The art of winemaking is estimated to be 9,000 years old. Since then, the process hasn’t changed much. Grapes grow, they’re pressed, they’re fermented with yeast, and then the wine is shared with the world.
That almost sounds like your relationship, doesn’t it? The two of you grew up separately, the world pressed you two together, your love fermented, and now, you’re ready to embrace the world together—as one.
The poetics involved almost make weddings at vineyards seem like a must.
Yet, you might still be wondering: Should you get married at a vineyard wedding venue? Like most things in life, a handy pros and cons list can often sort out an undecided mind. And that’s exactly where we’ll start.
Weddings at wineries come with plenty of tasteful, dream-like pros. However, it’s not just about photos among the vineyard lines, beautiful rustic charm, and of course, all the wine you can stomach—there’s practical benefits, too:
Ease of the wedding planning: Choosing a venue is one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning—and it’s a decision that affects all other choices along the road. By selecting a vineyard wedding, you’ll suddenly find that many other questions are answered for you.
Many vineyards come with wedding packages: Many vineyards come with preset packages for wedding parties. This means you can worry less about the style of fork, the type of wine to offer, the table settings, and more.
Forget about tough wine choices: By picking a vineyard wedding, it’s safe to assume two things. One, you and your partner like wine. Two, you and your partner like that particular vineyard’s wine. Forget about tough wine choices; your wine selection will be guaranteed best-in-class, fresh from the vineyard itself.
Nearby hotels and ease of access: Vineyards are comfortable accommodating large groups coming and going. They probably have multiple hotel options for your guests and may even provide transportation services to those hotels.
Mixture of indoor and outdoor wedding atmosphere: The daytime will grace your wedding with plenty of lush green and dreamy, breathtaking views of the wine country. Then, as night descends, the party can easily be taken indoors, where you’ll celebrate into the wee hours of the morning—free from any weather conditions.
As they say, with the good comes the bad. There are a few downsides to be aware of if you’re planning on a vineyard wedding. These include:
High costs: We’re talking in the $60k range for a 150-guest wedding, on average. The sticker shock can often be detrimental to hopeful wedding parties. But before you completely reconsider your dream wedding, remember that this is the cost of full accommodations. There is room to haggle, sacrifices that can be made, and facets that can be made cheaper.
Weather can play a major factor: The attractiveness of vineyard weddings is often the ability to be outside throughout the wedding day celebration. Many vineyards offer both indoor and outdoor settings for when the sun goes down. Until nightfall, the outdoor time will be heavily dependent on the weather. If you embrace the mentality—hope for the best, but plan for the worst—then this might be as simple as making sure there are plenty of umbrellas to go around.
The vineyard might be open to the public still: Vineyards are often vast landscapes, capable of accommodating multiple weddings. If you want total privacy for your guests to get wine tipsy in peace, confirm with the vineyard how they structure their other visitors around your wedding.
If you’re still a bit undecided—at least, in regard to location—here are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect vineyard.
Make sure you enjoy their wine selection: Does this mean you have to go on a few wine tours to find your favorite wine? Well, it’s for research purposes, but yes, absolutely. Exciting pre-wedding wine tours aside, enjoying the wine has to be one of the essential pieces to the puzzle that is wedding planning. Because after all the tireless work that goes into it, you should be able to sit back, soak in all the smiling faces, and enjoy your glass of chardonnay.
Adequate number of restrooms (private and public): Bringing in additional portable bathrooms can be tricky with a vineyard, as there’s not a lot of room to drive them in. The recommended guest-to-stall ratio is about 50-to-1 (that’s one stall for men and one stall for women). However, if you’re serving alcohol, it’s wise to err on the side of caution and plan for a few more.
Inquire about their vendor list: Vineyards are staples within a community. This means they often come prepackaged with certain food vendors, flower vendors, and more from the local area. Ask them if they have a preferred vendor list—even if they’re not mandatory vendors, they’ll provide you a few good options.
Make sure they have a plan B: Because your wedding will be at least partly outdoors, it’s important to know if the vineyard has preparations in place for any unsettling weather. Ensure both the ceremony and the reception can be repositioned if needed. While this is the worst-case scenario, it’s important to be prepared.
Choosing the vineyard is half the fun—the other half is in embracing it to the fullest. When you throw a vineyard wedding, be ready to:
Prep your guests: Because your wedding is likely part indoors and part outdoors, be sure to remind your guests to bring proper footwear, an extra layer, and an umbrella. Keep your guests up-to-date with a free wedding website.
Choose the theme: There are plenty of themes that pair well with a vineyard. Vintage, rustic, or traditional themes accent the architecture most commonly associated with vineyards. A Spanish-themed wedding will bring plenty of color into the ambiance. An eco-friendly-themed wedding will work well with all the green. And a glamorous wedding is, of course, never out of the picture.
Consider different footwear: Remember that you might be walking on soft or uneven ground. If this isn’t ideal for your current footwear plan, bring a second, backup pair just in case.
Choose the guest list wisely: Be prepared to skim down (or scale up) your guest list for a vineyard wedding. Often, there will be a preset amount of people who can attend a vineyard venue.
Plan the alcohol list: Many vineyards will offer more than just wine for weddings, however, be prepared for some restrictions on what outside alcohol is allowed in.
Once all the preparations have been made, your vineyard wedding will soon become the dreamscape you imagined it to be.
To help get you there, your team at Zola is ready to assist in whatever you need. From the registry to a free wedding website to planning your celebration—let us know how we can help. Still uncertain about a vinyard wedding? Get inspired with our collection of real vinyard wedding photos from other Zola couples.