Our First Disappointment

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

It was bound to happen–the first time we get our hearts set on something, the both of us, of course it’s not going to work out.

Sure, we were able to make several decisions–at least the broad strokes–pretty early on and with minimal drama (when, the basic guest list, that sort of thing). But many bits of the wedding hinged on one very important factor: Where.

Once we had the theme in mind, a wine-themed wedding held at an actual winery seemed like just the ticket and we knew the perfect one: Lakeridge Vineyard and Winery in Clermont, Florida, just outside of Orlando. Sure, it would mean everyone would have to travel–but for our out-of-towners, flying into a major city would be so much simpler for them. Plus, my brother just bought a house about half an hour away from the site of our dreams so we had the perfect crash pad for planning visits and the fam would have a home base for the actual event.

To the Internet I went, searching to see if weddings had been done there, before (since their website didn’t say anything about them specifically). Turns out that some gorgeous weddings had been held there, judging by the photographers portfolios I found, and might actually be an affordable location. *swoon*

Collage of images from Lakeridge Winery

Sources: top photo, Pilster Photography; bottom photos, Sandra Johnson Photography

But, then the dread started to creep in. There was a link to a Facebook fan page of the wedding planning branch of the Winery. That didn’t work. Nor would a search retrieve it. And the websites that referenced the location were all months or years old.

So I screwed up my courage and just sent them an email already. And the reply came back quickly. Too quickly.

“I’m sorry, but we’ve recently made the decision to stop doing weddings at our location.”


(no pun intended)

Oh, Lakeridge, you were the destination wedding of our dreams but it was not to be. We won’t hold it against your wine and I’m sure we’ll stop by again on some trip or another. But we’ll miss the wedding we could have had there.

Still, there’s always plan B, right?

Whatever that was.

Did you have a location plan go south on you?
How did you recover?



Variations on a Theme: Wine Time

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

So we’d tossed aside the 40s and 50s as era-inspiration and monkeys were dubbed a little too childish (well, for the wedding at least). In our earlier discussions we’d also talked about and nixed pretty darn quick the costume-heavy weddings of any of our geekier interests: Comics, RPGs or Star Trek. And while Mr. RT said he would be open to a Renaissance-style wedding (since I used to play in the SCA–Society for Creative Anachronism), I wasn’t as interested in that as I once might have been.Where was our theme?! Was there no single idea that would guide our decision-making process and steer us towards a color scheme while we’re at it?

And then the answer arrived.

Even have one of those ‘duh’ moments? In retrospect, this was one of them for us (or at least for me; T understood my need for a theme but wasn’t too worried about it himself). We’d already discussed doing a wine ceremony instead of a more traditional unity candle (blending yes, merging not so much, or something like that) and, obviously, food and wine were going to be major considerations as far as the reception was concerned–a wine-themed wedding was practically staring at us in the face!

Yay, a theme!

Collage of wine-themed images

Sources: Style Me Pretty 1 (photo by Miki & Sonja Photography), 2 (photo by Lisa Lefkowitz), Strictly Simple Style, Apartment Therapy (image by Green is Universal), Style Me Pretty 3 (photo by Kristi Odom Photography), 4 (photography by Mike Larson, event by Touch of Style) , 5 (photo by Apertura), 6 (photo by Kim Seidl Photography, event by Simply Chic Events)

With that decided, many other details started to fall into place. Color scheme? Green and Red-Purple from the grapes and leaves, with a brown accent/neutral from the vines. Centerpieces? Why, all those empty wine bottles we’ve been collecting may have just found their re-purpose! And the corks from said bottles can be used in all manner of crafty goodness. Even a couple of wine-related favor ideas floated around my head and, oh, there’s that ginormous cork monogram that we just *have* to make!

Wine-themed color palate

our working color scheme

Now, with a direction in mind, I finally felt like I could actually start to plan!

Was your own theme obvious when it presented itself
or did you even bother with one?

Random Appetites: Chautauqua Vineyards


One of those places you find just off the highway, Chautauqua Vineyards is something you don’t expect to find along I-10 in the Florida Panhandle. I first noticed the sign several years ago on my way back home for a visit. The next trip I took was, unfortunately, for my grandfather’s funeral, but on the way back I wasn’t in a big hurry so turned off at Exit 85 purely out of curiosity.

The Winery is a medium-sized building on a hill that you get to by a service road–it’s not hard to find. They offer both “tours” and tastings as well as a full retail shop. The tour is actually a 3 minute video in their viewing room that overlooks the huge tanks, etc. that make up the main operations there at the winery. But don’t skip that room just because you don’t get to actually walk though the vines: it’s a good place to start your shopping. Lots of little wine knick-knacks interspersed between various sizes and shapes of wine racks, wine totes and picnic baskets. I was sorely tempted by one of the very cool baskets that featured real glass and stoneware (no plastic!), including 4 petite wine glasses.

Follow the hallway around and you will end up in the tasting room. On my first visit back in the early aughts they charged for tastings but now apparently it’s free to taste as many wines as you like. Most of their wines are made from local muscadine grapes which are incredibly sweet and many don’t like the taste of. Even if you fall into the anti-muscadine camp, give their fruit wines a try–the blueberry is very good but the blackberry is absolutely outstanding! Even people who don’t like wine actually like the blackberry. They also have some wines that are made from Concord grapes and their Sunset Red is quite palatable. On this last visit we tasted their Vanilla Sherry and, even though it was tasty, I already had a bottle of their Chocolate Port (yes, really) at home so we passed on picking up a bottle of the fortified this time around.

Next to the tasting room, which has it’s own trinkets to browse through, is the main retail room including the racks and racks of wine and a lot of glassware, wine accessories and other accoutrements of wine culture. Among the items I’ve picke up there are novelty pastas, cocktail napkins with a variety of pithy sayings, bottle decorations, mugs, a “Wine Diva” ball cap, wineglass coasters, etc etc etc. Hey, it’s an hour and a half away and our last trip out there was specifically to stock up, might as well make it worth the drive!

Basically, if you ever find yourself around Exit 85 on I-10 (DeFuniak Springs, FL) during business hours with a little time to kill, stop and in and see what you think.