When Caroline and Donnie set out to plan their July 5th, 2014 wedding, they knew what their priority would be: "We wanted to make sure our guests had as much fun as possible, and felt like they were part of the family," she says. And it's no surprise, given that Donnie proposed surrounded by Caroline's extended family just a few hours after landing in Poland for a visit — he even asked her to marry him in Polish!
The wine-loving duo, who met at UCLA, chose Bianchi Winery in Paso Robles, California as the venue. "I love the small-town feel, and the fact that the family-run operation feels like home," Caroline explains. The bride and groom rented the vineyard house for the weekend, waking up among the vines and getting ready for an intimate bash with just 91 guests. They hired Laura Robertson from Touch of Style Events to create the carefree atmosphere, and Lindsey Gomes to photograph every special moment. Keep reading to see how it came together!
Caroline's dress-shopping experience wasn't easy, but once she found her crystal and lace Martina Liana gown, she just knew. "My mom and I disagreed on over 50 dresses, but once I put this one on, I knew I had to make a case for it. Don't be afraid to wait for the right dress!" she says.
A full bouquet of roses, orchids, and Casablanca lilies rounded out Caroline's bridal look.
Donnie wore a slate gray suit, but skipped the boutonniere. "One of his only requests was to not have to wear any flowers," Caroline laughs.
Bridesmaids wore knee-length dark purple chiffon dresses. "We went shopping together, and I let them pick a style they all liked. It was important to me that they find something they feel good in," says the bride. Groomsmen wore dark gray suits to match the groom.
The ceremony took place beneath an arch of Casablanca lilies and greenery in front of the winery's redwood pagoda.
Caroline and Donnie wrote their own vows, but ended up using traditional ones during the ceremony. "I couldn't get through my vows without crying, so the week before the wedding, we hiked to the top of El Moro Canyon and read our vows to each other there," she says.
The couple's best friend (and Donnie's college roommate) was ordained and performed the ceremony. "He has been there from the very beginning of our relationship, and did a great job telling our story," says Caroline.
Dinner tables were arranged on the patio outside of the winery's tasting room. Wooden boxes overflowed with purple hydrangeas, and wine bottles were used as table numbers.
Stairs led from the patio down to a lakeside dock that served as the dance floor. Donnie and Caroline danced to "Wait and See" by Iration before her father and his mother joined them to groove to "In My Life" by the Beatles.
Guests flooded the dance floor all evening long, only pausing to indulge in spiked strawberry margarita and chocolate-raspberry-vodka cupcakes. The best man had a surprise for the newlyweds, performing his speech as a song and dance!
After a two year engagement, Caroline and Donnie headed to St. Lucia for their honeymoon. "Taking our time to plan the wedding was the best decision we made," says Caroline. "It gave us time to really enjoy the process."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Bianchi Winery & Tasting Room || Wedding Planner: Touch of Style Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Martina Liana || Hair & Makeup: The Queen's Bees || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Wedding Bands: Robbins Brothers || Florist: Adornments Flowers || Music: Bailey Entertainment || Catering: Chef's Table Catering || Cake: Bello Mundo Cafe || Rentals: All About Events || Photography: Lindsey Gomes Photography
Did you love this winery wedding? Then check out another couple wed with a vineyard as their backdrop in the video below