A recently engaged couple was discussing their upcoming wedding at a dinner party the other evening. Naturally, the question came up about what date they’d selected.
“That,” said the bride, “depends on when we can find a venue.”
Besides the cost of a wedding, finding a place to host it lists as the top stressor for most wedding couples. So more and more, brides and grooms are taking an innovative approach and eloping.
Pretty much any place will do for an elopement, since you can get married anywhere as long as you have an ordained officiant and at least one witness to sign the marriage license. Plus the permission of the property owner, of course, should you decide to hold the ceremony in a place like a vineyard, orchard or art museum.
In a twist, modern elopements usually have invited guests, and are scheduled in advance (no more sneaking out of the house with your beau, as in decades’ past). The real purpose is to simply keep the gathering simple.
Such was the inspiration for the "Tiny Wedding" elopement package at The Farmhouse Inn of Forestville. In fact, Brides magazine has called the boutique destination The No. 1 Place to Elope in Wine Country.
“It’s the solution for the bride and groom looking for a romantic wine country location without many of the hassles that come with a large wedding,” said the hotel’s co-owner Catherine Bartolomei. “Designed so our couples can enjoy the time leading up to their special day, the elopement package includes all the must-haves.”
That means services of a non-denominational minister, a bouquet for the bride or a vase of flowers in the guest room, a professional photographer providing a disc with about 150 images, and a tiny wedding cake from Sebastopol bakery Patisserie Angelica.
Also included are wonderful goodies just for the couple, including a Farmhouse sommelier-selected bottle of wine paired with artisan cheeses delivered to the guest room, a romantic pre- or post-nuptial dinner for two in the Farmhouse’s Michelin Star restaurant, a 60-minute couple’s massage in the Farmhouse spa, and Farmhouse’s signature Bride and Groom gift, featuring a signed bottle of Iron Horse's Wedding Cuvee, something special from the spa and a few other surprises.
While the base package is designed for just the bride and groom, up to 10 guests can be accommodated for extra charge, noted Bartolomei.
To enjoy the elopement package, brides and grooms first book a three-night minimum stay at the luxury property amid the redwoods. The package runs an additional $3,500 for a ceremony held Monday through Thursday, or $4,000 for a ceremony held Friday through Sunday. (Subject to availability and change).
And the icing on the cake? Since the weddings are tiny, Farmhouse reservation dates tend to be much more flexible than large venues.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet