1. What pieces of advice do you give most often to your brides getting married at winery?
- Plan for the wind (all items secured down - escort & placecards, favors, etc)
- Have a rain plan
- ALWAYS rent enough heaters
- Know that the winery's first priority is selling wine and that they are open to the public and have very specific hours when your event partners can set up, when guests can start arriving and when they must be gone. This is not a hotel. It is a winery with a very specific niche and very specific policies, which if known in advance and planned for, can provide one of the most epic events of one's life.
2. In the summer especially, we can have 90-degree temperatures in the day giving way to 50-degree temperatures at night here in the Santa Ynez Valley. How do you suggest brides plan for this?
Guest comfort is paramount if you want to have a memorable wedding for yourselves and for your guests. There is nothing fun or celebratory having guests passing out from heat exhaustion or, at night, fighting over limited heat lamps or leaving the event early because they are miserably cold. Rentals play a huge factor in this: plenty of market umbrellas for providing shade (Gainey has lots of natural shade which is nice); fans for guests as they enter ceremony area that can act as "visors" or shade during ceremony (again, not so necessary at Gainey because of the shade of that gorgeous oak) and most importantly, plenty of heat lamps. Even if they weather says 100-degrees by day, by 5pm, the temps are dropping. And let’s not forget the ever present wind that kicks up around 2pm and goes until about 8pm. It is better to have heaters and not need them. I always recommend one heat lamp per table (or every 10-12 guests). You want guests to remember the love and the incredible time. You've invested in an epic experience for yourselves and for your guests: a wedding at a winery! Make sure this investment is not lost by enjoying it properly.
3. How do you suggest the bride/groom and their photographer take advantage of the beautiful scenery at a winery for stunning photographs?
First of all, always check with your venue event manager on timing and logistical restrictions, but the number one thing is to make sure your photographer knows the property and knows the best areas and lighting! If they have not been there, suggest a visit before the wedding day to scope out the best locations. If you're having your wedding at a winery, that shot of going into the vineyards is almost a requisite. But also the inside warm tones of a Barrel Room are gorgeous. There is so much nature and warmth indoors at winery weddings. Just make sure your photographer knows where to take you based on the uniqueness of the winery itself. Each one is different.
4. In your experience, is it easier for guests to take a shuttle to/from the wedding or drive themselves?
The ideal for everyone is to have a shuttle service with a specified time schedule. This helps ensure all guests are there on time, no one gets lost, can really enjoy the ride and the best of all; everyone gets a safe ride back at the end of the evening.
5. Why do wineries make for such beautiful wedding locations?
Two reasons: 1) Nature provides the backdrop, so decor needs are relatively minimal and 2) You can't find vineyards/wineries just anywhere, so it is highly unique. And when you have a winery set in a destination hot spot like Santa Ynez Valley, it also offers couples and their guests many activities to enjoy during their visit. It's a whole experience.
To reach wedding planner extraordinare, Kerry Lee Dickey visit her at: http://sbwinecountryevents.com
Photos by Willa Kveta: http://www.willakveta.com/