Elopement Package in Wine Country
In 2012, newlyweds and their families spent an average of $28,427 on weddings and related events — the highest amount since 2008, according to a survey of 17,500 couples conducted by TheKnot.com wedding website.
Yet some couples may prefer to use their money to buy a nice car, take a lavish vacation or six, put a down payment on a house, or buy about 7,106 cups of Flying Goat Coffee.
Oh, or pay their daily bills.Eloping starts to look pretty good.
A modern elopement doesn’t mean that couples need to line up at County Clerk offices, however, rent a witness, or sacrifice the pomp and ceremony. Or even run away, and marry on the sly. With thoughtful packages like those offered at Napa Villa Elopements, these “impromptu” weddings can still be significant events, for a much lower price tag.
Though it has a Calistoga mailing address, both the elopement services and the Hacienda B&B are actually located on the Sonoma County edge of Santa Rosa, across from Hans Fahden Winery.
Owner Leigh Milleur is also a photographer specializing in wedding and elopement photography, and has put together comprehensive packages designed to make the special day entirely memorable.
While technically the organized event isn’t a real elopement, since guests can be invited, it sounds romantic, and is increasingly popular across Northern California.
“That is why all the big hotels and wineries have elopement packages now,” said Milleur. “Couples want their weddings in a elegant venue, but don't want to break the bank.”
Depending on the package chosen, there can be a catered reception, and even a honeymoon built in.
One package, for example, includes a three-hour wedding and reception with up to 14 guests, a three-day stay at the private villa for the bride and groom, the minister, the photography, a small buffet, cake, drinks, and a DVD of the entire happening. It’s $2,595 plus tax.
The villa itself is worth the price of admission. Surrounded by hills and valleys, with a breathtaking view of Mt. St. Helena, it features a 1,600 square foot redwood deck, 24-foot ceilings, stained concrete floors, and a large open chef’s kitchen with Italian porcelain tiles throughout. The rooms are mostly glass for endless views, and the grounds are dotted with numerous fountains.
As a bonus, couples can visit a neighboring vineyard for Wine Country photos at no additional cost.
Adding an emotional accent, the officiant, Reverend Blane Ellsworth, offers a complete pre-ceremony interview in order to customize the proceedings. For legal concerns, the package also includes an escort to the County Recorder's Office to obtain the wedding license.
For a more traditional elopement, a couple can choose the basic $1,050 plan, which includes the mountaintop ceremony location, the minister, photography with a DVD, and vineyard visit, cake and drinks for two to four persons over a two-hour period.
What a deal —that leaves $27,377 for whatever the couple chooses.