Just like her clothes, her apartment and—let's be honest—her life, Lauren Conrad's wedding was perfect to a T. The lifestyle guru and her husband William Tell said I do earlier this month in picturesque Santa Ynez, Calif. And much like everything else in her enviable life, her wedding location, a vineyard, was right on trend—wineries have become the place to say I do in recent years. We got the scoop from Conrad's wedding planner, Cassandra Herschenfeld, on why these wedding venues are so trendy and how you can have a vineyard-inspired wedding of your own, wherever you are.
"The whole rustic chic thing is very big, and you know [a vineyard wedding] lends itself obviously to that so well," Herschenfeld says. The planner, who just launched her own independent company, Cassandra Bette Events, adds that in many areas, the wineries can feel like a mini-vacation. "It feels like a destination because you're in a whole new world when you get there, but it's still drivable which is nice. So people can feel like they have a whole weekend away at a special place and almost like it's a destination but they're not having to get on an airplane to get there."
Luckily, even if there isn't a vineyard within a reasonable drive, you can still bring the winery feeling to any locale with a few tricks. Read on for Herschenfeld's expert tips on creating a vineyard wedding anywhere.
1. Bring the outside inOne of the main draws (and, indeed, drawbacks in some cases) of wineries is that they are, for the most part, outdoors. To transform a ballroom, country club, or the like into a space worthy of Napa Valley, bringing the outside in is key. You can easily do this by bringing in potted trees to decorate the reception hall or adding vines, branches, and leaves throughout both the ceremony and reception space.
2. Use wine barrels in unconventional waysThere's a myriad of ways you can use wine barrels throughout your wedding décor. For starters, prop a piece of wood up on two barrels for a makeshift table that can be used for gifts, food, or even a bar (above). Or use individual barrels as tables, to hold flowers (below, left), or to flank the altar.
3. Serve a wine flightThe most obvious way to bring a winery anywhere? Wine. In addition to serving wine during the festivities, you can offer guests flights of wine from your favorite vineyards. To save money, serve the flights in shot glasses instead of wine glasses.
4. Amp up the natural vibeUnfinished touches lend themselves perfectly to rustic chic themes. Long wooden tables without table cloths, natural wood dance floors, and unstructured centerpieces with fruits also enhance this vibe. Additionally, adding a sprig of lavender or herbs to a napkin treatment can quickly and easily add a bit of natural charm to a basic white place setting (above, right).
5. Create a warm glow with candlesBecause many vineyards are older, if you do choose to have your wedding there, they may not have lots of outdoor light. A cost-effective and romantic way to add some soft illumination to the evening is candles. Regardless if your wedding is taking place in a vineyard or not, amping up the candlelight is a surefire way to make you and your guests feel like you're spending an enchanted evening in Tuscany.
6. Use every piece of the wine bottleThe corks from wine bottles can easily be turned into place card holders for each guest (above). While you can buy these ready-made, it's equally easy to do it yourself: Just cut a slit into a cork and slip a name card in.
Looking for more wedding tips? Check out these bridal accessories, which will match your venue!