Sweet Vineyard Wedding in Northern California

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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

With elegant features like lace and soft pastels, there wasn’t a single charming detail we didn’t love about Jenn & Jim’s sweet Fall vineyard wedding at our Northern California venue.

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Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography

We’re so happy Jenn & Jim found Holman Ranch because, when you hear their proposal story, it’s clear that the ranch & vineyard was truly the ideal spot for this wine-loving couple.
“Jim proposed…in Napa at V. Satuii. We enjoyed a romantic picnic and wine as he surprised me with the ring of my dreams. We love weekend trips to Napa for wine tasting and we make it a point to go a least once a year. He had planned the trip to Napa during the golf tournament so I thought it was for that. However, the trip was really for the proposal and I had no clue.”
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Q: How did you meet?
A: “We met at Cisco Systems where we both worked at 5 years ago. We were first introduced at our work off-site event at DnBs and immediately hit it off. I am still at Cisco, but Jim is now at Nintendo.”
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Q: Where did you go on your first date?
A: “We went to Cascal in Mountain View, which is a tapas restaurant where we enjoyed Spanish tapas and sipped on sangria. We went to catch a movie after our dinner date.”
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Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
A: “1) I wanted an outdoor, rustic romantic setting 2) I wanted a venue with a barn/carriage house
3) Holman was the firts venue we visited and was also the last. It was love at first site as Holman had everything that I was looking for.”
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 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
Q: What family, cultural, or other traditions did you honor on your wedding day?
A: “My dad passed in April 2016. Although he was not physically there, we tried to include him in the wedding as much as possible. We had a memorial table for him and reserved a chair for him with his picture during the ceremony. He was mentioned in all the speeches, which was very touching for us.”
 Photos by This Love of Yours…Photography
Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
A: “Just having all of our loved ones together in one place and being able to share our special moment with them and being able to host a party for them at such a gorgeous venue. Everyone couldn’t stop talking about how gorgeous the venue and wedding was.”
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Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
A: “EVERYTHING was PERFECT! Beautiful Venue, beautiful weather, and wedding flowed seamlessly.  I only wished we could have ended the wedding at a later time. Ten o’clock was too early and everyone was sad that the party had to end!”
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Chic Fall Northern California Ranch Wedding at Holman Ranch

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With a little glittery gold, sparkly accessories and plenty of rich Autumn colors, this Northern California ranch wedding was the picture of rustic glamour and a showcase of how fabulous a Fall ranch wedding can be. But don’t let their impeccable style fool you, this beautiful couple is as down-to-earth as our ranch, as their story will reveal.
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
Meeting through mutual friends on a party bus headed back home from a Tim McGraw concert, Lauren & Matthew’s first date was humble; Red Robin and a movie. Which, eventually, led to this sentimental proposal:
“It was perfect. We had just gotten back from a camping trip with both of our families. It was just us at home at 11pm at night. We were laying in bed talking about how wonderful it was that our families get along so well. Then he popped the question. I thought he was kidding so I said, “duh, of course I will.” He replied with, “I’m serious, the ring is on the nightstand.” He then got out of bed grabbed the ring off the night stand and got down on one knee and said a bunch of romantic sweet things that I cannot remember because I was in shock. I cried, he cried, I said of course! Then he went to sleep and I was up until dawn figuring out if I should call anyone at 11 o clock at night. It was perfect”
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
Q: What are the top 3 reasons you chose to have your wedding at Holman Ranch?
A: 1) “Everything was in one location 2) That view!!!! 3) The option to pick out our own vendors.”
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Q: If there is one thing about your wedding day that you know you’ll never forget, what would it be?
A: “Oh it’s so hard to pick just one or a few things. They say was seriously perfect. There is nothing I would change. I will never forget our ceremony. It was 100% us. Our officiant made it so personal and intamint.”
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 
Q: Is there something you would do differently that you can share with other couples?
A: “Nope. There is not one thing I would do differently. The only advice I would give to other couples would be it is your day. You will not be able to make everyone happy so do the things that you want. If you want to do a first look but your mom doesn’t want you to, do it anyways. Make sure your weddibg shows the personality of the people that are getting married. And don’t sweat the small stuff on the day of. No one is going to know except you. And just enjoy the day. It goes by so fast.”
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Photos by Jaimi Lynn Photography 

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest: Things to Do in Monterey After the Festival

Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest - Things to do in Monterey


Searching for things to do before or after the Pebble Beach Food And Wine fest?

Monterey County is a destination rich with history, culture, food, wine and family-friendly activities that will not disappoint.

Whether your trip begins a few days before the festival or ends a few days afterward, we’ve got several fantastic ideas of what you can do with your extra time in the area.

What to Expect at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest

The Pebble Beach Food And Wine is a 4-day long festival scheduled to take place from April 20th to 23rd at the very picturesque Pebble Beach in Monterey County, California.

This festival is mainly known for the culinary experience that it offers to its visitors.

With more than 250 wineries and 100 celebrity chefs serving their finest selections, this festival is meant for those who live by the motto ‘ eat, drink and be merry.’

Guests can enjoy some of the most scrumptious lunches, dinners and wine tastings as well as educational opportunities through live cooking demonstrations and wine seminars. Add on golf tournaments and Marquee events like the El Burro Borracho Taco Fiesta hosted by Guy Fieri. and the opening night celebration, it’s an event you won’t regret attending.

What’s Missing from the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival

Holman Ranch vineyard and winery tours

Yet, with so much more to offer than just the Pebble Beach Food And Wine fest, it would be a pity if you left Monterey County without experiencing at least some of it, such as our Carmel Valley vineyard.

While the festival itself is sure to be a phenomenal experience, it won’t give you the full cultural, historical and geographical experience available in Monterey County, one of the richest, most scenic destinations for traveling Americans.

Here are a number of tips for what to do in Monterey before or after the Pebble Beach Wine & Food festival.

Winery & Vineyard Tour at Holman Ranch

Holman Ranch winery tour

If tasting those fine wines at the festival has left you eager for more, venture a few minutes east to the rolling hills of Carmel Valley for a winery and vineyard tour at Holman Ranch.

Our scenic vineyard produces some of the most delicious, award-winning estate-grown wines in the country, such as the 2012 Holman Ranch Estate Pinot Noir, which was awarded Silver in the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Wine tastings & winery tours in MontereyWhile you’re here, you’ll climb aboard a six passenger ATV (all terrain vehicle) for an exhilarating one of a kind vineyard tour that lets you soak in the breathtaking vistas from every angle.

Then, step into our underground wine caves for a first-hand look at how our wines are made and enjoy tasting our limited production wines and certified extra virgin estate olive oil with local French bread.

Book your Carmel winery and vineyard tour here.

Leash-Free Dog Walking at Carmel Valley Community Park

Not far from Holman Ranch is the Carmel Valley Community Park. If you’re brought your canine companion with you on your Pebble Beach trip, this may be his or her favorite part of your trip.

Known for it’s leash-free flexibility and open spaces, your dog will have plenty of room to burn off some energy while you relax in the sun or refuel with a cozy picnic amidst gorgeous mountain views..

Some of the amenities you’ll find at the park include well-maintained lawns, barbecue pits, park benches, a horseshow pit and sand volleyball court.

Kid-Friendly Entertainment at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Have kids with you? Or just love sea creatures?

Pay a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, regarded as one of the best aquariums in the country.

Keep the kids (and yourself) enthralled for hours watching the sea otters, sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles, seals and sting rays gracefully glide through the water.

With various tours in the aquarium, giant kelp forests and open sea galleries that let you experience the marine world and its 600 species of plants and animals, there won’t be a dull moment all day.

Walk or Bike the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Speaking of the Aquarium, it happens to be the starting point of the glorious Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, featuring waterfront walking and biking paths.

The City of Pacific Grove says that the trail “extends for about one mile from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Lovers Point.”

Feel the breeze against your skin and breathe the misty air as you enjoy the coastline by foot or bicycle, keeping your eyes peeled for seals and seabirds.

Wine Tastings & Live Music at Jarman Tasting Room & Lounge

Wine tasting in Monterey at Jarman

If wine is what drew you to Pebble Beach Food and Wine Fest, then your trip to Monterey won’t be complete without a stop at Jarman Tasting Lounge & Patio.

Award-winning Monterey Wine - Jarman Pinot NoirEnjoy premium estate-grown wine, including the Jarman 2014 Pinot Noir Double Gold winner in the largest competition of American wines, in an open-air patio setting.

Love music? The Lounge often hosts a variety of acoustic-style live music on Saturdays that are a must-see.

Be sure to plan your visit in advance. The Jarman Tasting Lounge & Patio is open Saturday & Sunday from Noon – 5pm and offers weekday wine tastings by appointment.

Shop at the Farmers Market at Old Monterey Marketplace

The Farmers Market at Old Monterey Marketplace has been in existence for more than two decades showcases local produce from all across California and draws artisan vendors from all over the world.

If you’ve got a weak spot for handcrafted items, like jewelry, crafts, blankets and hats, this is a marketplace you’ll want to make time for. With a wide variety of artisan products to choose from, you’re sure to find a few extra special souvenirs for friends and family back home.

Golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links 

Golf in Monterey County

Did you miss out on the Pebble Beach Food & Wine golf tournament?

No worries, you can book a round of golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links, host of five U.S. Opens. It is open to the public and was named #1 in Golf Digest’s 2015/2016 list of America’s Greatest Public Courses.

Known worldwide for its majestic views of turquoise blue waters and prestigious annual tournament, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it definitely qualifies as something to check off your bucket list.

Guided Tours at the Historic Cannery Row

Looking for something to do in Monterey that has a little bit of everything…history, food, wine and overnight accommodations?

Then consider a stroll around Cannery Row.

What used to be the site for the canning industry once upon a time is now a great place to unwind. With restaurants, hotels and a number of historic attractions scattered here and there, a tour led by a professional guide will entertain you with historical stories and surprising facts.

Western Saloon Style Dining at Will’s Fargo Restaurant & Bar

Dining in Monterey at Will's Fargo Restaurant


Will's Fargo Restaurant & Bar in Carmel ValleyCertainly you’ll have access to a plethora of savory bites and dishes at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine fest, but if you want a real taste of rich western history, then plan at least one dinner at the locally famous Will’s Fargo Restaurant + Bar.

Located in the heart of Carmel Valley, this western-themed restaurant is known for its rustic décor and delectable steaks. Walls mounted with wild boar heads and animal horns, paintings of the Victorian era and a menu of cowboy-sized steaks will ensure that your dining venture becomes a memorable one.

Pet Menu at Will's Fargo RestaurantThe restaurant is located in a century-old building, which was meant to be a tea room. After opening its doors in 1959, this place has been popular among food enthusiasts for lip-smacking tavern menus and other mouthwatering classics. 

Have a furry companion with you? One of the most unique offerings at Will’s Fargo is a Pet Menu created especially for four-legged friends.

View Masterpieces at the Monterey Museum of Art

If you are an art enthusiast, you cannot leave Monterey without stopping by the Monterey Museum of Art.

With more than 14,000 exhibits from different genres, this museum will let you behold some of the finest works of art from Americana and Asian culture.

You will get the chance of a lifetime to see masterpieces from great artists like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Armin Hansen. The museum opened its doors in 1959 and operates out of two different facilities, taking up to a full day to soak it all in if you are an ardent admirer of art. 

Explore Historical Buildings the Monterey State Historic Park

During your stay in Monterey County, you’ll find no shortage of history and culture and the Monterey State Historic Park is no exception.

If you are one of those history buffs who’s favorite pastime is discovering historical buildings, this might be a destination to add to your trip itinerary for before or after the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival.

The park includes a collection of old buildings built in the 1800s, such as the Custom House and the Pacific House, some of which are the oldest ones in the state of California. The buildings would remind you of the bygone era when the Spanish had first landed on American soil at Monterey in 1602.

The park is open daily, and you can book any of its many tours to view the inside of these heritage buildings and take a trip back in time.

Savor Seafood at Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Seafood in Monterey at Fisherman's Wharf

Packed with boutique restaurants that serve some of the finest clam chowder and seafood around, the Old Fisherman’s Wharf is no longer the smelly marketplace it was in 1960s.

Today you’ll find dining, shopping, entertainment and ocean activities in this fun destination.

If you have gone there with a full tummy, you will still not be disheartened, thanks to the sunbathing seals that can be found in plenty on the nearby buoys and rocks. 

Family Play Date at the Monterey County Youth Museum

Describing itself as a “playground for the mind”, the Monterey County Youth Museum is at the cross-section of fun and education.

Designed for kids and adults to experience together, there various interactive and hands-on exhibits that not only provide entertainment for your little ones but simultaneously teach scientific, biological and artistic concepts.

Cruise the 17-Mile Drive

The 17-mile Drive is a beautiful road that stretches along the coastline of Monterey and passes many attractions along the way.

A casual car ride on this road will let you see some of the famous attractions of Monterey, including Bird Rock, the famous Lone Cypress, the iconic golf courses, the Del Monte Forest, the picturesque homes of multimillionaires and the breathtaking views of the ocean.

Perfect for a short family trip or romantic escape.

There’s More to Do in Monterey After the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival

Although the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival may be the reason for your trip, the fun doesn’t have to end there.

Come early or stay late and experience all that Monterey County has to offer; from Holman Ranch vineyard tours and local tasting rooms for the wine-lovers in your party to historical sites, family-friendly destinations and fabulous food.

To get started, book your Holman Ranch Vineyard & Winery Tour here.

What Wine Goes With Chocolate?

What wine goes with chocolate

So you find yourself with a tempting brick of dark chocolate in one hand, the other aimlessly gliding across a full wine rack, unsure of which bottle to pull.

 What wine goes best with chocolate?

As one of only a few Carmel Valley wineries who hosts visiting wine lovers from all over the country, we have learned that pairing wine with chocolate can be a tricky endeavor, even the devoted wine enthusiast. Due to its sweetness, as well as the various types available, the wrong combination can produce an unpleasant and often bitter tasting experience.

That’s why we’ve created an in-depth guide to help you select the ideal glass of wine for whatever type of chocolate treat you find yourself enjoying and bring out the delicious and complex flavors of both items.

The Basics of Wine Pairing

In order to begin pairing, there are a few helpful rules that can make selecting an appropriate wine much easier.

  1. Find the balance: with wine, there are several important characteristics that apply to taste and composition.  These include:
  • Acidity
  • Fat
  • Bitterness
  • Salt
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol

Balancing these flavors with similar or oppositional tasting foods creates a more complex experience.  Mixing and matching these flavors together also opens up many different pairing possibilities that you can experiment with.  For example, if you’re trying to pair a sweet white chocolate, go for an equally sweet Ice Wine.

  1. Wine first: when tasting pairings together, it is recommended that you sip the selected wine first.  This is especially true when tasting chocolate and wine, as chocolate is typically a much sweeter taste.  

Potential Wine & Chocolate Pairings

Because of the number of different chocolate flavors, it is important to look at chocolate and wine pairings in categories.  

While a rich Cabernet may go wonderfully with extra dark chocolate, it would be far too bitter for a white chocolate. Because of this diversity in flavor, our guide is organized by chocolate category to bring you unique and well-balanced pairings.  

The Classics

Pinot Noir and Dark Chocolate pairingRanked by the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate from the highest (dark chocolate) to the lowest (milk or white chocolate), we start with the classics.

Dark Chocolate: Generally chocolate is defined as ‘dark’ if it contains more than about 40% cocoa, but there are is a considerable range of products available from 35% to 99%.

  • Smooth Dark chocolate, containing around 54% or less of cocoa, is typically the most popular type of dark chocolate as it balances the amount of sweetness with more bitter natural cocoa.  
  • Medium Dark chocolate contains around 60% cocoa and as opposed to smooth dark, goes best with drier reds such as:
  • Extra Dark chocolate pairs similarly to medium dark chocolate because of their relatively high percentages of cocoa.  For chocolate that is above 70% cocoa, dry wines are an excellent selection, including:
    • Cabernet sauvignon (15)
    • Zinfandel (15)

Milk Chocolate typically contains less than 35% cocoa and is a creamier, sweeter variety, making it a better match for slightly sweeter reds, such as:

  • Creamy Sherry
  • Aged Vintage Port
  • Rose

 Sauvignon Blanc and White Chocolate pairingWhite Chocolate exchanges cocoa butter for cocoa powder, giving it a unique taste compared to other traditional chocolates. This sugary delight is complimented best by sweeter wines and may bring out the more subtle fruity or nutty notes in them. These might include:

  • Our Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Sweet Love, is a Sauterne inspired dessert wine that is the perfect blend of sweet & tart.
  • Ice Wine(13)
  • Champagne (2)

Fan Favorites

Wine not only tastes spectacular with solid chocolate, it can also enhance flavored chocolates.  

The key with flavored chocolates is finding wines that pair well with the flavor within the chocolate first, then looking at the type of chocolate itself.

Classic Caramel & Dark Chocolate is a perfect match for our late-harvest Pinot Noir, like our warm and robust Big Daddy with prominent dark chocolate notes, has a subtle sweetness to it that strikes a pleasant balance between the more sugary caramel and the slightly bitter dark chocolate. (3)

Pinot Noir and Chocolate covered nuts pairingNut-Infused Chocolate or Chocolate Covered Nuts do best with a wine that will emphasize the already present nutty flavors.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate covered almonds (11)
  • Marie Claire suggests Pinot Noir with Snickers! Given how well this delicious wine compliments caramel and chocolate, it’s not a big surprise. Try our 2011 Hunter’s Cuvee Pinot Noir with this snack.

Mint & Dark Chocolate is one of the more sophisticated types of chocolates to pair with. Try with Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. (12)

Fudge is typically much richer and sweeter than traditional chocolate. A Michigan fudge maker recommends Tawny Port for milk chocolate fudge and Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvigon, Bordeaux, Merlot, and Zinfandel for darker chocolate fudges.

Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate pair best with wines that will bring out the natural nuttiness. Some have found that Peanut Butter Cups pair especially well with wines such as Riesling (10)

Salted Carmel & Milk Chocolate plays on the ever popular pairing of sweet and salty.  For an excellent wine pairing, the wine should be congruent with the chocolate and balance out the salt.  Some options include:

  • Moscato d’Asti (9)
  • Lambrusco (9)

Chocolate Covered Fruits

Pairing with both fruit and chocolate simultaneously could leave any casual wine drinker guessing. These tips will help you find the right fit.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries, is there anyone who doesn’t adore them? This fruit fusion pairs well with wines that bring out the strawberry flavor, such as:

  • Chardonnay (1)
  • Red Zinfandel (8)
  • Rose Champagne (8)

Chardonnay and Chocolate Fruits pairingOrange-Infused Dark Chocolate is complimented best by white wines with citrus notes, according to She Knows.

Chocolate blueberries pair wonderfully with Merlot, which can help to bring out the sweetness of the blueberry flavor. (17) 

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate or Raspberry Truffles are incredibly rich and sweet. Because of this, they can pair well with lighter, sweet whites or full-bodied reds with fruit flavors, such as:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (1)
  • Sparkling Brachetto (7)

Cordial Cherries produce triple the sweetness with milk chocolate, syrup center and sweet cherries. Pairs with red varietals that can bring out the unique cherry flavor.  These blends include:

  • Port (4)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (5)
  • Syrah (5)

The Unexpected Twist

Chocolate Covered Bacon has grown in popularity in recent years. With the flavors of salty & sweet playing off each other, possible pairings include:

  • Riesling (6)
  • Chardonnay (6)

Dark Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans work well with Shiraz due its natural mocha flavors. (16 & 17)

#HolmanRanchWine – Share Your Favorite Chocolate & Wine Pairings with Us

While they are certainly some helpful guidelines for discovering what wine goes with chocolate, you may find that the answer depends heavily on your own personal preferences, not to mention the unique type of chocolate you’re enjoying.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with combinations you suspect will have a nice finish.

When you uncover your winning wine and chocolate pairing, tells us about it in the comments below or share on Instagram with hashtag #HolmanRanchWine.


Considerations Before Hosting an Event a Holman Ranch

We’re thrilled you’re considering Holman Ranch for your upcoming event. To help with the planning process, please review the following tips and reminders about hosting an event at this private estate.

Décor Safety

You’re welcome to create a soft, romantic ambience with real candles, as long as the flames are contained within the vessel and are not higher than the container. Please skip the confetti, sparklers, birdseed or rice, as they are not permitted on the property.

Décor Set Up

Enjoy the creative freedom to dress up the venue in your own special way. To preserve the beauty of the newly remodeled historic estate, it is required that decor is never permanently secured with items such as nails, screws, tacks, tape (unless it’s painters tape), etc…

Noise Curfew

Dance and celebrate to your hearts’ content until 10:00pm. Keep in mind that all legal venues have a curfew. Holman Ranch is a legal outdoor facility in a residential neighborhood and must comply with a use permit and the Monterey County noise decibel limits. This means that all music must end by 10:00pm sharp and cannot exceed 85db at 50 feet.

To extend the celebration past 10:00pm, consider hosting an after party at Will’s Fargo Restaurant and Bar, our sister restaurant; conveniently located down the street in Carmel Valley Village.

Vendors & Caterers

You have the flexibility to select your own licensed and insured vendors. If a chosen vendor is not on the preferred vendor list, please kindly obtain approval in writing first.

Event Insurance Required

Day-of liability insurance is required for every event. A list of providers and instructions is available for reference.

Wine & Spirits

The corkage fee is waived for each event with the purchase of a minimum order of Holman Ranch estate wine. All alcohol must be served by a licensed and insured bartending or catering company. Ask about Holman Ranch beverage packages and services for your special event.

10 Reasons Why Choosing From a Preferred Wedding Professional List is Key to a Successful Wedding

Reserving a private estate in a new location for (potentially) hundreds of people can bring a plethora of obstacles. As a top-notch wedding venue in Carmel Valley, we get asked a number of questions by couples looking to organize bits of their own wedding; including questions such as:

“I have a friend who owns a business that can help with floral arrangements. Is that allowed?“

“My friend is a bartender. Can he serve our alcohol for the reception?”

“Can I pick my own wedding planner?”

Trying to save money while creating the ideal wedding you’ve always dreamed of is sometimes easier said than done.

The truth of the matter is that using your own vendors can actually cost you more money and cause far more stress than you anticipated. How can you avoid this problem? Use vendors recommended by your venue or the venue’s services themselves.

For example, a Carmel Valley wedding professional who has worked with the venue before will know the ins and outs of the location, allowing them to plan effectively and efficiently; whereas someone new to the area is prone to mistakes, damages and poor planning.

Rather than talking about why it’s best to choose a vendor that has been recommended by the venue you’ve chosen, it may be more helpful if I share 8 real life mishaps caused by vendors that were new to a venue.

1. Staffing Issues with Caterers

Your caterer being understaffed can cause problems for you and can hurt the quality of the service they provide. If the preparation area is not near the reception then transporting items not only requires more effort on the caterer’s part but also runs the risk of your food getting cold and service running slow.

2. Damage Caused by Caterers

The biggest reason you are likely to incur additional charges is due to catering companies causing damage to the property because they lack respect for the location they’re working in or generally do not care.

Here are just a small handful of examples of damage that might accidently occur:

  • Oil spills on driveway
  • Blocking pipes with grease poured down sink
  • Not disposing of trash properly
  • Generally leaving the venue in a poor state
  • Not cleaning china and flatware

3. Driving & Parking Area Damages

Using your own vendors will likely mean they are unfamiliar with the venue itself, driving in areas where they aren’t allowed.

Low hanging branches knocked off trees, knocking out lights and generally disrupting the landscape are common occurrences that take place because vendors are new to the site.

There’s nothing worse than finding the ideal place to get married only to have the perfect tree you wanted your first kiss as a married couple to take place under, ruined by a careless truck driver.

4. Damage to Lawns

Carmel Valley is typically sunny which means that we pride ourselves in our native gardens and lawns where wedding ceremonies likely take place.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of communication and explanation of the venue’s rules with your chosen rental companies, damage can be caused even with the proper precautions not being taken. Guess who foots the bill for those damages? You!

5. Experience

If you decide to go it alone and pick your own vendors you may run the risk of not being familiar enough with the challenges of an outdoor event space.

When having an event outdoors; whether it be a garden, public park or even someone’s backyard, there are a lot of things to consider:

  • Is your caterer familiar with creating kitchens outdoors?
  • Are there enough power sources or a generator to accommodate?
  • Do you have a tent prepared just in case of inclement weather?

If you pick a recommended vendor then these questions are much easier to answer since they have the experience and the know-how.

6. Transportation Issues

Whether it be valet services or shuttle companies, a number of issues can occur due to poor planning.

Not having enough attendants can lead to guests being stuck in their vehicle as they wait their turn for valet. Companies may not account for the length of a driveway or the distance from the actual car park so imprecise numbers of staff can lead to problems.

Since you are dealing with a new location, attendants may not show or get lost. Shuttle bus drivers can suffer the same problem. Despite technological advances, like GPS and iPhones, these issues still arise.

7. Policies of Rental Companies

While we deal with planning weddings all year round, you on the other hand may not be so rehearsed with the questions you should be asking your rental company. Questions like:

  • What’s the delivery window and are there fees?
  • Does the venue require that all rentals be removed by a certain time?
  • Does the quote include any extra fees?

8. Rental Companies Forgetting Items

If the company you hire forgets one or two items for your wedding, chances are, they will not get said items to you until it’s too late. Why is this? Unfortunately, venues and planners have priority over individuals.

With that said,

You may already have the dream caterer or ideal florist in mind for your Carmel Valley wedding and that’s great, given that Holman Ranch allows for it. However, bear in mind you’ve made an agreement with your venue and must make sure your wedding vendors follow the rules outlined in your contract. It’ll be you who pays for any damages that they cause!

It may seem obvious, but the vendor driving their truck or the caterer that leaves the kitchen in a terrible state likely will not worry nor care should their mistakes cost you extra fees. Just food for thought.

So if you’re looking to have a less stressful wedding here in Carmel Valley, we highly recommend seeking out a venue that has a recommended wedding professional list in place, like Holman Ranch!