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husband and wife wedding photographers in the SF Bay Area. We are passionate about authentic moments and developing a great connection with each couple.

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It was in the low 70s when we started out on our trip – nice and fresh. Inevitably, soon it was 75 and then 80, and we knew that it’s going to be scorching hot by 2pm in the afternoon.

The first spot we checked out was one of Sonoma’s wineries. In just a few minutes after meeting the event manager we found ourselves with wine glasses in hands. I guess winery people think that the quicker they’ll get you drunk, the bigger the chance that you’ll book their venue :) The winery was beautiful, with an overgrown lawn overlooking the vineyards for the ceremony location and an awesome cobble stone reception spot for dining between old olive trees. I just looved the place! (Or was it the Chardonnay I was drinking at 11 in the morning? :) There was just one BUT: they do not allow any alcohol except their own wines which were naturally quite expensive and REALLY REALLY REALLY not that good. So we finished up with our complimentary tasting and went on to the next spot.

Sonoma winery and wedding site

Mike and Natasha at Sonoma Winery

The next venue down the list was a charismatic bed and breakfast in downtown Sonoma. The place was cute overall, but it had a tiny (even for our size wedding) overgrown garden, high-priced rooms, and a pretty unpleasant coordinator lady who didn’t seem interested in us whatsoever. We decided to get a break and had a lunch on the main square in Sonoma.

At this point it was literally about 100 degrees outside and the idea of waiting out the heat was becoming quite tempting. We did have an appointment scheduled at a pretty well known winery though, so we had to go on. This one was really nice. I mean just about everything was very, very nice – from the sweet lady who showed us around, to all the different ceremony and reception spots on their property – we had a blast enjoying this one. And while everything was beautiful, I totally didn’t feel it, and it was difficult to actually imagine our wedding there. Oh and of course the tour of the property ended with a complimentary wine tasting. This time we didn’t even resist: it was pretty hot outside after all :)

Poolside wedding venue in Sonoma

Ahead of us was an hour long drive towards the Russian River. I was really looking forward to seeing that last place and was anxious to get there! Well – we came, we saw, we loved it! This place is a hundred-year-old retreat on the shore of the Russian River and seems to be just perfect for us! We really wanted to turn our wedding into a whole weekend of celebration with the official part on the first day and fun and chilling out on the following days. This venue has a heated pool (Mike was sold), tiny but very cute cottages for the guests, a private beach on the river and even a bonfire area! We would get married and have a reception in their orchard among the old apple trees and then maybe have the dancing by the pool. Sounds just PERFECT for us!!!

Apple orchard by Russian River

During the ceremony we would stand between the old plum trees (where Mike is standing):


I’m still tempted to go back and check the rest of the places that the Venue Scout had sent to us. If for no other reason than at least for the free wine tastings! :) Stay tuned for more!!!

2 Comments August 16, 2009

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Mike and Nat are a husband and wife photography team based in San Francisco Bay Area. Their relaxed style allows them to capture authentic moments while creating a stress-free experience. Choco Studio photographs weddings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including Napa, Sonoma, Carmel, and Monterey.