Growing up in Orange County I was very involved with travel softball and spent many tournaments playing in Clovis, Lodi, Stockton, Sacramento, Freemont, etc and never knew of Merced although passed through many times. Before moving to Yosemite in the fall of 2003 I would visit my mom and we would take shopping trips to Merced and stroll the downtown area and shortly after moving to Yosemite valley I quickly learned the route to make our weekly trips in to Merced for "supplies," aka, Costco and Target fixes. That is when I discovered Merceds tag line of being the "Gateway to Yosemite." Since moving to Merced in 2006 I have enjoyed the change of styles in the local weddings here versus the destination of Yosemite. Actually I'm still always blown away when I meet with my local clients and they are going through plans telling me about the 500+ guests ready to attend their wedding when my largest Yosemite wedding ever was 185 but on average approx 75. Well the first few years of living in Merced I still heavily commuted to Yosemite for my events and also got in connection with some new local venues and private establishments. Having the variety of locations really opened up my inspiration for my designing as well. And then it happened.... two years ago two local farming families combined their knowledge and passion (and always throwing in their hard work like tending to the table setting in photo below) and opened The Vista Ranch and Cellars. It is property loaded with an amazing event location for both indoor and outdoor ceremony/reception options, the most incredible bridal house with multiple bedrooms for all the girls to stay together the night before the wedding as well as a salon room for getting ready and an open room perfect for a bride to get in to her dress and there is also a Cellar house where I urge all of my Yosemite friends passing through to stop, taste and shop. They serve all of their own wines for the events and most of the fruits and vegetables are grown right in the garden on the premises! Through the summer months they host weekly events open to the public to taste their homemade woodfired pizzas, car shows, cowboy nights, outdoor movie themes, etc. In the fall they have a gorgeous variety of pumpkins with all fun fall activities of corn maze, hay rides, bean bag toss, etc. Fun for the entire family! Last spring I collaborated with The Vista in beginning a series of some marketing photo shoots to showcase all of their wine labels they offer. I pulled in some of my floral arrangements to enhance the table set ups as well! I enjoy each event that I get to work there and am very excited for a full wedding season with them. This venue is such a blessing to our community and even if you are passing through, it is definitely worth stopping to check out as well!