Tenley’s Wedding Planning Series: Sonoma Bachelorette Weekend Part 1

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{Photos by Madison Lauren Photography}

Oh what an adventure me and 7 of of my best girlfriends had for my Bachelorette weekend. If you follow my Instagram stories, you saw that we experienced some interesting hurdles to getting to our destination for the Bachelorette weekend. (If you don't follow my Instagram stories, you can still watch the journey on my Instagram, in the highlights titled, "Bachelorette".) The journey had some twists and turns, and it made for a memorable start to the weekend. And I'm so excited to share more about our travels and festivities, but first, I wanted to share something from my heart.

God has been so good to me in leading me along some interesting paths that have led me to every single one of these friendships that I have. We have each shared seasons of highs and lows, tears, laughter, joy. There have been multiple prayers shared in person, over coffee, over the phone, and many Praises we've been able to celebrate together. This weekend the reality of what having a Bachelorette weekend was all about hit me: to get to celebrate one of my greatest joys and praises (my marriage to Taylor) with my bestest friends in one place. It was so special to watch my best friends become friends with each other, and to have some committed time just to spend with them. I will never forget it. It also meant so much to me that all 7 girls traveled to spend the weekend with me. And I hope that it was also a great retreat for the mamas of the group… I think it's safe to say that it was.

Alright, so here begins the adventure! The plan was to leave our home airports and meet in San Francisco on Friday morning, rent cars, and caravan to Healdsburg, a gem of a town in Sonoma County. (Only about an hour and a half drive) Two girls were flying from Portland, one from Burbank, and five of us from San Diego (although one had a different flight). All of our flights were set to leave pretty much at the exact same time getting us all into San Francisco at the same time. And as the Portland girls, and the one San Diego girl on the different flight boarded their flights and were getting set to take off, a delay popped up for my flight (and the other three in SD). EEK! But no big deal, we'd just now be showing up a few minutes later than planned, the other girls could just enjoy some mimosas while they wait for us. And then our Burbank gal got an alert for a delay. Uh Oh. Then… our flight was CANCELED! For reals?! So three of my friends (including my sister) were in the air on their way to land, and I didn't even have a way to get there for the weekend they were all flying there for to spend with me. And our Burbank gal pal's flight was delayed by about 4 hours, but thankfully not canceled. (This was all due to weather at SFO, so I don't think I'll book my flights through there in the future, too much of a risk of canceled our changed flights.)

There was no way I was going to miss this weekend, especially with all the work that had gone into planning this trip! (Shoutout to Alyssa for doing all of our travel agent duties for the whole weekend.) SO operation "re-book everything" began. Me and the three other San Diego girls rallied, and I couldn't be more proud as we somehow rebooked our flights to now fly into Oakland, transferred bags to our new flight, and re-booked our rental cars, and communicated with the other girls that were already in the air, and made arrangements for our Burbank gal, and then hopped on our new flight all within a 20 minute window! So proud!!!!!!

We arrived in Oakland, BUT my two checked bags (full of gifts that I had been working on for weeks for the girls) didn't make our flight. Crushed. Everybody else's bags made it. So we waited for the next flight from San Diego to come in… my bags still didn't show. Funny back story, my girlfriend Darcie, a little powerhouse of a woman somehow had the airlines baggage people believing that my wedding was THAT weekend, and somehow that spun into the idea of my wedding dress was in my suitcase. So sorry baggage people. But it was quite funny and awesome watching Darcie take charge and work that baggage counter!

(Below is what has become my mantra… "At the end of the day, I'm still getting Married"… and to the best guy for me, I might add.)

The four of us decided to leave the airport without my suitcase (with plans for it to be delivered once it was found) as we had a first wine tasting scheduled and were ready to meet up with the other girls in Healdsburg. Meanwhile, Kristen, our Burbank pal was still waiting to board her flight. She had a good amount of self reflection time before she met up with all of us. Poor thing. We drove through some heavy rain and some traffic and finally arrived at Rockpile Wine Tasting room in Healdsburg!

This was a different reunion than we had planned with the other girls, but it ended up being perfect, as we were so ready to see one another, and really excited about a glass of wine! And we were so so so lucky to have our new friend, Madison of Madison Lauren Photography to join us for the afternoon to help us collect memories of our time together. Initially I had reached out to Madison thinking it would be so fun and unique to do a "Bridesmaid" shoot. Something I had never heard of, but thought it would be extra special since the next time I will most likely ever be with them all at once is on the wedding day. This Bachelorette weekend being set aside to have fun, make memories, and laugh together allowed for us to have a unique weekend with all of my best friends captured! I couldn't be more happy with how Madison caught all of our special moments, especially after a long and tricky travel day. Thanks Madison!! (You can follow her and show her some love on her Instagram: @MadisonLaurenPhotography

Like I mentioned, we kicked things off at Rockpile Tasting Room a part of the Wilson Artisan Wines. This tasting room is brand new and one of the first things you see as you drive the round about coming into Healdsburg. It's a gorgeous establishment, and the night before we visited was their Grand Opening party, so I thought it was extra special to break it in with our group and have it as our Bachelorette weekend reunion and kick off spot!

The four of us that had been traveling together from San Diego got there first, and I don't think wine has ever tasted so good!

Then the girls from Portland and our other San Diego pal joined us! This included a reunion with my sister, which always makes me giddy as I love her so! And a reunion with my BFF from Portland who I hadn't seen in quite some time so this was our first time sharing the excitement of the engagement in person, and her first time seeing the ring! Again, how cool that Madison Lauren Photography was available to join us for this day and get photos of these moments!

We started our tasting at the bar enjoying some incredible Zinfandels. I don't think I ever knew how much I loved a Zin! I declared that the first one we tasted had a hint of cherry jolly rancher. And I was quite proud of my hunch when Sean at Rockpile affirmed my taste buds. Just trying to be in touch with my inner Somm skills. Haha.


As the tastings continued, we cozied up into the cutest tasting room! Which I might add that one of my favorite parts of Rockpile's Tasting Room (besides the wine) was how bright and fresh the ambience was. It was raining outside, but we felt bright and cheery!

We were still missing one in our gang as she was on the road in an Uber from the San Francisco airport, but when she arrived it felt like the weekend could really begin! She also brought a sweet gift, a Mrs. necklace (from Spartina 449) with her that I cannot wait to get to wear when I become a Mrs. Thanks Kristen!

The party truly began, the travel woes shared, laughter filled the tasting room, but then our time at Rockpile came to an end as it was time to check into the house we were staying at for the weekend, Pezzi King Estate! P.S. I think our favorite wine of the day at Rockpile was Jack's Block Zinfandel!

We loaded up the cars (a grocery run had already been made), and headed out to Pezzi King Estate, which is a gorgeous home with four king beds and plenty of space for a family getaway, couples weekend, or a bachelorette weekend. It's set on the rolling hills of Pezzi King Vineyards, and it's absolute pure beauty. We arrived in the rain, but the rain didn't take away any bit of the essence of this gorgeous estate, I think it even added an extra touch of magic!

As we got settled, the girls set up some fun Bachelorette decor which was such a fun surprise for me (Thanks Karley for my sign!), and I opened a few gifts that had been left for me. One box, I traveled with all day from my soon-to-be sister in law (she's a bridesmaid too) that couldn't get away for the weekend as she has a 3 month old, so she packed her zestful presence into a box! She packed it full of fun Bachelorette goodies that were enjoyed later that evening, thanks a billion Kendall! The next box was from a wine company called, Little Things! A brand from South Australia and they shared some of their wines with us for the weekend, which definitely added to the fun, perfect for a girls weekend… or anytime really!

Thankfully after a long travel day we had plans to just have a "Slumber Party" type of evening! Which included a Private Wine Tasting of Pezzi King Vineyards wines with Sawyer Wilson (of Wilson Artisan Wines). Sawyer is in the Wilson family, and a private wine educator. He shared so much knowledge about the wine we enjoyed that evening that came from the vineyards surrounding us and that we were staying on. It made our experience at Pezzi King extra special to feel connected to what was growing around us!

Oh! And for those of you that are wondering… my baggage still had not arrived, so I changed into something from another girlfriend's suitcase, and then we all spruced up for some photos in the rain!

Once Sawyer left, we continued on with our Bachelorette weekend slumber party shenanigans! It was actually a perfect evening for a rainy night in. We ordered gluten free pizzas to be delivered, we munched on tasty snacks, played some fun games, drank our Pezzi King Vineyards Wine and Little Things! Wine and some champagne. It was truly a perfect kick off to the weekend!

Part 2 is soon to follow with the rest of the weekend details, so stay tuned, especially if you are planning a trip to Sonoma/Healdburg any time soon because I think we nailed our itinerary!!

Oh! And my luggage eventually arrived at 2am. It was however very convenient that it was my bachelorette party, because the girls and even my mom had sent some fun new PJ's and things, so I had something to wear to be cozy in and fall asleep in. Thanks mom!!

Thank you again Madison Lauren Photography for spending the day with us and capturing all of these special memories, we loved our time with you too— you fit right in with this crew!

Alright, YOUR turn! Where have you celebrated your Bachelorette Party, or your friends parties? Was it just one evening or a weekend? Did you travel or stay local! I want to hear it all, just comment below!



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