Wedding

Emma’s Wedding – The Venue, Planning Timeline & Q+A

Hi everyone, Emma here! Coming to you with some of my wedding details & information. This is my first time writing a blog post about my wedding – considering it’s over a year away, we still have PLENTY of time to chat about everything. I went and toured our venue with my mom, maid of honor, and some of my lovely vendors last month & had a blast! My planner, florist team and catering team did the full walk through with me and it was SO nice receiving more details and ideas. It was amazing seeing how many people care about this wedding!

We had so much fun! I love these people. :)

Planning Timeline

October 2020: I got engaged on October 3rd! It was a magical weekend spent with Zach in San Francisco. (before we moved to the city) He proposed on Baker Beach where is where we had our first date many years ago.. it was a really private moment, which I loved. We immediately went out to Brunch & stayed at the St. Regis in the city which was such a treat!

November 2020: I started e-mailing venues to tour right away because I originally thought we would get married in October 2021. Even being a year away, most of the venues I e-mailed said they were already booked up due to COVID. I then realized that we may have to push the wedding out to 2022 due to availability + the ever-ending issue of mask mandates. Also, at this time I wasn’t sure when vaccine availability would be accessible to everyone.

End of November 2020: My planner Lauren reached out to me via IG because she followed my mom! I never even considered hiring a planner until I met her, but I had actually run into some difficulty in booking venue tours so I thought I should take her up on her offer to help me out with this. I paid her for her services and she immediately set Zach and I up to tour different venues a week later. It was all SO fast. We toured a few venues in one day and once we found Viansa we fell in love and booked them for a May 2022 wedding. We weren’t exactly sure which date in May at that point but we knew we wanted to have it there. We signed for May 21, 2022 a couple of weeks later! After we signed Lauren told me how lucky we were to book with Viansa because they basically had every single spring & summer 2022 date booked after that! COVID has really messed with the timeline of wedding planning.

December 2020: After we settled on the venue I knew I wanted to start booking my most important vendors. I signed with a photographer (not my current one), my florist, our rehearsal dinner venue, invitations & signage and videographer (plus my planner of course). This helped calm me down a bit because I was scared that COVID would mess with even more dates. I was also a little stressed because we still needed to start planning the actual BUDGET & guest list. The budget has gone up a tiny bit since we first came up with it (as has the guest list count) but it’s important to know this early on!)

February 2021: I decided to start booking more of my vendors at this point and researching more of what I wanted! My original photographer ended up backing out of our wedding due to getting her dates mixed up.. (big yikes!) so I ended up booking my current photographer, which is so exciting. I recommend booking the wedding photographer as soon as you get engaged and find a venue! During this time, I booked my hairstylist, makeup artist and harpist. Plus – I start coming up with ideas on invitations, florals, colors and more! I also ask my bridesmaids via text if they would be my bridesmaids to protect the date. ;) I have special gifts for each of them and plan to send those out this month!

April 2021: Lauren and I booked more of my vendors including catering (this is one of the most important venders to schedule) and transportation. Also, Kelly (from Kelly Design Co – designing my save the dates/invitations) and I started coming up with some of the design details. She also had me begin to collect addresses for all my guests. This has been really fun! We are planning on sending out the “save the date” cards next month – 1 year before the wedding. We did a full walk-through with my mom, MOH and all the top vendors this month as well and had so much fun!

May 2022: We are taking our engagement photos & will be sending out our Save The Dates!

Wedding Overview

Our wedding is taking place in Sonoma, CA at Viansa Winery on May 2022. We began planning our wedding since we became engaged in October 2020. Right after we were engaged I knew that I wanted to quickly begin to tour wedding venues because I had heard that Spring 2022 was booking quickly due to COVID. Ever since then I’ve been lining everything up with my vendors & I can’t wait to go into all the details about each of them with all with you.

Rehearsal Dinner Space via Cline Cellars

As of now we are inviting around 200 people to the main ceremony and reception and around 40 to our rehearsal dinner the night before. We were so excited because we discovered how beautiful Cline Cellars is when we toured the venue and found the perfect private rehearsal dinner spot on the side of the property. We’ve decided to order a food truck & a delicious huge charcuterie board + wine tasting for our Rehearsal dinner guests.
So excited!

We will be providing transportation to & from the wedding, with most guests arriving around 5:30pm. The ceremony will begin at 6pm & ends around 6:30. Cocktail hour is between 6:30-8pm with lots of appetizers and food options before dinner is served. Plated dinner will start at 8pm and the evening will run through until midnight! I will share more about the catering company that I’m going with & the menu, my ceremony music & DJ, tablescape plans, florist plans and more soon.

The Venue

Sonoma is such a gorgeous place, and we knew that we wanted to have a “destination wedding” of some sort. Most of our close friends and family live in California, so this was the perfect compromise and location. Even though most won’t have to fly cross-country, it’s still a bit of a trek with guests having to rent cars/stay in hotels. Viansa is located on the top of a beautiful mountaintop overlooking the vineyards and natural wetlands of the entire Sonoma area. It is truly gorgeous and a gem of a wedding venue.

Zach and I looked at quite a few venues before deciding on Viansa. Some of the other venues we looked at included Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, Ramekins, Cline Cellars and MacArthur Place, but none of them stole our hearts the way Viansa did. Another venue we LOVED was actually B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen (the ceremony spot is truly gorgeous) but we ended up wanting a different look and feel. I actually want to write a blog post talking about touring the different venues and sharing more info about them. I’ll have to add that to my list of things to do. ;)

Viansa is a fourth-generation family-run winery founded in 1990. The vineyard and grounds has a Tuscan look and feel thanks to the owner’s roots there. The venue has multiple gorgeous areas – both indoor and out. Perfect for a ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner/dancing. It was a no brainer once we toured the grounds. There are also so many stunning photo spots and relaxing spaces, which we loved. The venue has been wonderful to work with. They said we could use any of the lounge furniture that they have on the property as well as the bistro lights and heaters. So great! All in all, I’m going to share a bigger breakdown on where the ceremony and dinner space will sit later & I’m so excited to share!

We are using some of these long farm tables for the reception
My planner, Lauren is an actual lifesaver!

My Vendors

I’ve already hired almost 90% of my vendors for our wedding, thankfully. I’m so excited to share more about each of them soon! I hope you won’t mind if I deep dive into a lot of the plans that I have with each of them. I know I’m always interested in the specifics of what others decide for their weddings. :) Also, I’m not completely done with hiring all my vendors. I still have around 4-5 more which includes the DJ, rentals, desserts/wedding cake, rehearsal dinner venders & more.

Wedding Vendors

Rehearsal Dinner Vendors

FAQ

Many of you had questions about my wedding, and I thought I would add my answers here!

Why do you need a wedding planner? You and your mom decorate all the time.

Wedding Planners are much more than just a decorator! My Planner Lauren has connections all over the bay area from venues, caterers, florists, and everything else in the wedding space. She has introduced me to countless vendors (basically all of my vendors on my list!) and has been such an incredible person to go to about all-things wedding. I’m doing a fun Q&A with her here on the blog soon, so stay tuned for that.

What is your color scheme? Flower Ideas? Etc

My color scheme consists of whites, blushes, soft greens and more. Think “Romantic Spring Winery” themed! Very classic, but I love it. I considered doing an all-white wedding for a while but recently changed my mind. I’m going to share more about this soon as well.

Are you having an open bar?

Thankfully, Viansa allows liquor at their winery for weddings! Most Sonoma and Napa area wineries do not allow liquor, but they have a special license so it is possible. We will be having Viansa wine, beer, and liquor at our open bar. Plus, 2 speciality his and her drinks. :)

DJ or Band?

We are planning on having a DJ for the reception & dancing portion and a harpist for our ceremony + cocktail hour. Super excited because Zach and I love live music but we wanted to have our favorite songs by a DJ later in the evening.

Mother of the bride/Bridesmaid dress ideas?

Honestly, I haven’t given this too much thought yet! We’re still so far out, thankfully I have plenty of time to help my gals shop it up. I want my bridesmaids to be as comfortable as possible so I might give everyone a few options to choose from and see what the majority votes. I’m not sure yet if I want multiple colors/dresses (within the same tone) or everyone wearing the same dress.

How do you budget/who is paying for the wedding?

In regards to budget, Zach and I chatted about it right after we got engaged and came to a number we were both comfortable with. Both of our families are generously giving us a certain amount as well, which we are grateful for. I have a budget excel sheet that I use to keep on track that my planner provided to me, which has been really helpful.

Bachelorette Party?

I am headed to Tulum with my bridesmaids and special friends in February where we are staying in a gorgeous villa for a few nights! I wanted to treat my bridesmaids to a fun time away. :)

Are you having a dress code?

Yes! I am having my guests wear cocktail attire.. think, pretty cocktail dresses (typically mid to long) and men wearing sport coats.

Do you have a hotel block for guests?

We will most likely have one hotel block for guests & then give AirBnB options & other smaller options for them on our website.

Do you have a wedding hashtag?

Yes! #EndlessSummerfield – like a play on Endless Summer. :) Thanks to Maddy, my MOH for coming up with it! We’ll have guests use it to hashtag photos from the wedding :)

Are you having a “first look” with the photographer before the ceremony?

Yes, definitely. Zach and I would get WAY too emotional walking down the aisle if we didn’t (I probably still will..) and we want to enjoy talking with our guests during the cocktail hour!

Are you inviting plus-ones?

Yes, every guest gets a plus-one. Since our wedding is out of town for most, I wanted to make sure our friends were comfortable and could bring who they want. Most of our friends and family are married or are in serious relationships though.

Thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Emma’s Wedding – The Venue, Planning Timeline & Q+A

  1. You are gonna be the most beautiful bride ever . I can’t wait to see you. I just started followed your mom. She’s an incredible human being. Love her house and decor. She’s my inspiration to have my decor and house beautiful. Good luck love . Your engagement pictures are beautiful ❤️

  2. Emma your wedding will be a fairy tale to talk about in the years to come. You are going to be a beautiful bride. Congratulations 🎊

  3. Emma, your pics and you are beautiful! Fun to hear the details for this mom of 2 sons…first one fabulous outdoor wedding May 26 in Brainerd MN and the weather ended up lovely. Best wishes on all the planning! You two and your story are quite special.

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