When I spoke to Stephanie for the first time, it was obvious what kind of wedding this was going to be. Laid back, all about friends and family, and their own kind of traditions. When we arrived at their family farm wedding, we weren’t disappointed – in fact, I drive past this farm daily and have always wanted to stop and photograph there.
Stephanie and James answered a few questions for us about their love story and a bit more about their special venue.
How did you two meet?
We met through our best man Alex in college! We went from hanging out with a group of friends, to gradually only in the company of three or four other friends, then eventually one on one in the woods of Saint Mary College. We happened to have classes together and spent more time alone over Sophomore semester. After an attempt to share his feelings with Stephanie going straight over her head, James gathered himself and bluntly asked her out!
Tell us the awesome proposal details.
Over the past nine years, we grew together and gone through thick and thin, small and large, together. The path wasn’t always straight or easy, but we walked it together. After eight years of laughing together, Stephanie decided to take the next step and ask James to marry her!
Originally, Stephanie envisioned popping the question in the Berkeley Botanical Garden’s Rose Quarter overlooking the Bay, champagne on ice and a half-hidden friend snagging photos discretely from a bush. After two months of quietly planning and internal panicking, the day came when Stephanie casually asked James if he felt up for a trip to the botanical garden. After careful consideration, he told me…. no.
Well, it turns out after all the careful planning, she forgot one crucial detail- checking if there was a Berkeley football game. Games effectively shut down the entire city, including the street leading to the gardens. Defeated, Stephanie went to her phone to cancel plans, internally cry, and curse the game that is football. James saw her go from a bubbly, sweaty-faced queen to a cursing, sweatier-faced madwoman. He asked what she wanted to do instead, she angrily responded “Whatever. Your call. I don’t know”.
So what does he do? He surprises her with a trip to Napa. What a man!! They went to the best brunch spot in Napa, and casually tour through St Helena. Before heading home, they visit a quaint and small vineyard and winery called Honig.
They strolled in, ordered a bottle of their best, and settled down to watch hawks glide across the vast sky. While chatting about the lovely surprise trip, brunch, and pretending to be wine savvy, Stephanie realizes this impromptu and wild moment from an abrupt change of plans was as close to perfect as one could ask for. So, with some stammering and nervous laughing (and a light amount of swearing) was out of the way, I gathered myself and… well, the rest is history!
Is there a special reason you chose your venue?
This particular venue is the Schwarzmiller Farm, formerly Sleepy Hollow Farm. This location has been farmed by the Schwarzmiller family since 1903. Stephanie is part of the sixth generation of Schwarzmillers getting hitched at the 82-acre farm. Her brother and SIL married here a few years ago, as did their cousins, aunts, mother, and other relatives.
Any fun DIY pieces or special things planned?
All of the beef being served was sourced at the family farm.
What is your most anticipated moment of your wedding day?
Stephanie: Kissing James of course! Any excuse to is perfect for me! I am also so happy to have close family and friends come together from all around the state to celebrate our union and be with each other.
James: Uhhhh, everything.
If we ran into you on a relaxed weekend, what would you be doing?
James: Wandering a farmer’s market with a coffee in hand.
Stephanie: Ditto. Making him hold my other hand.