From "Yes" to "I Do"

The special moment happened onValentine’s Day a year ago, when Chris took me out to beautifulRagged Point, got down on one knee and with the crash of the wavesbelow 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 orwaited for a year and eight months. Weboth opted for a long engagement, partlybecause we were in no rush and mostly sothat we could begin planning and saving.Because we’d heard that marriage sitesare booked far ahead, our first step was tofind a venue.

We had both been to some prettyunexciting weddings recently with nodancing and assigned seating, so we knewthat we wanted our celebration to be abig, relaxed party. Chris is originally fromSouthern California and my family is fromthe Bay Area, so we decided to have a localwedding where our two families couldmeet in the middle.

Our quest for the perfect venue startedin Paso Robles wine country.Equipped with a list of wineries thatallow ceremonies, we started the oh-so-arduoustask of visiting (and wine tasting)at the different vineyards. I know, a toughjob… We visited Eberle, Vina Robles,Meridian, Bianchi and then struck goldwith a small winery on Creston Road, StillWaters Vineyards. Because it’s beautiful,lush and intimate, we knew immediatelythat this was the place for us. Plus, aft ertalking to the coordinator, we discoveredit was less expensive than the other winerieswe researched. Bonus!

The next step of our journey took usto the Central Coast Bridal Fair at theMadonna Inn. After a little arm-twistingon my part, Chris agreed to go, and it wasdefinitely worth our time. We met withvendors and were happily overwhelmed byall of the excitement that comes with gettingmarried. Chris made it his personalmission to try every food vendor at thefair, so I promptly put him in charge offinding us a caterer. Through bites of cakeand little tartlets, he agreed. We also wereable to make an appointment to look atinvitations. At the end of the day, we wenthome stuff ed full of food and information.

Finding a photographer was next onthe list. I started with some friends’ recommendationsand promptly discoveredthat photography can be very expensive.Chris and I interviewed six photographersbefore finding the one. Our number onechoice was already booked for our date,number two and number three were notour style at all, number four was amazingbut way out of our price range, and numberfive agreed to shoot our wedding andthen realized that she was already bookedfor that date. Then fortune landed photographernumber six, Lindsey Hahn, inour laps. It was well worth the wait to findsomeone who fi t our budget and matchedour wedding vision. Finding a photographerhas so far been the most difficult stepso I recommend starting early.

A little time passed and Chris andI found it was time for our invitationappointment. Th e appointment involvedflipping through book after book of invitationsin a relaxing setting. Chris definitelystarted to get a glazed-over look after awhile, however. Ultimately, we decidedthat this particular store was a little tooformal for our tastes and we’d look elsewhere.

Chris held true to his word and workedon finding us a caterer. We have decided togo with Alex’s Bar-B-Q of Shell Beach -- tri-tip,beans, garlic bread, mashed potatoesand barbecued chicken; it’s shaping up tobe a great meal. Alex’s Bar-B-Q invited usto sample lunch on them, and we were ableto look at the catering menu and ask anyquestions we might have. We learned thereare extra fees besides the per person platecharge – the cost of clean up, plate andsilverware rental, food servers and evenchair movers.

With seven months left before ourwedding, Chris and I still have a lot ofsmall details to work out. Finalizing theguest list, finding a florist, planning therehearsal dinner and learning to speakGreek for our two-week honeymoonin Greece are just some of the itemsleft in our wedding plan. But so far,our wedding day is shaping up to begreat.