How did COVID affect your wedding?
Where to begin?! Our wedding was originally planned to be in New Zealand with a honeymoon in Fiji. I have lots of family in New Zealand and we were so excited about the idea of having all of our loved ones on an excursion somewhere so special to us. With border restrictions we had to cancel that but were determined to keep our date, if possible. We signed with a beautiful venue in Napa and a few more months in that was cancelled due to students using the facility which made COVID restrictions tighter. At this point we just wanted to get married! We used a private home for our final wedding plan and reduced our guest list to 30 people and kept all activity outdoors to make it very safe for those that were able to attend. We ended up putting together the whole wedding in less than two months and since it was no longer all inclusive style venue, we had to find almost all new vendors! The whole process was an emotional and wild whirlwind but at the end of the day it turned out to be absolutely perfect! I know so many people went through changes this year, and there are much bigger things going on in the world so I really don’t mean any of our story as a complaint, it just threw a lot of unexpectedness our way in the planning realm. We were so lucky we were still able to get married and feel genuinely happy with our day!
We opted out of a formal dinner to keep things safer and ended up doing multiple rounds of tapas through the night building from lightest to heaviest. This kept the cocktail portion of the wedding going much longer than standard and we loved that! We got to get great photos taken and then fully enjoy the cocktail portion of the evening. We then served late night pizza and truffle fries from a fabulous pizza place in St. Helena that our caterers picked up earlier in the day and cooked once everyone was full of drinks and ready for a late night bite! Skipping the formal dinner but still having everyone fed really well was not something I would have done if it weren’t for COIVD, but it actually made the evening perfect and more fluid!
How did planning go?
I love planning events, there were lots of good times…but planning and then having to cancel or completely pivot due to the pandemic was challenging. I felt defeated a lot as I was nervous to put any more energy into something that might once again have to change. I was completely understanding all along and the safety of everyone involved was of course the biggest priority; however it really did take something that I was so excited for and put a little bit of a damper on it. Worst moment was telling our guests, some of which had already paid for trips to New Zealand, that it was out of the question to move forward and that we would need to reduce our guest list going forward. Everyone was so understanding, and knew it was coming, but knowing we wouldn’t be able to include everyone that is dear to us or that people were going to have to deal with travel reimbursements was awful! My favorite moment was seeing everything come together the day of. To know that it was basically the third wedding I planned (which I did all myself and with my mom’s help) and to see it still come out as a day I could consider my dream day down to every detail was such a great feeling. All the changes seemed to be for a reason on that day, we were so happy and loved having a small intimate event!
While planing was there anything you knew you wanted? Any expectations?
My biggest focus on planning was making sure that wherever we were and whatever may get photographed was timeless and a vibe we would love. We were told time and time again, besides being together and the memories, the photos are the one thing that last forever, so I wanted to make sure that everything would come together to provide the best photos possible! Other than that I wanted to stay true to us and make sure our guests would also have a great experience. We were so happy with how it all came together! Oh, and a Champagne wall! Which we did get and LOVED!
Did you have any cultural aspects to your celebration?
This isn’t necessarily cultural, but we moved to France after our wedding, which was planned! So since the wedding was supposed to be in New Zealand, ended up in Napa and we moved to France, I did the wine portion of the open bar as a past, present and future serving New Zealand wines, Napa wines and French roses and Champagne. It was such a fun way to honor the many stages of planning and what our future would hold.
Any memorable moments?
My dad and I have the best relationship, which I am so grateful for. My florist suggested we do a private father daughter reveal before walking down the aisle where he had his back to me and held my bouquet up (which I had not yet seen) and I walk to him so he could see my fully dressed and ready to go. It was so emotional and such a great memory!