Kristen and Cole’s Intimate Vineyard Wedding in California

Kristen and Cole's love story began on a dating website six years ago, having bonded over their mutual love for travel, their similar backgrounds, and a shared sense of humor - their relationship quickly flourished into romance. A job opportunity would relocate Cole to Wisconsin while Kristen remained in California. The strength and dedication of their love for each other would see them through five years of long-distance relationship. On a Caribbean, family vacation to Anguilla, Cole surprised Kristen with a romantic beach proposal, taking their relationship to a happily-ever-after.

Read all about Kristen and Cole's loves story, proposal, and experiences in their intimate vineyard wedding in California.

Bride & Groom: Kristen & Cole
Occupations: Brand/Product Marketing Manager & Utility Construction Project Manager
Wedding date: May 6th, 2017
Wedding location: Lorimar Vineyard and Winery, Temecula, CA

Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. As many couples do in today's modern age, Cole and I met on over 6 years ago. We initially bonded over a love of travel, similar backgrounds, and a shared sense of humor (particularly the movie Anchorman!). Though we initially met and began dating in my home state of California, work opportunities led Cole to relocate to his home state of Wisconsin. With a lot of love, time, patience, and faith, we continued to develop a special bond despite the distance. With over 100,000 miles traveled to be together over our 5-year long-distance relationship, our love was sealed with a surprise beachside proposal on the Caribbean island of Anguilla in February of 2016, while on vacation with his family.

How did you know they were “the one”? I think we both realized we had something special when our relationship went the distance despite the miles of separation! Keeping a relationship strong, fun, passionate, and completely supportive takes work – it’s a definite challenge for many long-distance couples. We were both committed early on to making frequent cross-country visits (and sometimes using them as an excuse to travel!), and making use of technology every day to stay connected. Being separated made us appreciate each other even more, gave us perspective on the things that are truly important in a relationship, and forced us to really make the time we spent together meaningful.

What was wedding shopping like for you? I was drawn to romantic, classic styles that are still modern. I knew I wanted a mermaid style dress with illusion-style long sleeves before I went shopping. I visited quite a few salons for fittings, but many of them didn’t have the combination of elements I was looking for, or didn’t have samples of dresses I did like available to try on in-store. I finally found “the dress” at a salon that worked with a custom gown design and alterations expert. My mother, grandmother, and sister could tell from the moment I tried it on that I had found it! The dress I chose was initially strapless, but I curated ideas from many styles I liked and the designer transformed it into my dream dress, complete with full-length lace sleeves that were detachable and could be worn two ways.

Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?  For our wedding ceremony, we knew we wanted to incorporate elements that were special and meaningful to us as a couple, as well as celebrate new and old traditions. We also did our own special take on the Tasting of the Four Elements, where each flavor (bitter, sour, hot, and sweet) is tasted by the couple and represents the highs and lows that come with marriage. We used lemon wedges for bitter, vinegar for sour, cayenne pepper for hot, and incorporated a red and white wine blending for sweet – which was a perfect symbol of our union, and allowed us to bring in elements from our vinery venue as well! We wrote our own vows, and chose a specific Apache reading Cole’s parents used in their wedding, which we hope we’ll be able to pass to our children for them to use someday.

Wedding Party gifts: The bridesmaids received silk floral robes and personalized hangers. The groomsmen received custom leather grooming kits.
Favorite item on the menu: Dual-Plated Entrée: Pan Seared Salmon and Rosemary Lemon Chicken
First dance song: “Lady” by D’Angelo

What is your best memory from your wedding? It’s so hard to choose just one! The minute I stepped out to walk down the aisle was something I’ll never forget. In that moment, I was surrounded by everyone I love, walking arm-in-arm with both my parents towards my future husband, feeling the most beautiful I’ve ever felt, and seeing all the little details that had been planned for months finally come together. It was magical!

What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? On your special day, try to relax and enjoy every minute of it – your wedding will be beautiful, and it will fly by quickly! Even with the most detailed planning, it’s a guarantee that not everything will go exactly as designed. We specifically chose our wedding month and location with warm weather in mind, because we knew we wanted an outdoor affair. The day of the wedding, it rained! Luckily I had planned for a clear tent that turned out even more beautiful than what we had originally designed, and we have great memories of taking time together alone to enjoy our moment under a gorgeous rainbow. If you keep the day focused on celebrating the two of you, and it will be beautiful no matter what!

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Lorimar Winery
Event Planning: Say I Do To Details
Event Design: Kristen Clarke
Floral Design: Valley Florist
Graphic Design: Blooming Paper
Stationery & Printing: Nobius Press
Photography: Michelle Flores Photography
Videography: Memory Machine Films
Bakery: SugarDivaz Bakeshoppe
Custom Cocktails: Blush Bar Crafts
Bridal Gown: Strut Bridal Salon
Gown Design & Alterations: Folklore Dress Studio
Suits: The Black Tux
Makeup: Lauren Bertone
Public Relations: Kristen Gioscia of be inspired PR

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