Planning a wedding is hard, planning it from afar is even more difficult. With much time spent researching and scouring the internet for vendors, Josh and Lori compare the experience of planning their wedding in Sonoma to organizing a mini-holiday for themselves and all of their guests. In the end, all their hard work and research paid off.

With a stunning vineyard venue and a romantic candlelit reception shared with 18 of their closest family and friends,  the couple couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful wedding day. A big thanks to Megan Clouse for sharing all the gorgeous photos with us!

Intimate Sonoma Wedding

Lori & Josh

Sonoma, California

Wedding Date: June 3, 2014

Number of Guests: 18

Wedding Ceremony Location: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards – Outdoor Arbour

Wedding Reception Location: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards – Wine Cave   (It was the photos on their website of the wine cave that really sold us on the venue. We were instantly in love with that place.)

Gloria Ferrer sign

Sonoma vineyard

black lily bouquet

bride in black and white dress

Sonoma wedding portrait

vineyard at sunset

vineyard wedding portrait

Why did you have an intimate wedding?  

We both agreed that we wanted the day to be about us, and by keeping our wedding small we were able to not get so caught up in the details and lose sight of why we were doing it.

black wedding invitation

wedding ring shot



black mesh wedding shoes

bride getting ready

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?  

It was more about planning a wedding at a place that we have never been before.  The fact that we chose to have a smaller guest list made some of the planning easier.  We spent so much time researching potential venues, hotels, caterers, photographers, etc.  Thank God for the internet!

bride portrait

bride and groom portrait

bride and groom walking in vineyard

groom kissing bride on forehead

bride and groom walking next to grape vines

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

YES!  We have a number of friends and family members that are close to us that we couldn’t invite.

chalkboard wedding sign

succulent planter

wedding cellist

wedding vows written in gold on black

vineyard wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?  

The circle ceremony. We had all of our guests stand around us in a circle. We wrote a “blessing” where we went around the circle and each person said a line from it.  The vows were also a highlight. We wrote our own vows and we didn’t share them with each other until the ceremony.  And last, but not least, the venue! We had an amazing view overlooking the Carneros Valley, and the birds and butterflies even came out during the ceremony.

bride looking at groom during ceremony

bride and groom holding hands during ceremony

bridesmaids blowing bubbles

What were the highlights of the reception?  

The dinner. We chose to sit everyone at one long king table and serve the dinner family style. The food and the cake were amazing.  Again, the venue was amazing. We chose to decorate with a lot of candlelight which gave the wine cave a dim romantic glow.  We loved listening to our family members give speeches.  The dances were another highlight. Our first dance as a couple was really our first dance ever.  We loved all of it.

wedding reception charcuterie

wedding snacks

wedding beers

pouring champagne

bride holding champagne flute

sonoma vineyard

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?  

We were able to do things at the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception to make every guest feel welcomed and part of our day.

gold wedding initials

wine cave wedding reception

wine cave wedding reception

wine cave wedding reception

wine cave wedding reception

chalkboard Mr. wedding sign on back of chair

ruffled ombre wedding cake

bride and groom with wedding cake

bride and groom cutting cake

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?  

Make the details that you choose be meaningful to you and your guests.

bride and groom dancing


Photographer:  Megan Clouse Photography

Venue: Gloria Ferrer, Sonoma

Catering: The Girl & the Fig

Officiant: Tim Boeve

Cake: Crisp Bake Shop

Hair/Makeup: It’s a Date at the Powder Room, Katie

Cellist: Daniel Lemes

Florals: Stephanie Lauder (Family Friend)

Gown: Maggie Sottero

Shoes: Kate Spade 

Suit: Indochino