We know you know there are a lot of details in planning your Wine Country wedding. We also know you know about most of them, because they have to do with the site you selected, your vendors, your guest list and your timeline. There are two items however that get overlooked, and with all you have going on, it is totally understandable. It might be a good idea to add these “to the list” so that you and your guests better understand best practices.
Traffic can be unpredictable, and we cannot stress enough that you make your guests acutely aware that traffic can be, well, unpredictable.
Time and time again, we see the stress associated with guests arriving minutes (or less) prior to the start of a ceremony. At times, when the bride is made aware of missing guests, they will often delay their ceremony. While a nice gesture, it starts a chain reaction that, while not terminal, does not make your event better. Typically, the post ceremony reception is truncated, dinner is a bit rushed and hopefully by the time dancing starts, things are back on schedule. If not, it means less time for you and your guests because a few individuals could not do what everyone else did and arrive on time.
Interestingly the groups that have the most problem arriving on time are the folks that already live in the Bay Area. They leave from SF, or Oakland, or the South Bay and assume the best. As a result, the inevitable occurs, there is some delay and they are the ones to arrive late.
One solution here is to really stress that folks use some mapping programs well prior to getting ready to go out the door. Also, see if they can perhaps meet up with some other folks closer to the event earlier in the day, and not have a 60 or 90-minute drive to arrive on time, but instead a 15 or 20-minute drive. Once in wine country, the exposure for arriving late is greatly diminished.
Community Calendar of Events
Another suggestion is that everyone checks the community schedules during your wedding day. If there is one thing you can say about the Bay Area, its that we like to celebrate things – all types of things. As a result, with some planning you can avoid being surprised by this or that day / game / event and plan your route accordingly.
The second area relates to the activities your guests do the day of, meaning the day of your reception.
While we are known as wine country, it might be best if your guests selected amongst their activities that day from non-winery-based events. As we pause for a moment, we know you know why. To the extent you can refer them to some of the great sites that list the myriad of activities in our area (www.winecountry.com, www.napa.com, www.sonoma.com, www.sonomacounty.com, www.napacounty.com) available that are not wine consumption based, all parties will find that everyone ends up having a better time at your reception. For folks from the east coast, they are already dealing with time zone issues. Coming from out of the area, the singular biggest mistake made is visiting too many wineries for what appear to be many small tastes. The day prior, the day after, of course, go ahead but on your day, it is best if they are not rushed, tired, altered, or anything other than rested and ready to have a great time.
Some small suggestions in this area go a long way, and some of these tips can help your guests have a great time not only at your wedding, but for the entire time they are in wine country.
About the author: Milestone Events Group is Northern California’s most experienced Wine Country Wedding Experts & largest event management company providing site selection services to multiple locations throughout Sonoma County. Over the past 5 years Milestone has helped hundreds of couples simplify the venue selection process by providing clarity, predictability and ultimately confidence for clients who work with them to evaluate wineries, ranches, and other locations for their private events.
After the venue selection process is complete, Milestone is also available to help produce events in a stress reduced and highly professional manner. www.MilestoneEventsGroup.com