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California-Napa

Hello?!!? Echoooo!?!?!?!!??

Hi!  I'm not used to all this emptiness!  5 years ago I was engaged and on the Vegas board and WOW! it was hopping!!  Hopefully someone out there is planning a Wine Country wedding!!  Let's help each other out!!

We've been engaged for 2 weeks & are heading up to Napa/Sonoma tomorrow to check things out.  We go up there 1-2 times/month to pick up wine club shipments (we live in Oakland), but never looking for a wedding venue!  FI can't wait!  So cute!  :)

First question...are we nuts???  Between spending thousands of dollars just to rent a space, then all the catering and renting, etc....seriously...are we crazy??  I have this vision of an outdoor wedding among the vineyards and a reception in a barrel room.  We are looking at Hans Fahden, Cline, Viansa, Sebastiani, and I'm wondering if Livermore would be a better deal in the end.

Suggestions??  Thoughts????  We are looking at fall of 2011.  You too??  Let's help each other!!!  TIA!
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Re: Hello?!!? Echoooo!?!?!?!!??

  • edited December 2011
    BTW....5 years ago, I did NOT marry that guy!!  I'm with the best guy ever & he proposed 2 weeks ago!  I thought I should clear that up!
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  • edited December 2011
    hi!

    My fiance and I are getting married at Calistoga Ranch this Nov.  We checked some a few places last year:
    Aubere de soliel
    carneros inn
    cline
    they were all beautiful but we decided on calistoga because of the aesthetic of the space.  It is an amazing venue. It is expensive but we kept our guest list very very small and I am very happy we did!

    any questions let me know!
    Dianne
  • mooselissamooselissa member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hi!
    I also got engaged two weeks ago and my FI lives in Sonoma (I'm in SoCal right now). He works in the industry so we knew that a wine country wedding was the only way to go! We decided on Sonoma for two reasons--first, we just love it and will make our home there. But even more you can only do weddings at a couple of Napa wineries unless you can get around the loopholes.

    We decided on Sebastiani on 6-11-11. Other wineries in Sonoma that I completely loved are Cline, Viansa, Jacuzzi and Gloria Ferrer. We also looked at The Lodge, Ramekins and MacArthur Place right in Sonoma. But we wanted a winery in town so Sebastiani was the clear choice. And the site fee is a little lower than most. In Napa, I've heard good things about VSuttui.

    The prices are, well, it took me a few days to get over the sticker shock. I think only you can decide if the price is worth it based on a million different factors. Apparently we decided that it is. :-)

    So now we just have to find all the other vendors. First up...selecting the caterer...

    Mel
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Hi Dianne & Mel!  So glad there's someone else on this little message board.  Laughing Congratulations to you both!  Calistoga Ranch and Sebastiani are both amazing venues!!  Sebastiani's wine is excellent too.  Wink

    We were up in Napa last weekend, and visited Hans Fahden.  We absolutely LOVED it, but it was a bit of a 'Wedding Factory'.  Unfortunately, while driving down 29, I got a call and was told the words no bride wants to hear... my wedding budget has been chopped in half!  OY!!  I'm grateful for any contribution by my family, but it was very unexpected. Yell  Hence, none of those $5-6K venues are going to work for us. 

    After going back to the drawing board, I remembered Buena Vista.  It's one of the first wineries I ever visited in wine country and it has a very rustic feel.  They are (surprisingly!) reasonably priced, but we haven't visited yett and looked at it through the eyes of a couple choosing a wedding venue.  I'm not sure if there are vineyards nearby for pictures, so we'll have a lot of questions when we go up there.  One thing I like about Sonoma is the abundance of hotels to choose from in different price points.  Almost everyone is coming from the east coast, so I like having affordable options for them.

    Lets keep in touch!!  Mel - I used to live in Carlsbad...LOVE SoCal!!

    Amy
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  • edited December 2011
    I'm getting married in Sonoma as well, but have not picked a final place.  I am actually looking for caterers first...I figure they will know some great places and can help me find a location on a budget.

    The new problem is finding a caterer on a budget, if you have any suggestions please pass them along!
  • mooselissamooselissa member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hi,
    My venue (Sebastiani) has a list of caterers that require us to choose from. I've actually found that to be the case with several wineries...and there are other great venues that have catering included (resorts). All of that said, I've talked to all of the Sebastiani list and Park Avenue is much more reasonable than the others. 

    I'm also looking for a coordinator and when I tell them we're narrowing in on Park Ave they all tell me that they're excellent. We're planning to taste there on Saturday--I'm happy to post how it goes.

    What's your date?

    Good luck!
    Mel
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Hi Guys!

    I briefly skimmed through all of your posts, but since I have lived in Napa my whole life (with exception of my college years!) and am getting married here next year...I would love to pass along my info!!

    Venues are difficult here just mainly because of cost...so thinking outside of the box is always a good thing!  Someone mentioned Buena Vista in Carneros (which is the winery next door to my families vineyard!) and yes the entire winery is surrounded by vineyards!  So don't worry about places for pictures there!  I also like the Napa Valley Opera House and AVIA Hotel for some non-winery but still wine country options for venues...

    Viansa, V. Sattui and Hans Faden are def "wedding factories" but they are some of the only wineries that have permits to allow ceremonies...unfortunately Napa is terrible when it comes to permits...there are also some B&B's who are nice venues for small groups.

    As for my votes for THE BEST of the valley (and my vendors!)...here I go...

    Caterer - Cafe Kinyon - not only is the owner fantastic but the food is out of control good!!  I booked him first!!

    Photographer -  Shannon Stellmacher - very artsy, awesome pictures!

    Florist - Michael Holmes

    Lighting/Event Design - The Lux Productions

    DJ - DJ Paul Bragg with 5 Star

    Cake - Alexis Baking Company - everyone normally chooses Sweetie Pies but it's WAY overrated and not as yummy in my opinion - also, Kara's Cupcakes is fantastic if you like cupcakes

    Let me know if you guys need any more info!  I'd love to share or help in any way!  Good luck!!

    Taylor
  • edited December 2011
    To reinforce DeLucci's opinion-- Kara's cupcakes *is* mind-blowingly good, if you like cupcakes.  I thought about using them as a rehearsal dinner "favor" but there just wasn't enough money left at the end of the day.

    We had a super small wedding at Meadowood Napa Valley-- not a vineyard, but vines on the property and it was perfect and lovely.  They do their own catering and have a very competent coordinator, so I would def. recommend it for someone who is planning from afar and can't be up there every weekend, tasting and negotiating with vendors, trying to figure stuff out.

    Also, even though Napa county is rough for finding wedding venues, don't forget about Napa wineries for rehearsal dinner venues.  Most of them have trained chefs that put together beautiful wine-paired menus at picturesque locations.  We did our rehearsal dinner at Pine Ridge, and it was great.  We were told as long as I didn't wear a white dress and there wasn't any cake, they could pretty much do what we needed.
    image
    Final Siggy Challenge: Favorite photo with FI
    At the Apple Orchard
  • mooselissamooselissa member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Taylor,
    Thanks so much for the info! Kinyon is on my approved list but I hadn't talked with them yet..just called and will have a proposal tomorrow. :-)

    I'll also check out the other suggestions. I've heard that Stems over in Santa Rosa is amazing for flowers--any info on them?

    And...hair and make-up? I'm not getting married until June, but would love to start exploring that one.

    Where are you getting married?

    Mel
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Hi All!

    We finally chose a date and are about to sign the contract with Buena Vista (!)  We decided on October 2nd, 2011!!  We were looking at the 23rd but were told it would be chilly/rainy, so we moved it up.  I'm so relieved the decision has finally been made!! 

    For those of you having a smaller wedding (ours will be 50 ppl max), their $45 per person charge is extremely reasonable for a winery in Sonoma.  It includes the venue, ceremony seating & set up/take down, tables & chairs for dinner, linens in ANY color you want, and a couple of bartenders.  You have to buy the wine you want to serve in advance, but you get 30% off if you join their wine club.  They also have EXCELLENT wine!  It looks like we have to get beer & wine through our caterer...whenever we get around to that.

    Mel - I'm so glad to hear you like Park Ave Caterers!  They are on BV's short list and I am considering them.  We have NO idea what things cost, but we're hoping to do a wonderful wine and food experience for our guests.

    Taylor - That's so cool BV is next to your family's vineyard!  I was told by the coordinator that the woman that owns the vineyard behind the parking lot will let us take pictures in there in exchange for a couple of bottles of wine.  That's a great trade if you ask me!  Thanks for the vendor info too...that will def come in handy!

    FI and I go up to Napa/Sonoma every chance we get.  I actually played hookie from work yesterday & went up to see the castle in Napa with some friends! Laughing
    Sonoma is a little more our style...more laid back.  We're so excited!  Let the madness begin!!

    -A

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  • mooselissamooselissa member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    A--Congratulations!! So glad that things are coming together for your wine country wedding!!

    Mel
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Hey Guys!

    Sorry I haven't checked back in a while...I'm so glad everyone liked the suggestions and A - congrats on booking BV...it will be beautiful!!  And good call with the Oct 2nd date...the weather can be kinda funky, so the earlier the better! 

    Mel - I hope your chat with Kinyon went well...he is super amazing!!  For hair and makeup I have 2 recommendations!  For hair - my hairdresser is PHENOMENAL!  Her name is Shayla and she works at Rose & Co. in Napa...there is also another girl named Randy who works there who does a great job as well.  As for makeup Darcy Hunt at Skin NV is awesome!  She does waxing too!!

    I'm actually getting married in my parents front yard in the vineyard...so right down the street from BV :)  And because of weather concerns in May we are getting a tent as a "just in case"...and then our reception is going to be down the road at my family's winery, Madonna Estate in the barrel room.  I'm excited because my sister had her reception there as well, but she did hers outside and we wanted to do ours in the barrel room...it's going to take a lot of work, but we think it will be worth it :)  But that is why I've done so much research on vendors because we have to bring EVERYTHING in!  So seriously, if anyone has questions ASK ME!!  

    And if you have any questions about wineries...or if you wanted to set up some tastings before or after your weddings let me know...I'm not saying that on behalf of my family and our winery, but also because I have friends who could hook you guys up as well! 

    I promose I won't take so long to check in next time!  

    Taylor 
  • edited December 2011
    Hi Amy!

    My planner just recommended Park Ave caterers for us to (we're on a small to mid-sized budget).  We LOVE LOVE LOVE their menu and offerings.  Totally delicious!  Can't wait to get back out and do a tasting.

    We looked at a lot of places, but in the end we're having it at Kunde in Sonoma/Kenwood.  I really love the Napa side, but we just couldn't find the right venue.  After spending some more time in Sonoma, though, it really grew on me!

    Good luck with everything and I'll keep checking back too :)
    Ashley
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  • edited December 2011
    Hey Ladies!

    Been out of the loop for a bit...nothing new to tell except that we officially put a deposit down for Oct 2nd, 2011 at Buena Vista!  Tha's as far as I've gotten in the wedding planning process...

    Taylor - It's SO great to have recommendations from a local!  I will definitely be looking into them.  As for the catering, BV requires that we stick to a list & Kinyon isn't on it.  :(  I need to get on the stick and start calling caterers next week before they all get booked!  BTW...I'm pea green with envy over your barrel room reception.  That's exactly what I wanted, but couldn't justify paying $1000/hour for the privilege.  I understand you wanting to do lots of research on the vendors...thank God for the internet!  I'll keep posting reviews as I get them.  Also, I may actually take you up on your offer to help with tastings.  FI & I go up to Wine Country at least a couple of times a month to pick up wine club shipments, so we definitely want our guests to experience all that we love about the area.  Our friends know the owners of Wilson up in Healdsburg, so we hope to do a luncheon for our OOT guests - which is pretty much everyone - before the wedding.  Also, I want to do some private tastings in and around Sonoma, since that is where everyone will be staying.  Do you have lots of OOT'ers?  Any hotels you would recommend?  TIA!!

    Ashley - Welcome to the board!  I'm so jealous of your venue...I hear wonderful things about Kunde!  Which one of their locations are you using?  They all sound beautiful.  Tell me more about Park Ave!  We are having around 50 people, so we're hoping to do a wine & food pairing for our guests.  They do all of the Winemaker dinner's at Buena Vista, so they had nothing but good things to say about them.  I better book them quick!!

    I'm missing the World Series...go GIANTS!!!  Have a wonderful weekend!

    A


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  • edited December 2011
    Hi A!

    Sure I'd love to help with tastings!!  Email me at my work address [email protected] :)

    T
  • edited December 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I have not posted in forever, but I am happy to say that I have secured a venue in Sonoma at Garden Pavilion for 9-24-11.  I am researching venues now, and I love all the suggestions!  Thank you!!!!!!

    I would much rather go off recommendations from other bride than off Google.  Right now we are booking photographers and DJ's.  Catering is next....

    Taylor - great suggestion on Shannon Stellmacher for photography.  I love her photos, but she was already booked on my date :-(

    I love that everyone is keeping in touch, I promise I will do a better job.  I'm even starting to look at wedding planners, i don't know how other brides find the time to plan their weddings.  My job is so busy that I am way too tired to research vendors when I'm done.   You all are a very big help, and I hope we can keep the conversation going!

    Lauren
  • edited December 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I love how everyone passing out all the info here...it's really helpful! Big thanks! :)

    I'm planning my wedding in August 2011 and going to check out couple venues this coming weekend! I'm soooo excited!!! Kunde is def on my top list but I'm also looking at some private estate/villa as well. I guess I have to be there to feel which place is the right one for me.

    Taylor, may I send u an email for wine tasting info? TIA :)

    Vera
  • edited December 2011
    Sorry it took me forever to reply!

    We haven't yet done our tasting with Park Ave, but we are absolutely in LOVE with the menu!  They specialize in local, organic California cuisine.  We can't do our tasting until about 1-2 months before the wedding, because they only use produce that's in season.  They're also very, very affordable.  Definitely a great deal for the budget.

    Inside Kunde, we're only using Boot Hill.  We had originally wanted to do the Dunfillan Ruins and Boot Hill, but couldn't afford it in the end, plus we'd have to shuttle everyone from the ruins to the hill.  In the end, the hill is everything we wanted anyway!


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