From Carly… Jason proposed to me in Sonoma wine country at one of our favorite wineries which set the stage for our wedding to be held at a California winery as well. We decided on Sanford Winery located in Lompoc, California just north of Santa Barbara. We decided on Sanford since it seemed to best match the overall vision of our wedding which was: laid back, modern but rustic (if there is such a thing), food and wine focused.
One of the unique aspects that made our wedding special for us was having my brother marry us who signed up online to become an ordained minster to do so. We also decided to keep the ceremony extremely short (under 5 minutes!) which seemed popular amongst the guests. We decided to go green on both the “save the dates” and actual wedding invitations by using Paperless Post. During cocktail hour we held a whiskey, wine and chocolate tasting for our guests and we also did away with a traditional wedding cake and decided to do a chocolate dessert bar instead since my family runs a chocolate company that has been in our family for 75 years. I designed my own wedding dress from scratch with help from the amazing designer Shin Bu in Koreatown, Los Angeles. I was able to sell the dress back to him after the wedding that helped save some money. I went with 5 inch heels (why!) during the ceremony but then switched over to my black Frye cowboy boots for the rest of the night which were much more comfortable and great for dancing!
Given Sanford’s natural beauty and backdrop of gorgeous vineyards, there wasn’t a lot of additional décor that was needed. I was able to do all of it on my own using ideas I found by researching other weddings I made chalkboard signs and menus for the bars, chocolate, guest book, etc. We saved pickle and olive jars for months and filled some with moss and Christmas lights, some with electric candles and others got tweed around the rims and were hung on the ceremony chairs after we placed flowers inside of them. We were able to spend under $100 on the flowers for the wedding and let the vineyard beauty do the rest of the work!
My favorite moment of the day has to be the sunset toast made by my father. It was a little unconventional to have a toast after the ceremony during cocktail hour by the father of the bride, but we knew we couldn’t let the beautiful sunset over the rolling hills of the vineyard go to waste. It was one of the most memorable moments of the day… Well that and the dancing, of course! We also did a first look photo since we didn’t have any concerns seeing each other before the ceremony. We were so glad we did after receiving our photos as the shots came out great!
Our advice to future bride and grooms would be to not spend money on small things that no one will notice. Focus on what’s important to you; for us it was good food and wine and a beautiful setting that needed little else!