My Napa Winery Wedding (8 Years Ago Today!)

Happy Anniversary to my best friend for life!

Thought I’d pull out the photos of my wedding to honor our 8-year anniversary today! It’s such a trip to look at these now. We got married in the very quaint St. Helena Methodist Church, and were so so lucky that my dad worked at the picturesque Calistoga winery, Chateau Montelena, so that we were allowed to have our reception there. Except for the rain leading up to the ceremony (and my resulting meltdown), the day was perfect…at least as much as I can remember. (Let’s just say good ol’ dad made sure there were magnums of Montelena cab on every table, i.e. everyone was hammered.) Thank goodness the details were well-documented:

Napa winery wedding: bridal bouquet

St. Helena florist Pat Friday did an amazing job with all the flowers that included red/orange orchids, calla lilies and tulips. You’ll notice we used various Japanese papers I collected throughout the event (I’m half-Japanese, so it was important to me to include some elements from my heritage).

Napa winery wedding: programs

For the programs, I drew the pattern from bits of Japanese paper I had collected, and printed it out on an overlay. We used this same technique for an enclosure that held the invitations (bottom photo).

Napa winery wedding: St. Helena Methodist church ceremony

St. Helena Methodist Church — perfect setting, right? Plus the husband insisted on a single cello player for the ceremony. It was a lovely addition.

Napa winery wedding: my girls

My support group, donned in Simple Silhouettes dresses. I ordered extra fabric from the same die-lot, and had custom wraps made by a local tailor, each with a different brocade fabric to suit each lovely lady’s personality. My MOH had the fun idea that they would turn them over after the nuptials.

Napa winery wedding: the kiss

Can I just tell you how much I LOVED my dress? It’s a Romona Keveza design, and the obi train was an optional extra from a different style. I thought it fit so perfectly into our theme!

Napa winery wedding: Chateau Montelena

My talented Dr. bro took this pic (and the one above) of the estate’s facade at Chateau Montelena. If you’ve never been, be sure to go. The grounds are stunning.

Napa winery wedding: Chateau Montelena Jake Lake

Another gem on the property: Jade Lake. We did cocktail hour amongst the bridges and island pagodas. I’m so happy the rain subsided so that everyone could enjoy this beaut.

Napa winery wedding: escort cards

This image may give my husband nightmares: he cut and glued all of the escort cards a few days prior!

Napa winery wedding: reception tent

The very first thing we did as newlyweds? Run into the tent to see if it matched our vision and hours of planning…and we were so excited/relieved that it did! We opted for three long tables for a more contemporary look, and on either end of the tent we hung strings of white lights (a last-minute idea when we finally accepted we’d need a tent, yet by far one of my favorites).

Napa winery wedding: reception tables

The mirrored tiles we bought from Home Depot! The plexi troughs we had custom made and we still have a few floating around that we reuse.

Napa winery wedding: dinner

Picture this fave shot of mine with electro-lounge music playing in the background: so reflective of the feel we were going for! At this point I should mention that we had such a talented and genuinely nice photographer, Robert Marcos, who shortly thereafter chose our wedding to feature in Grace Ormonde Wedding Style! It is a little surreal to see your mug in print. (I should also mention these are scans from FILM prints — yes, it was that long ago.)

Napa winery wedding: first dance

Not sure if you can see to the left, we set up a lounge area next to the bar with clear blow-up furniture that we lovingly called “The Bubble Lounge.”

Napa winery wedding: place setting

This was definitely a D.I.Y. wedding, for sure. Let me advise against burning 100 cd’s as favors, on your own. But it makes us feel better that people still tell us that they listen to it, even for dinner parties! Oh and we made all the napkin-wrap place cards too (I guess we had a lot more energy back then).

Napa winery wedding: invite set

Here’s the whole invitation suite: I’m not sure if you can tell the pattern is a clear high-gloss coating I had printed as an overlay. On the RSVP postcard, we included a tear-off “pocket guide” with pertinent details and a map. As mentioned above, the whole set was inserted into a translucent enclosure that yes, you guessed it, we printed, folded and glued ourselves. The envelopes came all the way from Japan from a really sweet co-worker at the time in our Tokyo office. Oh I almost forgot, these won a design award!

Napa winery wedding: wine labels

A fun detail: I created coordinating wine labels (and printed them on Avery labels) for the two varietals we had free-flowing throughout the reception. The little icons I drew were great for the “pocket guide” above…bonus!

Napa winery wedding: the happy couple

Us — as he would say, “when we were young and optimistic.” LOL!

Happy Anniversary to the only one for me!


Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Erika – so great to see these pictures! Your wedding was SO beautiful! I remember just being in awe the entire time. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Anniversary to you and Justin! Love you guys. Mary

    1. Oh thank you! I was so nervous and giddy and sort of in awe of the bigness of it all, myself. It’s a lot of pressure for any bride!

  2. Beautiful photos! Your wedding was so gorgeous. I LOVE how the long tables were decorate in the tent and all your “paper items” are so pretty! You look beautiful in the the dress! Happy anniversary!


    1. The tables came out great! I think that was a good decision on our part, for cleaner lines anyway.

  3. Happy Anniversary to an amazing and inspiring couple! Big Hugs to both of you. Lots of Love, A xo

    1. Thanks! Greg was very instrumental in so many aspects of that day! What a good best man.

    1. Thanks! Sad but one point of pride for me is the fact that we were able to pull it off for under $30K…even 8 years ago, that’s a huge feat, right?

  4. Oh Erika, what a lovely reminiscence of your magical wedding day that our family was thrilled to share with you both … Hard to believe it was eight years ago, wow.

    We met you first as a little soccer-playing, slipper-wearing, island girl and watched you grow into a lovely young woman, entrepreneurial business-person, wife and mother … you do it all with such grace, style and inspiration!

    Sending warm best wishes for a Happy Anniversary to you and Justin …

    Your honorary “Auntie”,

    1. Ha ha yes, true, that was such a long time ago! But such good times. And you and your family are in so many of my fond memories!

  5. Holy Moly, Happy Anniversary! You two are both gorgeous – cannot get over the unique paper goods you did – so cool. Love it!

  6. Happy Anniversary….let me start by saying you of course are a BEAUTIFUL person inside and out, so I wouldn’t put it past you that you would have a gorgeous wedding. Thanks for the pics, for someone who was not there or around at that time in your life, it is nice to see them. Your flowers were STUNNING…Wish I could do mine over because I would pick your bouquet to the T!!!
    Hope your husband and you have many more wonderful years together, it just gets better as the years go by…

  7. Would it freak you out that my bridesmaids wore red too?! At this point, my guess is no. Love the bubble lounge and all the personal details.

    Happy, Happy Anniversary to you. You’ve got me beat by three years. Here’s to many more.

    PS – You married a cutie! And you look beautiful.

    1. Yes and I was trying not to be too too Asian-inspired, you know? No bamboo, that sort of thing!

  8. I’m so glad you told me about these photos, because I am absolutely in AWE. Happy Anniversary! First let me mention that the Mr. and I went to Napa a few years back and stayed in Calistoga at the Solage and visited Chateau Montelena!!! What a wonderful and perfect vacation that was! I can’t believe you were married there! Montelena was our last stop and last wine tasting and what a great way to end the trip. The grounds were amazing and we actually talked about how it would be perfect for a wedding. We are huge big napa full bodied cab fans and Montelena was a top fav. I’ve even ordered some online and if I ever see it at the store, I also scoop up a bottle or two.

    Your wedding was beautiful. I love all the little details that you put into it from the asian accents, uber cool bubble lounge, personal stationary, clean modern look at the reception, color scheme, I can go on forever. I absolutely love your train on your dress and you were stunning. Such a gorgeous couple! Thanks for sharing!!

    x tamra