An Intimate Vineyard Wedding at Montaluce Vineyards in Dahlonega, Georgia
From the moment Stephanie Rager (35 and a medical device sales territory manager) and Tony Benson (40 and an electrical engineer) met, they knew they had something special. Their connection was instantaneous and the couple shared a long list of interests. “We are a perfect compliment to one another and enjoy being together whether we're just sitting around doing nothing or exploring a new place,” says Stephanie. After two years of dating, they knew that marriage was in the cards. The day that they closed on their first home together, Tony popped the question, presenting Stephanie with a stunning custom-designed engagement ring using the stone from Stephanie’s grandmother’s engagement ring.When it came to planning their wedding, the couple originally hoped to exchange vows in Italy, but the stress and complications associated with planning an affair abroad led the couple to settle on the Montaluce Vineyards in Dahlonega, GA. “Montaluce was just like bringing Italy to Georgia,” says Stephanie. “We felt like we were a million miles away.” Stephanie and Tony decided to keep the guest list small, inviting their closest family members to share in their day. “Everyone could hear our vows and participate in our wedding,” says Stephanie. “Our love for each other was the focus of the day and it never got lost in the all events. We rented villas on the property of the vineyard to stay at before and after the wedding, which allowed us be together as much as possible and our families to unite. It’s such a heartwarming thought knowing that not only did we become one on that day, but our families did as well.” The couple exchanged vows on the vineyard’s expansive lawns, overlooking a lake and the lush green surroundings. The private dining room where the reception was held had a distinct Tuscan vibe, which was only heightened by the addition of warm candlelight and romantic, cascading arrangements of seasonal blooms in autumnal colors and lush greenery. Though their guest list was small, Stephanie and Tony decided to incorporate traditions like the first dance, toasts and cake cutting into the reception. “We had sing-alongs, toasts and even ended the night with a conga line through the kitchen. My friends often refer to my wedding as a big wedding with a small audience,” says Stephanie.