Announcement: We eloped!

I'm super excited to announce that after eight years of knowing each other, and about seven years of dating, Matt and I eloped this week to Napa, CA!jenniferemerling.comNo, it's not a joke! We really did!And if you're feeling left out of the loop completely, relax!  We actually didn't tell anybody.  Not our friends. Not our siblings. Not even our parents.  That's part of what made it so incredibly fun for us....it was a HUGE secret!And yes, we are very well aware of the irony.  We photograph weddings, but did not take the "wedding route" ourselves.  There were several reasons for this, but I believe the most important was that working in the wedding industry has clearly taught me that regardless of what you do when it's your turn, make sure you do it your way.  Whenever I thought about a wedding of my own, I would get anxious and frustrated. Whenever I thought of secretly eloping, I would feel elated, and excited.  I knew it right down to my core: Eloping felt absolutely right. It was only about two months' worth of "planning", and the only stress I really felt was when we would have to gently maneuver family and social plans away from our travel dates without letting on what we were really doing.  LOL!The only two people on earth who knew about it besides Matt and myself were Michelle my super awesome travel agent, and Jennifer, my friend and masterful photojournalist who drove from Fresno to meet us.  Because this wasn't a wedding, I didn't want wedding-like photographs...I wanted someone who would document it, but who also knew how to take a few portraits as well.All in all, it has been sooooo much fun.  We got up close and personal with some African wildlife at Safari West (seriously, I am such a sucker for activities involving animals), had a hot soak in a mud bath, a little wine time, and a lot of together time enjoying holiday decorations, quaint downtown streets, and the splendor of one of California's most beautiful destinations.  We have been staying at the Avia in downtown Napa and I can't recommend this hotel highly enough. It's beautiful, comfortable, with impossibly polite and friendly staff who, along with our agent Michelle, surprised us with an upgrade to a suite with a fireplace and enormous bathtub. Best vacation ever!We're overwhelmed with all the excited comments we've been getting on Facebook, too. I'm not sure who's more excited...you guys or us!