Choosing a location for your nuptials can definitely be one of the more difficult choices you’ll make, and at times, just plain daunting. You and your love may want a destination wedding, but know that not all your family and friends can make an international trip. A big ballroom at a hotel not your thing either? Well there’s another alternative! Why not have an elegant wedding in a California vineyard?
Driving the coast of California, you’ll reach a beautiful town called Carmel-by-the-Sea that’s full of storybook style houses and beachfront properties along with high-end shopping. If you head inland about 20 minutes, you’ll discover Carmel Valley and find yourself immersed in the beauty of nature. Nestled atop a hill in this gorgeous valley is Holman Ranch, an ideal location for a retreat wedding.
On the Estate you will find the Hacienda amongst 19 acres of planted terrain. Here, you get the sophisticated feel of a French vineyard with a touch of Mexi-cali rustic. Once a “Casa Escondida” for celebrities like Charlie Chaplin & Theda Bara, the Hacienda still serves as an exclusive hideaway.
There are several wedding packages to choose from, but I would suggest the “Retreat” package. I use the term package lightly because there really isn’t one set way to hold your wedding. Hunter, the director of hospitality and a fiery redhead with vision, has ensured you have as many opportunities as possible to create your dream wedding within any of the packages.
Your entire wedding party can stay in the 10 guest rooms on the property. Did I mention you will have exclusive use of the Estate? You and your bridesmaids can relax poolside with a glass of wine the day before while your groom and his men can release tension while tossing horseshoes or playing billiards. Forget brunch the day after the wedding, meet up with 48 of your closest guests for a private tasting and cave tour!
Holman Ranch Vineyards produce some of the best Pinots I’ve ever delighted in. They create the wine in a truly French fashion; it’s unfined to maintain the true taste from the vine to the bottle. The Pinot Noir & Gris are light and crisp, not as smoky. The Rose of Pinot Noir was bold and full of robust flavors.
While exploring the estate I was able to envision the way the venue can easily morph from intimate wedding of 50 to a larger wedding of 375. There are a couple of different areas to hold your ceremony, but I couldn’t dream of a more beautiful backdrop than that of the San Lucia Mountains nestled beyond the rows of grapes. After the kiss you and your husband descend down the steps of the Ceremony Veranda and down the aisle on the lawn, which is manicured after the look of a putting green.
And for those of you who have deeply Catholic families, and the thought of getting married in a church has never appealed to you, this is your venue! The Pope granted a local priest permission to officiate catholic ceremonies on the Veranda at the Holman Ranch. Having been to my fair share of Catholic weddings I know that this is a huge bonus.
Your guests are led to the Rose Patio for the Reception while you and your new spouse pose for pictures. The Arbor & Main Plaza would be the perfect location for a cocktail hour, enjoying the shade of the Arbor while leaning against a wine barrel high table & sipping Pinot sounds dreamy. From there I wandered through a set of large wooden doors onto the Rose Patio. I immediately fell in love! My creativity began to dance in the middle of imagined banquet tables and a tent made of strung lights. No I was not drunk on spirits, the wine has a lower alcohol content, I was merely in a dream.
When they were renovating the ranch they took into consideration all the amenities one might require in order to throw a memorable event at the Hacienda. They added several bathrooms and made sure you could plug in all the sound and lighting equipment without shorting a circuit or blowing a fuse. More importantly, after walking the entire estate I didn’t feel like I needed to change into a fresh outfit before attending dinner. Generally a rustic setting can leave you feeling dirty, the kind of dirty that not even the best dry cleaner in the world can rid your beautiful white dress of.
Coverage brought to you by Surf and Sunshine Contributing Journalists Tran and Kristina. Thank you to Holman Ranch for hosting our stay. All opinions are original.