Several weeks ago, for our wedding, my (new) wife and I experienced a transcendent venue. Nestled on the northern California coast near Half Moon Bay, Villa Montara surpassed all expectations with which I arrived, and delivered experiences for which I could not have fathomed to ask.
To call it a "venue" sells it far short. Villa Montara, much like the elaborate set of a storied play, relies on curated layers of ingredients to render the full experience. The audience is invited past concrete walls through wooden gates into an enchanted sanctuary. The house anchors the property, it's minimalist, nautical design projects a confident yet unassuming protective strength. An ancient, windswept cypress provides balance opposite the house. The ground, a mix of crushed stone and grass, dips over several terraces to a bouldered wall. The ocean backdrop hangs behind, powerful and melodic, stretching uninterrupted to the horizon.
Our guests began to arrive in the early afternoon, shortly before the ceremony was slated to begin. As they walked through the gate on to the grounds of the main property, they stood in awe of the view. The multiple terraces provided natural eddies in the flow, offering small gathering spots for group wanting to socialize. Interestingly, each person or couple connected with the property in different, meaningful ways. Some relaxed in chairs beside the cliffside, drinking in both an ocean view and a crafted cocktail, while other walked and wandered, gazing at the architecture and design. For many, it was a time of reunion, a chance to visit with long-time friends separated by years of life. Still others gravitated to the magnetic cypress tree, absorbing its reflecting grandeur. The meticulous attention to detail, the vision of the design, and the raw canvas upon which to work, came together to craft an indelible experience for all in attendance.
But as much as the house and property created the foundation on which a special personal day was etched, equal or greater recognition is also due to William and Christine, the owners. It was clear to us by the end of our special time with them that weekend that this was a labor of love, a way in which to keep the property, forged in happiness, rich in energy and joy.