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Barn it All

Running Rabbit - Sonoma County

One of the hottest wedding trends for 2013 is a barn setting, according to the knot.com, an association which tracks all such wedding types of things. The idea actually took off in popularity last year, and shows no sign of waning.

In following one couple’s recent nuptials, theknot.com editors gushes about the setting of a 200-year-old barn complete with long exposed-wood tables, large chandeliers, and lace-wrapped centerpieces of wild roses, lilies of the valley, Queen Anne's lace and gardenias.

“Brides will be channeling the Old West with a rustic-elegant spin,” they cooed.

All that is fine, though here in Sonoma County, we know that there are plenty more barns to be found in our hills and valleys than in the Old West.

A couple wanting to host their special day in a chic-elegant wood structure can do so on farm estates, wineries, and private hideaways set amid forests, meadows, or even oceanside.

One of the most exquisite “secret” locations is at Running Rabbit Ranch and Vineyard in the Valley of the Moon near Santa Rosa.

Here, on the edge of pristine tiered vineyards and emerald lawns soars a giant white barn, climbing gracefully up to a gabled black roof. The gated Wine Country garden estate brims with lavender and rose gardens, forests, and open space spanning to views out across Santa Rosa to the western mountain ranges that frame the Pacific Ocean and down the Sonoma Valley floor towards Kenwood.

Part of the appeal of barn weddings is that the structures can be dressed in so many styles, from bohemian “raw” to high style. The Rabbit Ranch venue is absolutely a gentleman’s farm, meticulously maintained and manicured, framed by a Victorian gazebo and modern amenities including covered patio, built-in sound system, barbeque area, a large bar, and many different seating configurations both indoors and out.

The flexibility means events both large and small are easily accommodated. The barn is 1,725 square feet, and the gazebo is 12x12 square feet, and the barn includes a large lawn and garden with a patio to extend the party outdoors.

For one couple that got married two years ago, the entire estate ended up providing their backdrop. The ceremony was on a hilltop overlooking Sonoma Valley, there was a cocktail hour outdoors surrounded by blooms in the rose garden, a dinner among the vineyards, and the big white barn for dancing.

Details: 707-508-5256, www.runningrabbitranchandvineyard.com.

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