Sonoma County is a beautiful place for a wedding! There are so many top notch places to consider. Whether you are on a budget or want to go all out, there is something to match every taste. From a simple outdoor ceremony to an all out country club or church wedding, Sonoma County is the place for beauty and ambiance. The bargain story first:
When our son announced that he was getting married, I went through the usual knee jerk reaction of a mother questioning her son’s intentions and thoughtfulness. There was no engagement ring and he was bringing his bride to be home from Japan in six weeks. When I told him that it was the bride’s responsibility to plan the wedding, he said, “Not in Japan.” Like a chicken with my proverbial head cut off I called a florist friend of mine to ask for advice. She gave me a “To Do List” which included: location for the ceremony, location for the dinner, caterer, florist (luckily that was taken care of), cake, wedding official, dress, bride’s maids dress, tux rental, rehearsal dinner, gift registry, ring(s), DJ or band, photographer, honeymoon… invitations!!!
Some of these items I was able to check off immediately. The bride’s parents were unable to come over because the Olympics were happening at that time and taking up all the available flights. Her father wrote me a very long letter explaining why he was happy that his daughter was marrying our son. It was in Japanese. Thank you very much!
Invitations: I copied a beautiful photograph of the happy couple on lavendar paper and designed an invitation on my computer to be mailed out immediately to close friends and family. (cost of the stamps and the purple paper)
Ceremony: Since my future daughter-in-law was from Japan, I thought that either a Shinto or Buddhist ceremony would be appropriate. I phoned a Shinto priest in San Francisco and was told that for fee he would come up and do a short ceremony at the beach. I imagined the wind blowing, the surf crashing against the rocks, Japan in the distance. I called the Enmanji Buddhist temple in Sebastopol. The priest there (a woman) said there would be no fee and the ceremony would be very simple because the Buddha didn’t have much to say on the subject of marriage. The temple is beautiful! We chose the Buddhist ceremony and I did make a donation.
The Reception: We had a favorite sushi restaurant that had a beautiful back room which was the perfect size for our small wedding party. We booked that and made arrangements for a lavish sushi dinner. We served miso soup, sunumno salad, various sushi rolls and maki, tempura, chicken teriyaki, rice, and of course, beer and sake! That was a great party!
Music: I opted for a karaoke machine which I rented for the occasion. The guests got up and sang various popular tunes like “All of Me” and “These Boots Are Made or Walkin”. Even the bride and her friend sang a couple. It was very amusing.
Flowers: I ordered beautiful flower arrangements and bridal bouquet from my florist friend, Heather.
Photographer: I bought disposable cameras and gave instructions to everyone to please take a lot of pictures. Everyone seemed to have a camera anyway and I got some really great pictures including one of me stabbing a piece of sushi with one chop stick lazily putting the whole thing in my mouth at once. (I’ll bet the folks back in Japan got a hoot out of that one.)
Bride’s dress, etc: When my son and his fiance’ arrived stateside with only days to spare, we hurriedly went to obtain the marriage license, rings, and bridal gown. Gunne Sax outlet in San Francisco in a little alley off Brannan just before Third Street. has great deals on bridal wear. We rented the tux for the groom at Selix. They are fast and efficient. The bridesmaid wore a dress from a previous wedding she had been in. (Recycling is cool!)
The Cake: Auntie B’s is a great place for a cake! We also really love Village Bakery 707-829-8101.
The Rehearsal Dinner was completely catered and made by my sister-in-law at my house as a gift to the couple. Thank you!
The Honeymoon was a one night stay at the Hotel La Rose.
The whole wedding cost around $3,000
Our daughter’s longer planned wedding cost a little more.