Like real estate, when it comes to planning a wedding or elopement, it’s all about location, location, location. My clients, Wisconsin-natives Amanda Kastner and Justin Ippoliti, understood the assignment. Maybe that’s because Justin is a real estate agent! In fall of 2021, they slipped away to wine country California for an intimate Geyserville Inn wedding.
This secluded Sonoma Wine Country elopement destination is located between Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. Imagine saying “I do” in a vineyard-view garden with the Mayacamas Mountains as your backdrop. Geyserville Inn is a Sonoma County wedding photographer’s dream come true. Don’t believe me? Geyserville Inn was selected by “Here Comes the Guide” as one of the top 30 elopement venues in the United States in 2021.
Whether you are recently engaged or adjusting your wedding plans due to the ongoing pandemic, don’t underestimate the pure romance of an elopement. With over a decade of Sonoma County wedding photographer experience under my belt, I can honestly say that weddings are not “one size fits all.” For some of my couples, the time and stress that goes into planning a traditional wedding are not desirable. Elopement weddings are an equally as romantic and intimate way to celebrate you and your partner’s love.
“We wanted our day to be just us, focused on a one-of-a-kind love that had been cultivated and curated by years of authentic connection,” says Amanda. “We wanted none of that lost in a day that can become extremely busy if going with a more traditional set of wedding guidelines.”
Geyserville Inn understands this and that’s why they offer an all-inclusive elopement package. Amanda and Justin were swept off their feet by the wisteria-covered pergola, spacious lawns, luscious landscaping and vineyard views at Geyserville Inn.
Keep scrolling to read more about Amanda and Justin’s love story and Geyserville Inn elopement.
When Justin and Amanda decided to elope, they started by discussing the vibe that they wanted for their elopement and their vacation. It’s not often that these two get time away from their four kiddos under the age of nine. They looked at city destinations and tropical locations, before stumbling upon Geyserville Inn on Instagram.
“I knew it was the place for us,” says Amanda. “It was a small, but charming and beautiful place that checked a lot of the desires we had for our time away (semi-secluded, great weather but with hints of fall colors, beautiful scenery and some fun dining and shopping). We had never explored CA before together, so it was also exciting in that respect. After booking Geyserville Inn, I was doing some research about the town, and saw that it has some fun ties to Italian heritage, which was very fitting for my Italian-blooded fiancé! A great sign.”
After finding their California elopement destination, Justin and Amanda set their sights on booking a wine country wedding photographer. At first, they were overwhelmed by the options. Amanda approached Alicia about capturing their Geyserville Inn elopement after “stalking” Alicia Parks Photography images online. Upon doing so, she was met with sincere kindness and excitement.
“I knew [Alicia Parks Photography] was the person to entrust with the images of our elopement,” explains Amanda. “Since it would be just my fiancé and I in attendance, beautiful images that told our unique story was a true priority. I wan
ted our images to not only reflect the concrete and formal details of the day, but also showcase the love in the exchange that we’d eventually be able to share with our friends and family. Alicia’s images were breathtaking and professional and I still get butterflies when I look at them. I’m so thankful for her artistry and sweet and genuine personality.”
Justin and Amanda met for the first time in November 2014. Interestingly enough, Justin sold Amanda her very first house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! The “Wisconsinites” connected over their mutual love of Milwaukee, dining at fun restaurants and enjoying live music.
On their first date, they spent several hours sipping lattes, playing sudoku and talking at a local coffee shop. As Amanda drove home from the date she realized that she couldn’t wait to see Justin again.
In December of 2020, Justin was ready to ask Amanda to spend the rest of her life with him. So, he purchased a 1920s antique engagement ring from an online retailer based in the Pacific Northwest.
Then, the groom-to-be’s worst nightmare happened. Amanda accidentally opened the package when the engagement ring arrived at their front door! Justin was admittedly disappointed that his surprise proposal didn’t go as planned, but he found the right words to say in the moment.
Justin said to Amanda, “You deserve a ring that is as rare as our love and as beautiful as you.”
How romantic is that? In her shock and joy, Amanda said yes.
I am so happy that I got to document Amanda and Justin’s Geyserville Inn wedding elopement. They have a pure love and it’s obvious how much joy they give one another. They were so determined to tie the knot that they didn’t tell their kids about their secret Geyserville Inn elopement plans! What a sweet and spontaneous escape to love.
These days, you can find Amanda and Justin attending Milwaukee Bucks basketball games or snuggled up on the couch watching tv with stove-top popcorn after the kiddos have gone to sleep.
Amanda and Justin picked the perfect Northern California Wine Country hotel and venue for their elopement. From the wisteria-covered pergola to the mountain views, this family-owned inn has the awe power of a destination resort without the clamor of tourists. Guests at Geyserville Inn receive AAA-rated quality and service.
Although Amanda and Justin tied the knot solo, Geyserville Inn can comfortably accommodate the guests of larger weddings or elopements (up to 200 guests). There’s even an on-site catering team via the Geyserville Grille. The recently renovated restaurant features interior design by Neva Freeman of Neva B Interior Design in Santa Rosa. Or, guests can choose to dine outside under the breathtaking branches of oak trees.
Where are my winos? You’ll want to visit Geyserville Inn’s Duo Tasting Room. Experience a rustic-romantic ambiance as you sip spirits from two artisan wineries: Tonti Family Wines and Etrusca Wines.
Geyserville Inn wedding or elopement couples receive a choice of three luxury suites that are set apart from the main building. Each suite features a private entrance and patio or deck, plus incredible vineyard views. Cozy up next to the fireplace as newlyweds or unwind in a jetted tub.
If you’re an adventurous couple who likes to try new things, I recommend checking out Geyserville Inn’s nearby attractions. Schedule a stargazing tour with local brothers Dan and Bill Gordon or explore Sonoma County on horseback at The Ranch at Lake Sonoma.
The closest airport to Geyserville Inn is Santa Rosa (a 20-minute drive away). The San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport are approximately 90 miles away from the hotel (1-hour and 45-minute drive away).
On the day of their elopement, Justin and Amanda woke up from a nourishing night of kid-free rest to a gourmet breakfast. They spent the entire day relaxing together until it was time to get ready for the ceremony. Justin wore a classic dark gray suit with a light gray tie. Amanda wore an ivory taffeta gown with a plunging neckline. Together, the pair had a timeless, elegant style.
“The thing we often reflect on when we’re asked about the day is that we were able to spend our entire wedding day together … Everything we did, we did together. It was such a beautiful way to move through a wedding day.” – Amanda
Their intimate elopement ceremony and first dance were emotional and touching. At sunset, the newlyweds basked in the glow of twinkle lights while enjoying a four-course dinner and wine pairing on the lawn of Geyserville Inn.
Justin and Amanda have discussed making it a tradition to return to Geyserville Inn every year to celebrate their anniversary!
It was an honor to document Amanda and Justin’s Geyserville Inn elopement. I’m so thankful that they chose me to be their Sonoma County wedding photographer. Afterward, Amanda gave me one of the kindest reviews I’ve ever received.
“Aaron Siskind once said, “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” Alicia Parks Photography caught every grand and small detail of our wedding day. The glances meant for one another, the soft touches. She caught the twirls and dips of the first dance and the magnificent first kiss. She made us feel comfortable in front of the camera, like we were working with an old friend. And when years have passed, and we reflect on our special day with our grandchildren, they’ll see the images that Alicia so thoughtfully and beautifully captured and the details of the day will come rushing back. For that, and so much more, we are incredibly thankful for her skill, passion and kindness. Book Alicia to capture your memories as you’re making them!”
Looking for a Sonoma County photographer to capture your wedding or elopement? Click here to learn more about the services I offer.
Alicia Parks Photography