The holiday season kicks off this week. With all the family, events, eating and family, it can be easy to take your partner for granted. We at Monogamy wines have pulled together five ways to let your partner know how much you appreciate them – with tips specially geared toward the sometimes stressful holiday season.

Handwritten notes

     Love note for my husband - leave them on the rear view mirror!

This is my default way to show my husband my love. Whether it’s a note taped to the mirror when he’s in the shower, or a note taped to his rear view mirror, I delight in showing him how much I appreciate his love and support by surprise notes.

A secret signal

Dance a secret jig to show her you care

Come up with a secret word or gesture to let your partner know, “I see you. I love you.” This tip is especially helpful during the holiday season when you can find yourself separated by friends and family at crowded events.

Rub it out

Neck, back and all kind of massages are free and delightful. Watch how the professionals on YouTube do it and use your new skills to relax the heck out of your beloved. We love this totally SFW neck massage video tutorial and this one for backs – my favorite way to be shown love!

Take over a chore

Emptying the dishwasher is loving

Does she usually clean the toilets? Does he always unload the dishwasher? Sneakily, quietly take over a few chores for your partner and do it with love in your heart. Never, ever mention it, even if they don’t say anything about it.

Picking cilantro is my least favorite chore

Speak kindly

Kind words? Happy marriage!

Avoiding saying negative things about your partner is a given. But during this holiday season, go the extra mile and actively share all the things you love about them. Does she have a cousin who likes to pick on her for an innocuous habit – defend her! Does his mom remind him of a mistake he made long ago? Step up and say that you’re way past that. Speak up with love to show your partner how important they are to you.

How do you share your gratitude for your partner during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments!


It’s no small feat to choose the perfect wedding appetizers. Not only do you want to choose something that reflects your shared background, you also can’t forget the season and the location.

We at Monogamy Wines have pulled together eight cozy appetizers to bring both comfort and taste to your wedding guests.

Taste of Home
Are you and your partner from a part of the world known for specific cuisine? These appetizers reflect tastes from the Midwest, South and West United States. They’re innovative, but still familiar enough for less adventurous palates.

Beer Cheese Spread
German Beer Cheese Spread from Brown Eyed Baker

This Beer Cheese Spread from Brown Eyed Baker could reflect a Midwestern, German or beer-loving background.

Boiled Peanut Hummus

It’s not that sexy to look at, but this Boiled Peanut Hummus from Hugh Acheson and Garden and Gun is the perfect appetizer for your Southern family.

 Fish Tacos

For couples from Southern California, there’s no appetizer like Fish Tacos. Here, Bev Cooks beer batters and fries her catfish.   

Comfort Foods
After all the dress up, expectations and nerves, put your guests at ease with these amped up versions of comfort foods.

Macaroni and Cheese Canapes
These Macaroni and Cheese canapes from Leite’s Culinaria will delight even the pickiest eaters on your guest list.

Breakfast-Inspired Chicken and Waffles


I’ve yet to meet anyone to turn down Chicken and Waffles. This mini version from Apples and Onions is comfort food in the palm of your hand. 

Loaded Mashed Potato Balls

Little Spice Jar made these amazing loaded mashed potato balls from Thanksgiving leftovers that will make your guests feel like they’re at home (but better).

Your Legacy
Choose recipes that reflect experiences the both of you had — mini burgers and hot dogs could reflect a shared love of baseball or chicken wings from the bar where you first met.

Asian Barbecue Chicken Wings


Asian Barbecue Chicken Wings from Rasa Malaysia are an updated take on a pub favorite.

Mini Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

How adorable are these Mini Hamburgers and Hot Dogs from Peter Callahan Catering

There is a world of gorgeous appetizers to reflect your love, your history and put your guests at ease. Tell us in the comments, what have your favorite appetizers been?


There are fewer things we at Monogamy Wines love more than DIY wedding décor. We adore how clever brides and grooms make their space beautiful while being resourceful at the same time. We’ve collected our favorite 11 décor DIYs to share with you: 

Polaroid Photo Cake Topper

Polaroid Cake Topper

 Save money, delight your guests with a polaroid wedding topper. Images of the two of you? Timely and lovely.


DIY Wedding – Kraft paper placemats

Craft Paper Placemats

It might not be the most challenging DIY in the world, but we adore these personalized Kraft paper placemats for the bride and groom in Gold and Bloom’s DIY wedding.


DIY Ring Pillow

DIY Ringbearer

Over at the Elephantine Blog  this DIY ring pillow is sweetly soft – perfect for any ring bearer – four legged or two.


Wee Pumpkin Sign Holders

Wee Pumpkin Sign Holders

Perfect for fall weddings – and economical too! – We love these pumpkin signs from A Fabulous Fete blog.


Rustic Wooden Wedding Arch

Gorgeous arch

Whether you’re in love with the rustic wooden wedding arch or the vintage rugs that define the aisle, this wedding décor both enhances and blends into the gorgeous backdrop.


DIY Giant Paper Rose

Giant rose decoration

These stunning paper roses from Avanti Morocha have us looking for spare walls to beflower


DIY Cheers Sign

Cheers sign

Style Me Pretty shows us how to DIY this glamorous cheers sign – the perfect backdrop for your cocktail hour bar, your champagne table or your cake


Wine Barrel Tables

Wine Barrel Tables!

In wine country, the barrels grow on trees… wait. Wine barrels make the perfect height for tables at your cocktail hour are the same.


Giant Star Decoration

Giant star light

Some projects are easier than others, and this one lands on the super easy side. These DIY giant stars cost less than $5 and are made of yard sticks and holiday string lights.


Light Columns

Light columns from Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart does it again, these stunning light columns were made with dowels, a 50 bulb string of lights and paper lanterns.


Color-Dipped Place Card Holders

Color Dipped Placecard Holders

Lovely, these charming color dipped place card holders (and wine corks!) from Real Simple could be colored to fit any color scheme you can dream up.


Have you DIYed any of your wedding decor? We’d love to see it!



Cocktail hour at a reception serves several purposes. It gives the couple and their friends and families time for some post-ceremony photos. A cocktail hour gives the guests a chance to meet and mingle with other wedding guests as well as share a snack and a drink before the big reception meal.


A cocktail hour sets the theme for the rest of the night – it’s a relaxed moment, which allows the newly married couple highlight their creativity and fun side. Cocktail hours take place anywhere – but most people hold it at or near the reception site.

 Although cocktail hours can serve whatever food you love, traditionally, you’ll want to have both hot and cold appetizers as well as different options for guests. Usually three hot and three cold will do the trick. You can 2 passed meat dishes, one or two seafood choices, and a few cheese hors d’oeuvres –  don’t forget vegetarian options.


 Each guest will most likely eat 5-6 pieces per hour. If you’re hosting 80 people for an hour, you’ll want to make sure you have roughly 500 pieces of appetizer. Limit back up by limiting food stations – either have 2-3 set spots for guests to pick up snacks or have servers circulating through the party with passed hors d’oeuvres. Keep it finger-friendly – avoid picks and tails and shells – food that needs to be discarded.


 Snacks are wonderful, but most people will be eager to get a drink. Some guidelines for serving drinks during the cocktail hour:

  • Generally, you can assume each guest will consume about 2 drinks per hour.
  • You don’t need to spend your money on top-shelf liquor unless it’s a splurge for a special guest or parent – mid-level booze can save you hundreds of dollars on your ceremony.
  • If you’re hosting an open bar as well as wine and beer, consider hosting one main bar for all drinks and two smaller bars with only wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks to keep the lines short and the mood celebratory.
  • Serving a signature cocktail? Aim to have drinks with no more than 4 elements – you can get fancy with juices and syrups.
  • Serving wine? Keep it simple! It’s not a tasting, so one white and one red can go a long way.
  • Beer is a great, budget-friendly drink. Save your bartenders time by offering local microbeer in the bottle.
  • Don’t forget a great non-alcoholic drink. Guests who don’t imbibe shouldn’t be limited to just water and soda.


A great party layout can make or break your event. Create an open layout – leaving the ceremony to move directly into a long drink line can ruin the great mood everyone’s in from the ceremony.

 Another way to ease bottlenecking is to make sure you have at least one bartender for every 75 guests.  To make the party vibe more open and relaxed, make sure the space has been cleared of possible speedbumps. A great way to do that is to have servers stationed at the entrance of the cocktail area — as soon as guests enter the room, guests can get their drink and move through.  

 For entertainment, consider including games like bocce, corn hole or croquet for guests to entertain themselves. Live music is always a welcome touch – but a pre-made playlist can add just the right personal touch.


 During cocktail hour, guests are more focused on relaxing and meeting each other – so you can save on décor. Tables to set drinks down are a must – plan for some low and some high tables to mix up the space

 And don’t forget to list the cocktail hour on the wedding invitation. It’s a good idea to let guests know that cocktail hour will follow the ceremony. If the location’s different, make sure you let the guests know that as well. They’ll want to celebrate with the happy couple and share the love of the special day.


Few events are as intimate as a wedding. When you’re pledging your life to someone in front of all the people you love, well, that’s about as personal as it gets.

We’ve collected ten of our favorite personal touches for weddings — bring your family, your friendships and your love to the forefront of this once in a lifetime event.


One of our favorite ways to personalize your wedding is to start off with a drink by throwing a short cocktail reception before the ceremony. This gives guests a few extra minutes to socialize and can set the mood 


Hashtags may feel like one of the least personal touches to your wedding, but when all of your guests’ photos, thoughts and social media updates are organized in one clear stream, you’ll be grateful you did it.


Favors are your ultimate opportunity for personalization – include your Mexican heritage with end of the night churros and hot chocolate – or your Midwestern roots with seeds of wildflowers from your home town.

Adorable personalized cake topper

Consider a personalized wedding cake topper. It’s a sweet and memorable way to share your personal style with your guests.


Serve wines from the years you met, or when you were born. You could also just pour wines that are important to the two of you. You could explain in a note to the guests at their table, or you could keep that knowledge between you and your beloved. 


Get creative with the ring bearer. Some may use a shared interest (like baseball), some may use their favorite plant (photo by Virgil Bunao).


A more sentimental suggestion is to carry a bouquet with the same types of flowers that your mom carried as a bride.


Have pets? If well-trained and good with crowds, consider having  your dog carry the rings down the aisle. Keep the treats with your officiant.


Number or name tables for the reception after places important to you  both — consider favorite songs, where you’ve lived or where the proposal took place.


Personalized M&Ms are always a good idea. You can even personalize with images — your faces, places important to you or a beloved pet.

Have you seen any wonderful personalized wedding ideas? Share in the comments!




Small jars of granola are an adorably budget friendly favor to consider for your wedding. They’re a favor the two of you can make together, and guests love that you did it yourself. We used the standard labels for our granola, but you could customize your labels with your wedding colors or design.

Wedding Favor Granola Recipe – recipe makes enough to fill 12 small jars.

4 cups oats
2 cups almonds
1/2 cup canola oil (or light olive oil or your favorite neutral oil)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried peaches
1 cup  flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350°.


Put the almonds in a large plastic bag or between two dish towels. Smash them with a hammer until they are the size of little pebbles — I like them broken into roughly four pieces each.


In a large bowl, mix the oats and almonds together.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil, honey and vanilla together until they’re bubbly.


Spread the whole mixture out in one layer on a rimmed baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.


While the mixture is baking, cut up your peaches into thin strips. I like to use a clean pair of scissors. 


Don’t forget your coconut flakes!


Pull the granola-filled rimmed baking sheet from the oven and stir through the peaches and coconut. Bake for another 10 minutes.


Remove from the oven, stir through and let cool.

While the granola is cooling, get your jars ready for filling. Make sure they’re clean before you start filling.


Fill each jar up with your granola and treat your guests with something you made!




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


Photo from PopSugar

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.

Image from Pop Sugar

Image from Pop Sugar



Image from La Fete Weddings

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.



Photo from Green Wedding Shoes
Photographer: Images By Lori

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.

Helium balloons


Photo from NotCot

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


Image source:

Hosting a brunch wedding is no doubt a great way to reduce the cost of your wedding food. Says Jen Campbell, [] 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

Fancy Flights


Image source: 

“Flights are a big trend at the cocktail hour or even at the reception,” says Ania Wiikka, site director for, “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


Image source:

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, “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:

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, editorial director. We’ve also seen gorgeously presented donut bars that could win over the most traditional mother-in-law.

Late Night Loving


Image source: and

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 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.

first asparagus
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 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

Night Sky - Milky Way - Carl Zeiss DT1680ZA
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!

 Leslie Sbrocco wine education at the Broad Summit

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.

Vice-d Out

Vintage French playing cards
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


Okay valley floor, that's enough from you.

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!