Thursday, January 14, 2016

Our Wedding: The Venue

After returning from Thailand and relishing in being engaged, we took time to really think about what we wanted our wedding to mean to us. We bounced around nearly every idea from having a 300+ person wedding in our hometown to getting eloped in our backyard {ok, that was my idea and it only lasted about thirty seconds}, but we ended up deciding that an intimate destination wedding was exactly what we wanted. After attending over forty weddings together we definitely knew we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us as a couple and to be an opportunity for us to spend time with our closest friends and family. But the problem with having a destination wedding is the options are virtually endless.

We talked about Charleston, about Napa, about Colorado, Michigan, Hawaii, Virginia, New York, Paris, Tuscany. We quickly decided we wanted to keep it within the continental United States to keep costs from skyrocketing for our guests. Napa seemed like the perfect option, however after flying out and touring a dozen venues nothing felt quite right.

Throughout the whole process one venue stuck out in my mind - HammerSky Vineyards. I first saw a photo of it's gorgeous white barn years ago on Pinterest, at the time not knowing what it was, and proceeded to pin it {several times} to my dream wedding board. While researching I stumbled across the barn and instantly remembered how crazy about it I was, but looking at weddings that had taken place there I came to the immediate conclusion that HammerSky would most certainly be way out of our budget.

Just days before signing a contract with another venue, I decided to look into HammerSky once more and was surprised to find out that while the venue fee was more than we had budgeted, the vendors in Central California's Wine Country were much less expensive than in the Sonoma and Napa area - ultimately meaning a wedding there would actually be cheaper for us than we had initially planned!  Both Ryan and I felt so strongly about having our wedding there that we booked it sight unseen, without having even been to the Paso Robles area {which for a Type A person like myself was a huge leap of faith!}

In September we planned a five day trip out to Paso to explore the area, meet with vendors, and most importantly - tour HammerSky. The second we stepped foot onto the stunning property and took in the 110-year-old restored farm house, rolling vineyards, ancient Oak trees, and the most gorgeous white barn we had ever laid eyes on, we knew we had made the right decision. It just felt SO us!

There are aspects of planning a destination wedding that are definitely a bit more challenging than planning a local one - for example, I won't be able to have my hair and makeup trial until four days before the big day. However, the fact that we are able to have our wedding at the venue of our dreams paired with the fact we will be spending five days before the wedding with our best friends and closest family means the world to us.

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