Post # 1
Hi! My fiance and I are looking to get married in May of 2016, in Sonoma/East Bay area (we have it narrowed down to two venues, pretty much). Most of my anxiety, however, is about my guests! All of our family, except 8 people, live on the east coast. Our friends and some family have said they would come, but I know how expensive it can be for them! Also, I don’t know how to figure out transportation from the venue/hotel etc. One venue is in the East Bay, so they would stay in Walnut Creek, which has access to BART, etc. The other option is in Marin, which doesn’t have BART, but is closer to wine country. (Plus, I want people to have options where they stay and keep it budget friendly for them as much as possible).
Is there anyone else out of there who went to / had a destiantion wedding in CA? My immediete family is from there and I went to high school out there. I’m just trying to figure out logistics (which is harder than I thought).
Also – has anyone heard of just having your ceremony at a winery in Sonoma? I emailed a few but haven’t heard back.
Thanks everyone! 🙂
Post # 2
We are in a similar situation – Fiance and I both grew up in the south bay, then lived together in the east bay for a few years before we moved to Boston. We are planning our wedding in the bay area because most of his family and some of mine are still in CA. Most of my (large) family and many of our friends are spread out all over the country, so most of our guests (and we) will be traveling there.
We haven’t figured out hotel and transportation yet, but my plan was to find a hotel as close to the venue as possible so that transportation won’t be an issue. Unless your venue is right next to a BART station, they’ll have to hail a cab or rent a car or something anyway, right? (I may be a bit jaded in regards to bay area public transit…) Our venue will be Stern Grove in San Francisco – I had originally ruled out SF because I assumed it would be too expensive, but it’s a great deal if you want to piece things together yourself as opposed to having lots of things included with the venue.
My cousin got married at a winery (Casa Real – http://casarealevents.com ) in Pleasanton, and it was beautiful! No idea how much she paid for it, but it appears to be pretty all-inclusive.
Hopefully at least some of this info was helpful!
Post # 3
I live in the Bay Area and having a wedding in Napa is my dream. That being said, though, PP is right in that if you’re trying to limit your venue options to places near public transit, you’ll be very… well, limited. There’s basically no easy way to get out to a winery in Napa or Sonoma via public transporation, so your guests would probably have to rent cars or be provided with some kind of shuttle.
If you want to keep costs down for your guests, the Walnut Creek location could be good. Lodging options are cheaper out there and then your guests could take BART to SF to do touristy things during non-wedding time. However, public transit is iffy there too, so unless you’re within walking distance from BART, there’ll still be some planning to do to get from point A to point B.
Post # 4
I had a wedding in Sonoma last summer. I’d say about 60 – 70% of our guests came from southern california, so not as far as the east coast, but still travel involved. We hired transportation for guests from the hotel to the venu. Santa Rosa parks department rents out a trolley (Rosie the Trolley) and it’s not that expensive when compared to private busing options. http://srcity.org/departments/recreationandparks/business/Pages/Rosie.aspx
However, it’s still difficult to get from SFO or Oakland Airport to Santa Rosa. There is an airporter, but none of our guests used it. Most of them carpooled in rented cars. We reserved hotel blocks for our guests, but they were still not cheap. Hotels in the wine country are pricey. We also reserved a few campsites near the venue, to make things affordable for the younger (in grad school) crowd. Obviously this option doesn’t work for a lot of people, but for quite a few of our guests it was ideal, very affordable, and they all had a blast hanging out for a weekend.
Staying in Marin for a wine country wedding is not practical. My parents live in Marin, and they rented hotel rooms for the weekend in Sonoma. The traffic from San Francisco to Sonoma/Napa on Fridays and weekends (esp in summer) is horrendous. However, Marin has some lovely wedding venue options, but your guests would definitely need a car to get around.
If you’d really prefer having your guests use public transit, I agree with PP’s that you’d probably want to have your wedding in San Francisco. The presidio (national park) has quite a few reasonably priced wedding venues: http://www.presidio.gov/venues/Pages/default.aspx Our biggest issue with San francisco/Marin was weather, since we wanted an outdoor July wedding, Sonoma seemed like the best bet.
If you do decide on the wine country, I’d recommend looking more in Sonoma (vs Napa), there are a lot more options and therefore prices can be more reasonable.
Post # 5
we used to do corporate events there and it’s gorgeous. My company was cheap though so I’d guess it’s reasonably priced. The wine as average. Good recommendation though, wine countryish and but it’s still easy enough to find local accommodation
Post # 6
Thank you everyone for their responses! I should have made myself more clear… I was considering a venue in Novato, which looks like it is only about 20 minutes from a winery I am looking at (just for the ceremony). I’m also looking at Sunday now… since everyone will be traveling, they’ll either have to take off Friday or Monday, so it doesn’t really matter from the opinions of my future guests that I’ve gathered…hope they’re not lying to me to just ‘make me happy’ 🙂