From the beginning, Radley and I knew a few things for sure: we wanted to get married in Napa, we wanted our wedding to take place outside, and we hoped to find a place where people could stay and relax and make a vacation out of it. It sounds silly, but within seconds of driving up the long, beautiful Silverado Resort driveway, I knew we'd found our spot. It somehow managed to capture quaint, old-school charm while still feeling a bit glamorous, and it was incredible to have our family and friends staying there with us throughout the week. Honestly, it was everything we'd dreamed.
After a really special, once-in-a-lifetime sleepover with the girls, we woke up and headed to a nearby room to get ready — cans of Sofia champagne in hand (for them) and comfy pool dresses on!
I chose simple navy wedges for the big day, mostly because our ceremony took place in the grass and I really didn't want my accident-prone tendencies to leave me stuck as I walked down the aisle.
As everyone moved through the hair-and-makeup assembly line, we snacked, laughed, and relaxed. It was a bit cloudy that morning but the blue sky was starting to come through, and I remember feeling completely out of body. Everything felt so surreal, so heightened: the joy, the excitement, the butterflies. And time seemed to crawl... I was just so ready to see Radley!
One of the best decisions I could've possibly made? Flying out Michelle Forst, my hairstylist-turned-friend who lives in Chicago. She's absolutely incredible at what she does, and she brought the most genuine, uplifting energy to the day. Between her and Audrey Crandell, our lovely makeup artist, it was truly a perfect, stress-free morning. (I think I called them my "life savers" about 75 times.)
After the girls delivered Radley's gift (a watch) to the guys' room, we were down to the final hour and everybody started to get a little nervous. Enter Sam to save the day and take over deodorant duty.
The girls came back with my gift from Radley: a beautiful, engraved leather journal with a tear-jerker note at the front and the suggestion that we use it to record our first year of marriage together. His letter made everything real, so I did what anyone would do to ease the nerves: I focused on my hair, put in my Kate Middleton-inspired blue sapphire earrings, and counted backwards from 100. Twice.
Once my mom and Heids set me into my dress, the girls put the final touches on my hair and makeup and helped me put on the veil. I saw that Heidi's eyes had welled up — the one who never cries — and immediately my mind flashed back to when we were two, five, twelve, sixteen, and it was all I could do to keep it together as I looked at her. She smiled. Mom smiled. I tried to breathe. This was it.
Everyone kept saying that the day would be a blur, that I'd feel as if it were over in a snap. Truth is, I didn't feel that way at all. The day felt long and leisurely and easy, and I credit so much of that to my parents. They were such a calming presence, so elated and encouraging. "You look stunning, kiddo," my dad said. "Just relax. Enjoy yourself." Mom didn't have to say a word. I knew.
It was the best, most beautiful day of my life, and it was only just beginning.
(Photos by Cooper Carras)