A Napa Valley Destination WeddingWords by Brianna Williams
Photos courtesy of Jillian Rose Photography
Caitlin and Patrick quickly jumped at the opportunity to have a Napa Valley destination wedding when Caitlin’s aunt and uncle offered up their property as a venue. Though the happy couple had found the perfect destination, Napa and Santa Rosa fires spread just months before their big day, ultimately putting everything on hold.
“We were more concerned about our family and their friends losing their homes than losing our wedding destination,” says the bride. “The fire missed my aunt and uncle’s property by less than a half a mile.”
Caitlin says not everyone was as lucky. Her aunt and uncle offered a family that lost their home the property next to the lake where Caitlin and Patrick were originally set to wed. Instead, the couple's family offered the main house as a new wedding location. “We, of course, were beyond grateful and so happy they had the ability to make someone who had just been through the worst experience of their life, feel like they still had a place to call home.”
Once the fires cleared and the wedding was back on, the couple, with the help of their wedding planner, was able to plan the wedding of their dreams for them and their guests. “Many of our guests were excited to turn the weekend into a mini-vacation and indulge in some wine tasting and sightseeing excursions,” says the couple.
“Thanks to my amazing wedding planner, Jennifer Stone of La Grande Fete, planning a destination wedding was more-or-less a piece of cake,” says Caitlin. The couple’s wedding planner also referred them to vendors for catering, floral and desserts which, in turn, made coordinating with the vendors from afar an easy task.
The bride decided to rally the troops to create DIY invites, welcome bags and wedding signs for the big day. “I worked with my good friend and uber creative designer, Rosie Eckerman, on the invites,” says Caitlin. “My mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws put together the welcome bags.”
Since the couple married at their family’s estate, they saved a lot of money that they would have otherwise put towards a different venue. “If we had held the wedding in Santa Cruz, we may have been able to invite more people,” says the bride. “I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way, because having less than 120 people made it intimate and that’s exactly what we wanted.”
The bride advises other couples planning a destination wedding to hire a videographer. “I totally regret not hiring someone to take a video of the wedding because it’s such a blur of a day, it would be nice to go back and watch the ceremony, speeches and dancing,” says Caitlin. “Also, make sure you take time to be present with each other. It’s so easy to get caught up and talk to every guest and thank every person who came, but make sure to check in and see how each other are doing. It’s going to be the best day ever!”
Vendors: Photographer: Jillian Rose Photography, Wedding Planner: La Grande Fete, Ceremony/Reception Site: Tournesol Estate, Florist: Miss Dee Designs by Lacy McDaniel, Stationery: Rosie Eckerman, Cake: Wine Country Confections & Catering, Hair & Makeup: Salon Eleven, Gown Designer: Made with Love from Love and Lace Bridal Salon, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Brooks Brothers, Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus, Catering: Park Ave Catering, Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen, Rentals: Bright Event Rentals.
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