Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Insider's Look at Planning a Winery or Vineyard Wedding

With the arrival of June, come summer weddings.  June is considered one of the most fortunate months in which to wed according to folklore and tradition.  The goddess Juno, whom the month is named after, was the patron of wives, protecting hearth and home.  But another reason had noting to do with warm weather, roses, hearth, or home – It seems that June was also the month when most people took their yearly bath.

 Regardless of the reasons, June brides are always looking for imaginative and romantic wedding ideas and settings.  So today we’ll take a look at getting married in a vineyard or at a winery.

Vineyard Wedding:
If you want to have an outdoor wedding, consider getting married in a vineyard.  The leaves are full and lush in the summer, and grapevines offer a gorgeous backdrop for the event.  (Autumn is another beautiful time when the leaves change color.)  Many vineyards also have amazing vistas that overlook scenic valleys, winding roads, or are backed by mountains or woods.

Winery Wedding:
If you are more inclined to have an indoor wedding, there are may be a couple of options available when considering a winery.  Usually a winery will offer a banquet center or event room for such celebrations.  They may have a location for the ceremony and a different place for you to hold your reception, complete with dance floor and wine bar.

If you are having a small, intimate wedding, you might consider getting married in the winery’s barrel room or cellar.  Ask to find out if this is an option.

Winery Checklist:
Just as with any other wedding plans, you need to know what the winery/vineyard will furnish for your special day. Be sure to ask about the following:

• How many people can the winery wedding site accommodate?
• Is parking adequate for the number of guests you expect?
• What are the number of hours you will have access and use of the event space?

• What are the exact times when this space will be available for you and your party only?  (Many wineries will list the hours available for the ceremony and reception, for example, from 5 P.M. to Midnight on this date.)

• If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, what is the alternative in case of bad weather?
• What are the fees and what is included in each package?
• How much is the deposit and what does it cover?  Is it refundable?  (FYI – If a winery requests/requires you to pay in cash – consider going somewhere else.  This can be a sign of problems ahead.)
• Can other alcoholic beverages be brought on site for the reception?

• Will the winery provide a server at the wine bar?

• What areas of the winery and/or vineyard may be used for wedding photos?

Other Points to Consider:
• Most wineries that offer bridal packages will also have a dedicated staff member in charge of such events.  This will be your ‘go-to’ person with any questions, concerns, and ideas.
• Find out if you may use/rent arbors, gazebos, barrels, chairs, tables, china, stemware, silverware and linens from the winery.
• If the winery also has a restaurant, check into their custom menus and in-house catering for weddings and rehearsal dinners.  Most wineries with restaurants will prepare different dishes for your consideration and selection.

• Discuss your wine interests and needs with your winery wedding planner.  She can guide you in selecting wines that pair well with the foods you’ve chosen.  Or help you in offering wines that most guests, dry or sweet wine lovers, will enjoy.
•  Make sure you have access to the wedding site and reception area the day before or the day of the event in order to decorate.
• Arrange for rehearsal time the day or evening before the wedding.
•  Be sure you and your party have access to changing rooms and restrooms.
• And make sure that your marriage license is valid in the county your getting married in.

Carrying Out the Wine Theme:
When planning a wine-themed wedding, think about what the winery offers that you can use in your arrangements:
• Specialty labels for the wines served at your reception may be an option.  Many wineries will put a photo label of the couple on wine bottles to be served at the event or to be given as gifts.
• Wine themed favors for guests.  Check with the winery wedding coordinator to see if you can purchase these items from the winery gift shop and if a discount can be given.
• Ask your wedding coordinator to save wine corks to use as name cardholders.
• Empty wine bottles with candles in them are another idea.
• WINE!  Many wineries will offer case discounts to wedding parties purchasing a certain number of cases or bottle of their wines.  Ask and see what the discounts are.

It’s your special day!  With a qualified winery wedding planner on your side, you should experience a beautiful event with lasting memories.
Congratulations!  And enjoy!!

~ Joy