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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Sonoma Destination Wedding

Words by Alicia Clark
Photos courtesy of Chellise Michael Photography

Some destinations have a couple’s name written all over it. This was the case for wine-lovers Amy and Jonathan, who had their destination wedding in the heart of wine country at Stryker Sonoma Winery in Geyserville, California. An outdoor wedding was at the top of the list of requirements for the couple, as was having the best food and wine available – making Stryker Sonoma Winery an easy choice.

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Amy and Jonathon admit that planning a wedding on the west-coast from their east-coast home was difficult. “There were times it was a little frustrating to be far away – times that I wished I could stop by the venue or the rental showroom and see something for myself in order to make a decision,” the bride said of her experience. “But it was all worth it, once we were there and enjoying everything we had planned.” Amy and Jonathon credit their wedding planner, Stephanie Beer of Covenant Coordinating for helping to ease their stress.

The bride turned to the Internet for some of her inspiration using sites like Style Me Pretty, Ruffled and Pinterest. On top of that, she became a regular at a nearby craft store, giving her even more inspiration. All of this DIY preparation paid off with Amy’s hand-made program and escort cards.

Guests of Amy and Jonathon’s wedding were in for a real treat, not only because of the gorgeous location, but also because of the couple’s carefully planned pre-wedding activities and attention to detail.

Amy and Jonathon organized a wine tour for their guests with mini-buses provided and accompanied by a picnic lunch. “The wine tour was a great way to spend casual ‘non-wedding’ time with a large group of guests,” the couple said.  After the wedding, a brunch at the Hotel Healdsburg where Amy, Jonathon and a number of guests were staying was held.

Welcome tote bags were made for all guests and delivered to their hotels once they had arrived. “We wanted the bags to have ingredients which were meaningful to us,” the couple said. These lucky guests received goody bags containing bags of granola from Eleven Madison Park restaurant (where the couple got engaged), cookies from Round Swamp Farm in East Hampton, a local cheese, crostini and naturally flavored sodas from Sonoma Sparklers.

One of the wedding’s biggest hits was the scrapbook making material provided alongside a photo booth. This idea was used in lieu of a guestbook and created a lasting memento that the couple will be sure to enjoy for years to come.

For advice, Amy and Jonathon encourage couples to find a wedding planner familiar to the area and not to over-plan activities for guests.

Vendors: Photography: Chellise Michael Photography, Wedding planner: Stephanie Beer of Covenant Coordinating, Ceremony/Reception site: Stryker Sonoma Winery, Florist: Maria Philbin, Photo booth: Smile City, Cupcakes: Sift, Caterer: Alex’s Catering, Band: Big City Revue, Ceremony music: Shea Breaux-Wells, Tote Bag Graphic Design: Alesandra Olanow, Hair and makeup: It’s a Date at the Power Room, Invitations/Save the date: Wedding Paper Divas



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