Having traveled to Wine Country for so many years as a travel agent promoting wine tours, I saw two things. The first was that the cost of weekend weddings could be astronomical. The second was that no one was promoting week day ceremonies. The venues were excited about this because of the possibility of extra revenues. By choosing to limit the number of participants to a total of 26, I could keep costs down. This is especially good for those wine lovers looking for a destination wedding and don’t want to spend an arm and leg.
I have recently received requests for an “inexpensive wedding” filled in where a dollar amount is requested after Budget on the Customize Your Wedding Form on the CWCWP website. If you want my assistance, you must fill out the form completely. An inexpensive wedding to me is the ceremony performed in the County Clerk of Court’s Office in Santa Rosa or the City of Napa and staying in an inexpensive motel in either city. That’s budget or inexpensive.
The variables when planning a wedding are lodging, number of guests and site rental fees. Everything else: officiate, photographer, floral, cake and hair and make-up is fixed. Wine Country is not inexpensive. When I receive a vaguely filled out form. It is impossible for me to proceed.
My first step is to reply to your email and ask that you fill out the form completely. When I receive it, I will call you to work out the specifics. My company philosophy is that I want to speak with each of my clients.
Wine Country is a wonderful place for a wedding!
There are a number of advantages for booking small uncomplicated destination weddings. The most glaring is price. When you book mid-week, especially in Wine Country, the difference is dramatic. That price difference is in the site rental fee. Venues want mid-week business and price accordingly. With this in mind, I’m comparing pricing of large weekend ceremonies in Wine Country and not what you might find in your local area. If you have been to Napa and Sonoma, you know that Wine Country is pricey. One other point, lodging rates are less Sundays through Thursdays.
Here is where there is no price break. Reception dinners are the highest single expense. Make sure that when you see a menu’s per plate cost, you figure in room rental and set-up fee, alcohol and gratuities. When I’m asked about this, I ball park a $100.00 per plate average. I want to be sure you understand reality. Luckily, I have, a florist, a photographer, an officiate and a baker who also want mid-week business. They have more than they can handle on weekends and charge accordingly.
The issue of Fridays arise and here is the resolve. Some of my venues will agree to late morning or early Friday afternoon ceremonies. They want evenings for larger events where they can charge greater fees. If your choice is a Friday, I will call to see what’s available.
Next is the time of year for your ceremony. September through October because of harvest and crush is Wine Country’s high season and also San Francisco’s convention season. This is the only time of year when late arrangements shouldn’t be made. Lodging, airfare and rental car pricing is unrealistic. Should you or your guests want to stay over weekends, you could easily find some of my venues with lodging sold out.
Needless to say, Wine Country is a wonderful spot for a destination wedding. As a travel agent over the years, I have found that if everyone knows exactly what to expect, then everyone is happy. I don’t want you to have any surprises. Call me if I can help.
It ceases to amaze me why, for whatever the reason, June continues to be a very popular wedding month. Is it because kids are out of school, weather in most parts of the country is not that hot yet or people have just been setting June dates for so long? For those beginning to look at venues for large weddings in Wine Country, they are pretty much out of luck.
Here is where small, no more than 26 people, midweek weddings win out. Lodging and ceremony sites along with photographers and officiates are available. One of our venues is a 44 room inn. They sell out on the weekends especially in the fall during harvest and crush. The best advice is to make your plans now being the middle of February. If you are interested in a September or October date now is again the best time. These months are high season in Wine Country. It’s very busy. You are on the website, check everything out, click on Our Services, then Customize Your Wedding, fill out the form and Send it.
I have been promising 2 new venues on the website for the last couple of months offering weekend ceremonies. Problems have arisen and they are not there yet. In the meantime, one is a B & B outside of Healdsburg in Sonoma with limited guests. The other is a private estate near Calistoga in Napa allowing a large number of guest. Please call me if you want information on these.
I have great news after a recent visit to Wine Country to work on weddings, honeymoons and wine tours. For my wine tours, I’ve added great new wineries and restaurants. That’s not the best news. As you know California Wine Country Wedding Packages, CWCWP, specializes in small mid-week weddings. No longer. I now have access to an estate in what they call Up Valley Napa. There are no restrictions. Only, music must be off by 10:00 PM. For a large weekend wedding, the rates are reasonable. Mid-week will be less. There will not be a rate break for small versus large weddings. The advantage here is that from me, you can now get married in Wine Country with more than 26 guests.
The most important fact that you must take into consideration is that Wine Country is expensive. But, if you are set on a Wine Country wedding, your group is larger than 26 and you want a weekend wedding, this venue is right for you. There is a vineyard in the back yard and across a small lane with plenty of guest parking.
There is lodging nearby that I can arrange for your guests. I recommend rental cars for transportation.
It will be a few weeks before pictures and copy will be up on the website. In the meantime, give me a call if you would like more information. Don’t be taken back when I answer the phone with RD Travel.
One of the most important bits of information about a destination is how to get there. Here are a few hints you might to take into consideration when flying into Wine Country.
There are 2 airports: Oakland OAK and San Francisco SFO. Go to anyone of the Online Travel Agencies, Orbits, Expedia, etc., to see which airline goes there. Book on that airlines website not the OTA’s. You have no recourse with an OTA if something goes wrong. Remember, Southwest is not listed on OTA’s. I recommend this proceed to all my clients no matter where they are going.
There is no public transportation in, to or from Wine Country. A rent-a-car is a necessity and the rates can be drastically different. Here, I do recommend shopping the web for the best deal.
My next hint is by far the most important. I recommend you book your flight’s arrival and departure time early afternoon from either airport. The problem is unpredictable traffic. Wine Country can be 40 to 60 miles from the airports depending on where you stay from either airport. You don’t want to be involved in rush hour traffic. If you want an earlier departing flight, book a hotel room near the airport for the night before. If that’s not an option, book a later afternoon flight.
Give me a call if I can help.
California Wine Country Wedding Packages is the one professional group that can put together everything you need for a wonderful stress free wedding and honeymoon in California’s Napa and Sonoma Counties.