West Michigan bride of the month: Chloe’s California winery wedding

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – “I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” -The Chaos of Stars

A woman’s wedding day is often viewed as the biggest day of her life – a night she thinks about from when she’s just a young girl. It’s the night she marries her love, her best friend, and her forever roomie.

It’s not until you’re planning a wedding that you really realize all that goes into this magical day. Bring on the stress, the laughter, the tears, the romance, the nerves, the “bridezilla” moments, and more!

Each month we’re choosing one West Michigan bride to feature her wedding day and all the fun, crazy steps in between.

Meet our January Bride Chloe! This West Michigan couple decided to travel to wine country to say, “I Do!” Get the scoop on what it takes to plan a Napa Valley Destination wedding from this local bride.

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Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

Question 1: Tell us your engagement story…

It was a cold, snowy day in January of 2016 when David asked Chloe to take a stroll through Frederick Meijer Gardens. Chloe thought this was absurd, as it was freezing out, but she grudgingly went anyways. David’s best friend, Scotty, tagged along because he liked the Gardens (or so Chloe thought that was the reason). As the three we’re strolling along through the snow-covered Japanese garden, Scotty asked if the couple wanted a nice picture of them on the bridge over looking the frozen lake? Chloe agreed and her and David went over to pose on the bridge, when all of a sudden David got down on one knee! Chloe thought he was joking, as she exclaimed “stop that, it’s not funny!” David said a few nice words, along the lines of “I love you a super lot,” and pulled out the ring. Chloe teared up as she manged to squeak out a, “yes” and the ring was slipped on her finger.

Question 2: What month did your wedding take place?

September 2016.

Question 3: What was your venue?

Bride of the moth Chloe
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

Andretti Winery (Napa, CA)

Question 4: Band or DJ?

DJ.

Question 5: What was your favorite part of the planning process?

Even though it can be stressful, choosing the perfect venue was my favorite part! I loved being able to envision David and I getting married in a certain spot. I just had to pick the right one for the perfect vision!

Question 6: What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?

I wish I would have taken more time to relax with my family. The whole day goes by so fast, and so many people need your attention for things (hair, makeup, last minute details, etc.) that you don’t get enough time to just party it up with your family and friends. So, make sure you give yourself a little extra time on the big day to enjoy the people around you.

Question 7: Did you do a first look? Why or why not?

Bride of the moth Chloe

No we did not. David and I don’t stick to traditional ways much, but when it came to seeing me in a wedding dress he was adamant about seeing me for the first time as I walked toward him down the aisle. It really did make the walk more special because the first time we saw each other that day was when we were going to become husband and wife! And the time leading up to that point, you get so excited to see the other person finally!

Question 8: Worst part of the planning process for your wedding?

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

For me it was a little different since I did a destination wedding. The hardest part was not being able to see every detail or know exactly what would happen until we got to the destination. We did have a wedding planner, but even with her I still felt a little out of control in the sense that I couldn’t do everything myself.

Question 9: How involved was the groom in the planning process?

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

The only thing he had to take care of was making sure his groomsmen got the right tuxes and showed up on time, haha!

Question 10: Was your wedding a black tie affair or casual?

It was somewhere in between. It was dressy but not black tie. I think having it at a winery automatically made people look their best, to match the beautiful scenery there!

Question 11: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

The moment after we kissed and got to walk back up the aisle together! We danced our way up the aisle to “Hooked On a Feeling” with the biggest smiles on our faces. It was such a happy moment!

Question 12: Describe your wedding dress…

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

My wedding dress was strapless mermaid style, with a choppy tool bottom. It was champagne colored underneath, with cream lace flowers on the top. I added a pretty, sparkly belt for some glam!

Question 13: Did you go wedding dress shopping with an idea in mind? Did you end up liking that style?

I didn’t really have any specific style or color in mind when I went shopping. With me being on the smaller side, I had a lot of options. I just had to make sure the dress didn’t make me look even tinier or shorter than I am. I always thought I would go with something non-traditional colored, like champagne or even blush, but the dress I got was actually pretty close to white. I’m glad I went in with no firm style in mind though, because it allowed me to look at a lot of different options until I found the perfect one!

Question 14: What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?

As long as you take care of each other, everything else can work itself out.

Question 15: What’s your best advice for staying on budget?

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

Don’t be afraid to ask your planner, or vendors, if there are discounts for certain items, times, bundling, etc. Most of my vendors were willing to cut costs just from me asking what I could do. Always keep in mind that there are things you can live without on your wedding day and still have a great time!

Question 16: Weirdest gift you’ve received?

A fish themed bar-b-que set. And we don’t even own a grill!

Question 17: What was on your wedding menu?

Caesar salad and bread. Steak with mushroom sauce. Fettuccine alfredo pasta and penne with red sauce pasta. Potatoes and mixed veggies. Plus dessert, chocolate toffee cake, tiramisu, and cannolis!

Question 18: What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?

The only moment I got a little crazy was the morning of the big day because the winery was still open to the public up until about 2 hours before our ceremony. However, the winery owner didn’t start telling people to leave until half hour before the ceremony! So, I started getting really anxious that we wouldn’t be able to start on time. I ended having my dad go tell the owner to get things organized more. I felt a little bad, but I’m a punctual person.

Question 19: What wedding detail was worth the money? What could you have done without?

The extra food was definitely worth the money! Don’t skimp on food if you’re planning a wedding, because it can really change the guests mood. Our guests still talk about how good our food was and how much they got to eat. I could have done without a limo ride after the reception. Our parents actually surprised us with the limo, which was so sweet, but riding in a limo is actually kind of awkward and the ride to the hotel is so short that it didn’t seem worth it.

Question 20: Best idea that you stole?

Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography
Credit: Andrew VanGundy Photography

I had ceremony programs that doubled as hand fans, in case it got a bit hot in the sun (since the wedding was outside). I saw that on a friend’s Pinterest page and just loved the idea! It worked so well.

Question 21: What’s your best advice for brides-to-be?

Don’t get too bogged down with the perfect wedding scenario you have in your head. Just take the planning one step at a time and see where it takes you. I never thought I’d be getting married at a winery in Napa, but somehow I ended up there and it was perfect! And always remember that the day is about you and your partner, not about your mom or friends or anyone else you may be a bit dramatic or unhappy with things.

***Do you know a fab West Michigan bride who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name and contact info, and “Like” us on Facebook!

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