Our Valley has definitely become a destination for wine and fruit enthusiasts. Bicyclists, photographers and musicians also seek out what this community offers.
But as a venue for a destination wedding?
Last month, that was the case for Adam Stallcop and Erica Harrison, who were married at Creekstone Gardens on Mill Creek, while family and friends looked on. And no one there that day lives in Walla Walla.
It was a case of meeting in the middle, Adam and Erica told me, and honoring a place that means much to both.
Let's start with Adam. A mechanical engineer in Lewiston, he was raised on a farm in Pomeroy. He participated in Blue Mountain League sports with other local teams such as Prescott, Waitsburg, DeSales and Touchet.
"I've spent a lot of time in the Walla Walla area, and have enjoyed every minute of it," Adam said in an email. "Especially when we beat DeSales by a two-point conversion in overtime during my senior football season. But who's counting?"
To the south and somewhat west, about 250 miles away, Erica was growing up in the area around Condon, Ore. As a rodeo girl, she spent time here, too. Then she attended Walla Walla Community College here and in Clarkston to get her nursing degree.
During nursing school, Erica ended up working with Patty Bowles, who was enthusiastic and fun, Erica recalled. "She just adored me and said 'You need to meet my son.'"
That son was Adam. The two went on their first date in January 2010.
Fast forward to September of 2011. By then, Erica and Adam were deeply in love, and their families loved the situation as well.
"That is one of the ways you know you're marrying the right person," Erica said. "Adam called my dad and asked him for permission to marry me."
And on the 8th of that month, she answered Adam's question herself.
The couple decided to get married in a year to the day, giving them 12 months to plan "a fairy tale wedding," Erica said.
Here is where Walla Walla played a starring role. As Adam puts it, "We loved this area before we met, and now we'll love it even more because it's where we started our lives together."
What a start. The duo went into the project full force.
"I can't begin to tell you how hard she worked on this wedding," Adam said of his bride. "We literally spent hundreds of hours planning, ordering, building and organizing everything required to make this the best wedding ever."
Adam built tables for every purpose -- desserts, wine, popcorn and dinner seating. Erica bought several antique windows at a yard sale and transformed them into "free-standing messages of love -- hard to explain, but completely awesome," he said.
"I hand built our wedding arbor out of lodge pole and red fir. It was 10-foot square by 9-foot tall. I may have went overboard."
Such an engineer. But it was a tribute to the Blue Mountains, where he and Erica spend every possible minute, Adam explained.
There was more.
"We purchased 14 wine barrels from the L'Ecole winery as well, since vineyards have become such a symbol of the Walla Walla area over the last few years. We've also built our entrance sign out of a 5-foot-diameter hay bale (weighing 700 pounds) that represents the farming side of life in the area."
She and others worked their "tails off" the night before the wedding, Erica said. The wood Adam used came from her dad's ranch, to help complete the "country elegant" concept she was trying to execute, the bride said. "Our centerpieces were wine bottle and glasses."
A friend told her, by the time all was set up, it was as if Erica had sprinkled herself throughout the venue.
Like an honored guest, Mother Nature blessed the occasion. "It was beautiful sunshine, not an ounce of wind," Erica recounted.
Their families -- she and Adamn come from split families -- were there every step of the way for the happy moment. "So it is saying a lot when families can come together for a good cause," Erica added.
You probably have no idea what you were doing on Sept. 8, but you became part of one new family's history by virtue of simply being in the Walla Walla Valley. Erica and Adam plan to return to the scene every year, they said.
"It will be a very special place for us," Erica said.
So here's the deal, readers. We weren't there and I am getting this to you late, having waited until the Stallcops returned from their honeymoon and caught their breath. But we can still say congratulations.
We can wish well to a young man and a young woman who so clearly love where we live. Are you game? If so, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or to me and I'll be happy to forward.
Let me start -- Adam and Erica, thanks for seeing this Valley the way we do. Happy marriage!