With the State of California on the cusp of re-opening, we're seeing many couples considering estates or vineyards for their outdoor weddings in Napa Valley. The gorgeous estates of wine country offer plenty of beauty and the outdoor aspect provides plenty of breathing room as we shift into post pandemic life.
The Napa and Sonoma Valleys are also located within 1.5 hours of San Francisco. Add 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 bespoke destination wedding. There is plenty to know about getting married in the Napa Valley. Here are 5 things I think you should know when planning a Napa Valley wedding.
1. PREPARE TO BUILD IT FROM THE GROUND UP
What makes planning weddings at Napa and Sonoma Valley estates and vineyards so special is also the thing that makes them challenging to produce. These environments do not come with the creature comforts that a traditional venue offers, so hosting an event at this type of property also means building necessary infrastructure.
From tents to lights to restrooms, 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. Proper infrastructure is going to be critical to guest comfort and to pulling off a successful event. Liken it to building a "pop-up" restaurant for one fabulous night of celebration.
Because of the investment. complexity, and logistics dictated by these conditions, most properties require that you hire a wedding planner and a team of professional vendors to ensure a successful outcome. In the same way you'd need a contractor to build a house, you will need a professional planner with expertise in estate or offsite events to create your wedding environment. Producing such events is a skill that takes years of experience; we've spent 20 years transforming raw spaces into magical evenings.
5. GO OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN WINE COUNTRY
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. For those looking for country charm, you may look even further North to the towns of Boonville and Philo in Anderson Valley. There are many, many location options but they aren't easily found online - this is one place where you need someone with relationships to open doors. If your budget allows, consider enlisting the help of a wedding planner and explore beyond the obvious... there are gems at every turn in Wine Country.
The pandemic has provided us with plenty of time to reflect on favorite events from years past. This sweet couple just welcomed their second son however their wedding remains timeless. Style Me Pretty featured Brittany and Justin's stunning wedding at Beaulieu Garden shortly after the wedding. As a Napa Valley wedding planner I've seen many weddings at Beaulieu Gardens private estate wedding venue . This Beaulieu Gardens wedding truly sparkled.
We worked closely with both Brittany and her Mother to understand everything she was envisioning. The recurring theme was twinkle and glow. She also LOVED amaranthus (that long drippy flower that you see in the floral arrangements). She couldn't get enough of it so it was brought in abundance.
These extraordinary photos by Samuel Lippke really captured it's magic. Scroll down to the bottom of the SMP feature to review the Full Vendor List. Truly a collaboration with a A-List team who spent hundreds of hours and put tons of heart into creating a custom wedding tailored to this beautiful couple! The team: Sillapere , Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Gown by Vera Wang, Dresses by Love Shack Fancy Papers by Tiny Pine Press
Summer in Napa Valley dictates the need for shade and we went a little beyond the typical parasol solution to ensure guest comfort. This was the first time Shade cabanas were used in the sunken garden at Beaulieu. The Chuppah mirrored the guest cabana and was covered with the bride's favorite Amaranthus. Her ladies looked stunning in dresses designed by Love Shack Fancy. Brittany wore a stunning Vera Wang Gown.
Much has transpired over the pandemic. While the public health Gods have not been kind, the publication Gods have made up for that. Thank you to weddings and travel editor Carrie Goldberg at Harper's Bazaar Bride for the wonderful feature of Morgan and Harry's Bahamas wedding. It truly was the ultimate beach wedding inspired by the bride's family vacations on this favorite little island, Harbour Island, Bahamas and its neighboring island Eleuthera. The perfect destination for island loving couples, the multi-day wedding celebration showcased the best of this perfect destination wedding location. Here's just a glimpse of this special weekend we planned alongside Sarah Winward with the incredible support of our friends at The Oceanview Club. The photos by John Dolan will make you feel as though you were there so head on over to Harper's Bazaar to see more. Pulling off a wedding on a tropical island is no joke. Our experience planning weddings in the Bahamas make us the "go to" destination wedding planner for Harbour Island. We are experts at pulling off the perfect Harbour Island and Eleuthera Bahamas destination wedding. Don't leave home without us!
I am optimistic that we'll be back to planning destination weddings like this next year and it will be more important than ever to enlist the help of an experienced destination planner to navigate the new post-Covid world. Whether you're thinking of a mini destination wedding experience or including 150 of your closest friends, if you are planning a wedding in the Bahamas or Caribbean we've got you!
Sarah Winward created this chic wedding bouquet that was the perfect compliment to Morgan's custom gown created by Hermione De Paula which was truly extraordinary.
The couple exchanged vows on the shores of Pink Sands Beach in a ceremony officiated by a childhood friend of Harry's. Sarah Winward created a subtle and chic altar that accented the gorgeous aqua backdrop of the Western Atlantic ocean. Morgan processed down the aisle accompanied by her Father serenaded by an ethereal version of Sea of Love performed by singers from The Shrines who traveled to the island for the occasion.
It was important to Morgan that we incorporate the many sea treasures that she and her Dad had collected over years of beach combing on the island. Rather than bring in flowers, Sarah Winward created beautifully curated collections of sea fans and shells from the bride's collection A beautiful sea inspired collection of chandeliers and foliage hung over the dance floor.
The couple danced to Wild Horses by the Rolling Stones to kick off the festivities. Oceanview Club served up a traditional Bahamian feast which guests enjoyed while listening to hilarious reflections on the couple by their closest friends and family.
The whole evening kicked up a notch when the Junkanoo Band arrived to bring everyone on to the dance floor.
All that dancing on the dance floor called for a swim! You know it's a good party when the groom swaps out his linen suit for a pair of lederhosen. We are so grateful to this couple for entrusting us with their destination wedding weekend of fun on Harbour Island. We are also so thankful for the amazing team at Oceanview Club for their incredible food and extensive support while on the island. Planning an island wedding certainly has its challenges but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. We love the wonderful people of Harbour Island and can't wait to go back again soon!
What a dream it is do love what I do and be recognized for my work. I could not be more grateful to Carrie Goldberg of Harper's Bazaar for including me on BAZAAR's Little Black Book: The Top Wedding Planners in the World. What an incredible honor! Yes, we love stunning outdoor settings, relaxed elegance and great design alongside gracious hospitality and service... Our planning approach is high touch, attentive and down to earth. We love to create experiences with our clients that they and their guests will remember forever.
Thank you to Brides Magazine for including Rosemary Events on your list of Best Wedding Planners in America! We love planning destination weddings in our backyard of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys and at dream wedding destinations across the globe. We are so honored to be alongside so many talented people in our industry. Thank you Brides!!
Through her namesake company, Rosemary Hattenbach produces spectacular celebrations.