"Wine's part of pretty much everything we do," says journalist Jess Lander who, when she met her future husband—a winemaker at Peju—didn't even drink the stuff.
Lander moved to the Bay Area from Boston seven years ago. A year later, she met Nick Reinell through a mutual friend, and he got her into wine. Today, she writes frequently about wine for 7x7 and various publications; and this past spring, she had a Wine Country wedding of dreams.
Hoping to share their Napa Valley life with their friends and family in an intimate setting, the pair chose a private Napa estate for their nuptials. But the day was years in the making—Reinell popped the question during a hot air balloon ride over the Valley back in 2015. The moment was a dream for Lander, who laughs, "He had five years to think about it."
When the big day came in May 2017, the bride didn't expect to be emotional—she'd felt so calm during the planning process. But the moment she first saw him, she lost it. "He swears that he cried when he first saw me, but nowhere near as much as I did."
The ceremony was personalized to a T: Empty bottles of wine the couple had drunk together doubled as centerpieces, and there was a giant version of Connect Four, Lander's favorite game. "I beat him every time," she brags. On the couple's second date, they capsized in a rowboat; at the wedding, guests signed commemorative oars. There was even an interactive paint-by-numbers made from a personal photo. Not fans of cake, the couple opted for cleverly stacked wheels of cheese, as well as an ice cream sundae bar. For an extra cozy touch, the flowers and food were provided by their friends.
Congratulations, you crazy kids.
Venue: Private Napa Valley Estate
Coordinator: Monica Stickley, So Eventful
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Photography: Emily Raftery Photography
Band: Cover Me Badd