JB Wedding Photography | Napa Wedding | Napa Fires | Napa Fire Wedding | Bay Area Wedding | California Wildfire

The Couple: Ari & Tom

Wedding Date: October 9, 2017

Photography by JB Wedding Photography

Tell us a little about you and your beloved: We met in Las Vegas through a mutual friend. We shared the same nerdy hobbies and hit it off right away. After 6 months of friendship we began dating.

The proposal happened at home after a day of yard sales and Tom cooking dinner. The engagement ring uses a stone that Tom’s grandmother lost in a sock drawer for 20 years and then found after she replaced it.

We knew we wanted a smaller wedding with a classic/timeless theme. We decided to make all the decorations ourselves (and actually started over 12 months before the wedding). We had everything from Mason jar candles to a DIY photo booth, dinner menu labels glued on wine bottles to name holders made of wine corks. Planning the wedding out of town made it a little more stressful, but was worth it for the venue.

What was the most amazing part of your day? The most amazing part about our wedding is that we got to have it all. Remember when there was an awful fire spreading through Napa? Yup, that was our wedding day. We stayed at a little B&B in Napa with most of our family and friends.

The night before the wedding we slept in different rooms and on the morning of the wedding I woke up super excited (I barely slept, of course) and the first thing I did is look at my phone it was 7:34 am and for some reason I had no signal. I thought it was unusual but nothing much about it, I put some music on and hopped in the shower already giggling and hoping it was later to go see my future husband while I was in the shower I got a phone call, I thought maybe a friend or someone to check on me but no, it was the wedding venue asking me to turn on the TV and watch the news. I did. The news said people were being evacuated, that the fires (that’s right…plural) were spreading all over Napa and to caution people to not go out because of the ash but to keep a bag packed in case they needed to leave in a hurry.

She said “It is quite possible we can’t have your wedding today but I will call you back after I talk to the fire department, in about one hour”. And I said “Ok, sounds good” in my most nonchalant voice. I hung up and thought “well I need to finish getting ready” got back in the shower and as I was standing there it kinda hit me….we are not having the wedding today. So I rushed out of the shower in a hurry, I of course fell down because why not, got the bed called my husband and.. no signal, remember? Tom and my father-in-law, John had gone to the venue to set up our photo-booth (we had a bunch of DIY projects including that) I couldn’t get to him at all. I tried a good five or six times before giving up and then I tried my father-in-law and got lucky, told him what he already knew that there were fires around Napa and that there was a chance we couldn’t have the wedding, he said he was on his way and then we could talk about it.

As soon as I hung up someone banging on the door, it was my sister-in-law, Mary in a very alarmed trying to be calm voice asking to come in I opened the door (still wet and in my pajamas that I put on in a hurry, inside out mind you) and I find my sister-in-law (Mary), my mother-in-law (Susan), my mom (Marcela), a couple of friends (Dawn and Mery) staying at the hotel all crammed in my door. And that’s when it really hit me, while my sister-in-law was holding me telling me everything was going to be fine I realized there would be no wedding that day.

Tom got to the B&B and said it wasn’t that bad, I told him I wasn’t sure if we would have food, cake, makeup, photography or a DJ and he said “Well it may be a little bad” 🙂 This right here is why I married him, even in the worst of situations he can still make me laugh.

My mother and sister-in-law along with my mom and well.. everyone else there immediately started planning a backup planning, she said she’d go to K-Mart and buy all the flowers they have, along with speakers that we’d connect to a laptop or something, without skipping a beat the best man (Jon) and a very good friend (Colin) started creating a music playlist – all the songs were related to fires, you have to admit that was pretty funny.

My makeup artist Sherrie Long, an extremely professional and extremely dedicated person calls me and says she got evacuated at 4 am but had enough time to grab her makeup and if I didn’t mind her wearing jeans she’d be on her way in 10 minutes… I could’ve kissed her right there.

The venue called again and said the fire department hadn’t shut them down yet so the wedding was back on but we had no DJ so she was going to use the next few hours to try to get us a DJ, well she did. His name was Joe and I wish I knew more about his business because he was a real trooper, got all the songs we asked for in less than hour AND he showed up to the venue.

Finally as I was getting ready, Justin from JB Wedding Photography comes in and he says “Oh I’ve been here since 7 a.m. looking for good places to take some pictures of you guys, I like to be early but my phone is broken so I couldn’t call”, he and his assistant Christine showed up knowing nothing of the fires and when we told them I half expected him to leave but instead he said, “Great, this is going to make for really cool pictures”. He was not wrong.

What else would you like to share about your big day? One of my favorite moments was when I saw Tom in my dress for the first time, he said, “The moment I turned around and saw you nothing else in the world mattered or even existed in that moment. It was just me being there with you. And it was perfect.” And he made me feel like that.

We did get evacuated around 6 or 7 pm. We basically grabbed everything we could and ran back to the B&B packed our bags and left for a hotel in Oakland.

As we were leaving we were able to see the fire coming down the hills towards Napa, when we showed up we could just see smoke but that was definitely fire at the end.

And we would not change a thing. The pictures came out fantastic, it brought us together even more, family and friends working together to get a wedding going that day. It was perfect even though it got cut short.

Ceremony and Reception Site; and Caterer: Fairview Napa

Officiant: Steve Siglin from Officially Yours (he was AMAZING) even with ash pouring down.

Photographer: JB Wedding Photography

Cake/Desserts: Sweetie Pies

Flowers: Garaventa

Favors: DIY. We made candles in little mason jars in the colors of our wedding.

Bridal Attire: Bow Ties Bridal

Bridesmaids’ Attire: It was also around the time Alfred Angelo declared bankrupcy, both of my bridesmaids had already bought their dresses and never got any money or dresses from them. I ended up getting them (I couldn’t have asked to spend more money on it) very very similar and cute dresses from David’s Bridal. It turned out even better this way.

Hair and Make-up: Sherrie Long

Invitations: WoodEnvyDotCom on Etsy. Envelops and the rest came from Paper and Home, Brooke Coxen is by far the best wedding invitation consultant ever.

DJ/Entertainment/Band: DJ Joe

Photo Booth: DIY

Honeymoon Location: Germany

First Dance Song: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” Haley Reinhart Cover

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Breathe in and out and I hope you have awesome friends and family like I did that will pull you through even if you need to get evacuated of your own wedding.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? Not really. I loved every single one of our decorations that Tom and I spent months and months making, I am grateful to everyone who came, they flew from Florida, Mexico, Indianapolis and Los Angeles and I can’t be thankful enough that they came to celebrate with us. The fires made the sky perfect for pictures and of course now we have an one of a kind story to tell about our wedding.

Photos courtesy of JB Wedding Photography.

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

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