by Robbin Montero

            Around the start of this millennium, there began a trend toward simpler weddings with increased focus on family and friendship. And, after investing so much time, energy, and money in their nuptial celebrations, why shouldn’t couples want more time to savor the occasion with family and friends? 

Where to wed 
            In a trend than harkens back to times when days-long celebrations were the norm, more couples are choosing “wedding weekends” when family and friends have traveled from afar. The expanded celebration allows everyone more time together and often becomes a mini-vacation for wedding guests. In Northern California guests might see the spectacular California coastline, magnificent redwoods or nearby San Francisco. In this food and wine region, the wedding couple might host a barbecue or schedule a Wine Country tour for the day following the wedding.

            Destination weddings have tripled in popularity recently as more couples choose to hold their weddings far from home. Among the most popular romantic and exotic locations are the California Wine Country, Hawaii, Jamaica and Las Vegas. Destination weddings are generally under one hundred people and include mostly very close family and friends. These weddings are about being with people you love in a fabulous location so wedding rehearsal dinners generally include everyone.


Customizing touches

            Couples create unique memories when they personalize and update ceremony and reception traditions. Following a long reception, a dessert and espresso bar adds a nice touch at the end of the evening. Cigar and port bars are popular today, too.

            Journal-style guest books passed around at the receptions allow guests to enter spontaneous written good wishes for the couple. Picture guest books coordinated by a designated photographer—volunteer or professional—assure the couple will have a picture of everyone who attends because the photograph is adhered to the page the guest signs.

            For smaller weddings, and particularly destination weddings, gift baskets in the hotel rooms of wedding guests are a welcoming gesture extended by bridal couples. The baskets generously show appreciation for the considerable effort and expense these guests put forth to attend.  

            Wine, sparkling or otherwise, is today’s adult beverage of choice. Especially in Wine Country, pairing wines with cuisine is a well-received reception trend. 

            We finally seem to have seen enough bouquet and garter toss disasters. Brides are deleting them from receptions, along with wedding favors–a cost to the bridal couple which has no real meaning for guests.



            Photo journalist-style photography is continuing in popularity, as is black and white and digital photography. Artistic realism, creative angles and candid, unposed shots create albums with a personal point of view. 

            Plain platinum and two-toned wedding rings in either solitaire or band styles, elegant cakes on which beautiful flowers replace cake toppers and hand-tied bouquets are current favorite for many brides. “Simple and elegant” is the wedding planning mantra of today’s bride.

 The Dish on Dining

            Fabulous food is front and center as are green weddings for today’s couples.  Demonstration food stations, which are similar to tasting menus, are perfect for the social couple. Pairing wines to each station adds an elegant touch.

            Usually adding to the cost, environmentally conscious couples are investing in eco-friendly catering, also known as “green weddings.”

            Full liquor bars, signature drinks, and flavored martini bars are making a comeback for the cocktail reception.  Raw seafood and shooter bars are another current fad for the hors d’oeuvres.


“Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.”

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero 707-579-5886

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.