Vineyards and wineries have long evoked notions of romance. It’s no surprise then that, an increasing number of brides-to-be are jumping on the winery wedding bandwagon. But where to begin? For those who dream of tying the knot among the vines, there’s www.WineryWeddingGuide.com, a site started up by the Sonoma-based writer Yvonne Horn, that organizes all the wedding-friendly wineries in the U.S. by region and state (so far 20 states are listed). Wine Enthusiast recently reached out to Yvonne to get some more information on the site; below are some of her insights as well as tips for brides (and grooms)-to be.
Those perusing the Guide will note that some wineries offer soup-to-nuts packages, able to arrange everything from an elegant suite for changing into wedding finery to an off-to-your-honeymoon departure through the vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage. Others leave details up to the couple, providing nothing more than a glorious setting.
There are also some surprises. Who would expect that in the winery-laden Napa Valley only four have the permits and facilities to host wedding ceremonies? Cross-over the county line into Sonoma, though, for choices galore. In Ohio, the couple’s photograph album can include the two of them swinging on the winery’s Ferris wheel. Love lighthouses? A winery in Washington state features a replica.
There are a dozen questions (listed on the site) couples should ask when considering a winery. At the top of the list is how many guests can be accommodated? Couples contemplating a gathering in the hundreds will find winery-wedding venues few and far between; most are equipped, and ideal, for celebrations of 60 or less. Choosing an outdoor venue in the vines? A question to ask is whether or not a contingency plan is available should the weather not cooperate.
Then there is the matter of dress. That trailing train and those murderously expensive satin sandals might be just the thing for a celebration in a chateau’s elegant ballroom but bear rethinking when the bride’s entrance is down a vineyard row.