It’s the season for hot, hot weather. Monogamy Wines wants to keep you super cool. Add in a big emotional event like a wedding, and you could have a recipe for definitely un-cool heat stroke and sunburns. Help keep your guests comfortable and add to your décor with these chic shades.
And don’t forget, if you have pregnant or elderly guests, it may be worth looking into an indoor/outdoor location where people have the option to escape from the heat.
Hand held shade
Hand held shade like parasols look absolutely adorable in baskets and buckets or hanging from the back of chairs. Plus, they double as favors – keeping guests cooler and giving them something for attending.
With parasols, you’ll want to take some things into consideration. You’ll want to make sure that the opened umbrella won’t block anyone’s view of the big event. As well, some men aren’t comfortable twirling a parasol overhead so they may be kept uncovered.
Instead of parasols, we’ve also seen buckets of sun hats available for guests to take with them. By having all kinds of hats for men and women, you create a fantastic icebreaker for guests to get to know each other.
When thinking shade, the first thing we think of are tents. The only drawback? The price. Some tents can require significant investment in both a deposit and the rental fee. That said, there’s nothing else that can protect your guests from the elements.
Clear tents are another option, letting your guests see the beauty of the area, while protected from the elements, add shade through draped fabrics.
The Natural Route
Cheap, widely available, cool, have you thought about trees? Nature’s original chic shade provider could help protect your guests and keep them comfortable throughout your event. If you’re getting married in a park or a field, consider other areas of the land to take advantage of natural shade.
More budget-friendly shade can be DIY’ed. Provide shade with poles and light weight fabric to keep the sun off your guests. You’ll definitely want to do solid research before you get started to make sure that no poles will tumble down during the event and that the fabric is light enough for wind to not catch the fabric. Avoid parachute fabric — its whole job is not to let air through – and could pull down any structures you’ve built.
Our favorite shade is also the most impractical – but comes from Gustafson Porter at the Venice Biennale. Tethered to the ground, these helium weather balloons create creative, innovative shade for all your guests. Bonus! When the balloons run out of helium, you know the party’s truly over.
How are you planning to keep guests cool on your special day?
Wedding food options undergoing a renaissance. Brides and grooms once stuck with a sad buffet of hotel food have more evolved options. From caterers to venue staff, we’re finding much more flexibility from vendors eager to work with their guests.
In wine country, we’ve noticed a turn toward weddings that celebrate the glory of brunch, include wine and beer flights, fresh foods, creative cake alternatives and clever late night snacks. All in all, relaxing these traditions is a trend we fully support.
The Brunch Wedding Evolution
Hosting a brunch wedding is no doubt a great way to reduce the cost of your wedding food. Says Jen Campbell, GreenWeddingShoes.com [http://www.greenweddingshoes.com] editor and creative director, “Brunch has become popular lately because daytime weddings are cheaper than doing dinnertime or afternoon. I’m also seeing people doing breakfast for dinner – like omelettes or pancakes.”
Brunch menu items can include mini French toasts, bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, perfect pan-fried potatoes and blueberry pancakes. The way to make it wedding-worthy is all in the presentation and great caterers may jump at the opportunity
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jing-a-ling/
“Flights are a big trend at the cocktail hour or even at the reception,” says Ania Wiikka, site director for TheKnot.com, “It may be wine tasting, or beer flights – maybe from breweries around where you’re from. For example, if you went to college in the Midwest – you might serve beer from a great local brewery there.”
For couples looking for an impressive cocktail hour activity, let guests be inspired by your love of wine as they work their way through a flight of wine from a favorite region. What you pair those flights with also has room for creativity – whether it’s pretzels and mustard or olives, don’t miss the opportunity to make each sip and bite special.
Fresh, Seasonal and Absolutely Delicious
Paired with increasing popularity of farmers markets, wine country’s fresh cuisine is now a trend of its own. A hallmark of wine country cuisine has always been a dependence on seasonal food. Whether that’s Silverado Trail strawberries in May and June or hearty greens in the winter, the focus on foods that are of the moment is a trend we hope continues. From Anja Winikka of TheKnot.com, “Today there is almost an expectation of local, seasonal ingredients at weddings. Caterers are thinking more toward the lines of organic and farm fresh foods.”
Creative Cakes and Supporting Desserts
Image source: http://itsabrideslife.com/food/macaron-love/
Although my stance has softened slightly, I’m still not much for cake. And it’s fun to see all the cake alternatives trending this year in wine country. From push pops to crepe cakes, couples are pushing the boundaries of showstopping desserts. “A few years ago, everyone was loving cupcakes at their weddings. Now, it’s pies, macaron cakes, crepe cakes – more non-traditional desserts.” Says Azure Nelson, OnceWed.com editorial director. We’ve also seen gorgeously presented donut bars that could win over the most traditional mother-in-law.
Late Night Loving
Giving your guests a memorable, late night snack on their way home is one of our favorite food trends of 2015. The end of the night is a great time to incorporate food trucks or carts – and to help your guests get a little something in their stomachs after a long night of dancing. Give guests a snack box that doubles as a favor on their way home – whether that’s a special condiment, cookies and milk or something more substantial. From IntimateWeddings.com editor Christina Friedrichsen, “The late night snack is a fairly recent trend – after everybody’s been fed, the couple will send out trays of fun food – like pizza, tacos or a sundae bar.”
As trends in wedding food come and go over the years, we can’t wait to see what’s next. What are your favorite wedding food trends for next year?
Share in the comments!
The actual work of wedding preparations can often unfairly fall to only one of the betrothed. When there’s an activity for both of you to participate in together, we want to know more. We have pulled together some wedding DIY’s perfect for the both of you. With elements that appeal to different personality types you can find DIY wedding décor for two.
From Design for Mankind, these ombre blocks make gorgeous placeholders. At once modern and organic, these tiny blocks could be customized for any wedding décor colors. For partners who are more hands on, their job is to cut and sand the blocks. For those with a more artistic bent, their job is to paint the blocks and letter the cards.
These DIY birch log candleholders are a stunning way to use up felled logs from a wooded property. With a rustic, natural feel, these could be custom cut to be the perfect height in more rustic centerpieces.
Do you both enjoy time on the couch after a long day of work? Craft these Celtic heart knots while you catch up on your shows. They can be a little finicky to get just right, so it’s fun to have a partner there to help you out during the tricky parts. These knots could be used as napkin rings, coasters, or favors all within the look of your wedding decor.
If you’re really ready to take out the power tools and make something amazing together, consider this DIY neon sign With the help of our friends at A Practical Wedding, we learned that a custom made neon sign doesn’t have to break the budget.
Did you co-create any crafts for your wedding? Share with us in the comments!
Everyone agrees that date night is important for the strength of relationships, but it’s so hard to remember to make time for the two of you. Whether you’ve been married for a week or 50 years, date night requires a plan. It can be especially challenging to remember with competing calls from work, friends and family.
To help make date night a little more interesting, we pulled together seven springtime date night ideas to strengthen your relationship.
Photo from Flickr user liz west
Go strawberry or asparagus picking.
In wine country, pick your own plants in season are asparagus and strawberries. You may have a seasonal pick-your-own farm close to your home. Pick your own.org http://www.pickyourown.org/ is a great way to find a pick your own farm near you. Go pick some fruits or veggies. It’s even better if you can put them up by canning, jarring or jamming your bounty.
See the Stars – Check Out a Local Observatory
Photo from Flickr user Scott Wylie
A shared sense of awe can help create intimacy in any stranger. Think of what it can do for your relationship. Check out Stardate for some information to get the two of you started. Looking up can help to remind you how insignificant we are in the big scheme of things. Ignite your inner sense of wonder by learning about our cosmos and the incredibly tiny chance that we could be so in love, right here.
Continuing Education – Take a Wine Class!
Most community colleges offer continuing education classes in a variety of topics. Find one that interests you. Cooking classes can be hands on fun that ends up being incredibly useful! After we took a sushi-making class together, my husband and I started making “DIY sushi night” it’s own special kind of date night.
Become a Hometown Tourist
Any local historical locations that you’ve heard about but never visited? Now’s the time to check out some local history. From lighthouses to grist mills , there’s a local historical site for everyone.
Attend a Book Reading, Improv Show or Performance
Help support local talent by attending local events from performers and artists getting their start. Book readings are a great way to learn together. Bonus points if you both read the book. Improv shows are a budget-friendly way to put the both of you in a better mood and local musicians might surprise you with their talent.
Photo from Flickr user William Cresswell
Decide to explore a vice together. Whether it is for sexy times, drunken times, gambling times or gluttony times, pick a vice to learn more about. A shared sense of mischief can bring the both of you closer together. (I don’t think I need to go into more detail here, ahem.)
Plan for Serendipity
Sometimes the greatest date has no plan at all. Don’t be afraid to pick a general destination and wander around until you find something. The next town over is a great opportunity to discover something together, strengthening bonds in the process.
Any dates you’ve been on that have strengthened your relationship? Tell us in the comments!
As one of California’s more affordable getaway spots, Paso Robles is quickly becoming home to fine winemakers and restauranteurs priced out of more expensive locations. The quality of wine tasting and dining is high while the prices can be lower than in Napa and Sonoma. In short, it’s the ideal place to bring together your best friends for a day of wine tasting and great food.
Situated just an hour from the coast and 30 minutes from San Luis Obispo, it’s far enough away to feel like a real destination, but close enough to get there in a day. Beware, especially in summer, the weather is hot, hot, hot during the day – but it usually cools down at night.
From our love of this unique wine country, we’ve pulled together five must-sees for your Paso Robles weekend.
For a special night out, nothing beats a classic French meal at Bistro Laurent. Their wine list is top notch, and their tasting menu is perfect for groups. Sommelier Ian Adamo makes sure all wines are the perfect match with the warmly served French cuisine.
Looking for a down-home tasty brew pub? Firestone Walker knows what you want. This award-winning brewery offers popular tours and tastings to the public seven days a week. For only $3/person, it’s one of the best deals in town. Their restaurant is the ideal spot for a filling lunch before heading back into the sun.
This newly renovated winery has a hip, educated staff eager to share. With décor that’s modern yet medieval, the tasting room experience is unique to wine country. The patio is perfect for lingering groups as they have live music most weekends.
Hot Springs Soak
Paso Robles’ unique topography means they’re home to hot springs. River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, Paso Robles Inn and Franklin Hot Springs all host wonderfully stinky Sulphur natural hot springs – perfect for soaking any lingering stress away. Not as fancy as the wine tasting, these natural springs will still help you soak your way to peace.
Chef Chris Manning has created the perfect farm to table experience, with locally grown produce, meats and fish. The wine list is also brilliant, pairing just the right wines with the seasonal fare. They’ve been one of the first restaurants in California to pioneer this trend, and with our experience, they’ve had time to perfect it.
Do you have any favorite stops in Paso Robles wine country? Where do you love to go? Tell us in the comments!
Wedding décor trends have shifted significantly over the past 50 years. Trends have spanned from my parents’ simple wedding with floral arrangements in the church basement — to my own wedding’s candles and mirrors — to today’s totally uniquely thrifted DIY extravaganzas. The world of fresh wedding décor has changed significantly. Wine country style makes up a huge part of current wedding décor trends.
Architectural Digest defines Wine Country Style as made up of “rustic bungalows, barns and outbuildings characterize a region known for the simplicity of good living.” We agree. We’ve been thrilled to take a look at fresh wedding décor inspired by rustic elegance, French wine country and good living – and bring the best to you!
Sometimes it’s the (really) little things that add up to make your event more memorable. Here the “cork-as-card-holder” idea gets an update with a dark wood stain.
Rustic elegance brings to mind wine country inspired props and décor – like wine bottles and barrels.
Using empty glass wine bottles as centerpieces looks warm and inviting – and yet the clear glass keeps it sparkling and just a little bit modern.
Using wine barrels, either as tables or props is a useful way to incorporate wine country wedding décor. Here, the wine barrels both anchor the entrance to the event and provide a useful surface for programs or refreshments.
There’s something about French style that’s effortlessly stylish, useful and enjoyable. That’s no short order! The Wedding Chicks show us a remarkable arrangement inspired by French wedding décor. This wedding bouquet brings to mind a peaceful afternoon in a French meadow.
They also share the most French of displays – a gorgeous dessert display on rustic wooden tables. Real Simple shares how to build this shelf in your own home.
The structural elements of a barrel aging room create the perfect backdrop to your reception – and the gently aging wine brings the scents of the California wine experience to your guests.
Glowing and charming, this chic California wine country wedding has all the elements of wine country style. It beautifully works between utterly gorgeous and simply comfortable.
Bring wine country décor to your big day – we can’t wait to see what you’ve done.
Despite our allergies, we at Monogamy Wines love spring wedding season. Mostly, it’s all that gorgeous décor. Today, we’ve taken inspiration from 2015’s trends in runway style, home décor, food and art for some spring floral arrangements.
Thinking of doing a DIY flower approach? A Practical Wedding suggests you bring in the friends – you can save a little money by including your team of people to help with wedding flowers. The advice to do a dry run with the flowers makes perfect sense.
Onto the eye candy!
Spring Flowers Inspired by Runway Style
Inspiration from the runway is some of our favorite inspiration. This time, we took a look at Thakoon’s bright, Matisse-inspired jacket from the 2015 Resort Collection for floral inspiration. The bright orange and teal shapes the starting point for this elegant orange and teal centerpiece.
Spring Flowers Inspired by Home Décor
Apartment Therapy released their picks for 2015’s top design trends. Industrial modern design made the list in a big way. These sculptural yellow wedding flowers take their cue from modern shapes and bold colors.
Spring Flowers Inspired by Food
Andrew Knowlton from Bon Appetit determined 2015 the year of the Gyro. We’re not suggesting you take your floral cues from meat sliced off a spit – but we are inspired by the fresh, brightly colored, wrapped sandwich. Who knew that this beautiful grouping of peonies and Hypernicum berries featured on Style Me Pretty would be just the right balance of freshness for your big day.
Spring Flowers Inspired by Art
Pop Art is a trend in the art world for 2015. For example, this piece by artist Karan Singh puts pattern and repetition together for a moving effect. These flowers from a bright shoot on Style Me Pretty are the right mix of novel and elegant.
Whatever your floral inspiration, you can find it in this year’s trends. Did you take any unusual inspiration? Share in the comments!
One of my most cherished possessions from my wedding shower is a stack of colored index cards. On their way in, the wedding shower guests wrote advice on a colored index card – these cards were read out loud later at the event. It was remarkable, how simple and powerful the act of women sharing advice felt to me. These women distilled their best advice for marital happiness down into a few short lines.
Fast forward to the time of social media. Marital advice (and advice data!) is available from every corner of content. We have the opportunity to collect and share even more marital advice — so through social media, I’ve collected some of my favorite marital advice from some of my favorite people, my friends’ parents.
“Always try and out-do each other with kindness.” Stephanie Almeida’s father’s advice echoes current research into the vital ingredients in a successful marriage. That advice also has some good science behind it. Researchers have found that kindness is one of the vital ingredients in a successful marriage.
Alex Santantonio’s psychologist mother’s advice about communication is important for those of us prone to shutting down. “My psychologist mother told me, “It doesn’t matter if you yell and fight as long as you keep talking about what you’re yelling and fighting about. Communication is key to a successful marriage, and it’s equally as important to discuss how you’re feeling as it is to listen to how your partner is feeling.”
“My dad told us it’s all about compromise.” Sarah Brown’s dad shares a very good piece of advice. My husband’s father echoed that sentiment, telling us that every decision we made together would be “60/40.” And that’s okay. That expectation that someone will get the better deal has helped us through some challenging times.
Designer Laurie Smithwick received sweet advice from her Mom. “My mom told us never to buy a king size bed. She said that even if you go to bed angry (which happens sometimes), you shouldn’t be able to be “untouchably” far away from your partner in bed.”
Speaking of going to bed angry, some parents seem to think it’s not all that bad, my friend Sonyia Grabski said, “It’s okay to go to bed mad – sometimes you just need a good night’s sleep. The sales and marketing VP’s grandmother also had a keen eye for self-protection, sharing, “Always keep a financial egg aside just for yourself.”
The advice April Damron received made me laugh out loud, “Don’t do anything the first year of marriage that you don’t want to do for the rest of your marriage.”
But ultimately, Krista Pemberton’s advice from her mother-in-law warmed this storyteller’s heart, “The stories we tell over and over become our beliefs about ourselves, our spouse, and our lives. My mother in law told me to always emphasized the beautiful moments in my marriage and I would continue see my marriage as extraordinary.”
When you describe your marriage as extraordinary, you’ll see your marriage as extraordinary. The stories we tell are so much more important than we think they.
Have you received any fantastic advice from your parents – or other people with more experience in wedding planning? Share in the comments!
When it comes to bachelorette parties and wine country – ideas abound. It all comes down to the kind of event you want to host. Whether you are looking for a crazy day in the vines for your best friends from college or a more sedate affair (complete with tea sandwiches and a cellist) we collected five tips for you to host the perfect wine country bachelorette party.
Hire a driver
No matter what, if your party is imbibing wine, hire a driver. A driver with a hospitable sense of humor can be one of the best parts of your wine country bachelorette party. Drivers can also help recommend wineries that would offer your group the best service as well as take group photos (make sure you tip accordingly!). Split the cost of transportation before the event – so your party will stay safe through your visit to wine country.
Know your Photo Ops
In Napa Valley, you can find the iconic Welcome to Napa Valley signs both on Highway 29 – one between St. Helena and Calistoga on Route 29. Heading North, it will be on your right, between Larkmead Lane and Maple Lane. One is in Yountville. Make sure your driver or party planner knows you want to include time for group photos at local landmarkes before you begin. Don’t forget to take group photos early in the day when everyone’s looking their best.
Call, Call Ahead
Many wineries and restaurants in wine country want to be able to provide you the best service. Make sure you call ahead of time to set up tastings at your favorite wineries. Wineries like Kunde and Viansa in Sonoma County, Clos Pegase in Napa Valley give small groups exceptional service. Working with you to plan the perfect lunch, they can handle everything from décor to music with sophisticated grace. Thebach.com contains a great Napa and Sonoma wine country planner with vendors and a handy scheduler to get the most out of your time.
Speaking of sophisticated grace, many a bachelorette has found herself feeling miserable the next day because she forgot to eat during all the fun. Planning snacks ahead of time is good advice in wine country. Stop on the way in at a local grocery store food in your rooms before you go out, stash food in the limo and schedule meals ahead of time for maximum stamina.
Except for the rare restaurant, it can tough to find more rural wine country restaurants open any time after nine. You don’t want to find yourself back in your hotel room without a stitch of food. When you plan ahead for meals and snacks, you can really maximize your wine country fun.
Napa Valley is home to some of the country’s most luxurious spas. For an event your friends won’t forget, consider booking a day long spa visit. There are small group packages available for nearly any price point. From a basic group mani-pedi to a full day of scrubs and soaking, wine country’s spas are a peaceful way to spend the last days of singlehood.
Surprise(!) the Bride
Even though brides have the final say in nearly all events leading up to the wedding, the bachelorette party is the perfect time to plan a sweet surprise for the bride. Wine country bachelorette party bridal surprises could include a detour to a spa for mani-pedis, a private meal cooked in the guest room you’re staying at, or live music. Don’t overlook the bride’s favorite wine, let the winery know that ahead of time so they can prepare. Consider hiring a photographer to tag along to surprise the bride with more gorgeous images.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Every decision agreed upon ahead of time means less possibility for misunderstanding during the party. Communicate with all party attendees well ahead of time so that there are no surprise expenses, clothing needs or forgotten food sensitivities. Make sure you have everyone’s cell phone numbers and that you know everyone’s first and last name before you depart on your wine country tour. Ensure the bride has an event to remember!
These seven tips will help make sure your group enjoys the warmest wine country welcoming. Whether your bachelorette party is a party with high-spirited attendees of both genders or an elegant affair with the mother of the bride in attendance, wine country can offer up a lovely solution for nearly any bachelorette party configuration.
Buzzwords abound when it comes to seasonal eating. But what does that mean when you’re planning your wedding menu? Quite simply, a seasonal menu is cheaper, it tastes better and it’s more nutritious.
When crops are in season, the price is less than the shipping required for crops out of season.
Foods lose flavor and moisture when they’re being stored. Fresh food still has its original flavors intact — think of the flavor burst you get with summer peaches and tomatoes, as well as the bite of winter greens.
Surprisingly, fall and winter have a wide variety of crops for harvest like apples, endive, garlic, squash, grapes, figs, and mushrooms. Even winter’s kale, radishes, turnip and leeks are delicious during the colder months.
Studies have proven that foods are more nutritious when harvested in season. Researchers in London found nutrients in milk were higher in summer vs. winter in a 1997 study – and researchers in Japan found spinach harvested in summer vs. winter had three times the vitamin C content.
Ask your caterer about what kinds of foods are seasonal at the time of your wedding – they’ll also have great ideas on how to work them into your menu.
In Spring, foods that are in season include – artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, grapefruit, avocados, and strawberries — fresh, light and bright are the words to eat by.
Smoked salmon with fresh dill cream
Fresh herbed spring rolls with shrimp
Chopped Farmers Market Vegetable Salad
Bread and sweet cream butter
Herbed roasted organic chicken with new potatoes and wilted pea greens
Spring vegetable risotto
In summer, veggies are at their peak, so it’s a good time to let the simplicity of flavor carry you through. Arugula, watercress, green beans, peas, spinach, tomatoes and peppers are the vegetables to look out for. Blackberries, blueberries, apricots, nectarines, peaches and raspberries are fruits, delicious for eating.
Ahi tuna cucumber bites
Chilled individual summer squash soup
Local heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil, and summer salad leaves
Grilled fish with radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, endive, and red pepper with vinaigrette roasted potatoes
Fall is the perfect season for squash, cheeses, and slightly heavier fare. Fruits in season include apples, dates, figs, rhubarb, plums and pomegranates, while veggies in season include artichokes, Brussel sprouts, kale, okra, peppers and sweet potatoes.
Local and imported cheese served with grapes, dried fruit and nuts
Mini artichoke, mushroom and shallot pizzas
Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger
Braised Short Rib with Fresh Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Bearnaise sauce
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Shallot and Mushroom Ragout
Surprisingly enough winter’s bounty holds quite a variety of foods. Arugula, cauliflower, kale and mustard greens, spinach and turnips. Winter’s citrus is at its peak with oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and even guava in season.
Grilled porcini mushrooms on shortbread
Spicy beef rolled with julienned carrot and daikon
Seafood! Raw bar with lobster, shrimp, oysters and crab claws with lemon wedges and sauces.
Beef filet with Yukon Gold Potato Puree, caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Rich winter pasta with mushrooms and roast vegetables
Print your menus however you want – get inspiration from these gorgeous wedding menus. Any wedding meal home runs? Let us know in the comments!