Landmark Vineyards Wedding

Landmark Vineyards Wedding

When Julie and David reached out to me, wanting the quintessential destination wine country wedding for only 50 guests, I knew Landmark was the perfect venue for them.  I always feel a little nervous when couples book venues sight unseen, but, boy, they were not disappointed!  With the breathtaking views of Hood Mountain and the surrounding vineyards, Landmark is one of my all time favorite Sonoma wineries.  It’s utterly romantic, quaint and well, the wines are delicious as well!  They also have a gorgeous suite and cottage on property, allowing the bride and groom to truly feel at home over their wedding weekend.  The day after Julie and David’s wedding, Julie sent me a message expressing her gratitude. “Thank you so much once again!  I woke up smiling to ear to ear, and David had to drag me away from Landmark’s beauty.  It’s an amazingly beautiful property.  Thank you so much for finding it for us!”.  I can only hope that all couples feel that way the day after their wedding.  Here are a few photos of their wedding day by the talented Karna Roa with KMR Photography.  Enjoy!

        

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue: Landmark Vineyards
Planner: Orchard Avenue Events
Catering: Park Avenue Catering
Photography: KMR Photography
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens
Florist: Vanda Floral Design 
DJ: A Long Music
Ceremony Musician: Jon Mendle
Hair & Make Up: It’s a Date at the Powder Room
Officiant: Rabbi Steve Finley

Jess & Mike – Sonoma Glam Winery Wedding

Jess & Mike – Sonoma Glam Winery Wedding

When Jess and I first spoke, she said she wanted a romantic, fun and flirty wedding.  And Viansa Sonoma was the perfect setting for this.  Overlooking the Sonoma Valley and their Wetlands Preserve, the views from this Tuscan gem are just stunning.  It doesn’t get more romantic than that!  Jess has a great eye for design and loves all things pretty.  Her wedding was full of romantic lighting, sparkly table linens and a neutral color palette that left me wanting more of her beautiful wedding!  Check out these “swoon worthy” photos by the talented Anita Martin Photography.

                                           

Wedding Coordinator: Orchard Avenue Events
Venue: Viansa Sonoma
Caterer: Sage Catering
Photography: Anita Martin Photography
Flowers: Vanda Floral Design
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen
Lighting: The Lux
DJ: Nor Cal Pro Sound
Photo Booth: BluEdge
Candy Bar: SF Candy Bar
Hair & Make Up: Katye Rose
Transportation: United Coach Tours

The Best Time of Year to Get Married in Napa and Sonoma

The Best Time of Year to Get Married in Napa and Sonoma

One of the very first questions I get from couples considering Napa or Sonoma for their destination wedding is, “what is the best time of year for a wedding?”  If you are not familiar with the area, there are a few different factors to take into consideration when choosing your wedding date.  Here is the break down of my pros and cons for each season in wine country.

 

Spring Weddings in Wine Country (March – May)

   

Springtime is a gorgeous time of year in wine country.  In wine country, we receive the majority of our rain in November – May, which leaves the hills and the surrounding scenery truly green.  As I drive through the rural parts of Napa and Sonoma counties, it reminds me of Ireland.  The rolling green hills, with sheep and cows grazing on the fresh green grass, and pops of spring time flowers emerging, it is breathtaking.  It’s also a “slower” time of year for tourism, allowing you to visit wineries without the massive crowds and hotel rates are less expensive than in the summer and fall.  Some wedding venues even offer discounted pricing, making weddings more affordable at this time of year.  The only thing to keep in mind is that there is still a chance of rain during this time of year.  If you have hoped for an all outdoor wedding, make sure you have a rain back up plan and are comfortable with the costs of tenting if bad weather were to come in on your wedding day.  The good news is they say that rain is good luck on your wedding day!

 

Summer Weddings in Wine Country (June – August)

 

Summertime in wine country is my favorite time of the year for a wedding.  The daytime is full of sunshine and warm weather, guaranteeing perfect evening weather for your outdoor reception.  Most people don’t realize that the temperature drops a good 20 – 30 degrees after the sun goes down.  So even if we have a high of 90 degrees on a July day, it will most likely be in the 60s – 70s after sunset, which is a perfect temperature for an outdoor wedding in my opinion.  In addition, you have most likely decided on wine country for the stunning views and having a later sunset time is key to be able to enjoy those vineyards views for your cocktail hour and dinner reception.  It can also save you money on both heat lamps and lighting – which is a bonus!

 

Fall Weddings in Wine Country (September – November)

 

September and October are the two busiest wedding months in wine country.  People love to be in wine country during harvest and there are always a ton of things to do at this time of year for your guests.  From old fashion grape stomps (think of “I Love Lucy” style) to harvest parties at wineries, your wedding guests will be sure to find a lot to do while they are in town.  The scenery and weather in both September and early October, is very similar to what you will find during the summer months.  It will be warm during the day and a bit cooler at night.  Keep in mind that the sun does start to set earlier, leaving you less daylight to enjoy the views and adding potential costs of needing heaters and more lighting at the venue.  The best part of fall (in my opinion) is in late October and early November when the leaves on the vines start to change colors.  It is absolutely beautiful.  I will never get sick of seeing the rolling hills of vineyards in bright oranges, reds and yellows.  It will make for stunning wedding photos as well!

 

Winter Weddings in Wine Country (December – February)

 

The winter time is the least popular time of year to get married in wine country.  This is due to short days and unpredictable weather.  I have seen many winters without a drop of rain and beautiful sunny days, but we have also seen years like this past one, where we are experiencing storm after storm.  Winter weddings are fantastic if you are considering an indoor reception.  A lot of wineries have gorgeous barrel rooms and wine caves for receptions, where you can still get the quintessential wine country wedding, but keep your wedding safe from the outdoor elements.  Also, may venues offer “off-peak” wedding pricing, allowing you to get married in wine country for sometimes half of what it would cost during the summer or fall months.  It’s something to consider if you are on a tight budget but have your heart set on wine country!

 

Overall, there is no wrong choice – it’s what works best for you, your fiancée and family and friends.  Napa and Sonoma are truly beautiful year round, and every season has it’s own draw.  You will not be disappointed with your decision to make Napa or Sonoma your wedding destination!

 

Alyssa & Aaron – Sonoma Winery Wedding

Alyssa & Aaron – Sonoma Winery Wedding

Alyssa and Aaron were one of my favorite couples.  They were so sweet and easy to work with.  They really trusted me to help find the right vendors for them and it all turned out exactly as they had imagined.  They chose to get married on the first weekend of November, when some venues drop their pricing from peak to off peak pricing.  The scenery is absolutely stunning during this time of year, so taking advantage of the discounted venue fee is genius.  Their photos by KMR Photography are stunning and I’m sure will inspire other brides to consider a November wine country wedding as well!  The rental home they chose to stay in for the weekend was incredible.  It surely set the tone for their beautiful wedding day.  Take a look at their photos to see for yourself!

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Reception Venue: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
Ceremony Venue: St. Francis
Planner: Orchard Avenue Events
Photography: KMR Photography
Caterer: Sage Catering
Florist: Vanda Floral Design
DJ: Jason Dunham via Nor Cal Pro Sound
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals
Cake: Crisp Bake Shop
Hair and Make Up: Lauthr Salon
Transportation: Pure Luxury

Aly & Nir – Sonoma Wedding at Beltane Ranch

Aly & Nir – Sonoma Wedding at Beltane Ranch

I was so excited when Aly hired me to help her and Nir with their Sonoma wedding!  Beltane Ranch is one of my all time favorite venues.  And Glen Ellen has got to be one of the cutest little towns in all of Sonoma County!  Beltane captures everything that is quintessential Sonoma from the vineyards, to the flower and vegetable gardens to the picturesque bed & breakfast its self.  The main lawn boasts these large gorgeous oak trees, with the horses and vineyards in the background.  It truly is picture perfect.  Given how stunning the venue is, you really don’t need to add a ton of décor.  I felt it was best to let the Sonoma scenery, wine and farm to table cuisine speak for itself.  One of my favorite things about Aly and Nir’s wedding was that she was not afraid of color, and it paid off big time.  The bright, cheerful flowers really added a fun, flirty element to their wedding that I love!  Check out these gorgeous photos from Happy Confetti Photography!

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Venue: Beltane Ranch
Planner: Orchard Avenue Events
Photographer: Happy Confetti Photography
Caterer: Park Avenue Catering
Florist: Vanda Floral Design
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals
Pillows: Kathleen Deery Design
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen
Lighting: Twilight Designs
DJ: Dave Tutton
Officiant: A Sacred Event
Hair/Make Up: It’s a Date at the Powder Room
Transportation: Napa Valley Wine Tours

Fun Things To Do in Sonoma, CA

Fun Things To Do in Sonoma, CA

Photo by Wilson Lee

I am frequently asked by my clients to come up with some options of fun things to do in Sonoma for their guests.  The truth is that there is SO much to do!  I choose to live and work here because there are so many options to keep me entertained!   When friends and family come to visit me, it’s always tough trying to decide what to do, as a long weekend is never enough time for it all.  To narrow down the options, here are a few of my top favorite places to visit in Sonoma County!  You can’t go wrong with any of these options for wine tasting, lodging, spa treatments and dining.  Enjoy your time in Sonoma!  It’s a special place!

 

Hanzell Vineyards (http://www.hanzell.com/) – Hanzell is pretty well known to anyone who is a wine connoisseur.  But if you are not a wine expert, here is your chance to experience and learn what one of Sonoma’s top wine producers has to offer.  Their private estate tour will teach you everything you need to know.  It starts off with a drive through their vineyards.  Given they are on a hilltop, the views of the Sonoma Valley are stunning!  After your learn a bit about the vineyards and farming, you will get a tour of the winery and production facility, followed by a taste of their delicious Chardonnay and Pinto Noir.  For those that are interested in learning about winemaking from vine to wine, this is the experience for you!  You will walk away relaxed, happy and well educated! Advance reservations are required.

 

Mayo Reserve Room (http://www.mayofamilywinery.com/Reserve-Room) – This was one of the greatest discoveries ever!  The Mayo Reserve Room offers a 7 course tasting menu paired with wines.  It sounds fancy and expensive, right?!?  Wrong!  This experience is only $40 per guest.  I’m not sure how this is even possible!  The setting is casual and the food and wine are great.  It’s truly the best deal in wine country and I highly suggest checking it out while you are in town.  Beware, a designated driver will be needed to get you home.  You’ll have a happy buzz and be stuffed to the brim!  Advance reservations are required.

 

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards (https://www.gloriaferrer.com/) – This is an old favorite of mine.  For those of you that know me well, you know that I am a lover of bubbles!  Gloria Ferrer offers so many different sparkling wines, I feel like a kid in a candy store when I’m there.  While all of the wines are great, the Brut Rose is my absolute favorite.  Pink bubbles – I’m in!  The best part of Gloria Ferrer is their vista terrace overlooking the vineyards and the Sonoma Valley.  The views are some of the best in all of wine country.  I could sit on their patio, sip bubbles and nibble on their homemade spiced almonds all day long!  They also offer daily tours if you are interested in seeing their production facility and learning more about the process to make sparkling wine.  Reservations are not needed.

 

B.R. Cohn Winery (http://www.brcohn.com/) – More wine tasting you might say?!?  Well, yes, BR Cohn is yet another gorgeous winery in Sonoma, but the reason it’s one of my top picks is not for the wine (which is delicious by the way) but for the olive oils!  I am an olive oil fanatic.  When you live the farm to table lifestyle, you find that spices and oils can make or break a dish.  BR Cohn makes a variety of different infused olive oils and they are top notch.  You can even sample them before purchasing.  The toughest part will be deciding which ones to buy!  And for those of you wondering, BR Cohn is also available as a wedding/event venue.  It’s really a one stop shop: wine tasting, olive oil samples and wedding venue site visit.  If your lucky enough, you’ll find live music going on in their amphitheater or Hog Island Oyster shucking fresh oysters on the lawn.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Timber Cove Inn (https://www.timbercoveresort.com/) – The Timber Cove Inn holds a very special place in my heart.  I grew up on the water and the ocean has always been a necessity in my life.  The Timber Cove Inn is located in Jenner, so it’s a bit of a drive from downtown Sonoma, but it’s well worth it.  Take a drive to the coast and soak in those gorgeous ocean views.  They have a casual restaurant onsite, so enjoy some chowder and a glass of wine, before taking a walk along their seaside cliffs.  This is one of my all time favorite sunset spots in all of Sonoma.  There is nothing more magical than the sun disappearing into the Pacific Ocean.  I have no doubt you’ll agree!  PS – If you are looking for a spot to pop the question – this would be my suggestion for you!

 

Farmhouse Inn (http://www.farmhouseinn.com/) – This place is a true gem.  They are an inn, restaurant and spa, so there are many reasons you might decide to visit them!  The inn is spectacular.  As you might suspect, it is an old farmhouse, that has been fully renovated to offer pure luxury.  It’s the perfect spot for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend getaway.  Beware, it’s is not cheap, so start saving your pennies now!  They also have a Michelin star rated restaurant (try the Rabbit three ways) and a world class spa.  When I want to treat myself to a fantastic meal or massage, this is where you will find me hiding out!

 

Glen Ellen Star (http://glenellenstar.com/) – If you are looking for a great meal, this is the place to have dinner!  This is one of my favorite local hidden gems.  The highlight is the wood fired roasted veggies that they offer as a first course.  Every time we go, we order one of each selection.  I’ve taken friends and family here who don’t love veggies, and they agree that their Brussel sprouts are better than dessert!  Yup – they are that good!  They offer a small menu with 5 or 6 entrees and a few different pizzas.  It’s impossible to go wrong when ordering.  Everything is out of this world.  Bonus is that if you are seated inside, you can watch the chefs prepare each dish.  Dinner and a show!  They book up quickly, so don’t forget to make a reservation in advance.  They are also available for rehearsal dinners.

 

Safari West (http://www.safariwest.com/) – Did you know that there is an African safari adventure in Sonoma County?  Well, there is and it’s spectacular.  I had been hearing about this place for years and finally last year, I went with a group of friends.  They have on-site lodging, so we took advantage of staying on the safari overnight and boy we were not disappointed!  They offer these screened in cabins, with plush beds, private bathrooms and decks with views of the giraffes.  It’s glamping at it’s finest!  The safari tour was so wonderful.  They take you on these large open air jeeps and we got to see everything from Rhinos to cheetahs to zebras to monkeys and so much more!  The best part is that we got to visit them in their natural open air habitats, up close.  It was truly a wonderful experience for adults and children alike.  I highly suggest checking it out!

 

While there are so many other great things to do in Sonoma, I would say that these are my personal favorites.  Given how passionate I am about Sonoma, I really could go on and on, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you need further suggestions.  I love sharing all of the beauty that is Sonoma County with the rest of the world.  I am so lucky to call this place home!

Happy Travels,

Brooke

 

 

Jenna & Daniel ~ Sonoma Private Estate Wedding

Jenna & Daniel ~ Sonoma Private Estate Wedding

I was so thrilled when Jenna reached out and asked me to help plan her intimate wedding.  We immediately connected and had a lot fun planning her 11 person wedding at a gorgeous private estate in Sonoma.  Since Jenna and Daniel were not local, they trusted me to choose the best vendors for them and to run with design.  We incorporated gold pineapples to tie into Jenna’s Hawaiian upbringing and the pattern of the sideways from Rio de Janeiro on stationary to reflect Daniel’s heritage.  Although I didn’t actually get to meet them until the day of the wedding, I felt like we were old friends.  I absolutely loved everything about this wedding!  From the beautiful flowers to the breathtaking venue to the 5 course meal paired with wine – this is exactly how a wine country wedding should be done!  Take a look at the gorgeous images from Jennifer Bagwell Photography to see how it all came together (http://jenniferbagwell.com/).  Enjoy!

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Venue: Private Estate in Sonoma
Planner: Brooke Altman with Orchard Avenue Events
Caterer: Pascaline’s Fine Catering
Photographer: Jennifer Bagwell Photography
Florist: Wine Country Flowers
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals
Cake: Crisp Bake Shop
Hair/Make Up: Lauthr Salon

Noreen & Loren ~ BR Cohn Winery Wedding

Noreen & Loren ~ BR Cohn Winery Wedding

We were so honored when Noreen and Loren asked us to help them plan their dream wedding at BR Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California.  It’s always been one of my favorite venues as it is just so naturally stunning.  From the ceremony site nestled deep in the vines to reception in the olive grove, draped with string lights – it really is your quintessential wine country wedding venue.  With their 200+ guest list, we knew it would be a fun celebration that we wanted to be a part of!  I’ll let these gorgeous photos by Wilson Lee (http://www.wleeweddings.com/) speak for themselves…

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Congratulations to Noreen and Loren on their recent wedding!  We wish you a lifetime of happiness together!

Planner: Orchard Avenue Events
Venue: BR Cohn Winery
Photographer: Wilson Lee
Flowers: Vanda Floral Design
Rentals: Stuart Rentals, Encore Events Rentals and Bright Event Rentals
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen
Caterer: Jalsa Catering
Cake & Desserts: Moustache Bakery
Bars: Best Beverage Catering
Coffee Cart:  Caffe Carello
DJ: Cal Mobile
Transportation: Pure Luxury
Dance Floor Rental: Bickner Dance Floors

 

 

Bridal Emergency Kit: What you should have on hand!

Bridal Emergency Kit: What you should have on hand!

Photo by Freda Banks

A Bridal Emergency kit is a must! With weddings, things come up all the time and it’s best to be prepared! Luckily enough for client’s that hire Orchard Avenue Events as their planner, we always have these sorts of supplies on hand. But for those of you without a planner, you may want to consider putting together your own kit for the big day! Here is a list of supplies that I have found handy. While not every wedding will need all of these things, over the course of many years, I have used all of these items at one wedding or another. If you are creating your own kit, it would be expensive to include all of these items, so just choose what suits you and your wedding best!

Must Haves:

  • Tide to go
  • Band aids & alcohol swabs
  • Safety pins
  • Advil
  • Tums or Pepto
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Spray
  • Tape (scotch & duct tape)
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Long lighters
  • Nail file/Nail kit
  • Bottled water

 

Highly Suggested:

  • Wine away
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Breath mints or spray
  • Bug spray
  • Suntan lotion
  • Bobby Pins
  • Tissues
  • Tampons
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Krazy glue
  • Zip Ties
  • Ribbon
  • Push Pins
  • Flashlight

 

Nice to have:

  • Dental floss
  • Wet wipes
  • Masking tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Hammer & nails
  • Screwdriver
  • Batteries
  • Tape measure
  • Extra pens for guest books
  • Umbrellas

 

Now, you are ready to tackle anything that might come up on the wedding day!

Eva Marie & Jonathan – Sonoma Winery Wedding

Eva Marie & Jonathan – Sonoma Winery Wedding

When I was approached to work with wrestling reality stars, Eva Marie and Jonathan (from Total Divas on E!) on their wedding, I was thrilled!  Given their busy schedules, we didn’t have a lot of time to plan.  Luckily, Eva Marie and Jonathan really trusted me and the very talented Amy Burke (http://amyburkedesigns.com/) to run with the décor and details.  Eva Marie knew she wanted a classic, formal wedding with black, white and of course her signature color, red!  Besides the 7 cameras and 30 production staff that we were on-site to capture the wedding for the Total Divas mid-season finale episode (talk about having a lot of people to manage on the day of the wedding!!), we were lucky enough to have A Beautiful Day Photography (http://beautifuldayphotography.com/) there to capture this absolutely stunning affair!  Here is a peek inside their dream wedding!

 

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