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pros vs. cons

If you're a wine lover, a vineyard may be the perfect place to host your wedding. But if you're looking for unending possibilities and total flexibility, you may want to explore other options.

  • Pro: Wine, wine, and more wine. You and your guests can sample a variety of the vineyard's freshest varietals.
  • Pro: Multiple settings. With the lush vineyards and intriguing cellars, you can enjoy both outdoor elegance as well as a cozy indoor setting.
  • Pro: Privacy. Hosting your nuptials at a private vineyard typically means that your wedding is the only event taking place on the property that day.
  • Pro: Customized menus. Instead of a set-in-stone menu, many vineyards allow their chefs to customize your meals or use outside vendors to help you create your dream dinner.
  • Con: An early ending. Due to their residential locations and noise ordinances, vineyards typically require receptions to end by 10 p.m.
  • Con: Guest policy. Depending on the location you choose, there may be a minimum guest requirement in order to book a cellar or pavilion.
  • Con: Limited bar. When it comes to alcohol, vineyards tend to serve their wines and beer; they may prohibit any additional liquor at the reception.
  • Con: Unreliable Weather. Some venues offer limited indoor space, so be sure that you have an inclement weather backup plan (either a tent or alternative indoor space).

 

Wedding Style: Vineyard Weddings

Whether you're envisioning open-air fields of grapevines or the intimate mystique of a wine cellar, there's something thoroughly romantic about a vineyard wedding. Here's how to pull one off.

Photo: Union Photography

If you thought vineyard weddings were only for Napa natives or destination weddings, think again. From an 80-acre plot in Clermont, Florida, to an 1805 barn establishment in Finesville, New Jersey, to a hillside site in Somerset, Kansas, there's a winery waiting to host your wedding in every state in the US. Check out this guide to help you plan a stunning celebration among the grapevines.

The Invitations

  • Play up the vineyard's grapes and vines by choosing a stationery suite complete with purple and white save-the-dates, invitations, and thank-you notes. Purchase a purple wax seal and add the vineyard's official stamp to each envelope.
  • For a Tuscan-inspired event, opt for rich browns and gold print for a rustic look. Include a subtle wine motif by incorporating an embossed grapevine or wine glasses at the bottom of your stationery.
  • Wow guests by sending personalized wine bottles with customized labels. Put a rolled-up scroll inside an empty bottle, seal it with the vineyard's specialty cork, and place it in a padded or hay-stuffed wooden box.

The Decor

  • Vineyard Elegance: A natural choice, the wine country theme is easy to pull off with a buttery yellow and plum color palette. Wine corks with escort card inserts can lead guests to tables named after your favorite bottles of wine. Purple table linens topped with rattan chargers and khaki napkins contrast well with overflowing vases filled with a mix of grapes and plum flowers.
  • Cellar Celebration: A blend of rich chocolate brown and bright orange would look great for a reception in a wine cellar. Top brown or burlap linens with weaved baskets overflowing with orange and golden flowers, sprigs of wheat, and fresh gourds. Don't forget to set up candles around the room for a romantic glow.
  • Tuscan Villa: Evoke the Italian hillside with gorgeous gold, mauve, and green linens accented with gilded chargers and gold-flecked glassware. For the centerpieces, consider potted topiaries or mixing flowers in terra cotta pots surrounded by Spanish moss. Hang vintage lanterns with slow-burning candles from the cellar's exposed ceiling beams.

The Menu

  • For a signature cocktail, serve Bellinis garnished with fresh peach chunks, or opt for rich and refreshing red wine sangria.
  • Nothing goes better with wine than cheese. Ask your caterer to set up a station with big blocks of different kinds of cheese. Don't forget signage to explain where each cheese is produced.
  • When it comes to a seated meal, a wine-pairing feast is a must for a vineyard wedding. Your caterer can help you select the best wines to complement each course.

The Dessert

  • Add some Italian flair with a fluffy Florentine sponge cake topped with a refreshing orange or lemon sorbet.
  • Ask your cake baker to paint a grapevine motif on your cake's tiers and top it with small bundles of gum paste grapes.
  • Indulge in a four-tiered chocolate Zinfandel cake with strawberry filling covered in layers of rich chocolate fondant and fresh strawberries.

The Favors

  • Thank guests with sterling silver wine stoppers.
  • Attach personalized thank-you tags to bottles of fresh olive oil.
  • Offer mini bottles of wine from the vineyard's stock.

-- Tia Albright
Special Thanks: Karon Cartwright, Food and Beverage Director, Ponte Family Estate Winery


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