Traveling is my hobby, a bit of my job, and my personal time – I live for it. I do a lot of traveling for work, but every once in a while I have a destination wedding to attend for someone I love. This California wine country wedding was one of those moments. Feeling oh so privileged to be the maid of honor for my cousin Jen, one of the people I love the most; I joined her and her wonderful husband JR in a genuinely unforgettable experience and elopement.The couple opted to keep the guest count very small, just fourteen people. This allowed for a placement of quality over quantity in the full-on experience of the special occasion. As guests, we were pampered, pampered, pampered. Not to mention, more personal time with the bride and groom, which of course I loved. This is the true beauty of a destination wedding in my book.
The wedding took place on a Friday, which allowed for the group to join in another day of festivities – wine tasting and restaurant hopping on Saturday. Then guests were able to jet out of town on Sunday and all felt like we had a true getaway during the wedding.
Calistoga Ranch was the destination for the “I do’s” – a luxury resort with lodge like cabins nestled in the hillside of a Napa Valley canyon. The ceremony site was at the top of the property, a beautiful lawn overlooking the valley. A friend officiated the ceremony, having been ordained by “the world wide web” as he said during the nuptials. JR’s daughter Katie and I were the only bridesmaids (wearing Kirstie Kelly) while his son acted as best man.
Jen’s gown, a custom made dress by Kirstie Kelly laid flawlessly on her. But the perfect finishing touch came just before her walked down the aisle when, a local seamstress, Heidi Johnson of De Tailor sewed Jen’s sister’s name, Erica, into the inner seam of her dress. Erica passed away many years ago, but it was important to Jen to walk down the aisle with her sister by her side and Heidi made it sew. Such a sweet, heartfelt gesture and gift! Jen looked stunning with hair and makeup by It’s a Date Hair and Makeup.Dinner took place on the restaurant terrace. Food and wine being a favorite of the couple, they made sure guests dined on a several course meal, complete with a wine pairing at each course and the sommelier sharing insights with every new glass.Jen and JR collect wine so it was only fitting that the guest book be a 3L bottle for family to autograph. The floral arrangements made by Fleurs de France garnished the tables beautifully. But perhaps the biggest hit was dessert – individual wedding cakes by Perfect Endings that were given to each guest at the end of the meal. So sweet (pun intended)!I adore weddings, especially weddings for people that I adore! I am so fortunate to have been a part of this night and weekend. It will forever stand out as a favorite moment in my life. Congratulations to two deserving people so in love!
Destination Wedding Photographer: Photography by Joshua Bobrove.