I think there are fewer things in life more romantic that a villa in Napa Valley…make that a private villa. Oh yes, you read that right! Mike and Kim tied the knot under the California stars and celebrated their love with a beautiful reception, great friends and of course — plenty of delicious wine! Kim left no detail untouched with a huge amount DIY projects that will get your inner craft-diva ready to go. She also offers great insight into wedding planning, and keep perspective during the commotion leading up to the big day — don’t miss out on the interview questions! All of gorgeous pictures are compliments of San Francisco, CA wedding photographer Stacey Ann.
Can you give us an overview of the event? An outdoor wedding at a private Tuscan inspired villa in Napa Valley.
Describe your wedding in one-two sentences so that someone who didn’t attend can envision it. Somewhere between Napa Valley and Healdsburg, at the end of a long dirt road lined with grape vines, there lies a beautiful Tuscan Villa where Mike Murphy and Kimberly Clark recited their marriage vows. Along with close friends and family, they started their night with a live band before sitting down to eat a delicious feast that was then followed by a rockin’ dance party nobody wanted to stop!
Was there a specific theme or style? Inspired by our environment, we started off with an Italian themed wedding. As we got closer to the Big Day, we found our theme changing from Vintage Italian to Unique and Eclectic, which fit our personalities and told a more accurate story of who we are as a couple.
We want to know about all the wedding details. Was it small and intimate or big and traditional? We did not have a large wedding being that all of our family members and most of our friends live out of town. We definitely did not have a traditional wedding either. My mom walked me down the aisle, we partied at the cocktail party with our guests, we did not have a large cake. We did things our way and made our wedding descriptive of who we are and what we believe in… having fun!
What inspired the theme or style? Our venue was unique. It wasn’t your typical church or hotel or ballroom. It was a private outdoor setting next to a Tuscan inspired villa. The villa was surrounded by lush greenery, flowers, herbs and several acres of vineyards. It was a piece of heaven reserved just for us on the day that would mark the beginning of the rest of our lives.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore. For many girls it’s all about “The Dress”, but I just could not bring myself to blow my budget on a gown I would wear one time for a few hours. I purchased my gown from a Brides Against Breast Cancer event. The money from my purchase went to help women with Stage Four cancer. I felt good about my purchase and when the train ripped on the pebble path walking to the altar, I wasn’t too upset because I knew the money still went to good use. My wedding dress wasn’t intricate, but it was romantic and ethereal. It was perfect for an outdoor wedding and I felt very comfortable in it. I only wore the dress for the wedding. I wanted to be able to dance at the reception and not have to worry about caring the train, so I switched into a short white party dress after the ceremony. I switched out my accessories and hair piece as well to compliment the playful style of the cocktail dress.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique? We are lucky in that we have very talented friends. We had a friend play acoustic music on his guitar as the guests arrived and as we walked down the aisle. After the ceremony, this same friend joined by his band members provided a lively blending of rock, blues, reggae and funk for the cocktail hour. Another friend, created these amazing hand painted, vintage signs for us out of an old church pew. They were so unique and beautiful. My favorite was the sign that our ring bearer carried around his neck as he walked down the aisle. It said “Here Comes the Bride” and it was painted on a large heart. He wasn’t very happy about it, but it was adorable! One of my favorite twists was our specialty cocktails, which were a play on our name and the cocktails we crafted. The “Mike-A-Rita” was a habanero infused tequila served in a rocks glass. We infused the tequila ourselves and it was spicy! The “Kim-tini” was made by mixing Black Tea vodka and ginger ale. This drink was a hit and went very fast on a hot summer day in Napa!
Did you DIY any of the details? Oh yes, and maybe too much DIY! We had a few parties before the wedding which we deemed the “Crafts & Crap” party. I brought wine and hors d’oeuvres and guests came prepared with glue guns,scissors and creative ideas. We made center pieces and rustic hanging lanterns for the trees out of mason jars. We stuffed the jars with moss and placed an electric flickering candle inside, then tied them with pretty ribbons. We “went green” and designed our own napkin rings out of used corks by simply drilling a hole through the cork and tying a ribbon around the napkin. We also recycled our unused invitations to create our menus and programs. It was a lot of fun but stressful to pull it all together. If you choose this route make sure you have a specific direction or idea of what you want, creative friends to make it happen and a lot of time to execute everything!
What was the most memorable moment? It is hard to name just one memorable moment. Having family and friends, some we had not seen for years, all together in one place was special within itself. For Mike, seeing his father breakdance was a highlight and for me hearing the poem my mom wrote for Mike and I as her wedding speech, touched my heart. Together as a couple, we were both surprised at how special the ceremony turned out. Honestly, it was the one thing we put the least amount of effort into (and by that I mean stress), but it was magical and it was unique to us. We exchanged our own heartfelt vows and even incorporated a “wine ceremony” which was collaboration of ideas from our officiant and us. We had each of our mothers come up to the altar and pour wine from a decanter into one glass, which Mike and I drank. This was intended to simulate the blending of our two families becoming one.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event? Other than the food and wine, the entertainment was the most important aspect of the party to us. We wanted guests to hit the dance floor after dinner and never leave and that is exactly what happened! The band we had play at the cocktail party, Dogman Joe, really set the tone for the night. They were upbeat and fun and they got everyone in the mood to party. Our DJ, Bart was amazing too. We really loved his personality and style. He was in control of the evenings events and kept us on queue, but wasn’t pushy or invasive. We sent him an extensive play list and he played everything! Our guests loved their experience and one even asked if he would travel from California to Seattle to play at her wedding.In my opinion a DJ is a must have for any great event. A lot of people are switching to their iPods and iPhones for their music, but this just isn’t the same. You need a personality, someone on the mic to get you excited and keep the party on track.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be? I would make a check list of everything that needed to be completed or brought with us for the
wedding. In other words I would get more organized and I would ensure that everything was completely ready at least two weeks in advance. Mike and I were scrambling around the day of the
wedding, up until the minute we hit the dance floor. If you ask anyone in our bridal party how they would describe our wedding, they would tell you it was amazingly beautiful, fun and HECTIC!
What was the best wedding advice you received? Enjoy the moment. Don’t over think it and don’t get hung up on the little things. In the end it is about the union of two friends becoming life time partners
Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever? Mike and I meet in Hoboken, NJ in 2006. Shortly before we met, Mike had moved from Massachusettes to the Big Apple to see what great opportunities he could find there. Around the same time, I was offered a job as the Event Coordinator in Midtown Manhattan, so I moved from Phoenix where I had been living. We both moved on a whim without having any friends in the area, so we went out a lot trying to meet people. One fateful Tuesday night we both ended up in the same bar. It was called Madison’s and Tuesday was popular for half price martinis. I was dragged to the bar by my new roommate who went to meet a guy she had been seeing, awkwardly making me the third wheel. Just when I was thinking about heading home, up walked a friend of my roommates date… queue Mike. He was there on his own and we were instantly paired up. We hit it off right away! Several “Desperate House Wives” and “Sex in the City” cocktails later we exchanged numbers. And thus, our story began.
What were the honeymoon plans? We really wanted to go to Italy, but our pockets were empty after the wedding expenses, so we chose to have a more relaxing and low key honeymoon in Hawaii. We started in Maui where we first relaxed on the beach, ate local seafood and pampered ourselves with hotel upgrades and breakfast on the terrace overlooking the ocean. After a few days of bliss we got more adventurous and went scuba diving with huge endangered turtles and sharks. We rented a jeep and drove the Road to Hana. Where we ate fresh coconuts, swam in the Sacred Pools and swung on vines like Tarzan (I don’t recommend this, they break!). Towards the end of our stay we visited friends on Oahu where we experienced life “local kine” or Hawaiian style. We had such a great time that we even missed our flight home and had to stay another night!