You’re making personal history on your Wine Country wedding day. How fitting, then, to add some flair and flourish by choosing these historic Sonoma County landmarks for a truly memorable affair.
The Valley Ford Hotel
Owners Shona Campbell and Brandon Guenther have set up a delightful destination inside the clapboard house-style fronted by an antique covered wagon. Built in 1864, the historic, six-room home-turned-hotel speaks charm from the moment you enter the Rocker Oysterfeller’s lounge downstairs, shimmering with its Tiffany lamps, a polished mahogany bar, antique lanterns and multi-color chipped paint chairs. A spacious outdoor patio, renovated historic bank building-turned into private event space next door, on-site event planners and creative catering options make the hotel extra special. Tip: rent out all the rooms for your wedding party.
14415 Coast Highway 1, Valley Ford
Saint Teresa of Avila Church
The Roman Catholic church is a landmark in Bodega, as a white, wooden structure with a steeple sitting like a sentry on a hilltop above the small, rural town. Constructed by shipbuilders in 1859 on land donated by Jasper O’Farrell and named after St. Teresa of Avila by local Spanish and Portuguese immigrants, it was dedicated by Archbishop Alemany on June 2, 1861. Featured in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," the church is still in use today and is the oldest church in continuous use in Sonoma County. All of which makes it a prime venue for a story-filled wedding. Doors are open not only to Catholic weddings, but for celebrations of all faiths.
17120 Bodega Highway, Bodega
Jack London State Park
This home of the historic Wolf House, and its surrounding 1,400 acres on the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen is managed by the nonprofit-private Valley of the Moon Natural History Association, and as such, is open to public use including marvelous adventures like weddings. As a best-kept secret, this is one of the finest places for a true budget treasure, with a wedding that’s as low-key or extravagant as you choose. Site rental start at an incredibly low $150 per day, for the lawn area set with picnic tables and barbecue grills in front of the grand stone Shire horse barns. More elaborate settings beckon, too, such as the broad grassy meadow that is the heart of Beauty Ranch, the historic ruin of the Kohler and Frohling winery, and the terraced hillside overlooking the Meadow and Stone Barns, next to Jack and Charmian's Cottage Garden.
2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen
Buena Vista Winery
As the oldest commercial winery in California, this gracious property has seen some changes since being built in 1857. Yet the caves and the winery bones speak of ancient history, labeled actual historical landmarks. They’ve recently been renovated for modern safety measures, but remain elegantly dark and mysterious, and it’s a must to enjoy a tasting straight from the barrels. For weddings, up to 200 guests may gather for evening ceremonies and receptions in the outdoor Fountain Courtyard located in front of the Champagne Cellars, in a romantic retreat sheltered by the towering oaks.
18000 Old Winery Road, Sonoma
Planning a wedding?
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Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet