April 27, 2012

Flower Friday – Nancy Liu Chin

Happy Flower Friday! I have been working with a client on her wedding that will take place in a couple of weeks at the Harvest Inn, which is one of my favorite wedding venues, especially since waaay back in 2004 it is where I tied the knot with my hubby. Sigh!

In looking for Flower Friday inspiration to share with you all – I ran across one of my all time FAV floral designers, the amazing and talented Nancy Liu Chin, and a recent real wedding she did at the Harvest Inn. Jennifer Kloss was the photographer and A Savvy Event was the planner and designer. Look at how the decor, florals and rentals truly convey a family style wedding with a love of food and entertaining.


Have an amazing weekend! Here in Nor Cal it is supposed to be gorgeous – so if you are headed out to wine country – wear sunscreen!


April 25, 2012

Planning a Spring wedding in Wine Country

Spring showers might bring lovely May flowers, but in wine country Spring can create a few things – a bit more rain, but off-season prices – for couples to think about as they plan their big day. Here are some topics to be mindful of while planning…

1) Rain: An outdoor ceremony or reception could see some rain in the earlier months of March or April throughout most of Northern California’s wine valleys. Carmel Valley is your best bet for early Spring weddings as this valley sees more than 300 days of sunshine a year. You should get quotes for a tent and potentially tent heaters as a back up rain plan (check with your venue to see if they have a tent you can use instead of renting). Also you may want to look at outdoor heaters if there is no rain but the temperature drops.

Photo via Terra Galleria

2) Scenery: Something to remember about vines in wine country is that they go dormant in winter, meaning they lose all of their lush green leaves, and have only brown rootstock. In early spring, the vines are just barely starting to turn green with leaves, however, as in the photo, the mustard seed plant in spring is especially pretty and adds a lovely yellow pop to vineyards that have planted it. Understanding what the vines will look like during your Spring wedding is especially important if you did a site visit in summer or fall and are imagining lush vineyards as your wedding backdrop. Also in the fall, certain grape varietals can have their leaves turn yellow or red, something else to be mindful of color scheme wise.

3) Rates and 2 night minimums: Prior to mid-April, most of the valleys tend to be in their off wedding season which means a great cost savings with regard to site fees, hotel rooms and 2 night minimum stays for your guests.

I hope this helped give you a bit of insight with Spring wedding planning. Please drop me a line if you have any questions about great venues for Springtime affairs!

April 24, 2012

Venue Highlight – Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch + Winery

Often I get requests from clients to find a modern yet rustic venue space. When they refer to their wedding style, they exclaim “Think Anthropologie!”  and I think I may have found a great option in the Napa Valley! This past weekend, I was up in St. Helena and did a site visit of a gorgeous little place called Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Farmstead is the main restaurant on this property that also boasts a sweet little 1874 Gothic revival farmhouse that houses their tasting room, apple orchard, horseshoe pit and tree swing. There are four main private dining areas, one indoor and three outdoor for groups sized from 40 to 250. The indoor area is probably the most modern whereas the three outdoor areas lend themselves to being the most flexible with regard to your wedding style.

Photo by Tec Petaja via Style Me Pretty

Also, on property is Centerpiece Floral & Home which creates some of the most amazing floral decor in the area and truly know how to play up the Anthropologie style on the property.

Imagine the possibilities…before the rehearsal dinner, your host a private tasting for your guests, play a round of horseshoes and enjoy the warm summer night. The night of the wedding a large gorgeous barn backdrop and causal yet modern atmosphere create the perfect reception!

Long Meadow Ranch Layout


April 23, 2012

Real Wedding – Mayacamas Ranch

One of my all time favorite wedding photographers is Mary McHenry. Her photos are so incredible to look at and she is one of the sweetest people I know, which makes her a pure joy to work with. I was sighing at all the loveliness on her blog and stumbled upon this gorgeous wedding at Mayacamas Ranch. This venue is a rarity, where you and all of your guests can get lost in an amazing weekend away. Your guests have accommodations right on the 80 acre property and there is so much to do – swimming, hiking, fishing, all while being surrounded by breathtaking views. Take a peek at this stunning wedding and venue.

Wedding Coordinator: Marilyn Ambra Party Consultants
Caterer: Barbara Llewellyn Catering
Flowers: Fiori
Cake: Calistoga Cakes
Photography: Mary McHenry Photography
Dress: Amsale
Tent: Zephyr Tents

April 20, 2012

Flower Friday – La Fleuriste

Happy Friday! Happy Flower Friday to be exact! Wanted to share a lovely floral designer that services multiple wine country areas. Lidia’s designs are simply stunning – to me they squeal soft and romantic with a floral element of subtle surprise every now and then. I invite you to hit up her website and explore!

Photos by Jose Villa

Photos by Jenny Kim

April 19, 2012

Wine Country Decor – Jug of Wine

In constant search for wine country decor, I stumbled across this fab modern looking milk jug wine bottle that is as pretty as it is functional – especially when it comes to guests imbibing at your wedding. Not only would these look super on sleek modern reception tables, they are about two and a half times the wine of regular wine bottles, meaning you get a heck of a lot more vino for the table! Inexpensive and pretty!

And, this wine does not fall under the category of more is less in the flavor department. Known as a premium jug wine, this wine has received rave reviews of “lush fruit flavor”.  The story behind the jug: the winemaker’s grandmother, who was the winemaker for her Italian village, sent visitors on their way with a milk jug full of delicious red wine. To honor grandma’s tradition, the Portalupis have use the milk jug to bottle their Italian-inspired, California-made red table wine.

Photo by John Capone via 7x7.com


April 18, 2012

Wine Country Wedding Venues

As a wedding planner, one of my favorite things to do when I get a new client is start the search for their venue. It is a pivotal part of the wedding process that truly defines the look and feel of the wedding. Over the years, I have pulled together some of my favorite places and want to use this blog to really detail and share with you what makes each venue an amazing spot for a wedding. I created a vendor guide to highlight my favorite locations and link out to their sites, but I will also be featuring different venues within my posts so you can truly learn everything about the venue – helpful hints, things that are easy to implement, things to watch out for and more. Take a peek at our vendor guide, watch it grow over time and feel free to share your fav venues below!

April 17, 2012

Real Wedding – Hans Fahden Winery

Hans Fahden is an amazing spot to get married. A sweet little lake, a gorgeous vineyard and an amazing wine cave for dining. I am so excited to share with you this gorgeous navy, orange and white wedding we did in the heart of wine country this September. Vanessa and Gregg are from NY and wanted a Napa Valley destination wedding. We had so much fun searching for the perfect venue. They fell in love with the sweet charm of downtown Calistoga for their guest’s accommodations where there are some great late night spots and most hotels in the area rent bikes out to travel up and down the main drag. They invited their closest friends and family for a weekend starting Friday with the wedding and then spent Saturday touring Napa Valley’s best wineries. Hannah Suh was the photographer for the day and Julie Stevens Design did the amazing florals – I think this might be my new favorite color combo! The deep blue glass chargers were one of my favorite things! We turned the front of the cave into a lounge area for post dinner drinks. They danced the night away to Bruce Springsteen as the groom has quite the thing for Bruce, but then again, who doesn’t!?

Wedding Planning and Design: Trisha Dean Events
Photography: Hannah Suh

April 16, 2012

Welcome to Barn Lovely!

Welcome to Barn Lovely! I am thrilled to announce a new blog for my love affair of all things wine country and wedding related. I grew up in a family that made wine, so yes, the I Love Lucy episode that you are picturing where she is stomping on the grapes does represent a good deal of my childhood! As a little girl we would visit the Napa and Sonoma areas often and I always felt such a sweet romance in the air. I love the way it smells in wine country, no matter what season, and how good food and great wines are shared in abundance with family and friends. This is why I feel it is a perfect location for weddings and I can’t wait to share with you inspiration, ideas and amazing venues and vendors to help you plan your wine country affair.

Atwood Ranch in Sonoma. Photo by Sasha Gulish via Style Me Pretty

I adore the hunt for the perfect venue, and then setting the stage just right. A classic romantic, you can find me inspired by old movies, especially featuring the stunning Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, and I have a serious love affair with barns. I prefer pops of color against neutral backdrops and feel that personal touches within your wedding decor are key. I love an outdoor reception lit with candlelight and sting lights and my style tends to lean a bit more “country living” than modern. My perfect night is full of stars up in the Napa Valley, bocce ball in hand, glass of Pinot Noir in the other, cheese plate VERY close by, a warm breeze tugging at my sundress, and surrounded by good friends and family.

I aspire to bring you great resources and helpful tips to help you create the perfect wine country wedding. I’ll touch on trends, feature real weddings and showcase pretty details as well as informative posts on places and people in the wine country that can inspire and delight through their work. This blog will start off focusing on five of Northern California’s wine county destinations – Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Livermore Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains/Santa Clara Valley, and Carmel. As the blog grows, I plan to expand the areas of focus, but I think this is a good starting point. I hope through my love affair with wine country I can help you create your own unique and lovely celebration.