Most women dream about their wedding day for their entire life! The big day is all about family, the experience and the memories made celebrating your new marriage to your one true love.
Who could resist fantasizing about that?
What makes the big day even better is having the perfect venue, flawless ceremony, gourmet food, some of the best wine in the world, amazing reception and gorgeous scenery to compliment the entire event.
If you follow our guide, it should help provide you with some helpful tips to have an amazing Napa Valley destination wedding.
*Photo Credit: Copain Wines
The Wedding Venue (Location, Location, Location!)
*Photo Credit: Auberge du Soleil
When you think of your special day, what’s in that picture? Landscape vistas of mountains, vineyards, aesthetically pleasing artwork and beautiful architecture? Is it inside a place of worship, resort/hotel/inn, banquet hall, country club, vineyard, barn, or winery?
If you answered yes to any of the above, Napa Valley and nearby Sonoma county have over +120 wedding venues that are sure to stun, amaze and please any wide range of different tastes.
Selecting the Time of Year
*Photo Credit: Calistoga Ranch
If every details needs to be perfect, the time of year will have a huge impact on your plans.
- December to March is considered the “rainy” or “wet” season in Northern California. 50s to 70s is the temperature range throughout those months. December is “late harvest” season. For the rest of the months, there are no leaves or grapes on the vines in the vineyards and a small amount of flowers are blooming.
- April to the end of May is when the flowers really start to come out. Between April 15 and April 30th, most flowers in Napa Valley are in full bloom. The temperature range is typically upper 60s to upper 70s with the occasional heat wave in the mid 80s. The leaves are just starting to appear on the vines in the vineyards in April and by May most vineyards will have full foliage. However, no grapes appear on the vines during these months.
- June to August is the summer and it gets pretty warm. Expect mid to high +90s with the possible +100 degree days. Full sun with minimal clouds and next to a 0% chance of rain. The color of the hills will have shifted from green to a golden hue during these months. Several varieties of flowers are blooming. The vineyards will have grapes appearing. Only in August will the grapes for white and sparkling wine be ready to harvest.
- September to November is the busy season in Napa Valley. And for good reason. This is when the grapes for red wine are able to be harvested and the season shifts into full swing. Lots of flower varieties are blooming, the vineyards have full foliage and the vines are loaded with grapes ready for the picking. The temperatures range between 70s and upper 80s with the occasional peak or dip in either direction by +/- 10 degrees. If this time of year sounds good to you, then plan ahead because almost 80% of the visitors to Napa Valley arrive this time of year.
Plan it Yourself or Hire a Wedding Planner
*Photo Credit: The Culinary Institute of America
Flowers, table settings, music, photographers, food, drinks and a lot more… one of the most stressful parts of the wedding is planning every single detail. Some choose to go at this task with their friends and family while others select a wedding planner to help with the details.
If you choose to plan a destination wedding in Napa Valley by yourself, keep in mind this is a very well traveled vacation destination. Try to book your event at least 1 year to 1.5 years in advance. Also, do your research! Hidden fees, blackout dates and other unforeseen issues can quickly turn the happiest of brides into bridezilla.
We recommend taking a huge chunk of the stress and removing it from the equation entirely by contracting a wedding planner to help with all the details. For what you pay a wedding planning, you will find it to be well worth it. The wedding planner is responsible for virtually everything on your special day. If something isn’t right, they will fix it. That’s a lot better than having someone who flew in for your wedding help you out of a jam.
If you’re looking for a wedding planner in Napa Valley or Sonoma, there are over +30 to choose from.
Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words
*Photo Credit: Canyon View
Regardless of your venue or how you plan out the wedding, you will want pictures of the day to look back on. If you want to look back and see it as you remember, then it is absolutely critical and extremely important to hire a professional photographer for your wedding.
When selecting a photographer, some venues have photographers they prefer and some wedding planners have photographers they recommended based on past performance. The easiest way to select a wedding photographer is to simply evaluate their portfolio. How they take pictures for others will be how they take pictures for your big day. Find a shutterbug pro who has photos you adore, then book that individual for your wedding or tell your planner you’ve found the perfect photographer for you.
As with everything you book for your wedding, be sure to plan ahead. There are over +60 wedding photographers in Napa and Sonoma and each year they book fast.
The Food and Drink You Offer
*Photo Credit: Auberge du Soleil
When people travel from all over the world for a destination wedding in Napa, they typically expect to eat and drink well at the event. In Napa Valley, gourmet food and world-class wine is very easy to source and serve.
The only hard part will be selecting what to offer your guests from the +60 wedding catering companies!
Entertain Your Guests
*Photo Credit: Napa Valley Balloons
We get it, your big day is all about the bride. However, you likely have guests coming in from all over the world that are looking forward to spending that day with you.
Before your guests arrive, spend some time preparing. Put together an itinerary of fun things that everyone can join in on. Make it optional to attend as it is their vacation too. Also put together a list of places to visit, sights to see, things to do, and places to eat at. Sure they can search for these things, but when you take time to provide a great destination wedding experience for your guests, they will be eternally grateful.
Here are some resources to help you get a list started:
- Helpful Ideas for Planning a Family Vacation in Napa Valley
- Top 10 Spots in Sonoma County for the Family to Visit in Spring
- 10 Kid Friendly Activities in Sonoma
The Wedding Dress
Depending on the bride, the wedding dress could be the most important part of the day. Be sure to have your dress in-hand and ready to wear before you arrive in Napa for your wedding.
It is not advisable to arrive a week or two before your wedding and then start the search for the perfect dress. However, if you do decide that last-minute dress shopping is for you, here are the +20 wedding bridal dress shops in Napa Valley.
Wedding Childcare Services
The kids who are part of the wedding are cute! After their part is over, they will want to play, eat, nap and so on. Someone has to help them. You may opt to have an adult only wedding or require nannies for childcare services to make sure your guests can enjoy the evening while their children are being looked after.
If that is the case, you’ll need wedding childcare services that can watch several children for several hours and make sure they are well taken care of late into the night. My Vacation Nanny will send any number of nannies to any event/hotel/resort/B&B to watch the children for the event.
During and After the Wedding
The best advice for during the wedding is to take some time throughout the event to pause from the fun and simply take in the moment. The family, the fun, the love, the experience, sights, sounds, smells. Try to remember it all as vividly as possible and you can keep reliving that moment throughout your life.
For after the wedding, a lot of people like to continue visiting with their guests after the date of the wedding. This is perfectly okay to do! But we recommend that you plan to leave on your honeymoon or at least have the next 24-48 hours after your wedding dedicated to uninterrupted time with your new spouse.
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