Sonoma wine country is synonymous with romance with its breathtaking natural beauty, intimate bed and breakfasts, luxury resorts and of course, wine tasting. What better place to tie the knot than the Russian River Valley? The area offers a variety of options from traditional ceremonies and receptions to adventure weddings in the great outdoors.
Let’s start with the lovely Inn at Occidental, which “Tops our list as the most romantic place to stay,” as reported by Bride & Groom Magazine. The team at the Inn loves creating magical events with ceremonies and receptions inside or out in their lush garden courtyard.
Or combine a garden wedding with a reception at the Occidental Center for the Arts close by!
Dawn Ranch Resort is a wonderful option, particularly for an outdoor wedding, with 15 acres of beautiful grounds surrounded by majestic redwoods, an apple orchard and vegetable garden used by the highly-rated onsite restaurant, Agriculture Public House. The cottage-style resort has a number of quaint cabins and cottages dating back to the 1880s, perfect for large groups that wish to extend their stay.
The famed Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant in Forestville, rated the number one hotel in California by both Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler magazines, is another option for a luxurious setting for a wedding. The rustic five-star boutique hotel with 25 rooms boasts a One Michelin Star chef and offers Sommelier-led wine tours.
West Sonoma Inn and Spa sits on six acres of land overlooking the surrounding vineyards and has an outdoor patio and lawn area with gazebo, also perfect for an outdoor wedding.
For something altogether different, the Rio Theater and Café in Monte Rio is a historic movie theater that can be rented out. The theater is housed in a Quonset hut and features a unique hand-painted mural and a large field for staging an outdoor ceremony or party. Yummy food from the Rio Cafe Take 2 completes the event. Make it a fun and memorable ceremony and use the theater as a base to see a movie, play games or explore the river from the Monte Rio beach across the street. The beach is also the perfect spot for an outdoor adventure wedding including a float down the river after the ceremony! Monte Rio Rec and Parks is another location that is an ideal site of many happy vows.
After the ceremony, head over to The Village Inn and Restaurant for the reception. The Inn features a beautiful gazebo overlooking the river that offers an idyllic setting for an outdoor wedding.
When it comes to ordering the perfect cake, Fabino Baking creates custom-designed centerpiece cakes that are sure to please the eye as much as the palette. The owner, Jeff Gosche, also makes decorated cookies and hosts cookie decorating events for groups. For catering, A La Heart Catering uses locally-sourced fruits and vegetables from one of Sonoma’s oldest family farms, cheese from a local creamery and baked goods from a local bakery. In addition, most local restaurants offer catering services.
A wedding in the Russian River Valley wouldn’t be complete without Korbel Champagne Cellars, which has several lovely tasting rooms available for rent. Furthermore Wines, known for their exceptional Pinot Noir, can accommodate large groups and has a bocce court. Another renowned Pinot Noir producer that has a brand-new tasting room for group tours and tasting is Emeritus Vineyards, voted number one winery tour by USA Today, located on the Hallberg Ranch Estate in Sebastopol.
Another option is Thomas George Estates Winery, producers of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Grenache Noir. A private reception can be held in the winery’s 8,000-square foot cave, cave library or picnic grounds, which also features bocce ball.
With so many great venues for everything ranging from a small, intimate ceremony in the redwoods, by the river or the ocean, to a large gathering at a resort, winery or private estate, the Russian River Valley has the perfect spot to say “I do,” and make it a memory that will last a lifetime.