If you and your partner love wine and nature, a vineyard might serve as the perfect venue for your wedding. The scenic features found at most vineyards can help inform and inspire the design of the wedding, and often present incredible backdrops for a couple's portraits, explains Jason Mitchell Kahn, owner and creative director at Jason Mitchell Kahn & Co. in New York City. "Vineyards are great for a couple with high-end taste who aren't drawn to ballrooms," he says. "Additionally, they aren't usually designed as event venues even when they can accommodate one, so it's an ideal place for the couple who likes options rather than a more cookie-cutter format." Thinking about tying the knot at a vineyard? Here's what professional wedding planners want you to know.
Make sure you like the wine.
Most vineyards require you to serve their wine, so it's important that you and your fiancé are big fans of what they make and are familiar with their different vintages. "They might also have different packages at various price points, so be very clear on what they will serve and how that affects your overall budget," says Kahn. "One the flip side, there all smaller vineyards that have beautiful grounds, but don't produce enough wine to offer at large events, so make sure to ask ahead of time so you're in the know."
Ask about the rain plan options for your ceremony and reception.
"Most vineyards have a gorgeous outdoor wedding option, but in planning your big day, you want to make sure you are equally as happy with the indoor plan should it rain on your wedding day," says Natasha Jimenez, director of Special Events & Projects at The Winery at Bull Run in Centreville, Virginia. Be sure to ask what both the ceremony and reception would look like in the event of rain—in some cases it's as simple as putting up a tent, but other venues might move guests indoors.
Find out whether or not they'll be open to the public during your wedding.
If you're interested in a larger or more popular vineyard, remember to find out whether or not they'll be closing to the public for tastings and tours. "This could also be factored into what you are charged, such as opting to pay more for a full-buyout to have total privacy," explains Kahn. "Some places will offer to close at a certain time, and it's important to know how this might affect your experience."
Make sure they have enough restrooms for your guest list.
Not all vineyards are set up to host the amount of people you will be having at your wedding all at one time. For this reason, there may not be enough bathrooms to accommodate all your guests. "If you're required to bring in additional units, there are likely restrictions of where they can go," says Kahn. "Most portable units can only be dropped off within feet of the truck they arrive on, and many vineyards will not allow you to drive on premises."
Know that they might have a list of preferred vendors you must use.
This is especially true when it comes to catering, so make sure you inquire with at least a couple of them in advance of booking to ensure that the pros you'll work with are people you're excited about. For alcohol, Jimenez recommends familiarizing yourself with the venue's licensing and consumption requirements. "Some wineries require a minimum case purchase and some venues do not allow outside alcohol licensing, which limits you to only the wines they have to offer," she says.