Our Romantic-Rustic Vineyard Fall Wedding
By Denise Vasi
Five years ago today, I married my very best friend, the love of my life and my eternal soul mate. In the past five years, we finished building a house from the ground up in Venice Beach and bought and renovated two apartments in New York City; he directed his first movie; I took a break from television acting; I launched MAED; we’ve traveled the world, and most importantly we had our beautiful little girl. Five years ago feels like yesterday. It’s mind-blowing to think back on all that we’ve done together. For our fifth wedding anniversary, I thought it might be sweet to share one of the best days of our life, our wedding day.
When we started planning our wedding we knew we wanted three things: great food, great music, and nothing too formal. We wanted our celebration to feel organic with rustic touches but still sophisticated and romantic.
We looked at every hotel with a gorgeous outdoor area, and we looked at quite a few beautiful barns. But, it wasn’t until we found The Villa at Sunstone Winery that we one hundred percent knew that we could have the wedding we truly envisioned.
We wanted our special day to be as intimate as possible so we kept our invitation count to one hundred and thirty guests. Thirty family members between the two of us and fifty friends from each of our sides were invited for a weekend getaway in a small town called Solvang.
When it came to flowers, we wanted to focus on that romantic-rustic mix. So we had our florist combine softer hues of pale pinks and pale purples with deep reds and burgundies. We also used more romantic florals like roses and joined them with eucalyptus, dried purple artichokes and olive tree branches.
I put a lot of thought into how and who I wanted to walk down the aisle with. I walked the first portion of the aisle alone to symbolize all that I had done in life on my own. Midway, I was met by my step-father who escorted me down the aisle a little further; he led me to my grandfather. My grandfather then presented me to my soon-to-be husband. Having both my step-father and my grandfather be a part of this tradition was so significant for me, I wanted to pay homage to the two men who showed up for me in my life.
The town of Solvang is so small that our friends started getting to know each other as soon as they arrived and by the end of our Friday night rehearsal party, both sides were beautifully mixed. On the morning of our wedding, thanks to Instagram and our wedding hashtag #vasimandlermerge, Anthony and I were able to watch each side of our lives come together to form one large circle of friends. By the time cocktail hour rolled around everyone felt super familiar with each other. We had small seating vignettes created to keep the mood cozy and family-like.
During our dinner reception, my mother and my father-in-law shared with us their loving advice and words of support. It was my best friend of twenty years’ speech however that stole the show. “I knew Denise would be my best friend for life when she took her earrings off and wrapped her hair in a bun to fight a girl in high school for me,” she said
To say our wedding weekend was unforgettable is no understatement. Not only did I marry my very best friend but together we built a family that night. Maybe next year I’ll share the photo booth photos. Ha. Ha.