5 Gay-Friendly Sonoma County Wedding Venues
From scenic vineyards and towering redwoods to majestic mountain ranges and breathtakingly picturesque wineries, Sonoma County offers a wonderland of natural treasures that provide the ideal backdrop for the kind of nuptials that make lasting memories — especially for same-sex couples who will enjoy the gay-welcoming environment.
After all, Sonoma County has been hailed as both one of the “gayest” and “most tolerant” destinations in the U.S. It’s the perfect place for same-sex couples to memorialize and celebrate their unions with friends, family, and — first and foremost — the partners they love.
Factor in the exceptional quality of Sonoma’s local cuisine along with its collection of some of the most celebrated wines in the world, regularly spectacular sunsets, and notoriously temperate weather year-round, and you have the recipe for the wedding of your dreams.
With that thought in mind, below are five unique and picture-perfect, gay-friendly wedding venues in Sonoma County.
Geyserville is a delightfully rustic little town located in the heart of Sonoma County, between the sweeping hills of Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. In it, you’ll find one main road and a tiny strip of inviting shops and eateries that form the nucleus of the town. Standing proud among those shops and eateries is a local legend called Catelli’s.
Established in 1936, this third-generation Italian restaurant is now run by executive chef, author, and media personality Domenica Catelli and her brother Nicholas Catelli. Together the siblings have carried on the rich history of the eatery while bringing a modernity and freshness to the space that beggars imagination. Most notable among their innovations is the addition of an elegant, retro chic event space that has the effect of transporting guests to the intimate garden of a grand Italian palazzo.
With a capacity of 150 guests, the main patio’s star attractions include its circular Nero Marquina and Calacatta marble floor, the 60-year-old Ascolano olive trees, the lush landscaping that surround it, and the enchanting garden entrance that welcomes guests to this unexpected Eden. In tandem with the massive and devastatingly smart marble-topped outdoor patio bar, which itself is reminiscent of languorous poolside afternoons in Capri, Catelli’s offers a dreamy escapist landscape against which to set your nuptials. Oh, and for the record, there is also an indoor banquet room, with a cozy, wood burning fireplace that is ideal for hosting rehearsal dinners for up to 50 people.
For summer weddings on Friday and Saturday, the facility fee is $8,000. Wedding menus start at $100, while rehearsal dinners start at $45.
For more details on planning your wedding or rehearsal dinner at Catelli’s, click here.
Like Catelli’s, the Geyserville Inn has been owned by a single family for generations and is, as the name suggests, located in Geyserville. Likewise, the hotel also enjoys much of the town’s rustic charm, albeit at a slight distance away and with the added benefit of residing closer to the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains. Of particular note about Geyserville Inn is the fact that the space set aside for wedding ceremonies not only offers lovely landscaping, but, on the most pleasant of days, also provides sun-dappled views of the vineyards, large swatches of open green lawn, and an embrace of many of the indigenous natural qualities for which Sonoma is famous. There’s even a built in wisteria-covered pergola to set the just the right tone. In short, the Inn delivers a great traditional setting for an idyllic Wine Country wedding.
Moreover, with 41 rooms and suites to accommodate guests, the Inn offers a ‘stay and play’ option for your Wine Country nuptials, which can add a special intimacy to your special day. Almost as if you’re inviting all your friends and family over to yours for a party. That said, there’s no need to feel trapped with said friends and family when you need some alone time because the Inn also offers a two-bedroom guesthouse, conveniently located just one block from the main property. How genius is that?
For more details on planning your wedding at the Geyserville Inn click here.
Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder Office
You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to have picture-perfect wedding in Sonoma. There are other options and one of the best and most economical is the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder Office in Santa Rosa. For a fee of just $56, couples can marry in civil ceremonies performed by Deputy Marriage Commissioners in a number of locations in and around the Clerk’s office. Especially popular is the Wedding Room, which can accommodate up to 17 guests, as well as the outdoor Wedding Garden, complete with flowering shrubs and plants, which is suitable for up to 20 guests.
Follow up the official ceremony with a reception or dinner at the award-winning Vintner’s Inn located just 7 minutes away from the Clerk’s office. Multiple spaces for smaller parties abound at Vintner’s Inn, ranging from the handsome John Ash & Co. Restaurant front porch, which can accommodate up to 42 guests, to the River Vine Café dining room, which can be arranged to suit parties of anywhere from 12 to 32. Space aside, there is also, of course, the celebrated cuisine of the John Ash restaurant itself whose two-time James Beard award-winning namesake is considered by many to be the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine.” Little ceremony, big feast. Sounds like a manageable plan does it not?
Sonoma County is rife with quaint, romantic farms that epitomize the cool country-chic elegance that is yet another hallmark of Wine Country. Located in the foothills of the Sonoma Mountains, Petaluma’s Flying Cloud Farm is one such space, and as such has long been one of Sonoma’s most popular destinations for unforgettable weddings and receptions. This is especially so for gay, lesbian, and transgender couples who have long been welcomed to Flying Cloud Farm to celebrate their nuptials.
Along with its scenic locations, outdoor gardens and multiple event sites, including a barn and an indoor bar and barrel room, one of the great amenities at Flying Cloud Farm s the turnkey service for couples venturing down the aisle. Once reserved, the site fee includes access to the private villa from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the day of the wedding, as well as wedding coordination services, all cleaning fees, and a parking attendant. Even tax, labor, and gratuity are included so there will be no surprises or last-minute expenses to mar your special day. Moreover, for couples wanting to take a more hands-on approach, Flying Cloud offers a list of preferred vendors including everything from caterers in multiple price ranges to DJs, so couples can spend more time thinking about special touches rather than researching basic necessities.
In terms of cost, reserving the villa for a wedding a reception will run anywhere from $2,400 to $7,200 (exclusive of food and service, DJ, and rentals) depending on the date. However, Flying Cloud Farm also offers a special elopement package for couples who might prefer a more intimate and pocket-friendly service for up to 10 guests. Available from Monday through Thursday at a cost of just $2,500 total, the elopement package includes: Use of the villa for four hours; a day-of coordinator; minister; bouquet; photographs; cake; and champagne.
For more details on planning your wedding at the Flying Cloud Farm click here.
In addition to being a picture-perfect, gay-friendly wedding destination, Cornerstone Sonoma also happens to be a wine country marketplace known for its collection of boutique shops, noteworthy wineries and tasting rooms, spectacular gardens ,and notable designation as the home to Sunset Magazine’s Test Gardens and Outdoor Kitchen. How’s that for a recommendation?
A sleek, modern space in general, Cornerstone simultaneously offers three breathtaking locations within its beautifully landscaped boundaries that all deliver the kind of classic, unvarnished Wine Country appeal that is ideal for a wedding, a reception, or both. Of the three locations, the Garden Barn, is perhaps the one with the most wow factor. This beyond charming white-washed barn, notable for its views of the Carneros Hills, olive-tree lined pathways, and pictorial pond, graciously resides in the middle of the famed Cornerstone gardens and can accommodate indoor/outdoor ceremonies for up to 160 guests and seated dinners for up to 120.
In addition to the barn, the Wedding Garden will also give guests something to rave about. A private, walled, half-acre of lawn ringed by white roses, silver olive trees, and perennials, the Wedding Garden includes a custom designed, 50-foot round Zephyr tent which can accommodate up to 300 guests. Finally, Cornerstone offers the lush Vineyard Lawn bordered by Pinot Noir vineyards and a water-lily laden reflecting pond (in season). Also a memory-making expanse, the buzzworthy Vineyard Lawn can accommodate between 250 and 350 guests.
The fees for reserving a space at Cornerstone Sonoma range from $3,500 to $11,500 (depending upon date) and include: Six hours of event time not including set-up or break-down; set up by vendors beginning at 11am on the day of your wedding; exclusive use of the barn, tent, vineyard lawn, and exhibit gardens; six propane heaters and tent sides; one hour for rehearsal on the day prior to your wedding; and the ability to provide your own beverages with no corkage fee.
For more details on planning your wedding at the Cornerstone Sonoma click here.
Finally for more great tips on planning your wedding be sure to check out Sonoma County’s Wedding Guide. Also be sure to take advantage of Sonoma County Tourism’s complimentary wedding assistance program by filling out a free wedding assistance form.