We can (and do) produce weddings throughout California, from Coast to Coast and even beyond, but we are best known for our work closer to home as wedding planners in the Napa Valley & Sonoma wine country. It's no wonder that Wine Country is on the short list of dream wedding locations in California; not only is it one of most stunning places to say your vows, but it's also located within 1.5 hours of a world class city - San Francisco. Add to that amazing Michelin star restaurants, spas for pampering, world-class wine and 3 International airports within 65 miles and you've got a prime location for a destination wedding. Thinking a Napa Valley wedding might be for you? Here are a few things to know when planning a Napa Valley wedding.
LOOK BEYOND Napa Valley is the most recognizable region in Wine Country but there are several other areas nearby you may not have thought of that are also great spots for a special event. For something a little more refined and epicurean - the Napa Valley towns of St. Helena, Rutherford, Yountville might indeed be your place. But if a laid back, ranch vibe is more your style, the Valley of the Moon's towns of Sonoma, Glen Ellen and Kenwood could be the perfect fit. Maybe you'd like a bit from both those worlds? Healdsburg is a charming town near the Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys that offers upscale restaurants and hotels and the country feel of Sonoma. Once you've found the area that is right for you consider enlisting the help of a local planner to guide you. There are many, many location options in this area but they aren't easily found online - this is one place where you need someone with relationships to open doors. Explore beyond the obvious... there are gems at every turn in Wine Country.
SEASONS OF LOVE - California may be conjure up images of tank tops and flip flops but in Northern California we have winter too. So if you're coming to be married amidst the lush green vineyards you best consider May to October because otherwise you might just be exchanging vows next to bare and brown dormant grapevines. Bud break usually happens in late March or April but the vines aren't lush until early May. Other important weather considerations? Late June, July and August can be hot but you will be rewarded with warm evenings. If you aren't deep into the summer, the days may be glorious but nights will be chilly. Best times for weddings (in my opinion )are late May, June, September and early October. You are very likely to need heaters or an indoor option early or late in the season. As at any outdoor wedding, Napa Valley weddings should always have a weather contingency plan for unexpected weather patterns that bring Spring or Fall rain or intense heat.
GETTING INTO THE SPIRITS: Think you're just limited to wine and beer? Wine Country doesn't mean you'll have to forgo spirits. It's true, many wineries are limited to wine and beer due to tasting room permit requirements, but there are are plenty of amazing spots in the area that allow liquor. The beautiful hotel venues in Wine Country generally have a full liquor licenses and permitted private estates can allow liquor service as long as it's served by a caterer that is insured and licensed to serve alcohol. Among the better known options are Meadowood Resort and Beaulieu Garden but there are other hidden gems that aren't as well known. A knowledgable, wine country wedding planner (like us!), can help navigate your options and find a location that best suits your needs. This is one of the many things that make a good planner an invaluable asset.
RESERVE EARLY! Napa Valley is one of the top spots for a destination wedding but it's also a world class destination for food and wine lovers. So, it's not a surprise that hotel rooms come at a premium and they book up fast! The rates can be eye opening but do not despair. There are affordable options out there. You just have to know where to go and secure them early. Yet another valuable reason to enlist the help of a professional!
BRING IT IN There is no question that there are some dreamy places to say "I do" in wine country but there is a lot to know about hosting a wedding at an estate or vineyard property. What makes these properties most special is that they are not traditional "venues." However, these environments usually do not come with the creature comforts that will ensure a successful event. From lights to bathrooms to tables & chairs and every fork, knife & spoon, be prepared to bring in all the essentials and build your event from the ground up. Creating the proper infrastructure is going to be critical to guest comfort and to pulling off a successful event. So, be sure you have the budget to do that or we suggest considering a hotel or event center that includes everything you need. Because of the complexity and logistics dictated by these conditions, most properties require that you hire a planner and professional vendors to ensure success and minimal impact.
As always, Rosemary Events is pleased to assist as you embark on this journey to plan your wedding at one of the world's most beautiful wedding destinations!
Through her namesake company, Rosemary Hattenbach has produced countless spectacular celebrations.