Wine Country Wedding

Joyous Wine Country Wedding


September 29, 2023
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Gagan Dhiman Photography

Sydney and David’s first meeting happened during their earlier college years at UW-Madison. Long after the introduction by mutual friends and settling into official “adulthood,” Sydney and David bumped into each other at a college bar. That’s when the sparks flew.

“That week, Dave asked me out on a date at a rooftop restaurant where ended up spilling red wine all over my shirt,” Sydney says. “Luckily, that didn’t dissuade Dave from asking me out again (Although he never lets me live it down!).”

The two developed a beautiful relationship over wine, a tradition they took into dating life. Each weekend, the couple would try a new bottle for date night, and they soon noticed a theme in their favorite picks.

“We loved every bottle we had from the Napa and Sonoma county areas and always wanted to visit wine country,” the couple says.

When Sydney and David got engaged, they used the opportunity of celebrating their betrothal to make that wish come true. Blown away at its vistas and incredible wine of California’s wine country, the couple couldn’t ignore the tug towards having a destination wedding in this wine-lovers’ wonderland.

Once the couple narrowed down their venue search to the Napa and Sonoma area, they began touring wineries. Quickly learning that Napa County wedding venues are very sought after and only a handful of wineries there are able to host weddings due to a local ordinance, the bride and groom-to-be focused the search on Sonoma. 

“We decided on Hamel Family Wines,” Dave says, “because of its beautiful location and modern architecture and its connection to our alma mater: UW-Madison!” 

As a minimalist, the bride enjoyed Hamel Family Wines‘ aesthetic with stunning nearby mountain ranges and unique buildings. With the scene set perfectly and little need for decor, the couple felt splurging on the venue was the right choice.

Being unfamiliar with the area, Sydney and David wanted someone on their side who could provide guidance for the destination and vendor connections. Tan Weddings & Events won the trust of the couple and introduced them to a team of stellar vendors.

“Having wedding planners was a huge help throughout the destination wedding planning process,” the bride says. “It gave us so much peace of mind knowing that our wedding planners knew and had worked with all of our vendors before!”

With the majority of guests flying in from Wisconsin and others from all over the U.S., little to no travel issues occurred. While not everyone could attend the Napa celebrations, the couple made sure to promise both that there would be a hometown party and thank those who did fly to sunny California to witness their union.

“We did end up spending more on a destination wedding than we would have for a local wedding. Wine country comes with a price tag, but it was totally worth it for the wedding of our dreams!” the bride explains. 

The special day had an intimate atmosphere as Sydney and David stood on the same lands that produced the bottles of wine the couple grew their relationship over.

Vendors: Photographer: Gagan Dhiman Photography; Wedding Planner: Tan Weddings & Events; Venue: Hamel Family Wines; Florist: Bloom & Vine; Stationery: Minted; Hair: Hair By Breanna; Makeup: Taryn Passifione Makeup Artistry; Gown Designer: Made With Love Bridal; Groom’s Clothing Designer: The Black Tux; Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN; Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux; Catering: Elaine Bell Catering; Transportation: Pure Luxury Transportation; Rentals: Standard Event Rentals & Theoni Collection; DJ: Extreme Productions

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