and thinking so much about my grandpa Jim (no longer with us) who founded the winery and how much he would absolutely love Scott and how much I miss him. Thinking about my personal history with the ranch and what the property means to me, realizing that everyone was there to celebrate our wedding day, and finally seeing Scott waiting for me down the aisle...You could say that I "lost it" in that moment which I was not expecting to do. It didn't help that my dad was crying too, but I pulled myself together and didn't cry during the ceremony, which I also did not expect to be able to do!

I love our venue because I grew up there, felt totally comfortable and relaxed, and I was so happy to share it with everyone! The winery staff went out of their way to help make our day special. I love everyone who works there a lot. And I really, really, really love the views from the ceremony site (a.k.a the picnic site), too.

One of the most important things was food and wine. Scott is a chef and my parents own the winery, so it was essential that the formal dinner (four courses with wine pairings) be excellent. We also paired a special cremant with the cake course and it was amazing! Scott helped collaborate on the menu and wine pairings and created two cocktails for the evening, one sparkling vodka, grapefruit and rosemary to kick off the reception and one Manhattan whiskey for after dinner with campfire and cigars.

My advice to planning Brides is to edit, and be OK with letting things go. Especially if you do not have a planner (like we didn't), you have to accept some things will not go as planned. If you set your mind to think this way you will feel happy and free regardless of what happens on the big day. Remember, no matter what: it will be amazing, it will be the best day of your life, and you get to MARRY the love of your life! Also, unless your man is SUPER into all of the details, don't burden your groom with a ton of wedding stuff. Have date nights where you focus on him, not the wedding. And lastly you don't need to add a hashtag or a custom font/logo to every little thing - you can go crazy with personalization to the point where you feel like you are advertising your own wedding! If the venue and vibe is designed to represent you as a couple then personalization will shine through regardless, and you will save time and money.

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