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RACHEL DOWNEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Mountain Winery wedding in California

This Mountain Winery wedding was my first of the season in 2019…

…and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the year, nor a better couple. Steve, Topher, and I have gotten to hang out a few times since we first met last December, and I know exactly how lucky I am to have met them. I don’t want to make this all about me, so just know that they’ve treated me with nothing but over-the-top kindness.

If you remember their engagement session, I mentioned how much these two love plants… They really love plants. Way more than I do, and you know what I’m like.

When they were thinking about what their wedding should look like, they didn’t see traditional bouquets and floral arrangements. They saw air plant boutonnieres and simple charm. They saw pileas, redwood trees, ferns, and succulents. The boutonnieres came from an incredible local shop called Fractal Flora, but Steve and Topher grew almost all of the other plants themselves. Over a hundred of them.

The plants looked completely at home in the Mountain Winery, which is an incredible venue up in the Saratoga Hills; they have wine tasting on site, and they host concerts in the amphitheater! You can see for miles up there. Guests were able to see out over the misty, forested hills, and then move smoothly into the plant covered reception hall. I was giddy.

We started the day down at Hotel Los Gatos, though, where Steve and Topher got ready together. Their officiant and close friend, Andrew, was also there with them, having just flown in from Australia. There was no rush, no hustle and bustle. Just the coffee maker gurgling in the background, some chatter, some nerves. Topher tied both of their ties as Andrew popped some cold medication. They fixed their hair together, helped each other into their coats, and showed me their incredible tree bark wedding bands. We drove up to the winery early so that we could wander the grounds together and take it all in.

The whole day flowed so smoothly from one thing to the next, due in large part to careful planning. Patty was on top of it; she’d even placed freshly picked lavender on every table setting, which brought the whole thing together–and made the hall smell fantastic.

Steve and Topher wanted to celebrate with all of their friends, but they really wanted an intimate ceremony, which I’m 100% on board with. They got married outside during a break in the rain, together with 20 of their family members (and some very large ferns). It felt both calm and emotional, if that makes sense. They’re so in love–almost everyone was in tears–but there was no rushing, no chaos, no performance. Andrew rocked it, despite being ill and never having officiated before.

After the ceremony, we had some time to tool around the Mountain Winery in a golf cart and take advantage of those views for some portraits. We had to bust out the umbrellas every so often, but no one was phased by a little rain. (They did have everyone on high alert for rainbows all day, but alas…) Once we got back, they enjoyed a cocktail hour with all of their guests, followed by a “boozy brunch” reception, complete with ice cream sundae bar and dancing.

We wrapped things up with a wee after party in one of the tasting rooms, we all pet a dog, and I ended up going home with my very own baby redwood tree and a very full heart.

 

Big thank you to all of the vendors involved:

 

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