Saturday, March 26, 2011

Petaluma Wedding Bells

Here's my March column from the Petaluma Post:

Have I told you before that I think Petaluma is pretty great? I am a local kid, born and raised in this town. There is a wonderful emerging trend; we are becoming a great location for destination weddings. But we are already here, so why not take advantage of being in such a great location

Everyone has taken a hit in the last couple of years, but people still want to get married, and they should. But do it here in our own great town. We can have what travelers consider a world class destination, but with all the convenience and cost savings of a home town wedding. Think about keeping your guest list to 50 and you have some really cool locations to think about. Imagine being surrounded by art, the Petaluma art center is available for events and with the rose garden in front for photos is a great treat. If you want a more dramatic ballroom feeling, just look to the third floor under the clock tower at the Masonic center. It is a beautifully redone Victorian era ball room with hard wood floors that can seat up to 125 people. I am a huge fan of arts and crafts style buildings, which brings me to one of my favorites, the Petaluma Women’s Club on B street. A local classic with open beam ceilings and a fire place, it has a warm and homey feeling. If you looking for a bit bigger take a look at Garden Valley Ranch with its beautiful rose gardens or Flying Cloud Farm with its stables. There is no reason to go further.

The leading trend in weddings this year is back to basics, a rustic chic. Don’t be afraid to make your own bouquets and boutonnieres. Have some fun with your table decorations. The colors are a bit more muted with Stone and Navy being popular. I feel that taking cues from mother nature will be popular.

Thinking of food, I am thrilled to see so many people wanting local items. Local is fresh and ripe, often providing heirloom varieties, and good for the local economy. This does come with a hitch; it takes the understanding that not everything is available all year round. We might discuss peaches, but if the season runs late we might have apples. I have been looking at more local growers to work with this year. Green String Farms ( grows a variety of produce, eggs and meat as well as hosting interns who are learning about green practices and sustainable growing techniques. Another vendor is County Line Harvest; I have been enjoying their produce from at the Marin Farmers Market, last week they had a red mustard that I have never seen before and was just delicious. Of course the cheeses in the area are without mention, Cow Girl Creamery, Bellwether Farms, Point Reyes Blue… I can make a meal of those alone. All of these items are a great way to introduce people to our beautiful and bountiful area.

There are several great vendors to use here in town. Are you looking for a creative and unique wedding invitation? Making them yourself! Take a trip downtown to Paper White on Kentucky Street. This unique shop can help with anything from the printing to papers and punches. Bryce at Vanda Floral is one of my favorites. With his style and laid back Petaluma attitude his flowers are always a highlight. I always love one of his bouquets (that’s a hint to hubby).

Thinking about not wearing tuxes but your guy needs a suit; stroll on down to Louis Thomas Fine Men's Apparel to see what they have. They are just down the street from Paper White. From casual linen to formal suits, they have someone on site to give advice and make sure the fit is perfect.

When it comes to ladies attire Nan Winter’s shop is my place to be. For couture style here in Petaluma (two blocks down the street from Louis Thomas) she has unique bridal dresses, great pieces for the mother of the bride and bridesmaid galore. Looking for a gift for your brides maids, she has a wonderful selection of jewelry and accent pieces.

From food to venues to flowers to everything else, this is the place to be. Think about sharing our incredible town with your wedding guests.

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