Venue Highlight: Beltane Ranch

Located on a hillside in Sonoma Valley, you’ll find the stunning Beltane Ranch. Family owned and operated for six generations, this working ranch is situated amidst gardens, vineyards, and olive orchards, and produces estate Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, as well as grass fed beef, olive oils, fruits and vegetables to supply the inn.

Guests of the inn can expect to enjoy private accommodations with breathtaking views of the valley, trails that will lead you past grazing horses and cattle, and through their vineyards and orchards.


Before Beltane Ranch was the charming bed-and-breakfast, award-winning olive oil producer, winemaker and wedding destination that it is today, it was dusty land granted by Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado to family members of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo back in 1837.  Its fascinating history, spanning nearly two centuries, includes Wappo Indians, freed slaves, and generations of fiercely determined women.


As it stands today, Beltane has retained its rustic beauty and authentic wine country feel, making it one of the most stunning and romantic wedding settings in Sonoma Valley.

For a wedding ceremony at Beltane, two outdoor settings are available. The larger lawn is outlined with flower beds, ancient oaks, and stone walls.

A smaller lawn, overlooking valley and vineyard views, is perfect for an intimate gathering.

The beautiful rustic barn is available for your rehearsal dinner, complete with elegant decor, romantic lighting and space to accommodate your DJ or live musicians for dancing into the evening.


Beltane Ranch, with its beautiful hills, orchards, and vineyards, offers the perfect wine country wedding setting you’ve dreamed of.

Why we love catering at Beltane:

  • Preserved working ranch in the heart of wine country
  • Exclusive use of gorgeous grounds and B & B for your event
  • Guest accommodations in an 1892 Victorian ranch house
  • Charming bridal cottage with private garden retreat
  • Vineyard, gardens, orchards, valley views

Many thanks to Kate Harrison Photography for the beautiful photos featured in this post!
Location:  Beltane Ranch
Caterer: the girl & the fig CATERS! team.
See the complete gallery of an amazingly beautiful day here.

All about Beltane…



  • Max. Seated Indoors: 60
  • Max. Seated Outdoors: 150

Reception/Special Events

  • Max. Seated Indoors: 60
  • Max. Seated Outdoors: 150
  • Max. Standing/Cocktails Indoors: 60
  • Max. Standing/Cocktails Outdoors: 150


  • Max. Seated: 6

Location Uses

Wedding Receptions
Special Events, Parties
Business Functions/Meetings
Rehearsal Dinners
On-Site Accommodations

Site Views


Planning a Wine Country Wedding: DIY Favorites Part 2

(This is Part 13 in a series.  Did you miss Part 12?  View the post here!)

In my last post, I wrote about some DIY wedding options.  Here are a few more things that you can do yourself to cut costs and add a handcrafted touch:

Invitations & Paper
The cost of invitations can be high, especially if you go to a professional designer or calligrapher.  As an alternative, consider sites like Minted or Wedding Paper Divas for custom printed invitation suites with an option for printing your guests’ addresses.  These sites also provide an option for DIY printable designs, or you can design your own using embellished paper (Paper Source is great starting point for this).  If you’re up to the task, take it a step further by learning calligraphy and handwriting your guests’ addresses yourself.

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If you sew or know someone who does, you can get away from store bought accessories in favor of less expensive, handmade options.  Veils, ring pillows, and groomsmen ties quickly become heirlooms with a handmade touch.  Your ideas can even spill over in to your reception with custom table runners and soft flannel blankets for your guests to keep warm at a late, outdoor wedding.  For those who can make more of a commitment, you can even take on the flower girl dresses or wedding dress.  Here are some ideas from Coats & Clark.



The Cake
The cake is probably not something that you will want to take on yourself since you’ll be busy with other things as the day gets closer.  If you’re open to sacrificing a traditional bakery style wedding cake, enlist the help of a baker in your family or group of friends.  If you’re not able to find someone to help out, consider buying a simple store bought cake and having it decorated how you want.  We love this decorating idea from Project Wedding for a strawberry cake.  Check out their other ideas for decoration inspiration.

Another option is a smaller wedding cake supplemented with additional mini dessert items.  We’ve found the current trend of replacing a large, traditional wedding cake with a smaller “cutting” cake and station of miniature desserts can provide the best of both worlds.



Quick Tips:

  • Be realistic!  Don’t take on more than you can really handle, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate to others. It’s great if you can DIY, but it’s also important to keep yourself from having too much stress.

Happy Planning!

Next post: Keeping Track of Etiquette

MANY THANKS to the photographers featured in this post!
Imagen Photography (top photo)
Jessamyn Harris (2nd & 3rd photos)

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: DIY

(This is Part 12 in a series. Did you miss Part 11? View the post here!)

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the months I’ve spent wedding planning, it’s that costs add up quickly regardless of how diligent you are at getting the best deals. One way that we are cutting costs is by doing a lot of the creative work ourselves. If you’re crafty or have friends and family who are creative, this might be a good option for you to eliminate some expenses and create unique, personal touches.

Here are some of my favorite DIY ideas:

Never having the need for anything significant from a florist before, I was shocked at how expensive bouquets and arrangements can be when I first started researching flowers. Look for friends and family members who can step in to make arrangements and bouquets for you; this is a big enough project that you won’t want to take it on yourself. If you don’t want to deal with real flowers, try out the idea of paper flowers and host a craft day to get help with creating the bouquets and arrangements. We love these vintage inspired brooch and paper rose bouquets and this deep colored paper bouquet from The Knot. Search Pinterest for more inspiration and tutorials.


Hunt through thrift stores, estate sales, clearance items, and online auction sites for items that you might be able to use. Keep in mind that you can always paint something or create something. You can also look through real weddings for decoration inspiration and identify items that you can make yourself; garlands and banners are easy paper projects, while table runners and fabric covered arches just require some scissors and a trip to the fabric store.danjames_IMG_8811

Favors are always a fun way for your guests to take home a memory of your day, and one of the best ways you can be creative. If you or someone you know is a great cook or baker, make some edible favors like jams, sauces, cookies, or flavored salts and sugars. Plants make great favors and can even do double duty as escort cards; create a custom packet of seeds or plant a succulent in a mini hand-painted pot. The possibilities are endless. Check out the DIY Network’s ideas on Wedding Favors for some inspiration.


Quick Tips:

  • I am in love with Save On Crafts. Go to their website for DIY Weddings: Ideas & How-To’s, as well as great deals on craft supplies and ready-made decorations.
  • Look through websites like Tradesy and Wedding Recycle for deals on gently used items from other weddings.
  • Another love of mine is Check out their sale fabrics for pieces that you might be able to use in your wedding projects.

Happy Planning!

Next post: DIY Part 2

MANY THANKS to the photographers featured in this post!
Imagen Photography (top image)
Jessamyn Harris (second image)

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

(This is Part 11 in a series. Did you miss Part 10? View the post here!)

Wine Country is such a beautiful place filled with food, wine and adventure. For those of us who love a low-key weekend, there’s no better place to plan for a fun vacation before the knot is tied.

Here are some ideas we love for planning your Wine Country bachelor or bachelorette party:

Spa Weekend

If you’re just wanting to relax before the big day, your go-to should be the spas and resorts here in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The town of Sonoma boasts amazing resorts close to its charming downtown plaza and abundant stops for food and wine. Check out the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, The Lodge at Sonoma, or MacArthur Place for a comfortable stay, relaxing spa amenities, and Sonoma hospitality.


Just a ways north in the Napa Valley is the small town of Calistoga, where they boast natural, mineral hot springs. This quaint and cozy town is a perfect setting for a quiet weekend of relaxation, and you can find several natural spas waiting to welcome you. Check out Mayacamas Ranch for yoga retreats and beautiful views.

Wine & Beer Tasting

It goes without saying that there’s no shortage of wine in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. If wine tasting is a must, or if you just want to learn and explore, plan a memorable wine tasting weekend with your best friends. Let one of our local wine tours help you plan your wine tasting path or choose your own adventure from the multitude of wineries and tasting rooms spread throughout the region.


For those who love the hoppier side, there are plenty of well-known as well as up and coming breweries to explore. Hop on a brewery tour for a guided adventure, or discover on your own.


Sonoma is a perfect slice of California’s sunny landscape, with gorgeous coastal areas and inland waterways, impressive redwood forests, and brilliant inner valleys.


Spend some time in Guerneville, floating down the Russian River or hiking in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. Spread your toes in the sand at one of the beaches along the Sonoma Coast, and then jump over to Occidental to zip line through the redwood canopies. Head inland to Glen Ellen to hike or bike the trails at Jack London Park and experience a property just as full of history as it is with beautiful views. Go camping at Sugarloaf Ridge in Kenwood, and head to the Robert Ferguson Observatory for a Star Party or walk to Pluto on their PlanetWalk.

Happy Planning!

Next post: DIY Weddings

Planning a Wine Country Wedding: Dressing Your Bridal Party

(This is Part 10 in a series. Did you miss Part 9? View the post here!)

It seems like there are infinite options when it comes to bridal party attire. Here are two of my favorite trends to help narrow your choices and hone your style:

Mix it Up

One of the most important things for me is that my bridesmaids are comfortable. I chose one color that will be flattering on everyone and let everyone choose between several different necklines; whatever they would be most comfortable with wearing. Variations of this are trending now: different styles, different colors, mixing and matching. Play around with having multiple choices in your color palette, different fabric textures and prints, and varied dress styles.

Ruffled - photo by -

For groomsmen, try varying suits or accessories by color palette, or let them provide their own outfit or a more casual mix and match look. Go for unique tie or suspender patterns, or plan out a more casual ensemble with khakis or even jeans.

Check out these articles from The Knot on mix and match bridesmaids and groomsmen trends for more inspiration.

Rent Instead of Buy or Buy Instead of Rent

If you’re hoping to save your bridesmaids some money on their dress, consider a dress rental instead of having them buy. Sites like Vow to be Chic and Weddington Way let customers rent their dresses at a fraction of the retail cost with easy returns, easy sizing, and plenty of options to choose from.

For groomsmen, it seems that the most common way to go is a rental, but why not have them buy? In some cases, buying may be less costly and you can create a custom, unique look that you may not find with a rental. For our wedding, we chose suits in one color from an online shop. Suits come sized according to your measurements, and you can tailor the length to suit your height and preference.sylviegil2

Quick tips:

  • When choosing dress colors, keep your flowers in mind. What colors will complement or make your bouquets stand out?
  • Don’t forget the details. Things like unique cufflinks or tie clips make great groomsmen gifts as well as add a touch of charm.
  • Enlist the help of your bridal party. My maid of honor helped to choose the dresses with feedback from the bridesmaids, and my groom planned out his groomsmen’s suits. Easy!

Happy Planning!

Next post: Wine Country Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

PHOTO CREDITS for this post: Bridal Party – Imagen Photography; Groomsmen – Sylvie Gil Photography