Intimate Outdoor Ceremony at Inn + Reception on a Train Car in Napa

Darina and Blake

Photographed by: Erica Djafroodi PhotographyLocation: Napa, California, United States

After returning to Southern California following a year of volunteering in Africa, Darina Voloshina wasn’t looking for a relationship… Then she met Blake O’Connor while playing volleyball with friends. “I guess that’s what everyone says, when you’re not looking – it happens,” she affirms. 

As their relationship developed, Darina had a feeling a proposal might occur during a weekend away while staying in an Airstream trailer in Joshua Tree, due to the fact that Blake had organized the trip and she is typically the planner in their relationship. On a sunset hike to overlook the valley, Blake asked his beloved to stay seated as she took a photo of the astonishing view. Darina instantly sensed the moment had arrived. “He then told me to turn around to see the photo he took. I turned around and sure enough he was down on one knee,” she reveals. Blake asked her to be his “adventure buddy” for life, and the bride-to-be burst into tears as she accepted the proposal. “Even though I knew it was coming, it was the most beautiful and special moment I have ever experienced,” Darina confirms. 

After taking several months to relish their new relationship status, the duo began to plan their intimate nuptials – with Darina taking the lead with the planning and designing of the wedding. “We wanted to do something really unique, beautiful, and special for our guests,” the bride explains of the choice of venue. They achieved that goal with a train car in Napa Valley. The overall aesthetic of the event was inspired by the site itself, as the couple decided to embrace the 1920s vibe of the vintage train. They were additionally inspired by their upcoming honeymoon in Kenya, adding “wanderlust” décor elements, while white and blush floral arrangements were used throughout the day. “The fact that the wedding was on a train was very special because Blake and I are huge travelers – we’ve been to 10 countries together and still counting,” reflects the bride. 

For those preparing to plan their own wedding, Darina advises couples to stay true to their own personalities. “Do only what you want, not what is ‘tradition’ – if you don’t want a cake, don’t have a cake!” she asserts. “Have fun, let your imagination run wild.”

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