Napa Valley Elopement

September 11, 2014

Whitney & Toru. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

A couple weeks ago, my sister, Whitney, and her husband, Toru, celebrated their second wedding anniversary. Two years ago, they eloped to Napa Valley and had a dreamy ceremony on a balcony overlooking breathtaking wine vineyards. To celebrate with them, Whitney and Toru invited their siblings and sibling’s significant others along for the celebration. It was such a fun, whirlwind trip and one of the most romantic places! I’d love to share some pictures and details of their exciting elopement and a bit of advice from Whitney for couples considering eloping (hint: she’d do it all over again!)…

Whitney & Toru. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

Whitney. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

Whitney & Toru. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

What made you decide to elope?
Simplicity! We loved the idea of picking a place, choosing from a predetermined package and just going. It minimized hours of picking out save-the-dates and table décor and making the seating chart. It allowed the few days we celebrated to be about us–we showed up and left married. I (Whitney) had always wanted a destination wedding (a low-key Caribbean beach wedding was what I pictured for myself) so the thought of traveling somewhere to get married was something I always had in mind. When people ask us why we decided to elope my initial reaction is “why not?”

What was the most surprising thing about eloping?
How much fun it was! I hear people talk about planning a wedding and I’m usually turned off. I was stressed out about the idea of planning a big wedding. Eloping can free up a lot of time and give the opportunity for two people to truly enjoy what they have together and celebrate in a way just the two of them want. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a big wedding and lose the true meaning of what marriage and weddings are all about. I dreaded the thought of family member’s and soon to be in-law’s dishing out their opinions, wants and needs (let’s be honest, everyone has an opinion) for our wedding.

Whitney. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

St. Helena, Napa Valley. Aug 2012

St. Helena, Napa Valley. Aug 2012

What was something that happened during your elopement that you didn’t expect? How did you handle it?
Toru and Kelley were so nervous! I thought we would make it through without nerves, but that didn’t happen. Toru was nervous about time and how he looked and Kelley was nervous about, well, time and how I looked. How I handled it? I sat back and enjoyed a beverage while Kelley did my makeup and hair, and I let the guys do their thing! 🙂

Whitney & Kelley. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

Whitney. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

Tell me about the reactions from your family members once you told them you had eloped.
A few days before we left, Toru asked my father for his permission to marry me, but he didn’t give anything away about our plans for Napa. We had a good cover and told everyone we were taking our annual end-of-summer trip to Washington D.C. to visit friends. But still, my Dad did the typical “I knew it” when we told him. Then, we celebrated. My mother was happy, sad, shocked, excited…basically every emotion. Of course, she wanted to be part of her daughter’s wedding day, so it was hard for her to hear about missing out, but she was so supportive with the decision we had made. Toru called his mother right after we were married (she lives in Nigeria), and she was happy. The first words out of her mouth were, “Congratulations to you and my new daughter!” When we told my extended family (grandmother, cousins, aunts, uncles) they were all excited. I specifically remember my grandmother saying, “No way–I had no idea!” and then she immediately asked for pictures. She is not often tricked or surprised! Even months later, my Gram continued to tell me how proud she was of me for making a decision that I wanted.

Who did you tell before you eloped?
About two weeks before we left, we told our siblings and Dan so they could get time off work. So, Kelley, Dan, Tumini (Toru’s sister) and Soala (Toru’s brother) were the only ones who knew. Tumini’s boyfriend, Fabrice, was also invited, but he didn’t know what was happening until he landed in San Francisco (he originally thought he was just going to meet family).

What are three words you’d use to describe your elopement?
Epic, memorable, “so us”

Any advice for couples considering eloping?
Do it! Pick a place that you know you can have fun and go for it.

Whitney & Toru. Napa Valley. Aug 2012

Congratulations, Whitney and Toru! What do you think? Would you ever elope? Did you elope?

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Blogmilk | Brandi Bernoskie