The special moment happened on Valentines Day a year ago, when Chris took me out to beautiful Ragged Point, got down on one knee and with the crash of the waves below and the bright stars above, asked me to be his wife. A tearful Yes from me and we were on our way.
Chris and I wanted a fall wedding so that meant that we either got married in a quick eight months or waited for a year and eight months. We both opted for a long engagement, partly because we were in no rush and mostly so that we could begin planning and saving. Because wed heard that marriage sites are booked far ahead, our first step was to find a venue.
We had both been to some pretty unexciting weddings recently with no dancing and assigned seating, so we knew that we wanted our celebration to be a big, relaxed party. Chris is originally from Southern California and my family is from the Bay Area, so we decided to have a local wedding where our two families could meet in the middle.
Our quest for the perfect venue started in Paso Robles wine country. Equipped with a list of wineries that allow ceremonies, we started the oh-so-arduous task of visiting (and wine tasting) at the different vineyards. I know, a tough job We visited Eberle, Vina Robles, Meridian, Bianchi and then struck gold with a small winery on Creston Road, Still Waters Vineyards. Because its beautiful, lush and intimate, we knew immediately that this was the place for us. Plus, aft er talking to the coordinator, we discovered it was less expensive than the other wineries we researched. Bonus!
The next step of our journey took us to the Central Coast Bridal Fair at the Madonna Inn. After a little arm-twisting on my part, Chris agreed to go, and it was definitely worth our time. We met with vendors and were happily overwhelmed by all of the excitement that comes with getting married. Chris made it his personal mission to try every food vendor at the fair, so I promptly put him in charge of finding us a caterer. Through bites of cake and little tartlets, he agreed. We also were able to make an appointment to look at invitations. At the end of the day, we went home stuff ed full of food and information.
Finding a photographer was next on the list. I started with some friends recommendations and promptly discovered that photography can be very expensive. Chris and I interviewed six photographers before finding the one. Our number one choice was already booked for our date, number two and number three were not our style at all, number four was amazing but way out of our price range, and number five agreed to shoot our wedding and then realized that she was already booked for that date. Then fortune landed photographer number six, Lindsey Hahn, in our laps. It was well worth the wait to find someone who fi t our budget and matched our wedding vision. Finding a photographer has so far been the most difficult step so I recommend starting early.
A little time passed and Chris and I found it was time for our invitation appointment. Th e appointment involved flipping through book after book of invitations in a relaxing setting. Chris definitely started to get a glazed-over look after a while, however. Ultimately, we decided that this particular store was a little too formal for our tastes and wed look elsewhere.
Chris held true to his word and worked on finding us a caterer. We have decided to go with Alexs Bar-B-Q of Shell Beach -- tri-tip, beans, garlic bread, mashed potatoes and barbecued chicken; its shaping up to be a great meal. Alexs Bar-B-Q invited us to sample lunch on them, and we were able to look at the catering menu and ask any questions we might have. We learned there are extra fees besides the per person plate charge the cost of clean up, plate and silverware rental, food servers and even chair movers.
With seven months left before our wedding, Chris and I still have a lot of small details to work out. Finalizing the guest list, finding a florist, planning the rehearsal dinner and learning to speak Greek for our two-week honeymoon in Greece are just some of the items left in our wedding plan. But so far, our wedding day is shaping up to be great.