Considering a Napa or Sonoma wedding?
Geography of the Northern California wine country is pretty simple. There are two valleys, they are parallel to one another and both have much larger corresponding counties. There are other similarities also, both grow grapes for winemaking, both have agriculture as their main source of income and both host weddings. Sonoma weddings tend to have a more relaxed slant to them while Napa weddings tend to be just a smidgen more formal. But is that where the differences end? Nope.
What do Sonoma weddings offer a couple?
Sonoma is one of the largest counties in California, stretching from the ocean in Bodega bay back to the town of Sonoma and up to Healdsburg. Venues in Sonoma range from wineries to estates that mostly have a more rustic charm. The rules for Sonoma wineries doing weddings is nearly the same as Napa. No hard liquor and end times ranging from 10 – 11 p.m., but there are more venues to accommodate larger size weddings and events.
When choosing a venue in Sonoma County, you will want to consider your location as each offers something unique – I’ll focus on three areas:
Town of Sonoma: Quaint downtown area, a large variety of lodging in many price points and a 15 minute drive to Sonoma Valley. The town of Sonoma has wineries, estates and other unique venues for weddings as it is centrally located.
Sonoma Valley: Flanked by Rolling hillsides, wineries and two lane roads, Sonoma Valley features many wineries with a few estates thrown in. It has particularly beautiful sunsets from hilltop venues where you can see all the way to San Francisco.
Healdsburg: A small enclave about 45 minutes north of the town of Sonoma, Healdsburg has a darling town square surrounded with world class lodging and restaurants. Winery tasting rooms mix with cute shops and stores. Healdsburg offers many different venues from restaurants to wineries and estates for Sonoma weddings.
What do Napa weddings offer a couple?
Napa: The town of Napa is undergoing a renaissance downtown with upgraded lodging, tons of new, chic restaurants and nightlife you can’t find in Sonoma or Upvalley. Napa weddings tend to start their celebrations in town. This is because of the variety of venues and lodging available at multiple price points and ability to shuttle guests to either Sonoma or up to St. Helena or Calistoga for the wedding. You can find everything you would need in Napa while still having a small town feeling.
Mid Valley (Yountville to St. Helena): Between Napa and Calistoga is Napa Valley and the towns of Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and St.Helena. Yountville is where Napa Valley begins. Filled with Michelin starred restaurants, luxury lodging and a very walkable “downtown”
Calistoga: North of St.Helena is Calistoga which sits at the base of Mt. St. Helena. Calistoga is quite literally three roads intersected and home to every type of spa treatment imaginable. It is very small, but mighty. It boasts amazing resorts on the outskirts of town and has more of a forested feeling with big redwoods along the roads and on the hills. Calistoga is an awesome place for a rehearsal dinner, brunch or lodging.
Sonoma Wedding Designer’s Conclusion:
We love to plan weddings and events in both areas, so it’s really personal preference regarding style. If you choose Napa or Sonoma for your wine country wedding you will not make a bad choice. Planning weddings in the wine country allows us to have beautiful scenery, excellent weather during the summer and early fall and the best food and wine guest experience possible.