So many people think that being a Wedding Planner is an incredibly glamorous job. They don't see the sweat and tears that go into each wedding, and think we just wine and dine all the time!
I'm certainly not complaining, as I admit I have the best job in the world. It's just HARD WORK too, you know. BUT....I should confess that my job does indeed come with a lot of fine dining, wine tasting, partying, socializing, partying, and more partying. In all honesty, I seriously think one of the criteria of being a great party planner is to know how to enjoy a fabulous party.
Well, us planners were once again SPOILED this week by the fun, witty, lovely, newly married Kelly McLeskey and her partner in crime Jill at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. It's their third annual Wedding Planner Event, and this year nobody knew what they were cooking up. It started with a simple Evite, reminding us to save the date.....followed by a beautifully designed letterpress invitation by Peculiar Pair Press, asking us to dress casually and be ready to have an amazing time. The past two years had been a lot of spa pampering, but this year promised pampering and MORE.
First impression counts, and when a valet attendent + 2 courteous FSMI staff greeted me upon arrival, I knew I was in for something very special. The first part of the event took place in their Sonoma Valley Room, where I had one of my favorite weddings a couple years ago. I saw the familiar faces of my peers, and had a great time catching up with everyone while feasting on macaroni and cheese with LOBSTER (the best I've had!), lamb sliders, and lots of wine. I ofcourse had to get my turn at the 'modern' photobooth provided by the lovely Michelle Walker before joining everyone on a tour of the divine property.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn has SO much to offer for its wedding couples and guests. There are several indoor AND outdoor alternatives, including a newly carpeted tent! It's not your 'typical' hotel ballroom at all, and offers a real wine country experience. The second part of the event took place at their golf course, which is an extension of their vast property and one that promises warmth and intimacy for your event. I was stationed at their oyster shooters table for quite some time during this part of the event, before getting in line for a soothing massage that was much needed.
The fun doesn't stop ofcourse. We were then whisked away on a big bus, to our next destination. It felt like a school field trip again, as we were all giddy and excited to see what Kelly and Jill had in store for us next....
The bus took us up some curves and turns, and we finally arrived--at the Benziger Family Winery, one of the few family owned wineries left in the wine country. Red carpet awaited us to enter their estate, where we enjoyed wine tasting with cheese and a very interesting info session on the winery's history. It's the perfect place to host a rehearsal dinner or special event, allowing guests to make the most out of a wine country experience.
The WOW factor doesn't end. We were treated to an incredibly lavish 5 course dinner inside a magnificent cave. Ofcourse, being at a winery meant each course was carefully paired with the perfect wine! We feasted on the following menu catered by the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn (yes they can do outside catering too!!):
First Course: Dungeness Crab and Cauliflower Soup paired with 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc
Second Course: Truffled Marin French Triple Cream Brie Mache And 50 Year Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette paired with 2006 Benziger Family Winery Reserve Chardonnay
Third Course: Cilantro and Green Onion Crusted Halibut Heirloom Beet Ragout paired with 2007 Benziger Family Winery Pinot Noir
Fourth Course: Cabernet Braised Painted Hills Short Rib , Bloomsdale Spinach and Sebastopol Organic Mushrooms, Natural Jus paired with 2005 Benziger Family Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Fifth Course: Chocolate Quattro paired with 2005 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Port
Each of us left happily with a gift bag that included a bottle of Benziger wine, spa certificates, toiletries, and lots of other goodies. A big, gigantic THANK YOU to Kelly, Jill, the staff at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Teresa and her staff at Benzinger Family Winery, and other sponsors including:
La Tavola Linens
Peculiar Pair Press
Michelle Walker Photography
California Wine Tours and Transportation