The Five Elements Every Bride Should Carry With Her On Her Wedding Day

We all know the saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

Many brides have scrambled at the 11th hour of their wedding countdown to find just the right items to keep true to this old English tradition. The five elements are considered tokens of good fortune for the bride to carry on her wedding day. Originating from a charming Victorian rhyme, these small personal treasures are typically unique to each bride and rarely obvious to anyone but those who know and love her most.

The meaning behind the symbols

Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for love, and fidelity (usually in the form of an item from a friend or family member in a good marriage); and a sixpence in the bride’s shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.

Most modern brides happily keep up this tradition, because they still value vintage items and ideas. This may be partly due to a desire to hold onto something timeless, to grow together as a couple while creating their own timeless mementos.

As is the case in many wedding traditions, this one has its roots in superstition. Even if you are not a believer in luck, this tradition is a fun one to follow as it allows us to think about some of the symbolism involved. This tradition also helps to bridge the generations and bring a bride into a closer relationship with friends and relatives who help provide these five elements.

Fun ideas to inspire the bride…

  • Something Old: A great way to incorporate something old into your wedding is simply going vintage. Use a vintage veil, wedding dress, or even a wedding garter. There are quite a few ‘old’ items that you can stylishly incorporate into your wedding look. Many brides keep things traditional by wearing their mother’s or grandmother’s gems on the big day as it is both sentimental and practical. Or use a photo locket to display antique photos of loved ones that are no longer with you or couldn’t attend your big day.
  • Something New:  Whether it’s a gift to yourself or from someone else, accessories are the best way to add something new to your wedding. Try having champagne flutes monogrammed with your initials and use them at your wedding to toast to your future as husband and wife. Or have your wedding invitation engraved on a plate from Tiffany’s to display in your dining room. A bride’s wedding gown or jewelry is often chosen as the “new” item, conveying the message that the couple is creating a union that will endure forever.
  • Something Borrowed: Borrowing is so easy, especially if you have friends and family with great fashion sense. To help expand it from the wedding garments, try borrowing something simple such a beautiful pen for your wedding guest book or a gift box for your gift table. Traditional church-length veils make for a wonderful “something borrowed” as they’re a good classic item that never goes out of style. For the modern bride, a vintage clutch (from a mother or grandmother) can bring a little flare and sophistication to her wedding-day look.
  • Something Blue: There are some really gorgeous wedding garters that incorporate blue ribbons, or come completely blue. Great for the bride who doesn’t have blue in their wedding theme and would like to hide their something blue. Or use blue stitching to have your wedding date and initials monogrammed on the inside of your veil or dress.
  • A Sixpence: Traditionally this was given to the bride to keep in her left shoe on the day of the wedding to symbolize great wealth for her and her future husband. Unfortunately this British coin is no longer in circulation, but faux sixpences can be ordered online from David’s Bridal ( and a handful of other sites for brides willing to go that extra mile. Instead of wearing it in your shoe, try having a hole made in the coin and thread it onto a strand of pearls to wrap around your bouquet.

Whether or not you believe in superstition, this tradition can add layers of fun and intrigue to your wedding day. Start planning early, and generate all the good fortune you can muster.

When It Comes To Finding That Perfect Wine — Yes, There’s An App For That

All wines can be organized into five fundamental groups — red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified. But within each group there are hundreds of different grape varieties (an estimated 10,000 around the world) and winemaking styles.

It can become confusing to say the least. But in our modern world there’s an app for everything — including for wine. There are numerous mobile apps out there that can help you make sense of the most arcane terms and find the right wine and food pairings for every occasion.

Today, thanks to tablets and smartphones, we have our very own portable sommelier, wine encyclopedia, tasting-note database and price-comparison chart in our pockets.

There are literally hundreds of apps, from individual producers, importers and critics to educational apps and price-comparison versions such as the soon-to-be-released Wine Owners (, which allows collectors to value their wine cellar on its database.

When it comes to straight-up wine information, two San Francisco-based companies lead the way. Vivino (free; and Delectable (free; both allow the user snap a photo of a wine label and instantly obtain information about the wine, including ratings and descriptions. You can also add your own notes and descriptions.

Their follow features allow users to see (and like and comment on) the bottles others are drinking, and each has an easy portal to Instagram.

For the wine-loving restaurant fan, some apps offer everything one could possibly need to navigate their way around a wine list. Take, for example, Raisinable (free; ), which compares the price of a wine on a restaurant list to its retail price. Similarly aimed at the beginner, the app Plonk (free; includes an overview of grape varieties, wine styles, food pairings and country guides — and offers an audible pronunciation feature.

Here are a few other interesting wine-related apps:

  • Wine-Searcher (free; takes its wine price-comparison website and translates it into an easy-to-use app. By tracking the lists of thousands of wine merchants, it provides a reliable database for buying wine. But where it really excels is in price comparison and helping you navigate the best places to buy a particular bottle.
  • Hello Vino (free; is designed to as a personal wine assistant for the everyday wine buyer, suggesting the best wines to pair with food. Users can snap pictures of their purchases and add notes to their favorites. The app’s extensive wine guide allows users to read up on wine and grape varieties as well. A new feature on the iPhone app allows users to call a California-based wine concierge for advice when looking for the best wine.
  • Drync (free; allows oenophiles to snap pictures of a wine label to quickly bring up its availability, price, tasting notes, descriptions and ratings within a 1.7-million bottle database. Users can track their favorite wines and even order them online with the app, and discover new wines based on their friends’ recommendations or the app’s own discovery engine.

Delaying That “First Look” Can Create Magical Wedding Day Moments

The moment when a bride and groom see each other for the first time on their wedding day is fraught with emotion, and invariably leads to plenty of hugs and happy tears.


While some couples ignore old superstitions and don’t mind seeing each other before the ceremony (this avoidance started when marriages were arranged by families as a business transaction), others still prefer to make the day more exciting and memorable by waiting.

For Austin Callahan and Ryan Ramones, their “first look” during their April wedding at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley will never be forgotten.

“I’ll never forget when he turned around, tears filled both of our eyes and we couldn’t stop embracing one another,” Austin said. “It was one of the most intimate, magical and honest moments of my life. Also being able to walk amongst the golden fields together after our ceremony was one of the most romantic moments of my life. It was just us and the sun setting creating golden light all around us in the sky.”

When Austin and Ryan stepped onto the Holman Ranch property, they knew it was the perfect place to hold their ceremony.

“Its beautiful landscape and how it has the ability to create such an atmosphere of love and romance was all-consuming,” she said. “Carmel is one of our favorite places in the world, and we wanted to share it with our closest family and friends.”

Another special moment was when they honored Austin’s late father and grandmother and Ryan’s late grandfather by releasing a single dove. “It signified them returning home like the dove did,” Austin said.

Austin and Ryan met while working together, and quickly became friends. “We found our extraordinary love in an ordinary place,” she said.

They had their first date at Newport Beach in Southern California. “We strolled along the pier and had our first kiss there,” Austin said. “We knew this was it.”

Ryan proposed above the city of San Francisco at Twin Peaks as the sun was setting.

“My best friends took me up to the spot and when I got there my mom was at the top with Ryan, who got down on one knee and asked for my forever,” Austin said.

The magic continued into the wedding ceremony.

“Our day couldn’t have been more perfect,” she said. “We honestly walked away saying to one another that we wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

The one piece of advice they’d give to other couples? “Focus on the love that you share and that you are committing to the love of your life.”

And delay that wedding-day “first look” for as long as you can.


Other Vendors:

Wedding Planner: Allison Silber

Caterer: Paradise Catering

Photographer: Jasmine Lee Photography

Videographer: Josh Harney Productions

DJ/Band/Musicians: Jon Belmont Entertainment

Bakery: Freedom Bakery

Hair and Makeup: Blush Makeup Studio Monterey

Signage: Bright Room Studios

Forget The Wine Coolers Of The 80’s – You Want To Celebrate Summer With A Traditional Wine Spritzer…

A wine spritzer is a cool, refreshing and delicious cocktail to have during the hot summer months — a drink worlds away from those insipidly sweet, bottled wine coolers that took America by storm in the 1980s.

With apologies to Mr. Bartles and Mr. Jaymes, the folksy pair who appeared in those memorable TV commercials, that beverage (and others like it) was made with blends of cheap, industrial white wine and artificial flavors released by major wine houses.

The wine cooler was actually a play on the wine spritzer, the original homemade wine cooler made with white wine (a dry chardonnay or a pinot grigio), soda water and fruit.

A spritzer can be a refreshing drink for an outdoor summer party or barbeque. It’s also an excellent (and delicious) way to bluff your way through cocktail hour because it’s often light, delicate and low on alcohol.

The wine spritzer is a summer staple from a simpler time. It’s rumored that Hungarian author András Fáy invented the drink in 1842 when he combined soda water (a wildly popular drink back then) with wine from his cellar during a party.

Other historians insist that Austria invented the drink, and the Italians improved on it (by added Prosecco) during the time when Venice was under the occupation of the Austrian empire. Today in many regions of Italy, especially Venice and its surrounding areas, a spritz is a popular, light cocktail with a mix of sparkling white wine (Prosecco), sparkling water, and Aperol, bitter Campari or other colored aperitifs.

Today, the spritzer is in vogue once again, making a comeback at garden parties across the nation, and even on the TV show “Shark Tank,” where a new product Bon Affair was recently funded. And there’s good reason: When done well, the wine spritzer is one of the most perfect libations for a hot summer’s day of outdoor sipping.

Before delving into more complicated wine spritzer recipes, it’s important to know how to make a classic white wine spritzer. It’s really easy — you just mix one-third cup of club soda with a cup of white wine (a good rule of thumb, regardless of batch size, is three parts wine to one part club soda).

From there you can add fruit and/or sugar; for example mix in a cocktail shaker 5 ounces of good-quality, dry white wine with 2 ounces of soda water, along with two strawberries, a teaspoon of sugar, and crushed ice.

Following are recipes for a modern wine spritzer, and a refreshing Italian spritz from famed chef Mario Batali:

Modern Wine Spritzer

3 oz. aromatic white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling)

1 oz. club soda

Dash of orange or lemon bitters

1 orange or lemon twist

Steps: Pour wine into a glass filled with ice; top off with club soda and bitters. Garnish with orange twist.


Mario Batali’s Aperol Spritz

(Makes 4 cocktails)


1 cup Aperol

2 cups Prosecco

4 slices of orange

4 large green olives (optional)

Steps: Add ¼ cup Aperol to four glasses and fill each with ice. Pour ½ cup Prosecco to each glass, add orange slice and place olive on top with a long toothpick. Serve.


Substituting Olive Oil For Butter Creates Deliciously Moist And Sophisticated Cakes

When it comes to baking secrets, using olive oil in place of butter in cake recipes is deliciously surprising — unless you’re from an olive oil producing country such as Italy, Spain or Portugal. In those countries bakers have known for centuries that extra virgin olive oil produces a sophisticated cake with a crackling crust and a aromatic, oil-rich center, which, if it held any more moisture, would be pudding.

Extra virgin olive oil adds a subtle depth of flavor and richness to cake, which is perfect for vegan baking. The end result is not too sweet, but it still tastes indulgent. And because olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats that protect against heart disease and high cholesterol, we can all feel better about having that extra slice (or three).

Olive oil doesn’t help with leavening, but it does supply moistness. In cakes using butter and shortening, the fat is usually creamed with sugar to aerate the batter. But oil doesn’t hold air bubbles the way a solid fat will, so olive oil cakes get almost all their leavening from other sources, such as baking soda, or whipped egg whites.

Where oil outperforms butter is in its ability to coat flour proteins, which reduces gluten formation and keeps the crumb extra tender. The greased proteins can’t grab water to make gluten, and this means more unbound water is left in the cake, making it quite moist.

The type and quality of the olive oil is up for debate among cooks. Most don’t mind using a more complex, extra-virgin olive oil, knowing that it will add to the cost but also provide a more exotic flavor that people who eat it notice but can’t quite detect. Others prefer the grade that’s simply called “olive oil” (this grade used to be called “pure” or “100-percent pure,” and some producers still label it that way). It’s cheaper and milder than extra-virgin (and some of the flavor nuances that make the best EVOO so special would vanish in the heat of an oven anyway).

Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake


The following recipe was printed in Gourmet magazine back in 2006:

Lemon olive-oil cake

¾ cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan

1 large lemon

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use

¾ cup plus 1½ T. sugar

Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan; parchment paper

Steps: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease springform pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil parchment.

Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1½ tsp. and whisk together with flour. Halve lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1½ T. fresh lemon juice.

Beat together yolks and ½ cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (¾ cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.

Beat egg whites (from 4 eggs) with ½ tsp. salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy, then add ¼ cup sugar a little at a time, beating, and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Transfer batter to springform pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1½ T. sugar. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1¼ hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.

Couple Proves That One Of The Most Important Qualities In A Relationship Is Humor

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine — and that’s certainly true in relationships. Humor plays an important role for couples, from initial attraction to long-term commitment.

For David Blanzy and Katherine Nguyen, laughter brought them together, cemented their relationship and keeps things exciting, fresh and vibrant.

When they first met, David thought Katherine was too bossy. Katherine thought David had too much baggage. At the time, David had been trying to look for a true friend, someone who didn’t just think of him as “Blanzy” the jokester. A mutual friend told him to hang out with Kathy despite his previous opinions of her. One day David decided to drop by her house, but she wasn’t home. Out of pity, she invited him to hang out and run errands together. On that unassuming day, they laughed and bickered like an old couple all day.

David was smitten. She was supposed to be this bossy, arrogant woman. What exactly made her so intriguing?

For Kathy, her feelings didn’t start until a few weeks later when they went apartment hunting for David. Only his close friends know that when driving in a car with David, he will randomly grab the passenger’s leg and scream at the top of his lungs. Kathy was the victim that day. While she was looking outside of the car, reading signs and enjoying the Florida scenery, he made his move. They both screamed like two teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert — and then she burst into nonstop laughter. It was so infectious he couldn’t help but laugh with her for the next 5 minutes.


From that moment on, Kathy had mixed feelings. David was sweet, funny, lighthearted and yet responsible and trustworthy. But he was too old and he had a past. She was confused.

It was only after being dropped off that she realized she didn’t want their day to end. She was sitting in her house as he was driving away and she quickly called him. “I have to go to the pet store, you wanna come with me?” she asked.

Of course he said yes. And that was the beginning.

The couple got engaged in San Francisco on a magical night that saw Blanzy the jokester arrange for three separate couples (friends of friends) to stage fake proposals, first at a restaurant, then during a post-dinner walk and finally at a bonfire at Ocean Beach. Confused as to why so many men were popping the question in front of them, Kathy didn’t make the connection when David dropped to a knee and pulled out a ring.

“It wasn’t until the moment she saw the ring that I understood what was going on,” she said. “I started to cry. David, seeing my tears, felt uneasy. After a long pause I squealed just as the first girl did and said, “Yes!”

David had arranged it all, to lighten the moment and inject humor and romance into the most important night of their lives.

They went on to marry at Holman Ranch in April of 2015, with 130 guests witnessing true love — that started with a laugh.


Other Vendors

Wedding Planner: Jutta Lammerts

Caterer: Paradise Catering

Photographer: Clane Gessel

Videographer: DP Weddings

DJ/Band/Musicians: DNA Entertinament

Bakery: Om Nom Confections

Hair and Makeup ___Beauteme Makeup

Florist: Natasha Kolenko

Lighting and other rentals: Chic Event Rentals

Wedding Dress: Galia Lahav from Kinsley James


American Pharoah Defies The Odds To Prove That Winning The Triple Crown Is Not Unattainable

Each spring for the last 37 years horseracing fans have pondered a vexing question: Is winning the Triple Crown an unattainable achievement for the modern 3-year-old horse?

On June 6 that question was answered with a resounding “no” as American Pharoah led from start to finish to win the Belmont Stakes by 5½ lengths, becoming the first horse since 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes — one of the sporting world’s rarest feats.

To better gauge just how long ago that was, President Obama was a teenager, and Tom Brady had not yet celebrated his first birthday.

Since 1978, a dozen horses — including the likes of Sunday Silence, War Emblem and Smarty Jones — have won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, only to fall short at the Belmont Stakes in New York.

The biggest reason for this is that Belmont Park is huge. More than 100,000 people can watch the race from the grandstands. At 1½ miles long, the track is big, too, and few of the horses in the field have ever run that distance.

Belmont’s size has an effect on the riders’ strategy, too, and many horses run out of energy and speed before they get to the finish line. The track at Belmont is also quite a bit sandier than others (the park’s nickname is The Big Sandy), putting more strain on the horses.

Another reason has to do with race schedules and training. To win the Triple Crown, a horse has to win three tough races at varying distances in just five weeks, but most modern thoroughbreds have never run that kind of taxing schedule. And horses vying for the third leg of the Triple Crown often face more than a few fresher horses that did not race in the first two legs.

 And finally, the last few generations of speed-oriented breeding and the prevalence of medications such as Lasix have resulted in more fragile, injury-prone horses, that do not often boast the bloodlines to run classic distances.

After Citation won the crown in 1948, a quarter-century passed without another Triple Crown champion, leaving many to wonder whether it would ever be done again. That talk stopped in 1973 when Secretariat turned in perhaps the greatest performance in racing history — kicking off a decade in which two more Triple Crown winners would join the club. (Secretariat’s time of 2:24 was nearly three seconds better than American Pharoah’s.

 American Pharoah’s 5½ length victory at Belmont to end the 37-year drought has brought relief to a sport that in many ways was overly consumed by the quest to find the next great one. The bay colt with the unusually short tail covered the distance in 2:26.65 —  and won over the hearts of racing fans.

American Pharoah trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza ended their personal frustrating histories trying to capture the Triple Crown. Baffert finally won on his record fourth try, having lost in 1997, 1998 (by a nose) and in 2002. Espinoza got it done with his record third shot after failing to win in 2002 and last year on California Chrome.

There are many reasons why winning the Triple Crown is the most difficult feat in sports. But American Pharoah proved that an exceptional athlete can transcend all of that. After all, it was never designed to be easy,

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Mariachi Help Bring Bride’s Mexican Culture Into Her Wedding Day

In today’s global world where cross-cultural lifestyles are quite normal, it’s no surprise that more and more marrying couples settle on fun and exciting ways to bring their unique heritage into their wedding day.

For Kristina Garza, she chose Mexican pastry as a way to inject her culture into her marriage to Ryan Cassidy on Jan. 24 at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley.

“We decided on a few traditional Mexican elements since I am Mexican, and being in California it fit well,” she said.

The couple’s wedding favors were Mexican wedding cookies (which also acted as their place cards).

Mexican wedding cookies are delectable butter-type cookies rolled in powdered sugar, and also known in Mexico as polvorones. One of Mexico’s most popular treats, consumed on an every day basis and at celebrations, they are found in just about every panadería (bakery) in Mexico.

Cookies dusted with powdered sugar

The name polvoron comes from the word polvo, which translates to dust or powder (probably named such because they break into the finest of crumbs the moment they are bitten into). And as you take a bite, they seem to melt and disappear.

The couple also had a mariachi band during the cocktail reception, had a full Catholic Mass, served pan dulce (sweet Mexican pastries) on their dessert table and displayed papel picado (a decorative Mexican folk craft made out of paper cut into elaborate designs) at the entry of Holman’s carriage house.

For the honeymoon they traveled to Baja California Sur. “We flew into Cabo, rented a car and drove up the coast to La Paz to swim with the whale sharks and then on to Loreto to visit the missions,” she said.

They two met at a restaurant called Good Enough to Eat on the Upper West Side in New York City. “I was there with a girlfriend and Ryan was walking by and claims to have seen me through the window but kept walking,” she said. “He says when he got to the corner he decided to turn around and go into the restaurant to talk to me. I’m still not so sure I believe that, but it’s a great story!”

Their first date was at New York’s Metro Diner. “We sat at the counter and shared a piece of cheesecake and drank Budweisers,” she said.

To celebrate the third anniversary of their meeting, Ryan took her back to Good Enough to Eat, but didn’t feel quite right about the moment. “So, he asked me to meet him for dinner the next night after work, and before dinner we took a quick stroll (or as I remember it a random hour-long walkabout in uncomfortable shoes) through Central Park when we finally ended up on a bench in Shakespeare’s Garden and Ryan proposed!”


Other Vendors:

Wedding Planner: Kristina Garza Cassidy

Day of Coordination & Florals: Katie Hund at Wylie Weddings

Caterer: Paradise Catering

Photographer: This Love of Yours Photography

DJ: Ome Lopez – Ome DJ

Musicians: Mariachi Salinas



Tradition Set The Standard For The Shape And Size Of Wine Bottles

The ancient Romans were renowned for their glasswork — and for their consumption of wine. But even though they developed the technique of glassblowing (and invented the very word “glass”), the hand-blown glass bottles were too fragile for the storage of wine. Instead the Romans turned to wood barrels and clay pots as vessels (whenever glass was used to pour wine, it was often wrapped in straw to protect from breakage, a practice now associated with the marketing of Chianti).

It wasn’t until the 17th century that coal-fueled furnaces were able to reach high enough temperatures (1,500 degrees or more) to melt sand into glass. Those hotter furnaces allowed for creation of thicker and darker glass. This ability, paired with new cork closures which came into fashion at the same time, led to the use of strong glass bottles for wine transport and aging.

Before standardized sizes and labeling laws, bottles were of many different shapes and sizes and producers rarely labeled them with anything but a maker’s stamp or painted mark. The olive green hue to the glass varied from light to dark due to the level of impurities in the ingredients of the glass

Winemaking became such an important industry and people began to recognize the importance of different winemakers, grape varieties and vineyards. Wine lovers also began to age their wine, storing the bottles just as we do today by laying them on their side to avoid spoilage and allowing cellar-dwellers to watch for sediment.

During this time it also became necessary to start the new practice of “binning,” or storing corked wine bottles on their sides. This led to a change in bottle shape from wide-based, bladder- or onion-shaped bottles to a standard cylindrical bottle still used today.

Until 1860 it was illegal in England to sell wine in bottles. Instead, wine was measured from the barrel and poured into bottles (often brought in by the consumer) and that practice remained until 1860. Until the European Union began enforcing standards for wine bottle sizes in the 1970s, bottles varied from 65 cubic liters to 85 cubic liters.

Modern bottles are shaped logically and scientifically, and there are three basic shapes: The tall, skinny German/Alsatian bottle (think Riesling); the high-shouldered, brawny Bordeaux bottle (think Cabernet/Merlot); and the curvaceous, low-shouldered Burgundy bottle (think Pinot Noir).

There is not one standard for all wine due to simple tradition. For nearly 400 years, these basic shapes were developed in their corresponding wine regions as the result of economics. The German/Alsatian bottles are lighter in weight and more compact because early trade routes along the Rhine River were, for the most part, gentle voyages, and the compact bottles were easy to stow.

The two more common shapes, Bordeaux and Burgundy, are strong and heavy, and, unlike German/Alsatian bottles, have a reinforcing punt, or indentation, in their bases, to help withstand more volatile trade routes, whether by land or by sea.

Wine producers from North America and South American, South Africa and Australia select the bottle shape with which they wish to associate their wines. For instance, a producer who believes his or her wine is similar to Burgundy may choose to bottle the wine in Burgundy-style bottles.

What they all have in common is that they contain the same amount of wine — 750 milliliters, or 25 ounces. Why not round it up to 1 liter? Tradition. According to the Oxford Companion, the standard size equaled an approximate lungful of air in glass blowers.

There are many romantic stories about the shape of a wine bottle, but in the end it can never tell us anything about the quality of what’s inside.

A Groom In Full Military Dress Is A Poignant And Patriotic Wedding Day Look

When it comes to wedding ceremonies, there is perhaps no more poignant and memorable moment than seeing a member of the United States armed forces in full dress uniform as they exchange vows.

For Alyssa Yock, the one thing she will never remember most fondly about her March wedding at Holman Ranch is her former Marine Corps husband Anthony Sozio in his full dress blues.

“From where I was hiding in the corridor near the patio I could see him in his uniform across the green lawn,” she said. “That moment took my breath away. Time stood still. I just loved this idea and he was the one who came up with it!”

Anthony served in the Marine Corp for 6 years and was deployed to Afghanistan. After returning stateside he worked hard to get through fire academy and paramedic school. After all his hard work he landed a job as a firefighter/paramedic at the Palo Alto Fire Department.

Alyssa says she will never forget that moment.

“I was alone waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle,” she said. “I felt extreme peace knowing God was watching over us and I was staring at my soon to be husband. Then the moment hit me that my dad would walk me down the aisle. And there we went, one step at a time, to my amazing future.”

The two met through an introduction from Alyssa’s cousin. Their first date alone was an adventure to Half Moon Bay. “He asked if he could pick me up and go pick out some pumpkins together,” she said. “I thought at that point, ‘I think I found my match.’ What guy asks to go pick out pumpkins?”

He picked Alyssa up in the morning, they stopped for some coffee and made their way to Half Moon Bay. “We had lunch at Barbara’s Fishtrap and then picked out six pumpkins and enjoyed a nice foggy day.”

Anthony popped the question on Christmas Eve of 2013.

“Each year my family has a big Christmas Eve party,” she said. “Anthony thought that was the best time to propose because my whole family would be around to witness it. He knows how much family means to me. Christmas Eve will always be my favorite holiday now.”

That previous summer Anthony joined Alyssa’s family on a trip to Maui, and everyone decided to make personal videos of the trip to screen on Christmas Eve.

“My sister Ashley went first, and everyone loved her video. It was great,” she said. “Then Anthony popped in his video. It showed fun highlights of our trip and then it started to show pictures of just us. Still having no clue, I thought it was weird that he just had pictures of us. The video kept rolling and then all of a sudden the screen read ‘Alyssa Gabrielle Yock … and next thing you knew I was standing up and he was down on one knee! I couldn’t believe me eyes. I looked to my dad first to see if this moment was real and he shook his head yes. The time finally came that every girl dreams about. I couldn’t believe it was happening. Let’s just say Anthony’s video won that year.”

The couple chose Holman Ranch for many reasons, mostly for the grounds and the picture-perfect venue.

“It seemed so private and that our wedding day would be surrounded by the people we love,” she said. “Other venues seemed too uptight and snooty.”

Alyssa is currently in nursing school, so the couple will delay their honeymoon. “Although when I finish we are taking a cross-country trip in our renovated RV and travel through numerous states that we want to visit.”

The plan is to go hot air ballooning in Arizona, antique shopping in Texas, eating in New Orleans, finding their country roots in Tennessee and ending up in North Carolina, before they fly off to Greece.


Other Vendors

Wedding Planner: Patty Speirs — Every Last Detail

Caterer: Paradise Catering

Photographer: Francesa Penko Photography

Videographer: Blair Wedding Studio

DJ/Band/Musicians: SOS Entertainment: Eric Shalem

Bakery: Freedom Bakery

Hair and Makeup: Blush Hair and Makeup Designs, Ashley Mendes

Florist: Tumbleweed Floral Truck


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