Happy Fake-Aversary

DAY-OF POST! Appropriately released on the one-year anniversary of The Fun Wedding (and one day before my birthday – and since it’s my birthday, I can cry talk about my wedding if I want to).

I do want to quickly express how majorly thankful I am that we got married in 2019 rather than 2020; V. Sattui Winery is currently closed, and I have several friends who’ve had to postpone their weddings because of the virus. That is truly heartbreaking because the build-up to a wedding is so fun and so full of anticipation…I can’t imagine the stress associating with rebooking everything. I’m so sorry if any of you are in that position, and I hope this post & photos restore some excitement about the ultimate resolution!

Morning Of

Ben and I stayed in separate Air B&Bs with our bridesmaids and groomsmen (that was our gift to them – free lodging!), but they were about half an hour from the venue. So the night before, I stayed in a spare bedroom of my parents’ Air B&B because it was only a five-minute walk to the hotel where we’d be getting ready, and Ben and I would stay on the wedding evening.

It didn’t actually matter, because I was SO excited that I hardly slept. I wasn’t supposed to show up for my own hair and make-up until like 9 am, but went at 6:30 for my earliest girls!! We bought a ton of champagne, OJ, and breakfast pastries, and just sat around in our sweats jamming to Beyonce for the entire morning – in a hilarious mishmosh of fancy hair and make-up.

My photographer arrived at 12:45 and took the ‘extra’ photos (of flowers, veils, invites, etc) while I was getting my hair and make-up done.

At this point in the story, I have a confession to make. If you’ve heard the term “Bridezilla,” I would like to think it only applied to me from about 1 to 1:30. You see, I didn’t actually have a hair and make-up trial (stupid ND weather) and just went for it day-of, which is never ever ever a good idea. Of course, my MUA and hair stylist were AMAZING. I just had unreal, pinterest-bred expectations and f r e a k e d out about too-thick lashes and dark make-up (which, in the end, were both easily removed & crisis averted). However, I’m still apologizing to my friends for the incident because they were, quote “scared.”

Sorry, ladies. Thanks for putting up with me!


Ben and I both wanted to knock out as MANY photos as possible pre-wedding so we could enjoy cocktail hour. Our main photographer Elyse came and took pictures of me and my girls, while her assistant went to the guys’ Air BnB to snag photos of them (mostly drinking).

Elyse got great shots of us in regular clothes…

In the bridesmaids dresses, with me in my rehearsal dress…

putting on the wedding dress…

…& in full get-up with my Somethings Blue 💙

I’m truly not over their dresses yet. I still remember lining them up in the Air B n B, stepping back, and laughing at how amazing they looked together. I couldn’t have planned it better!!

Fun fact: My MOH Betsy (the gorgeous one with the dark hair) chose her bridesmaid dress and I loved it so much that I bought it in blush for my rehearsal dinner. We took a few pics with me in it because I LOVED that we matched!! And the best part is, our other friend Bianca (the beautiful blonde pictured below) wore the same dress for her court wedding later that year. Crazy symbolic?? I think so.

First Look

In the spirit of maximum-photos-before-anything-started (and us wanting a few moments alone before the ceremony), Ben and I opted to do a first look. Looking back, I’m still glad we did – it was a nice way to settle some nerves and avoid (most) tears during the ceremony.

The first look also allowed us to take group photos before the actual ceremony, saving even more time afterward! I REALLY did not want these shots to be in standard “prom” formation; instead, we got everyone an empty glass, grabbed two bottles of champagne, and popped them with the camera flashing.

It was SO fun and created some of my favorite pictures. We also knocked out the family photos pre-ceremony. If you look closely, I’m only wearing my engagement ring – the wedding band was still in the Best Man’s car!


Ben and I both wanted to keep the ceremony short, and dedicate most of our time interacting with friends and family. After all, that’s the best part of a fake wedding!!

I worked with our officiant Jim (who was married to our wedding planner Darlene – THE CUTEST) to write our script. Ben and I decided to go fairly traditional with a few personalized details thrown in. My dad walked me down the aisle, and I wanted to start with a small prayer and thanks to our friends and family, mix two wines to include our moms in the ceremony, and include an Apache blessing from our court wedding.

Jim also added a little bit in the end which had everyone tearing up:

And as I am so very privileged to bring you together in marriage today, I have a personal wish for both of you. My wish is that many years from now you are able to look back on your lives together – pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled – and that you are able to look at one another and be able to say: “Because of you, I have lived the life I’ve always wanted to life – because of you, I have become the person I always longed to be.”

And of course, no wedding ceremony is complete without the pronouncement of Husband & Wife, a happy song, and a little confetti!

Cocktail Hour

I wasn’t willing to compromise on this one – Ben and I, plus wedding party, headed IMMEDIATELY for the appetizers. The time flew by, but the appetizers were delicious and it was SO nice to see everyone!!

Sunset Photos

As much as we didn’t want to leave our guests, we are SO GLAD we took these photos!! We took some sans skirt…

and some with the skirt!

First Dance

Our venue had the perfect set-up for our first dance; Ben and I danced swayed around the courtyard (where our ceremony had been) while all our guests were up a level looking on. We chose the song “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur – a more contemporary piece that we felt represented our relationship. Honestly though, if you asked Ben right now what song it was, he would have no idea. That’s alright.

I left the ballgown skirt on for the dance because I LOVED the romantic vibes. After seeing the pictures, I’m so glad I did!!!


After the first dance, Ben and I walked right from the courtyard into the reception – and both our jaws DROPPED. The room was so much more beautiful in person than we ever imagined! We had a traditional head table, but invited our wedding party’s dates to sit with us, and sat everyone on both sides instead of awkwardly looking out at our guests. Then we had two long tables with tall candlesticks in crystal holders, eucalyptus runners, and gorgeous little place cards for each guest. What can I say…my florist was a m a z i n g .

We also opted for a family-style dinner, minimal toasts, and an nontraditional wedding cake; instead of a large tiered wedding cake, we did several small chocolate cakes from a Chicago favorite called Portillos (for more info, check out the previous post: https://rileyv.com/index.php/2020/03/26/the-one-where-they-get-fun-married/).

And of course, no reception is complete without a few “extras.” We set up a photo booth with Polaroid cameras and had a mini-doughnut machine…you know, just in case somebody didn’t like chocolate cake. As you can see, they were a bit hit!!


AND THEN WE DANCED! Like the ceremony, we kept it simple with no special dances and no formal exit. Our wonderful DJ started the dance portion off with a huge group hug, which I LOVED, and then blasted Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” to start things off.

Ben’s Best Man also gave us an amazing piece of advice, which was to just take a second to be alone during the reception. At one point, we snuck out of the barrel room and did a lap around the venue – and it was one of my favorite parts of the night. The weather was gorgeous and for ten minutes, it was just us, hand-in-hand and soaking it all in.


The official party ended around 10:30, by which time we were happily intoxicated, flushed with happiness, and ready to continue the party in downtown Napa. We ended with a rousing rendition of “Take Me Home Tonight” before everyone trooped out, heading for ubers or the wedding party’s Party Bus. Our poor bus driver was not the biggest fan of us.

Our “fun” wedding was every bit as beautiful, delicious, and hilarious as we could have hoped. But the one thing I didn’t anticipate was the insane joy that comes with having everyone you love in one place, in one room – it was a bit heartbreaking to realize that would never happen again. But the time we had was so incredible that I didn’t stay sad for long (Ben was a different story). Every time I look at these photos, it brings the joy back all over again.

Plus, we can order chocolate cake every year for our fake-aversary so…what more could we ask for?

1 thought on “Happy Fake-Aversary”

  1. It was the most perfect love filled day!!!!! Happy Anniversary!!! We love you both so much!!!!

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