The final weeks leading up to Katie and Brad’s October 20th wedding in Sonoma were full of uncertainty. On October 9th a massive wildfire broke out with high winds spreading from Northern Napa to Santa Rosa, taking many homes and businesses in its path. The heat and wind the next few days kept the fire spreading, crews were having a hard time containing it and everyone was on alert waiting for an evacuation notice. Katie and I were keeping in touch with texts and emails. We were both holding our breath to see if her venue would still be standing on the 20th or not. I continued to reassure her that even if her wedding could not be held at the original venue, an equally wonderful space would be found. The entire wedding community was jumping into action to help couples who had lost their venue or whose vendors had lost their home or workspace and therefore couldn’t participate in the wedding anymore. It was incredible to see how fast everyone reacted and volunteered to save the wedding days of so many couples.
Thankfully, a few days before their wedding, officials lifted the evacuation orders for Sonoma. Their venue, Suite D, had been untouched by the fires. I was able to drive into town and see if the winery we had selected for portraits would be open. Although it was still in tact, all the hills surrounding the grounds had been blackened and still being evaluated for safety. So many of my go to wineries had been very close to the fire and would not be opening until that Saturday, the day after the wedding. Sebastiani Winery came to our rescue though, agreeing to allow us to do family and couples portraits on their grounds since they wouldn’t be open to guests on Friday. Although the wedding party couldn’t taste that day, they do have amazing wine and you should certainly go tasting there when you are next in Sonoma.
For all of the fuss before, Katie and Brad’s wedding went so smooth on the day of. We enjoyed our time at Sebastiani and then headed to Suite D for the ceremony and dinner. It wasn’t until after the ceremony, when I was chatting with Katie’s mom, that I learned how Katie’s family had lost a home to a fire when she was young. All of a sudden, I viewed the uncertainty of the last two weeks through a completely different lens. I felt even more grateful that everything had turned out ok for her wedding.
This Chicago couple was so wonderful to work with. I’m amazed that Katie stayed so calm through all of this and simply trusted me that I would make sure her wine country wedding would be a success. Her and Brad were so relaxed and happy together all day, it was a truly beautiful celebration with all of all of their closest friends and family.
If you would like to read more about my personal experience with the fires read my blog post here.