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.
Through her namesake company, Rosemary Hattenbach produces spectacular celebrations.