Pacific Oaks Vineyard Estate is an ideal location for weddings. You really have to see it to understand. You’d also have to meet Judy, the owner, who is very sweet and easy to work with. She is at least half of what makes the location so ideal. Her husband is a Southerner (like me, he is from South Carolina) and the property is a blend of California natural beauty and Southern architectural charm.
There’s a vineyard, of course, that slopes down a hill to catch the light of the setting sun in quite a romantic way. It’s a real functioning vineyard with a small winery attached to it; at our initial tour of the place, Judy gave us each a sample bottle of her wine. (I drank it with my sister Esther later that evening. It was delicious.) Behind the main house is a ceremony garden with a lush green lawn, and in front of it, huge oak trees and redwood benches. The two large decks are ideal for gathering people and staging events like cake-cutting, bouquet-tossing, and the like. A cheerfully yellow guest room is provided for brides to use in getting ready, mere steps away from the entrance to the ceremony garden. The property is immaculately kept and lovingly tended, and everything is laid out to make the logistics of a wedding day simpler and smoother.
The interior space is not available for weddings, but we got to see it when we scoped out the location. That pool house is amazing! I must say it would be pretty great to get married in that pool. I’d make all the guests take their places in rows in the shallow end, and I’d float down the aisle to the deep end on an inflatable giraffe. We’d make use of the great acoustics in that room by shouting our vows at top volume. Somebody (the aforementioned very talented musician sister Esther?) would cannonball into the pool and then play love songs on the panflute. It would be magical.
But this isn’t about me and my fictional love story, it’s about Jill and Chase and their very real one. They timed their ceremony perfectly. The golden hour was almost upon us when the ceremony ended and we started walking around taking portraits. At Pacific Oaks there are lots of intimate little nooks, great for posing and even better for kissing. We encouraged Jill and Chase to take full advantage of this.
We were pleasantly surprised to encounter some friendly young chickens in the vineyard. Chickens again! One of our favorite wedding shots of all time involves chickens; you can see it in this earlier post. These chickens must be treated well and given everything a chicken could ask for in this life. They followed us around and seemed to want us to pick them up. One of them did try to steal Jill’s ring, but who could blame the chicken? It’s a nice ring!