Our Wedding Day
November 4th was the best day and is still so surreal to think about. Garner and I were married at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, one of the most gorgeous wineries in Sonoma.
Here are a few (it was very difficult narrowing it down) of our favorite things from our special weekend!
1) Made it a weekend
My family and the wedding party arrived early so we stayed in a gorgeous VRBO from Thursday to Sunday (Garner and his groomsmen had their own). We had a chef come to the house for a brunch, went chocolate tasting and sipped wine outside on the lawn. I loved having my family and some of my favorite girls all in one place... I definitely felt celebrated and ready for the big day.
On Friday night, we had a small rehearsal dinner at a lovely restaurant/hotel that was rodeo themed (we had to get some Texas in there somehow!). There were toasts, laughs, tears and gifts (this is where I surprised Garner with my scuba license!). Plus my sweet in-laws added some creative touches like cootie catchers with fun facts about me and G and a slideshow that made everyone laugh/cry.
After the rehearsal dinner (we kept that to the wedding party/immediate family), we hosted a welcome party at a nearby bar on Sonoma Square. With many people traveling from out of state, I wanted a chance to talk with every single guest... and sometimes that can be difficult during the wedding. Dozens of people showed up, there were his and hers cocktails and we were able to talk with everyone. It was so neat to see friends from different walks of life exchanging numbers and making wine-tasting plans together for the next day. Huge shout out to the Millards and Fullers for helping with this! :)
2) Meaningful location
We chose Sonoma because it's close to San Francisco and also such a meaningful place for me and Garner. When I was interning in college, Garner and his family came to visit and we all went to Sonoma for the day. Ever since moving here, we've frequented many wineries in the area and some of our favorite memories are sipping wine at Gloria Ferrer out in the sunshine. It was very special having our friends and family there to celebrate and experience this magical place with us.
3) Said our own vows
This was something Garner was adamant about (isn't it funny what guys care about regarding weddings?). I was really nervous - I already knew I'd be nervous for such a large life event and now I was going to confess my love and promises to Garner in front of a crowd. But I'm really glad we did this. We were able to joke with each other throughout the few minutes, while still vowing to be selfless, loving and partners for life. PLUS I received a coyote standing ovation (meaning they were howling throughout my vows!!) which was Garner's favorite moment of the whole weekend (he legit asked if I planned that...).
4) Dinner in wine cave
After cocktail hour, we walked down the stairs into the wine cave (our first look was right above it!). This was such a special treat as the wine cave is closed many months of the year for production and actual wine-making. It was a very intimate and romantic dinner with guests at small tables, candles lighting the cave and stairwell and an artsy playlist (created by my lovely husband) filled the room. We also ate family style - I liked the idea of a more formal dinner but honestly didn't want to deal with taking everyone's order. Plus guests could pick and choose what they wanted (and for Garner, what he wanted more of!).
5) Little Details
I'm such a detail-oriented person that I LOVED planning tiny things that showcased Garner/my personalities. Some of my favorite details were:
- Placing my great, great grandmother's diamond broach on my bouquet,
- Wearing my mom's gorgeous topaz ring,
- Designing all the paper items myself (invitations, welcome sign, programs, welcome notes, save-the-dates, menus, table numbers, napkins and koozies),
- Serving our favorite beverages/snacks throughout the night,
- Showcasing a watercolor version of the invitations my Aunt Leigh Anne painted for us as a gift (thanks, Aunt Leigh Anne!),
- Including beautiful gold calligraphy signs my sister's best friend created (thanks, Blake!),
- Selecting songs that were a little different and meant something special, and
- Utilizing the "wine theme" with corked table number holders and witty favors.
I loved making everything US. My mom kept saying nobody would notice (and to stop stressing!), but as someone who always notices and appreciates the small touches, this meant a lot to me.
6) Convertible car ride
We borrowed our friend Blair's Mercedes convertible (thanks, Blair!) and my sister-in-law's husband, Cameron (does that make him my brother-in-law?), was our wonderful driver! This was one of our favorite moments as we all gushed about the day, under the full moon, and with the breeze in my hair. I remember thinking "this is the best ending to the best night ever."
7) Delaying our Honeymoon
We decided to add our honeymoon onto my family's Christmas trip to New Zealand by vacationing somewhere nearby (ultimately ended up being Cook Islands - read about it here). This meant we would have to wait six weeks before our honeymoon. We decided to have a "mini-moon" where after the wedding, we would stay a few nights in Sonoma, could rest and enjoy our first days of marriage. This ended up being the best decision - we ordered room service, got a couple's massage, went on a private wine tasting and ate some fabulous meals. We also had the benefit of waiting until after the craziness of wedding planning to plan honeymoon details - we had booked the hotel and flights in advance, but waited to book dinners and excursions until afterwards. This also gave us something else to look forward to after the post-wedding blues (this is a real thing) started to sink in.
It was the best weekend of our lives - we felt so incredibly loved and celebrated by our friends, family and those celebrating with us from afar. As Garner said after the wedding, "now starts the happily ever after part."
Photography credit - Meredith Lynne