A chicken coop and water tower used for events? As the location scout for Here Comes The Guide, I just couldn’t resist exploring this anomaly of a Wine Country reception venue/event site, situated along the Gravenstein Trail just outside Sebastopol, also known as “the Berkeley of Sonoma County.” How, I wondered, could this former working farm possibly host a wedding or corporate event?
Denise Looney, the owner and mastermind behind the redesign of Sova Gardens, has created a place that feels like an authentic Wine Country experience. The whole facility, including the living areas and bedrooms, had me gawking until Denise was just embarrassed by my admiration. The entire property was in bloom with luscious gardens—and this when virtually nothing is blooming in my entire yard! The original chicken coop, now converted into a half-block-long row of antique-decorated and quite spacious events rooms, has a full bar at one end.
But the large backyard, with its eco-friendly grass area next to the water tower’s dripping wheel, was what really got me thinking about weddings here. I loved the cool spot where couples exchange vows under 3 giant sequoias. A second lawn area is used for receptions and there’s a patio for cocktails. But what impressed me most was the commercial kitchen with walk-in refrigeration, pantries the size of my bedroom and work space enough for a crew of gymnasts.
Confession: I’m an educated mother of three with a full time professional job, but I love TV. Love it. Don’t get to watch as much as I’d like, but I watch what I can and, the trashier the better. Two of my favorite shows premiered this last week and I had to make sure you were watching:
First, CBS’s The Amazing Race premiered its 12th journey around the world last Sunday. The show’s been around forever and has won several Emmy’s and for the longest time, I thought it was “Reality TV for old folks”. But it’s surprisingly riveting. And, what I love is watching how the teams (oftentimes married or dating couples) communicate with each other as they meet the race’s challenges. My husband and I always talk about how we think we’d do on the show. Would we fight? Would we win? Would we suck but be likeable?
I think that every couple should have to go on some journey like “The Amazing Race” before they get married. I think it would really suss out the bad matches quickly, since life is the ultimate metaphorical “Amazing Race”. I mean, if you’re going to fight dirty over not winning the footrace to the stone idol on the show, you’re really going to have a rough time when money is tight and the kids are crying, right? Come on, Nathan and Jenn, pull it together!
Secondly, and MUCH trashier is my personal fave: The Real Housewives of Orange County. This is super car-wreck TV on Bravo my favorite network). This season, one of the Housewives, Laurie, is planning an Orange County wedding. Will they decide to have it at home? Will they forego the wedding planner’s advice and squish 400 guests in the space for 200?
Walk into a California bridal salon and you expect a sea of white (or ivory, or cream). More and more, though, we’re seeing splashes of bright color on the typical white gown—and even more dramatic dresses that are far from pale. Deep red, sapphire blue…our own production guru Sharon was married in a gorgeous ivory and gold frock with green beading.
Brides traditionally wear white because it’s the color of purity and joy. But other colors may bring a more personalized feeling to your wedding. What about wearing the same color you wore when you met or had your first date? By the time we get married, we know what colors look best on us and few of us say our favorite color is white. Why not wear a color that makes you feel beautiful?