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Destination I Do

Destination Wedding Sonoma

Words by Kelly Ryan
Photos courtesy of Caroline Tran

Las Vegas is usually a city of gambling, partying and a chance to justify carelessness, but for one couple, this city of sin is where they found love. Having met through a mutual friend, Thuy and Harvey had a natural spark which ignited after the couple left the “gambling capital of the world,” proving what happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.

Fast-forward seven years later to a much more serene setting of Sonoma wine country. Thuy and Harvey’s destination wedding was held at Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California. The ambience consisted of acres upon acres of vineyards, trees and open pastures littered with cows grazing – all of which could be easily confused as a picture perfect postcard.

“I always knew I wanted to have our wedding in wine country, but I never communicated it to Harvey,” Thuy says. “After we became engaged I asked him where he wanted to get married and he said the words I wanted to hear…[wine country].” The destination was set.

One obstacle the couple needed to work around was their family and friends’ busy schedules which was part of their reasoning for a destination wedding. Being able to create a vacation-type wedding would enable all of their loved ones to congregate, relax and spend quality time together all in one place, Thuy says. The guests were thrilled to be out in wine country to celebrate the couple’s love and to get a reprieve from everyday stresses.

The couple kept the planning process simple and stress-free by using websites and magazines, but Thuy says the real lifesaver was hiring a wedding planner who led them through the wedding agenda step-by-step. With only their cherished ones present, the guest list topped out at 103 people and the couple was able to spend quality time with everyone on the biggest day of their lives.

Thuy gracefully sauntered down the aisle to Pachebel’s "Canon" as her Sonoma postcard glowed behind her soon-to-be husband.  “We were both right there, in the moment and feeling every bit of it,” she says. “When it came time to read our vows to one another, we were overcome with emotions…everything about the moment was so pure.”

The reception followed shortly after the ceremony. With weather close to perfection, dinner was held outside and come sunset, the couple danced to Chantal Kreviazuk’s “Feels Like Home” and soon the chance to let loose, be merry and dance the night away was on everyone’s mind. “As we dined and danced under the stars and twinkling lights, I really knew we were all in the moment and celebrating love and togetherness. It was a moment to remember,” Thuy reminisces.

When it comes to planning a destination wedding, Thuy has one piece of advice. “Nothing really matters but the love you have for one another and for the friends and family who are all there to celebrate with you,” she advises. “Enjoy it, soak it in, be 100 percent present and you will have the time of your lives.”

Photographer: Caroline Tran, Wedding Planner: Patty Lee from 8events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Beltane Ranch, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Florist: Flower Divas, Groom's Attire: suit from Hugo Boss, shoes from Prada, tie from Armani, Bridesmaids' Attire: Priscilla of Boston, Makeup Artist: Taylor Pham of Mimi & Taylor Salon, Invitations: Paper Chez, Cake: Fleur de Lisa Wedding Cakes, Caterer: Alex’s Catering, Rentals: Milk Glass Vintage RentalsWine Country Party
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