Who plans a wedding completely via the Internet in just a few months time at a destination where both the bride and groom have never visited?  Yours truly!   This was the beginning.  The beginning of my marriage, an affair with travel and an obsession with travel planning.

My then fiancé and I were determined to celebrate our love in style with an intimate party for two.  To ensure no wedding crashers we decided to go away, and in a sense, have a planned elopement.  But where?

Las Vegas definitely came to mind, as did the Caribbean and Mexico.  But they didn’t hit the mark.  After much thought and research, we went for it with Napa Valley, California.

Our first inclination was to be married at a winery, but contrary to popular belief few wineries are open to weddings and those that are require a special permit.  This red tape wasn’t attractive to us.  After all, we wanted a stress free celebration of us, not a carnival of hoops to jump through.  Which is why we chose to stay and be married at a historic mansion in wine country.

We were confident, yet a little bit nauseous with thoughts of the unknown when we arrived at Churchill Manor in Napa, California.  I mean, anyone could set up a website and make promises, but our faith paid off.  As we rounded the row of perfectly even, dark green hedges bordering the property we found Churchill Manor to be everything we dreamed of and more!

We were greeted like family on the wrap around porch of the 1889 mansion and led back in time up a wooden staircase to the beautiful Stags Leap room with a massive king bed, fireplace, large tub, dining area and two person shower.  The staff took care of us and every detail to make our wedding perfect.  Before our arrival we shipped our wedding attire to a recommended cleaner and the they were pressed and waiting in the room.  We also planned our ceremony in advance and decided on flowers, our photo package, and requested blueberry cheesecake for our intimate cake cutting.

On our wedding day, we felt like the only two people there and the Churchill Manor staff ensured complete privacy, even directing new guests to another entrance.  Our wedding took place in front of a beautiful fountain and aptly included a wine blending ceremony.  It was followed by a treat of champagne and cake before we raced off in our own moving reception.

What a perfect start to our happy marriage and the beginning of our many travels.

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