While Jen and her fiance, Joe had made the great city of Chicago their home, this bride-to-be had her heart set on exchanging vows in the romantic, sun-kissed vineyards of West Coast wine country.
"I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, about an hour from Napa Valley. When Joe and I started dating, we went to California together to visit my hometown and explore nearby vineyards; a trip that will always hold a special place in our hearts. After we got engaged and began brainstorming where to get married, the Napa Valley immediately rose to the top of the list," says Jen. As the couple researched wine region wedding venues, they fell in love with the Vintage Estate in Yountville, a 23-acre luxury destination with lush gardens and a grand outdoor pavillion. For the couple's rehearsal dinner, guests dined in the enchanting setting of Merryvale Vineyard's historic cask room. With the help of Joe's sister, Lauren of LK Events, the day was flawlessly planned and carried all the warmth and charm of an elegant, french country wedding.
More on the Bride's Story:
Joe and Jen met attending school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. "Before transferring there my sophomore year, I had made a trip out to visit my best friend. She happened to live across the street from Joe and his roommates," says Jen. That first night in Boulder, she and her girlfriend went to a party he was having at his house. It was the beginning of what would become a long friendship. "We were friends for a couple years before we began dating, senior year of college," explains Jen. After college, Joe and Jen dated long distance for a year before Jen moved to be with Joe in Chicago, where the couple is still living today.
Their proposal was one of quintessential summertime romance. The setting was at Joe's family lake house in Spring Lake, Michigan where the couple spent a lot of summer weeks. A beautiful place filled with sweet memories, Joe's sister and her husband had chosen to marry there two years prior. "Joe and I had gone up over Labor Day Weekend for one last time before summer came to a close. At the end of each day, we loved going down to the dock to have cocktails, listen to music and chat about the day. One evening, right before sunset, Joe got down on one knee and proposed," says Jen.
What was most special about Jen's wedding day? "I had always secretly hoped we'd get married back in my home state of California, so that in itself was very special. We did our first look and bridal party photos at our families' favorite winery, Quintessa - the first winery we went to together several years before," Jen tells us. "It was also very special in that this wedding was truly a family affair," she continues to say. Joe's sister, Lauren from LK Events, helped with the entire planning process and his eldest sister, Jenny and her band"Deja Vu," sang at the ceremony and reception.
Wedding venue: The Vintage Estate, Yountville, CA / Wedding gown: Monique L'Huillier / Bridesmaids gowns: J.Crew / Wedding shoes: Christian Louboutin / Wedding planner: Lauren Kneupfer Rozum of LK Events / Floral and event design: Sharla Flock Designs / Invitations: Kara Underwood Gordon of Magnificent Milestones / Cake (Dessert Bar): Sift Cupcakes / Wedding Photography: Kristina Carter and Aaron Brouwer of Vrai Photography / Videographer: I Do Weddings / Linens: La Tavola and Classic Party Rentals / Caterer: The Vintage Estate / Entertainment: Alec Fuhrman (guitarist for cocktails), Deja Vu (ceremony/reception) / Make up/Hairstylist: Sherrie Long