Dazzling views, fresh air, and excellent wine are just a few of the reasons why couples love vineyard weddings. Who wouldn’t want to have a wedding ceremony in an idyllic outdoor locale surrounded by fresh grapevines and gorgeous scenery?
The good news for couples seeking vineyard wedding venues is that it’s relatively easy to find one—more than half of the states in the United States have at least one vineyard venue. The difficult part comes when it’s time to choose a date and plan the other elements of your dream wedding.
That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to finding a vineyard venue and putting together the rest of the pieces to your perfect wedding day puzzle. Read on to learn more about:
Let’s start with finding lush vineyards.
When you think about wine country in the United States, you probably immediately think of California. And, while California is certainly the epicenter of US wine production, there are 29 other states with vineyards.
After California, the states with the most vineyards are Oregon, Washington, and New York. The remainder are sprinkled throughout the country.
When you consider both vineyards and wineries for your perfect place, every single state is included. The same states take the top five spots, with Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina rounding out the top ten. In total, there are over 11,000 wineries in the United States.
You might be wondering what the difference between a vineyard and a winery is. Let’s look at the features of each.
In contrast, wineries:
Some venues are both vineyards and wineries, meaning that they grow the grapes that they then use to produce wine onsite.
Vineyard or winery? The best choice for your wedding venue depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want the delightful scenery that a vineyard provides or do you want the increased flexibility that a winery offers? Let’s look at some considerations that you’ll need to take into account when searching for your ideal wedding venue.
Location – Not all states have vineyard venues for your wedding. If a wine-centric setting is a must, considering a destination wedding or local winery might be necessary.
Season – Depending on where in the country you plan to get married, your date may fall before or after the landscape’s peak beauty. Make sure that your date and location align so that you can actually enjoy your scenic outdoor venue.
Accommodations – Many vineyards are in remote locations, thus requiring you to make plans for your guests’ travel and accommodations. You should do your research before making any final venue decisions, as difficult and expensive travel might limit the number of guests who are able to make it to your ceremony.
Restrictions – Some vineyards may have restrictions on the type of alcohol you can serve at your wedding. Furthermore, outdoor affairs in the countryside or small towns might have to turn down the music by a certain hour to meet local noise ordinances.
Budget – You’ll need to carefully consider whether a vineyard wedding fits your budget. They can get quite expensive as can local lodging and vendors, especially in some of the more popular regions such as Napa Valley and Sonoma. Those in remote locations can also be pricey since you’ll have limited accommodation options to pick from.
Once you’ve outlined your budget and accounted for your other venue must-haves, we can help you narrow your search. Zola has a free tool with which you can sort venues by:
All of our venues are pre-screened, so you can feel confident that you’ll have the best wine-centric places available to choose from.
One factor that will steer your selection of the right vineyard or winery is the date. Certain parts of the country won’t be comfortable settings for an outdoor wedding in summer or winter. Unfortunately, if you’re on a tight budget, popular locations will likely cost significantly more during the prime weather periods.
This might be one reason to consider a smaller, less well-known location for your wedding. There are vineyards in states with more temperate climates—such as North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia—that can host weddings year-round with indoor and outdoor options.
If you don’t mind an indoor ceremony, you may want to consider a vineyard in Massachusetts or New Hampshire where winter offers cozy interiors with beautiful snowy scenes outside.
Even in states where the weather is generally nice enough to be outdoors for much of the year, it’s still a wise idea to choose a venue that offers flexibility. Summers can get very hot, while spring and fall can have rainy weather to contend with.
Some of our favorite tips for selecting the right vineyard for your wedding include:
Indoor vs. outdoor – We get it, an outdoor vineyard wedding is the dream. However, there’s no harm in finding a venue that has the flexibility to move things indoors if the weather doesn’t cooperate. You don’t want to get to the day of your ceremony and have no other option in the event of bad weather.
Weather swings – The weather can also fluctuate over the course of a long ceremony and reception. It might be nice out in the afternoon—right up until a storm blows in during the evening. Choosing a venue that offers some indoor space will protect you from weather ups and downs.
Contingency plan – Finally, it might be prudent to have a contingency plan in place if you’re hoping to have your wedding in the Pacific Northwest. California, Oregon, and Washington have many gorgeous vineyards. Unfortunately, in recent years, these states have been swamped by wildfires every summer. You don’t want your guests to have to contend with smoke during the wedding.
When you’re sifting through the date options for your wedding, keep the seasonal availability, weather, and budget implications in mind. We think a venue with both indoor and outdoor options is always the best choice to prevent wedding day disappointment.
Once you’ve selected a picturesque vineyard and set the date, it’s time to think about your wedding style and theme. Vineyards provide many marvelous opportunities to showcase your style and flair. From classic to rustic, you can incorporate just about anything into a vineyard wedding.
Next, we’ll cover some of our favorite wedding decor styles.
A classic black-and-white attire wedding looks lovely in a vineyard. Other musts for a ceremony that honors a traditional style include:
These will give your wedding a timeless and attractive look that the vineyard will accentuate to perfection.
If elegance is your goal, you can borrow some elements from the classic wedding, including the white dress (or suit!) and crisp table linens. You can be more daring with your color choices and incorporate some unique things, such as:
Darker hues will add a touch of sophistication to your vineyard ceremony.
Perhaps the most popular look for a winery or vineyard wedding is rustic. It’s not surprising when you consider that the setting is ideal for the soft color palette, frothy lace, and delicate florals of rustic weddings. Some elements we love to incorporate into a vineyard wedding include:
You’ll love your rustic style vineyard wedding and as an added bonus, the natural light will softly highlight each element for picture-perfect photos.
The modern wedding look is also divine in a vineyard. Think contrast when planning a modern theme by using:
Dramatic bits of color sprinkled throughout the ceremony and receptions will give you the modern look you desire.
Congratulations—you’ve decided on a theme for your wedding! The next step is to design your invitations and get them in the mail so that you know how many people to expect at the ceremony.
Many vineyards and wineries have capacity limits so you’ll have to be careful not to invite more people than can fit.
Furthermore, it’s highly likely that many of your guests are going to need to make travel arrangements to get to the venue, especially if it’s in an obscure location. Luckily, Zola is here for all of your wedding paper needs. We have hundreds of design templates to choose from. We also offer free samples, shipping, and standard envelopes.
Some of our favorite vineyard wedding invitation ideas include:
Wine barrels – Use the charming rustic look of wine barrels to set the tone for your wedding invites. We love woodsy barrels paired with a night-sky background or with delicate floral accents.
Grapevines – Ring a simple white invitation with pretty green grapevines. The touch of purple from the grapes will add a little color to these attractive invitations.
Burgundy – You can also make a dramatic statement with a dark card with white or silver foil lettering. Burgundy is a natural choice for wine-themed weddings, but forest green, navy blue, and black are also appropriate.
Vineyard scene – The rolling hills and soft natural light of a vineyard make a pleasing background image for your invitations. Nothing will get your guests in the mood for your celebration quite like setting the scene with the invite.
Grapes and wine – A cream-colored card with a wooden table holding a glass of wine and a bunch of grapes is another winning combination for an invitation. You can even have the table, wine, and grapes in black outline for a starkly contrasting image against a light background.
These are just a few ideas for vineyard wedding invites. You’re sure to find inspiration and the perfect invitation when you use Zola for your wedding paper.
Now that you have your location, theme, and invites, we want to share a few more tips to make your vineyard wedding an amazing experience for you and your guests.
As you know, vineyard venues may require significant travel for many of your guests. On your invitations and your wedding website, you’ll want to include the following information:
Remote locations often come with a hefty travel price tag for your guests. You should give them time to prepare and make arrangements so that they can attend. Furthermore, the number of hotels and Airbnbs nearby might be limited. Consider reserving a block of rooms in advance. You want to ensure that everyone can find a place to stay before everything is booked.
One way to fully embrace the setting of your wedding is to use local vendors for your needs, including:
Your wedding will be truly unique when you incorporate local elements, and you’ll give a boost to the economy where you’re hosting your ceremony.
Furthermore, local vendors will be best equipped to answer questions and ensure that everything is in place on the day of your wedding.
Don’t fret if you’re not familiar with the area around the vineyard. Zola’s pre-screened vendor tool will help you locate caterers, photographers, florists, bands, and more near your wedding location.
When you select a venue for your wedding, you’ll have to sign a contract that outlines all the rules that you and your guests must follow. It’s your responsibility as the host to know these rules and to make sure that your guests are also aware of them. Vineyards often have stricter guidelines than other venues because their livelihood is based on the ability to produce quality grapes for wine.
While every vineyard will have its own rules, some common restrictions include:
Alcohol – This is a big one for many couples. If you want to serve alcoholic drinks other than wine at your reception, you’ll want to make sure you clear it with the venue first. Often, alcoholic beverages are limited to wine only. You should also communicate this rule with your guests so there aren’t any misunderstandings.
Capacity – Now more than ever with the ongoing pandemic, venues are enforcing capacity limits for everyone’s safety. Don’t invite more people than are allowed by the facility. Be mindful of any masking or vaccination requirements and make sure that your guests are prepared to follow them.
Noise – Vineyards are often in small towns or remote areas where you’re likely to have a noise curfew. If the cutoff time for loud music is 10:00 p.m., you may want to start your reception earlier so that you can get plenty of dancing in before the music has to be turned off.
Facility – Just because you’re hosting your wedding at a vineyard doesn’t mean that you have the run of the place. Clarify the limitations of where you and your guests are allowed to go and mark them clearly with signage. It’s also possible that another wedding is happening at the same time as yours. Be respectful of boundaries between the event spaces to avoid any conflicts.
Age – If you want to have children involved in your wedding, you’ll need to make sure that they’re allowed at the vineyard. Some don’t allow guests under 21 years of age for liability and safety reasons. Even if kids are permitted, there may be limits on where they can go on the property.
It’s important to both know the rules and communicate them to your guests before the event so that there isn’t any confusion or drama during your wedding.
Vineyards will give you ample opportunities for alluring photos. Local photographers and videographers will know the best timing for staging pictures in that area. They’re also likely to have worked at that venue before and will have suggestions for some stunning shots.
If you want photos among the grapes, make sure that you clear it with the venue so as not to damage their product.
One reason we love vineyards is because of the great outdoors. However, they can get muddy and dirty. Anytime you’re having a ceremony outside, it’s possible that you’ll be dealing with soft earth and mud. Some ways to stay clean and comfortable include:
Another element of nature you may need to contend with is insects. Mosquitos, gnats, bees, and other pests might be a problem in warm or moist conditions. Be sure to inquire about bug spray or other means of keeping pests away with the venue as some pesticides may not be allowed.
Lastly, your menu for a vineyard wedding should take advantage of the setting. Some tasty treats we love to see on a menu in wine country include:
Cheese – Nothing goes better with wine than high-quality cheese. Choose local options whenever possible.
Cheese compliments – Add tasty artisan crackers, assorted meats, nuts, olives, and jams and you’ll have a delightful appetizer spread.
Farm fresh produce – Source fresh veggies from local farms to shape your menu. You’ll find many seasonal options to go with the wines you plan to have on hand. Flexible options such as asparagus, carrots, and kale can round out both meat-eater and vegetarian plates.
Dessert – Many couples opt for individual desserts because they offer more choice and flexibility than a large cake. Mini-cupcakes, fancy cookies, tiny fruit tarts, and decadent chocolate truffles are mouth-watering compliments to a full wine list.
When it’s time for everyone to go home, surprise your guests with a bottle of wine from the vineyard complete with a personalized label. It’s a lovely way to thank them for being a part of your special day.
A vineyard is a delightful venue for a wedding. It’s a romantic setting that provides opportunities for stunning photography and fetching thematic elements. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to be cognizant of potential weather problems if you’re planning an outdoor ceremony. Furthermore, vineyards might have rules regarding the types of alcohol allowed and where you and your guests can go on the property.
For help navigating wedding vendors, venues, and more, register at Zola. We have many free resources to make planning your wedding stress-free. You’ll be ready to sit back and relax with a glass of your favorite wine in no time.