Long drives, Longer Necks and Longest Memories | A California Wedding Experience

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I was so excited when I found out Matthew's cousin, Kaely,  was getting married around my birthday... IN CALIFORNIA! A destination that has been a desire of mine for quite some time! This wedding was the perfect excuse for a birthday vacation, AND I got to check off another state from my bucket list. 

With our wedding is approaching quickly, Matthew and I decided to save as much as we could on the vacation. So, we took a three hour road trip to Raleigh to fly Frontier (low-cost airline) to Las Vegas, where Amanda lives. We made sure to leave early so that we could have a nice dinner before driving to the airport, and ended up dining at a Japanese and Thai fusion restaurant, two of my favorites! A delicious birthday dinner! 

Frontier is not the fanciest airline to fly but we saved about 50%, even with driving three hours and checking bags. Bonus: since Netflix can now be downloaded, we downloaded a few episodes of a show to watch on the flight and which entertained us just fine. 

Finally, we landed in Las Vegas. When we arrived, Amanda and her fiancé Sieun surprised me with a birthday cake and tickets to see KA, a Cirque Du Soleil show, the following night! The next morning, Matthew and I fit in one more workout in before we officially entered vacation mode. The four of us had a nice lunch and ran some errands before getting ready for the show! 

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It was hard to go to sleep that night after such a spectacular performance, but we had an early morning the following day; we were heading to Malibu. Y'all, if you ever go to California, I highly suggest visiting Saddlerock Winery and taking the hike. It was a two mile hike, which may sound like a lot, but the tour guide stops along the way for trivia, photo ops... and STANLEY THE GIRAFFE! I never realized how cute giraffes were before I met (and fed) Stanley!


After the hike, you are shuttled to the winery for a tasting. Amanda and I knew that food wasn't sold, so we packed crackers, cheese and munchies in my picnic backpack (thanks for carrying that Matthew!) We met another couple and the six of us had a blast trying the wines, and laughing the night away. We also realized that we were spending the evening (two tables away) with none other than Efren Ramirez, you may know him as Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite! 

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The following morning was wedding day!! We packed up and drove over to Huntington Beach to relax for a bit before getting ready for the wedding.

At the ceremony, we could see the water from our seats and Kaely created some wonderful DIY that I just loved; I was so impressed with her skills! Her seating chart hung on a moss wall in gold floating frames -- she even wrote the all of the names in white script! Her bridesmaids wore soft, blush chiffon dresses and the boys looked sharp in their blue suits. They stood beneath a wooden arbor draped in chiffon and overflowing with florals.

After the nuptials, we enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres before heading to the reception. The wedding was SO beautiful! Not to mention the bride!!! 

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It was truly a weekend I will never forget. Not only was it amazing to be a guest at the wedding, but the memories I created with my new family are some I will cherish forever!