Tips For Planning a Wine Country Wedding

Tips For Planning a Wine Country Wedding

It’s no secret—there’s a lot that goes into planning a traditional wedding, let alone a destination wedding. With a destination wedding comes questions about travel, room blocks, local marriage laws, and more. While I’ve already shared many tips about a general destination wedding, today I’m coming to you with tips for planning a wedding in wine country.

  1. Consider the seasons. The seasons are important for any type of destination wedding, and a wine country wedding is no exception. Summer often has the warmest, driest weather, while fall is typically harvest season and when wine country really shows its colors. However, these are typically the busiest times of year, too. Winter, however, is the least busy, and often still comfortable (in destinations like Northern California wine country), but also wet season. 


  1. Visit during the season your wedding would be in. Best-case scenario, you should visit your wine country wedding destination of choice during the time of year that your wedding would be in. This can help you get a better picture of things like the backdrop and weather, while also giving you an idea of crowds. You only get married in wine country once (we hope), so make it count.


  1. Pick your perfect wedding venue. Of utmost importance is picking the right venue, which is part of why it’s important to visit during the season of your wedding, so you can see what it looks like and how crowds compare to the time of year of your wedding. This is where a vineyard like Windsor Oaks Vineyard in Sonoma comes in handy, which is by appointment only, and specializes in customized winery experiences. Additionally, if doing it outside, have an alternate in case of bad weather. Ideally this would be on the same property of your wedding venue to easily be able to shift plans for unexpected weather.


  1. Venue first, wine second. Once you have your wedding venue, then you can think about the wine. If you’re doing it at a winery, you may consider a winery that can also cater the food and wine. If you’re bringing in your own food and/or wine, make sure this has been communicated to your venue, since some wine country venues may have their own food and wine policies. You may even want to think about wineries that you can completely rent out, so that’s it’s only your wedding party and guests on the day and weekend of your big day.


  1. Carefully plan guest accommodations. Wine country destinations don’t often have the same occupancy availability that a large resort or city has. So this is perhaps the part of your wedding that you have to plan the most carefully. Some destinations may actually have accommodations on-site if you’re getting married at a winery.  Otherwise, you may want to plan it in a destination that’s convenient to nearby hotels (and consider transportation options for guests). If planning during the summer or fall, make sure you’ve provided ample time for guests to book accommodations, since many places sell out during those peak months. Doing a room block, too, could save you and your guests money.


  1. Account for weather. This is the most unpredictable part of planning any wedding, destination or not. Many wine country destinations, such as Northern California, may see limited rain during the summer and fall months, though chances of an afternoon shower do exist. Consider having your destination at a wedding venue that also has indoor space as an alternative. 


  1. Develop a wine country itinerary for guests. Lastly, don’t forget about your guests, who have traveled from near and afar for your wedding. This is a trip for them, too, so make it one they’ll remember. Consider nice touches like creating a personalized winery tour of the destination, or have a gift basket waiting on their arrival with things like local wine and foods.