Why I Had a Destination Wedding in California

Looking back at our wedding, Ryan and I can both confidently say that having a destination wedding was one of the best decisions that we have ever made. Don’t get me wrong, it had its moments (planning a wedding across the country is a challenge to say the least), but the six days we spent in California celebrating our marriage were by far the very best of our lives. So why did we decide to have a destination wedding? A few reasons.

Intimate size. I consider myself to be an extroverted introvert, and the idea of having a 300+ person wedding unnerved me. I have always been a bit uncomfortable at large functions and feel much more myself when in the company of a few close friends or family, so I knew that in order for me to truly have the best experience possible at my wedding a smaller guest count would be necessary. That, plus the fact that we have attended countless weddings where the bride and groom are so busy greeting their countless guests that don’t have time to eat, let alone dance. It was imperative to us that we were able to savor every moment of our day, because as a photographer I know first hand how quickly it goes by.

Outdoor wedding. We always knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, and the fact is that having an outdoor wedding in the Midwest is a risk at best. To be honest, we liked the peace of mind knowing that getting married in California wine country almost ensured us a dry, sunny day.

Perfect venue. I first stumbled across HammerSky Vineyards on pinterest nearly five years ago, and had been in love with it ever since. When we first started looking at local venues we found them to be beautiful, but none really “connected” with us. I started to have the feeling that we were planning someone else’s wedding. No matter what venue we looked at we couldn’t get HammerSky out of our minds, and we just knew in our hearts it was where we were meant to be married. The feeling of being married somewhere so unbelievably beautiful and picturesque can’t be described, but it truly added a completely extra layer of magic and gratitude to our wedding day.

Family connection. One of the best parts about having a destination wedding was that we spent nearly a week in wine country with our closest friends and family. We rented a gorgeous villa, enjoyed long family dinners al fresco, organized wine tasting trips, a cocktail party, and most importantly we were able to spend so much time with our nearest and dearest. By the time our wedding rolled around we had already spent time with about 95% of our guests, which meant that we felt no pressure to have to do the obligatory “rounds” at our wedding.

Family bonding. Perhaps the best part of the entire destination wedding planning process was how close our families became on our wedding week. My dad now jokingly calls Ryan’s dad his “brother” and we have started having quarterly family get-together weekends where each of us takes turns hosting a wine-pairing dinner. The time we spent together and memories we made during our wedding week were absolutely priceless, and I will forever be thankful that they brought our families together in such a beautiful way.

If you are a bride or groom and are in the process of planning a destination wedding – congratulations! I would be honored to travel the world to capture your love, and would love nothing more than to connect with you to learn about your engagement and your wedding plans. Feel free to contact me any time and check out my tips on choosing a destination wedding photographer!

having a destination wedding

My Life, Wedding Planning

  1. Laura Price says:

    Love this!

  2. angela says:

    I appreciate SO much that you wrote and shared this blog post about your experience!
    I can relate with you in so many ways, we just got engaged on Sunday the 8th, WOO!!!
    I’d love to connect about pros and cons and budgeting and arranging etc. 🙂

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                                       I can't wait to learn more about your love story!

After pursuing my degree in fashion, I began my career as a travel photographer, exploring the world one country at a time and telling the stories of the people, places, art, and ideas that moved me. But, it was when I photographed my first destination wedding that I truly found my life’s calling.

My work is luminous, poetic, elegant, and above all, intentional. It will be my deepest honor to guide you through the wedding planning process, to help you create unforgettable moments and experiences, and, ultimately, to craft images where time stands still.

I'm Molly - an international wedding photographer eternally devoted to capturing the beauty of your union. 

Bonjour mon ami,


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Old-world elegance with a hint of that French ‘je ne sais quois.’

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