Top 5 Historic Wedding Venues
You're making personal history on your Wine Country wedding day, so add flair and flourish by choosing one of 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.
Jack London State Historic Park
Home of the historic Wolf House, this state park on 1,400 acres on the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen is managed by the nonprofit Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. As such, it 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 rentals start low 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.
St. 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.
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, and are official 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.
Mission San Francisco Solano
Founded July 4, 1823 in what is now the town of Sonoma, this was the 21st and northernmost mission on California's mission trail. California's missions were closed down in 1834, and Mission San Francisco Solano became a parish church. A smaller church was built in 1841, and the mission buildings fell into disrepair. At one time, the former chapel was used as a warehouse.
Mission San Francisco Solano became part of the California State Parks system in 1906, and was reconstructed. Today the graceful white stucco and red tile structure is now part of the Sonoma State Historic Park, which consists of multiple historic locations centered around the Sonoma Plaza.
For more ideas, read Sonoma County Wine Cave Wedding Venues, Top 5 Barn Wedding Venues in Sonoma County, 5 Winery Venues that Can Accommodate 200+ Guests, and 7 Restaurants for Rehearsal Dinners in Wine Country.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.