By Mariah Kline
Photos by Christina McNeill
Following an uncommon proposal and a laid-back engagement, Aaron Yarmuth and Sarah Tate wed in Napa, California, on June 2. With 71 of their closest friends and family members, the two spent an unforgettable weekend celebrating their love in wine country. Before taking off for their honeymoon in Italy, the newlyweds sat down with us to talk about the big day.
In April 2017, the couple planned a trip to Washington D.C. to attend the March for Science; meanwhile, Aaron planned a proposal. On April 22, a rainy Earth Day, he popped the question at the end of the march in a small park outside of the Capitol Building.
From the beginning of their engagement, Sarah and Aaron agreed that they would rather have a small celebration than a large, ballroom-style wedding.
“Neither he nor I was very comfortable with a big, formal, check-all-the-boxes wedding,” Sarah explained. “The entire idea was to just host a cocktail party where everyone has fun, and then we get married during part of it, but we’re not the sole focus of the day.”
Instead of a traditional bachelorette party prior to the wedding, Sarah’s aunt, Mindy Jacoway, hosted a girls’ weekend in Nashville for the bride-to-be. Aaron’s aunt, Fran Yarmuth, co-hosted the couple’s engagement party along with family members and friends, including William “Bill” and Susan Yarmuth, Bob and Judy Yarmuth, Steve and Terri Bass and Kathy Hensley and Phillip Koenig. Their “shower,” which was held at the Omni Hotel, was organized by Aaron’s mother, Cathy Yarmuth, and her sisters Debbie Campbell and Barbara Culbreth. The couple put together a list of nonprofits they were passionate about supporting and requested that loved ones make donations to the causes rather than buying them gifts.
After deciding to marry out of state – since a Louisville ceremony would mean an astronomical guest list – the pair booked a venue in Napa. Carneros Resort & Spa, where Aaron had spent his 30th birthday, became the picturesque backdrop for their wedding.
During the planning process, Aaron’s mother, Cathy Yarmuth, proved to be an incredible help since she has a great deal of experience with event planning. They also hired Cole Drake Events in Napa to assist in the final six months before the big day. Sarah, who admits she is not a fan of shopping, found her gown at Couture Closet in La Grange after less than two hours of trying on dresses.
When their design company, Rion Designs, learned that the bride and groom wanted a more relaxed affair, the team got creative with seating arrangements and decor. Instead of traditional rows of hardback chairs, attendees sat in lounge areas and stood at tall tables during the ceremony. The overall aesthetic of the setting, with understated floral arrangements and decorations, complemented the already-gorgeous wine-country setting.
For their rehearsal dinner, the party went off site to Tres Sabores Winery. The evening took place in a cozy, campfire setting with live-fire paella as the winery owners’ dogs ran about. The low-key atmosphere served as the perfect prelude to the following day’s nuptials.
On the big day, guests mingled during a cocktail hour prior to the ceremony, which was eloquently officiated by Aaron’s uncle, William Yarmuth. Rather than a large wedding party, the pair chose just two people to stand beside them: Sarah’s sister, Natalie Tate, served as her maid of honor and Aaron’s father, John Yarmuth, served as his best man. Following the vows, guests had another short recess while Sarah and Aaron sat in a nearby library on the property to catch their breath after the chaotic day.
“It was probably my favorite part of the day,” Sarah said. “The Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup game was going on, so we sat and watched that on his phone. It was so hot that day, so it was just a nice 20 minutes to hang out and get your legs back under you because everything during the day just moves so quickly.”
“Watching the Capitals win 2-1 was one of my favorite parts of the day,” Aaron joked. “Actually, the thing I really enjoyed was having the opportunity to spend some quality time with smaller groups of people. We didn’t talk about it beforehand, but it was just implicit that Sarah and I didn’t really want to be the center of attention or have it all about us. We were just forcing people to go out to California, and we wanted them to have a really good time.”
For dinner, Carneros’ restaurant prepared three exquisite entrees: Jidori chicken, California white sea bass and mushroom risotto, all of which were paired with a variety of wines. In addition to a normal bar, the couple also arranged a bourbon-only bar with a specially-curated selection of difficult-to-find spirits. The fathers of both the bride and the groom gave touching toasts The night ended in an unbelievable dance party with Flashdance DJs.
As for advice they would give to those currently planning their big day, Sarah and Aaron agreed that pleasing others should not be a priority.
“Don’t feel tied down by the things you perceive as being obligated to do,” said Sarah.
“If you feel like you have to cater to someone else’s wants or expectations, it’s going to be miserable process,” Aaron agreed. “Just scale it back and have fun.”
Talking with the couple as they sit side by side, it’s easy to see how they ended up together. Passing witty remarks back and forth, finishing each other’s sentences and laughing at one another’s jokes appears to be commonplace. Though some closest to him (including his parents) once worried he’d be a lifelong bachelor, it’s now clear that Aaron has found his match. VT
Wedding Gown: Couture Closet, La Grange
Suits: Hugo Boss from Neiman Marcus
Bridesmaids Dress: Impressions Boutique
Hair + Makeup: The Makeup Dolls, San Francisco
Decor and Flowers: Rion Designs, San Francisco
Catering: Carneros Resort & Spa
Photography: Christina McNeill
Band and DJ: Wine Country Entertainment and Flashdance DJs
Transportation: Pure Luxury Transportation, California
Venue: Carneros Resort & Spa
Officiant: William “Bill” Yarmuth
Rings: Blue Nile
Invitations: Yonder Design, San Francisco