Get Married in Wine Country, USA

In every issue, we scout places perfect for tying the knot away from home.
By: 
Veronica Mullen

california wine country

 

 

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

With their lush landscapes and photo-perfect vistas, wine regions make for naturally idyllic ceremony
backdrops. Even better, wineries boast everything you need for a fun party: tasty food, free-flowing libations and an appreciation for the “good life.” Luckily, you don’t have to venture to Europe to tie the knot in a vineyard setting: The U.S. has great options in our very own grape-growing hot spots.

 

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma, California

fairmont sonoma mission inn and spa

 

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Set in the heart of northern California’s wine country, this 220-room resort is both a popular destination for exploring the wineries. On-site activities include an 18-hole golf course, several dining options and daily complimentary tastings showcasing local blends. There’s also a recently renovated spa, complete with thermal pools and grapeseed-infused treatments. Ceremonies typically take place creekside or on the lawn. Receptions highlight the artful cuisine of the region; couples work closely with the chef to pair signature dishes (like grass-fed beef filet mignon and sea bass with summer corn) with local vintages. It’s not all high-brow, though: One couple requested late night chicken-and-waffles, while others have asked the in-house pastry chef to incorporate photos of their pets or football team mascots into cakes. The hotel can also cater events at nearby vineyards, such as Chateau St. Jean and Deerfield (wedding packages average $3,500 for ceremony and site fees and
include all linens, seating and tableware, as well as one night in a fireplace equipped
suite; plated dinners start at $115 per person; fairmont.com).


The Tides Inn, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

chesapeake bay virginia

Photo courtesy of Tides Inn

Vineyards have been a part of Virginia’s landscape since the Jamestown settlers first planted grapes more than 400 years ago. Today, you can find wineries all over the state, including along the Chesapeake Bay, home to the lovely 64-year-old Tides Inn. With just 106 rooms, the waterside hotel feels intimate and quaint, but offers big-ticket amenities like golf, tennis, a private beach and canoes and paddleboats. Weddings here embody the location’s relaxed vibe: ceremonies on the beach, marina dock or croquet lawn; cocktails and oyster roasts on the terrace; plated dinners and dancing inside; then maybe a late-night beach bonfire with platters of s’mores. As a pet-friendly hotel, the Inn can accommodate Fido in your ceremony, too. Signature dishes like crab cakes can be paired with one of the over 500 wines stocked in the cellars—many from nearby producers like Ingleside. The activities desk provides wine-trail maps and helps arrange tasting outings (ceremony rates start at $1,500 for lawn or beach settings and include up to 50 chairs; reception packages start at $85 per guest for hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Note: The Inn is closed January through March; tidesinn.com).


Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, Finger Lakes, New York

finger lakes new york

Photo courtesy of Dylan Buyskes

Praised by those-in-the-know as one of the country’s best up-and-coming (and most affordable) wine regions, northern New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes region boasts over 100 wineries around Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. In between your tastings of signature rieslings, ice wines and pinot noirs, you’ll be charmed by the area’s picturesque towns, unique activities (like the famous Corning Glass Museum) and excellent cuisine highlighting farm-fresh meats and local produce. Set near it all, the 104-room Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, opened in 2008, is perfectly situated for a wine-themed wedding. Ceremonies may take place under a trellis on the patio, overlooking the lake and boats. Receptions move inside for dinners featuring local wines and fun extras like candy buffets. Many couples opt to host rehearsal dinners or other weekend events at nearby wineries, like Heron Hill, Glenora or Red Newt (wedding package rates start at $59.99 per guest and include dinner, four hours, open bar, coffee service and basic decorations; watkinsglenharborhotel.com).


Featured: David Tutera on How to Keep Your Reception Fun. See more Q&As with David