One of her favorites comes from wedding clients requiring ultimate privacy for their celebrations. Sonoma County is one of her best go-to solutions, she says, with so much to explore over a magnificent destination that traverses nearly 1,6000 square miles from Petaluma in the south to Cloverdale in the north, and from the Pacific ocean across to the eastern Mayacamas Mountains.
From cozy bed and breakfasts, to secluded resort properties, to private estates available for rent, Sonoma offers a remarkable variety of unique, secure locations. One such property is the Mayacamas Ranch, an extraordinary private resort that features stunning views and accommodations that can be reserved exclusively for the wedding party.
Its obscure location, set on the very peak of a hilltop ridgeline for 360-degree views, offers an idea of how undisclosed the venue is.
The entire property is opened exclusively for one party at a time, including the meadows, gardens, saltwater pool terrace and Chaparral Lodge with its wood-burning stone fireplace, grand piano and adjoining deck.
Too, all of the guestrooms are reserved for each event, for 23 private bungalows and cottages nestled among lavender, oleander, and wisteria, and outfitted with plush organic bedding, private terraces and sitting rooms.
One of the more remarkable pleasures of a Sonoma ceremony is its relative affordability, Ambra notes, especially considering that an event can easily turn into a weekend getaway for the wedding party as much as for the happy couple.
Mayacamas Ranch site fees are $9,500 per weekend, with a two-nights’ minimum rental of all the guest rooms running $5,900 per night.
That adds up to less than most nice hotel rooms in a major city, and weekends include breakfast with some ingredients sourced from the ranch’s private culinary garden.
Guests can also enjoy planned outdoor activities such as hiking on private trails, fishing on the resort’s private Hidden Lake, campfires, and games like baseball, football, badminton, and volleyball.
A lesser known secret, according to Ambra, is that many such venues offer lower rates in the winter “off season” from November through February, and Mayacamas Ranch may also be reserved Sunday through Thursday for an event only, with no overnight accommodations.
Whenever an event is held, one of the highlights is the fact that the intimate location is such a celebration of Sonoma County. One of the most popular options is outdoor dining, complete with lavishly draped tables, fine china and silver, and exquisite chef-crafted meals beneath the sun or stars.
And it’s guaranteed – the only other visitors, other than invited guests, might be the occasional hawk soaring above, or deer prancing by.