We love a perfectly pretty winery soiree, don’t you? Photographed by Vivian Chen Photography, Ashley and Bryan’s destination wedding at Calistoga Ranch was elegant, intimate and meaningful, everything this lovely couple wanted their special day to be.
Even though they live in Austin, Texas, Ashley and Bryan love spending vacations in California wine country. So it was a natural choice to invite forty of their closest family and friends to celebrate with them in Calistoga. Ashley, the event planner behind Southern Social Events + Experiences, pulled out all the stops when it came to the look and feel of her wedding.
Photographer: Vivian Chen Photography // Event Planner: Southern Social Events Experiences // Makeup Artist: Bella Bridal Napa Valley // Floral Designer: Bella Vita Event Productions // Reception Venue: Calistoga Ranch // Linens and Coverings: Classic Party Rentals // Dress Designer: Demetrios//Invitation Designer: Mia Carameros // Cake Designer: Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar // Invitation Designer: The Left Handed Calligrapher // Submitted via Two Bright Lights
From the bride:
When Bryan and I started venue shopping, we took note of a venue as a whole – ambiance, food and staff. With those three elements we could host a stellar event. The moment we stepped on the Lommel Lawn at Calistoga Ranch we knew our search was over. Calistoga Ranch is nestled amongst an expansive valley of lush trees and landscape hidden from the world. The venue encompassed everything we love about Napa Valley, and we truly felt right at home. As we started to compile a list of 250 guests, we quickly diverted our plans. We wanted to enjoy our guests – every single one of them! With a list of VIP guests, we decided to plan a destination wedding for 40. From cocktail hour to a four-course plated dinner, we wanted to ensure our guests felt the love – especially because every single guest traveled thousands of miles to be apart of our wedding! We loved spending time with our friends and family poolside during cocktail hour. We were able to hug and chat with all 40 of our guests!
Connecting with our guests was truly the best part of our day. Bryan and I wanted someone close to us to marry us! In the beginning, we joked about my Dad becoming ordained. After a few weeks of joking, we realized it was fantastic idea. My Dad made the ceremony feel personal and intimate by telling stories about us. In addition to my Dad’s special part of our ceremony, our Moms read readings of encouragement and blessings for our marriage. Because my Dad was tied up marrying us, I asked my best friend from grade school to walk me down the aisle. Incorporating our friends and family, made every moment feel comfortable. As a wedding planner, there are always surprises! Thankfully, we did not experience any major logistical surprises. Although, I was surprised with a paper airplane letter from Bryan during our first look – such a precious moment to embrace the words of my sweet husband. The best advice I received was to “let it go”! As a planner, I knew I could not be involved in the day-of setup to ensure I did “let it go”. I wanted to relish in every moment and emotion, and I did! In the moment, the wrong colored napkin wasn’t important, I was getting married! The advice I have for other couples is to cherish every single second, and don’t sweat the small stuff! When it’s go time, most things cannot be changed. Enjoy the planning, let friends and family help, and hire an experienced wedding planner! Don’t lift a finger on your wedding day. Enjoying the moment means sitting back and being present in the priceless moments with family and friends.
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