Napa Valley is one of California’s most breathtaking wedding spots, and for good reason! Enchanting vineyards and wineries with breathtaking views, all at some of the most romantic venues in the United States. Whether your heart is set on an elopement, destination wedding, or you’re planning a micro wedding, there is a place for you to wed in Napa.
Considering saying “I do” in the valley? Before you start booking your travel and sign any contracts, there are a few factors you need to consider:
Marriage License Requirements
First things first, the legal requirements. As of Spring 2021, the marriage license fee is $83.00 USD. Both parties must appear in person to the clerk’s office with a government-issued photo ID. Depending on the season, the time you spend at the clerk’s office can vary so be sure to factor this into your travel and wedding itinerary to make sure you can (legally) be wed! Find the office address and other information regarding legal requirements here.
Consider the Season
We might be biased, but Napa Valley is beautiful year-round for both elopements and destination weddings. The landscape is filled with lush, natural greenery that make the perfect canvas for a variety of different shades and hues.
It’s also important to note when planning your wedding palette, that the Napa landscape changes colors based on the season. Get a better idea of the area and your venue during this time by searching “Napa in [insert season here]” on Google.
Like we said, we love Napa 365 days of the year, but there is something to be said about filming real couples in a rich and vibrant fall environment that mimics the surrounding wineries and landscapes.
Venue Lighting in the Valley
With so much natural beauty in Napa, an outdoor ceremony is an obvious choice for wedding videography and photography, but the lighting situation is unique. Since most of the venues are in the valley, the sun sets behind the hills earlier than other surrounding locations, so you’ll want to be careful about planning your sunset couple portraits. Be sure that your wedding timeline has your wedding photos planned 30 minutes earlier than usual for optimal lighting!
The atmosphere of your wedding venue will also affect the look and feel of your video and photos. If you like a light and airy look, choose a venue with ample natural lighting and outdoor spaces. If you’re exploring venues that are solely indoors but still want that natural light feel, make sure to check to see if your venue has large windows or open walls to let the light in.
If you want a space that is more dramatic or sultry, then look no further than a wine cave or a wine cellar where your videographer and photographer will use specialized stage lighting techniques to capture your day.
Factor Local Travel & Traffic
For couples flying into Napa for their elopement of destination wedding, we recommend looking at a map of the area before you travel, especially if you have multiple locations that you will be visiting on your wedding day. The area is surprisingly large and it could take longer than expected to travel to and from locations, especially with weekend traffic.
The more you plan ahead, the less stress you’ll experience on the days leading up to your wedding, particularly if you’re planning to get married around a holiday or tourist season.
Note the Temperature Changes
While California is known for being bright, sunny, and warm all year long, Napa Valley is located in Northern California. The temperatures can get really hot during the days, and then turn cold at night.
Use your wedding venue intentionally to relieve guests of temperature extremes. Your guests will appreciate shaded areas, hand-held fans (these also make great favors!), and hydration stations to cool off on a hot afternoon. For a cool evening wedding, be sure to provide heat lamps, warm beverages, or even a fire pit if your venue will allow it!
Find a “Getting Ready” Location
Many Napa Valley elopement and destination wedding venues (particularly wineries) have time-restricted access to their locations, so you will likely have to find an off-property site to get ready. If you plan on eloping, you can use your hotel room or rent a small boutique room through airbnb for your getting ready space.
Be sure to ask this question when contacting any potential venues, hotels, etc.. Finding a venue where you can get ready on site can help you save time and money on travel expenses, which you can spend enjoying during your trip to the valley.
Still looking for inspiration for your Napa Valley destination wedding or elopement? Check out the films and stories we have captured in Napa Valley by clicking here. You can also click here to view a list of our current pricing and details.