October 19th, 2012 began with only four hours of sleep. I laid in bed next to my best friend and waited for the time to pass. I thought about all I had to do: print out my vows, call my mom and make sure she was going to pick me up on time and most importantly, drink a huge pot of coffee. I wondered if Brandon, my soon to be husband, had slept like a baby and I wondered if I would see him cry upon hearing my vows? I turned on the TV and coincidentally, caught a glimpse of a couple standing outside of "Good Morning America," holding a banner that said, "today is our 42 anniversary!" My best friend looked at me with the biggest grin as she said, "that's gotta be a good sign!" I walked over to the window and peered out at the foggy Napa Valley morning and tried to take it all in. Today, I was getting married and tonight, I would officially be Mrs. Brown.
I arrived at the winery with 2 car loads of stuff, picture frames, custom straws I had spent hours making and a gorgeous, ivory, princess like wedding gown. It was 75 degrees out with clear skies, barely a breeze and the sound of birds chirping amongst the trees. Hans Fahden is 3 miles up a windy hill in the northern part of Napa Valley, secluded from the truck loads of tourists on the main highway. As incredible as I remembered Hans Fahden being, today was even better. Maybe it was the perfect weather, how the leaves had changed color or the fact that all the flowers had filled in beautifully; or maybe it was that the man upstairs knew today was my wedding day.
My makeup artist arrived right on time and along with my mother, grandmother and bridesmaids, we all got ready in a tiny bride's suite at the winery. My nerves were on edge and the fact that everyone was so worried about their hair and makeup annoyed me. Just then, my bridesmaid, Van, arrived. She had decided not to partake in the beauty session and upon seeing her face, I felt myself sink back in my seat. Van has a calming effect on me and is so intuitive that she immediately helped the girls get ready and put me at ease. My hair and makeup came together beautifully and once I put my dress on, I couldn't believe it was me. It was all happening so fast and all I wanted was for time to slow down so that I could take in every moment of this magnificent day.
My dad was waiting for me down at the bottom of the stairs and greeted me with the biggest smile on his face. "You look absolutely breathtaking, like a movie star," he said. I grinned as I whispered thank you and we headed to where we were to walk towards the ceremony. At one point along our stroll, I murmurred the F word from being so anxious. I looked at my dad out of fear and said, "sorry, I'm so nervous." He laughed and let me know he was totally ok. As we came around the aisle and I saw Brandon, I grinned from ear to ear. Seeing his face once again calmed my nerves and I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Our preacher was a riot and gave the forty plus of our closest friends and family plenty of laughs during the ceremony. Finally, it was time to read our vows we had written for one another. I was happy Brandon was going first so that I could take a moment to breathe. The first words out of his mouth were, "Before our first date, I texted you and said to be sure to pull out those special panties from the back of the drawer. You texted me back saying, "I don't know what kind of girl you think I am, but if thats what you're about, you can take a hike." He was referencing a Chris Rock line at the time and because I had never heard the joke, I felt totally offended. The crowd laughed and my face cringed at the thought of where he was going with this. Then he said, "I had almost lost you before I even had you." At that moment, I knew you were a woman of morals and integrity." I smiled. As he continued on with his vows, the tears began to stream down his face. I used my kleenex to wipe each drop and then, it was my turn. I didn't think I was going to cry, but I sobbed like a baby. There wasn't a dry tear in the place. Even the men were crying. We had managed to open the doors into our love and invite everyone in to our personal world. I ended my vows by saying, "I'll love you for all my life and when my life is over, what I want people to remember is just how very much I loved you." And I meant it.
As we kissed, the Black Eyed Peas song "I Got A Feeling" played at high volume. We danced as we were ushered off to a private area for a moment alone. We had mile wide smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes. We truly loved each other and couldn't believe that after 5 years, we were finally husband and wife. After picture taking and our first dance to Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," which really turned up the heat, we opened the gigantic doors to the hidden cave where dinner was set to take place. It was absolutely breathtaking. I watched as everyone's jaw hit the floor at the magnificence of the place. The flowers I had chosen, the upgraded linens, all the little details that I had put together because I couldn't afford a wedding planner came together so cohesively. It was perfect. No, it was better than perfect. It was a dream. The whole day had been nothing short of a fairytale; better than I had ever imagined. And after our best man and maid of honor delivered incredible speeches, we hit the dance floor. Friends and family hugged us as they shared their thoughts on how unbelievable the day had been, how astonishing the food was, and most importantly, how we had restored their faith in love and marriage.
All the stress, all the saving and planning and e-mailing I had done, was so worth having that day. And oddly enough, becoming Mrs. Brown fills entirely different than being someone's fiancé or their girlfriend. It's hard to explain, but I guess it's kind of like the way you feel about your family. You know they will be there forever and even though you may not like them at times, you will always love them unconditionally. There's a safety and security in knowing that Brandon will protect me and love me for the rest of our lives, and for a person who has been a control freak all of my life, I'm suddenly ready to let him lead. There will be ups and downs and hopefully a few children to add to the equation, but no matter what, I'll always find my way back to his loving arms, regardless of the situation. Cheers to marrying the most incredible man on the planet and cheers to forever being, Mrs. Brown.
Getting hitched happens once in a lifetime, let's hope! And if you're anything like me, you've spent so much money on everything else, that buying uber expensive bottles of wine for everyone at your wedding seems totally out of the question. So here's how to have your wine and drink it, too! Buy the expensive vintage Champagne for just the two of you, preferably rose, and compromise by pouring Love Drunk Rosé for all your guests! I promise you, they won't be disappointed.
So why Love Drunk Rosé? First and foremost, it's pretty and pink, which will match perfectly with the fluffy, soft pink peonies you have chosen for your decor. Next, instead of having to serve both a white and red wine, this rose does dual duty as both, which should save you plenty of money. Love Drunk is made from 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir. It's only slightly off-dry (touch of sugar) and has a ton of cleansing acidity, which makes it incredibly food friendly. It's medium body gives it a backbone and it's extremely cocktail friendly since it's so darn tasty. You can serve this wine with almost anything from salmon, shrimp, lobster, veal, pork and charcuterie, to dishes with pasta, tomatoes, cooked chiles and even fried foods.
The wine is also from specific terroirs of the Willamette Valley region of Oregon. The grapes are chosen from some of the oldest and most prestigious plantings in the valley helping to produce a high quality wine. And have you seen the label? It's rare that you get such a hip, unique design on a bottle that still offers up good juice inside! Plus, you're feeling exactly like the label itself, you're drunk on love! And "much like new love, it clouds the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and lips to pucker!" Finally, the strawberry, raspberry, cherry, apple, pineapple, peach, butter and vanilla aromas followed by similar flavors will make you and your guests want to say "I do" to this bottle over and over again! Enjoy!