Destination I Do
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Everything You Need for a Wine Country Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Autumn Millhouse
Photo courtesy of Carneros Inn, Napa Valley

Wine country weddings encompass essential details beyond taking your vows in a vineyard setting. It requires a wine country state-of-mind. Whether in wine country or not, attention to these essential details will undoubtedly create a wine country ambiance for any wedding.

VINO: Wine is the soul of a wine country wedding and dictates the general vibe for the evening. Choosing the wrong wine for the couple could be a major upset. Work with a local sommelier to perfectly pair your wine with your food, and don’t forget to consider the right bubbles for your wedding cake. Make sure to have a few different wines on hand, one for novice wine drinkers, one for more experienced wine coinsurers and one for the everyday wine drinker. That way there will be no unhappy faces at the reception. Work with a local winery on blending your own wine for this momentous occasion and consider purchasing from them directly to save some extra cash.

RUSTIC ELEGANCE: After discussing with many wedding planners what the key ingredient is, in terms of décor, the most important element seems to be bringing the outside landscape in. Meaning the flowers are simple yet gorgeous. The wedding colors are mute but extremely elegant. The wedding favors and detailed touches represent sustainability, chic style and are pleasing to the eye. For example, local honey wrapped in recycled ribbon, organic olive oil used as a decorative touch in the main course or pour from a magnum of wine autographed by a local winemaker. Each of these ideas will set the tone for the idyllic wine country wedding and make fabulous wedding favors. Even consider using a saber to open your bubbly for your wedding cake toast. This will be an exciting display for guests and cement the wine country ambiance.

ARTISANAL MENU: A large part of what makes a wine country wedding unique and appealing beyond the rustic location is the wine and food. The cuisine is often inspired by a simple approach to food by using local, organic and seasonal products. Wine country cuisine is a beautiful mix of Mediterranean fare typically with California meats, fruits and vegetables. Check out what some of the best wine country chefs, such as Michael Chiarello, Thomas Keller and Bob Hurley, are creating in their kitchens and use that as inspiration for your own menu. Work with your caterer to plan a special menu and properly pair wine for each course and the menu will be talked about for years to come.

For more on Autumn Millhouse and her book Romantic Napa Valley, An Insider’s Guide for Couples, click here.

About: Autumn Millhouse is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in wine, food and romantic getaways. She is also an international trekker who has wined and dined across the globe from Barcelona to Beijing. A self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic” and author of Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, Autumn also has a bi-monthly column called “Love Vines” published in Napa Valley Life Magazine. She resides in Napa Valley where she cultivates her wine and food relationships with top chefs, winemakers and a slew of other foodies. Besides, sniffing, swirling and sipping wine daily, Autumn is currently working on her next travel book Romantic Sonoma Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples. To visit Autumn on Facebook, click here.

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