From the bride:
Chris and I knew we wanted to have a destination wedding. We researched multiple locations in the US & Canada and finally settled on Napa Valley. Since Chris and I are Catholic, we knew we needed to be married in a location with a church and so I started my search for specific venues based on the Catholic Churches in the area. St. Helena Catholic Church stood out to me because of it's beautiful stone construction and small, intimate size and so that's how we settled on a St. Helena wedding. It didn't hurt matters that this is where my favorite wines come from! Once we had all of this nailed down and picked our wedding date, I started looking for themes and colors that I thought would suit the atmosphere really well. This is when I decided to go with a romantic, elegant look of blush pinks, neutrals and white (with bits of grey for the men!). As a redhead, I've never really worn or loved blush pink, so it came as a huge surprise to my bridal party and family that I chose to go with that as our color scheme. But I'm glad I did! All of my inspiration for theme and color came based on the old, stone buildings we used for venues and from the season in the region. It was very warm and summery, and so I wanted a look that reflected that. Flowing fabrics for the bridesmaids and romantic colors to set the tone for the day.
Chris and I weren't exactly "young" when we got married. We were both in our "early-mid" 30's at the time of our wedding and so we feel that the extra few years of being unmarried has really prepared us for our lives together. Additionally, we chose not to live together prior to our wedding, which I think helped us keep a certain amount of "mystery" and "newness" to our relationship. Chris and I thoroughly enjoy each other's company and find that we always have some sort of funny story to laugh about when we're having a drink or out for date night. There is nothing routine about our relationship!
This is a funny story. Chris and Kristi used to work together. It was a large company (over 1,000 people in head office) and they were in different departments on different floors - but their jobs had irregular interactions. In Kristi's position, there were actually two people to do the job - however Kristi's job-sharing partner, was unfortunately on stress leave at the time of one particular unfortunate interaction with Chris. Kristi was incredibly busy and didn't have time for, what she perceived as, unimportant queries. Chris sent her some work that she didn't respond to immediately. Or at all, actually! But, as she has learned in her career, what is unimportant to one person can be extremely important to the other. Which it was. When Chris's boss asked him why this particular task was not completed, he responded by saying that he had forwarded the work on to Kristi to be reviewed, however he had not received response yet. Since Chris's boss was close with Kristi's boss, the two bosses spoke and Kristi was in an UNBELIEVABLE amount of trouble. Kristi vowed to hate "that Chris guy" forever. From that day on, whenever any work was requested by Chris, she addressed it immediately and sent him a professional, yet curt (maybe slightly snarky) response back. Fast forward a year or so when Kristi's best friend (and Maid of Honor) Liz started to attend Thai Boxing fights (Chris was very into Thai Boxing and even competed!) with a friend of hers. She met Chris and thought he was ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS. Which he is. She relayed this information to Kristi the following week at work (Kristi & Liz at this point were doing the same job). Liz told Kristi that she HAD TO give this guy a chance because he was so funny. So the next time that Kristi received a query from Chris, she decided to harness her inner cranky-pants and open the lines of communication. You could say the rest is history. Liz was right, Chris was hilarious, but more than that he was kind and considerate - taking time out of his day to go looking for Kristi's favorite seasonal ice cream (candy cane!), even though it was discontinued and impossible to find. Time and time again Chris showed Kristi how thoughtful and caring he was, and they turned out to be a perfect match for each other. Getting married just seemed like the smart thing to do because they both felt complete with each other.
The wedding day was a complete blur for both of us. The whole thing was beautiful and crazy, but I think the best part, in both of our minds, was mid-way through the reception. We had barely seen each other, aside from the official moments of the reception. Dinner, cake, toasts, dances, etc. One of Chris's favorite things in life, is ice cream. So I added an ice cream bar to the menu at the last minute. When we found that we had an extra 5 minutes, we ran to the ice cream bar and grabbed ourselves a little treat, and then we went and hid behind the draping at the head table, away from the guests, to sit and eat our ice cream together. We took a few minutes to breathe and enjoy that moment of our day together and we marveled at how fast it had gone, but how great it had all been. Both of us still talk about that little break to this day.
My advice to brides is this: I find that far too many brides are too worried about their guests on their wedding day. How much time should I have between the ceremony and reception? How long should my dances be? How many speeches should there be? Etc... This is YOUR wedding day! It's all about you and your groom today! If you have a song that you love that is 4.5 minutes long, dance away! Don't forego your favorite song because you think it's too long. Don't cut your speeches short because you fear your guests will be bored. This is a party for the bride and groom, not your guests. Do what you want! Enjoy it!! In between the reception and the ceremony? Your guests will find something to do if there's a couple of hours! If you don't want to do a first look, take all the time you need in between for photos! These pictures will last forever! Don't give in to the pressure that you read on wedding boards, etc. We did everything that we wanted to do, and don't regret a minute of it! You don't want to look back on your wedding day with a pile of "I wish..." statements. Instead, shoot for the "I'm glad..." statements!
Venue: Culinary Institute of America, Greystone