If you’re looking for it, Day 1 is here.
The afternoon before everyone arrived, we arranged posies of Dahlias, orange tea roses, and green hypericum berries. We used pint-sized Mason jars as vases, and made a few dozen small arrangements so we could move them around to decorate various event spaces.
I love working with Dahlias because they’re pretty tough, easy to arrange, and stay fresh for quite awhile — even if you’re transporting them from place to place. We had a full day of wine tasting planned on Saturday, so we kicked off right after breakfast with a tasting class at 10:30 a.m., which was… ambitious.
Our team rose to the challenge.
The Wine Sisterhood brought in Leslie Sbrocco, author of The Simple and Savvy Wine Guide to walk us through some food pairings and offer some wine education. My favorite tip was to freeze leftover sparkling wine to use as ice cubes in orange juice. Insta-mimosa.
Moshin Vineyards helped us set up lunch and a tasting in the cask room, which was the most romantic lunch I’ve ever had with thirty other women.
Boon’s restaurant catered our lunch, including their signature homemade parmesan potato chips, which haunt my dreams.
At Arista Winery, we tasted outside with a view of the vineyards.
We wanted to leave the Broad Summit prints on the ladies pillows, but realized belatedly that guests would need a way to get them home safely. Guerneville doesn’t exactly have an Office Max, so we clipped some prints to boards and left others in pretty office folders on guests pillows. I especially loved how the clipboards looked.
All right, I’ve been asleep since last Sunday.
The retreat was amazing, and exhausting, but worth every minute of planning over the last eight months. All the Broad Summit organizers love to entertain, so we incorporated lots of details.
We met up in Guerneville, CA, which is near our cabin, so I brought over my collection of vintage wool blankets. We use them at the cabin all the time, and we had a bonfire planned for the retreat, so I knew we’d need them. Bryan mocks me whenever I come home from the flea market with yet another blanket, but seeing them all stuffed into our laundry basket on the lawn was profoundly satisfying.
We got use out of them all weekend, and they smelled amazing because we store them in a cedar chest to protect against moths. When I was passing them out, I swear I heard Martha Stewart howling at the moon.
It was a small enough group that we could really personalize everything. We wanted to make sure the gift bags really felt like gifts, so before we decided how to fill them, I told Laura that my dream was to get monogrammed totes from Land’s End. She just called and Land’s End and figured out how to make it happen, then collected guests’ initials via email. Then I proposed to her.
We spent Friday afternoon stuffing the bags (more on the gifts inside later), and when they were all set up, they looked zowie — though they do sort of evoke the image of having thirty bridesmaids. I feel slightly faint at the thought of getting that many girls to wear the same ugly dress.
Instead of hiring a caterer, we arranged for a taco truck to arrive before cocktails. For a large group, it’s a surprisingly economical.
Plus, there’s something so decadent about walking up to a window and ordering whatever you want without having to dig out your wallet.
If you’re planning a casual, fun wedding, taco trucks are the way to go. Delicious, and they make for great photos.
After tacos, we headed over to the sangria and soda pop bar. There were lots of non-drinkers and pregnant ladies in attendance, so we took inspiration from Jordan Ferney’s adorable soda bar. BevMo had a huge selection of cute pop in bottles. I called Jordan last-minute to ask where we could get striped paper straws in San Francisco, she offered to tap into her extensive personal collection. Score.
After cocktails, we all changed into our pajamas for a Milk and Cookies PJ Party by the bonfire.
A few days earlier, we found this milk-carton vase at CB2. Perfect.
Cookies were from Annie the Baker, who makes cookies for folks who would prefer to eat straight cookie dough. (Peanut butter. Order the peanut butter.) We also had a selection from Bountiful Vegan, because we were hosting women with all kinds of food preferences and allergies.
We pulled over the chaise loungers from the pool area, wrapped up in blankets, and used the milk to mix White Russian nightcaps in our coffee mugs. It was very Prohibition.
If you’d like to see more, Jean Aw took some gorgeous photos of the bonfire and hotel over on NOTCOT. More details from me Monday, have a good weekend.