When searching for an outdoor wedding destination in Georgia, we decided it was best to focus beyond the city of Atlanta. With such beauty to explore in my own home state, it’s no wonder, our wedding destination search ended with us choosing Montaluce Winery. Most wouldn’t consider Georgia wine country, but I’d beg to differ. Georgia is home to over 20 wineries according to the Winegrowers Association of Georgia. Sadly, we’ve only been to 3 of them, but we plan to tour them all. Most recently we tasted wines from Yonah Mountain Vineyards that rival the best that Napa Valley has to offer.
A Winery at Every Romantic Turn
No, this love story isn’t so poetic as to have begun at a winery, but my husband and I did get engaged at one of Georgia’s most well-known wineries, and the most-awarded winery on the East Coast, Chateau Elan. I’ll skip the long drawn out story of my relationship and give you the short version. We met on OkCupid, had our first date in December 2013, made it official Valentine’s Day 2014, got engaged at Chateau Elan on July 3, 2016, and had our first child on July 17, 2016. What a whirlwind!
My husband is from Georgia so we knew we would surely get married in the state, but the only question was where. My dream was to have a destination wedding outdoors, so we looked for outdoor venues. I was surprised by all the beautiful towns and venues outside of the city of Atlanta. I wrote a long post about our wedding destination journey, but I will tell you that it came down to just 3 wedding venues.
Montaluce Winery: The Perfect Wedding Destination
In no specific order, the top 3 outdoor Georgia wedding venues outside of Atlanta are:
- Barnsley Resort– Our favorite location on the property was the Manor House Ruins. The ruins (pictured above) was stunning. It felt like we were in an ancient building that was not in Georgia. It rained the day we visited, but it didn’t matter, that place was remarkable no matter the weather.
- Jekyll Island Club and Resort– This venue is located on Jekyll Island so it feels like you’re somewhere on a remote vacation. We fell in love with the Crane Cottage Courtyard, but the price was too steep at the time (before we knew that wedding budgets will always be blown anyway).
- Montaluce Winery– We were astonished just driving up to Montaluce Winery because there are privately-owned villas on the property and it literally looks like you flew to Tuscany. The grounds are well kept and the service is out of this world. This was our venue.
What Makes an Ideal Wedding Destination?
There are several factors to consider when choosing your wedding destination. Location, venue, weather contingencies (for outdoor weddings) price, because… budgets, accommodations, and quality of service. I mentioned 3 amazing wedding venues above, but as I said in my previous blog post, price and weather contingencies played a major factor in helping us eliminate the other venues. When it came down to checking off all the boxes, the decision was Montaluce Winery.
How Did Montaluce Winery Check All the Boxes to be the Perfect Wedding Destination?
- Location– We wanted a Georgia wedding that our families could easily travel to. Montaluce Winery is located just an hour and a half north of Atlanta
- Venue– They have 3 main venue locations to get married. You could get married by the lake in front of the vineyard, down in the wine cellar (indoors) or out on the covered terrace
- Weather Contingencies– We wanted an outdoor wedding, so weather contingencies were extremely important. With a covered terrace and a wine cellar as indoor options, we never had to consider extreme heat or rain to be deterrents when choosing this venue
- Price– For the value, Montaluce Winery is affordable, but it can be even more affordable if you get married on a Sunday as we did
- Accommodations– Not only for you and the wedding party but also for family and friends who want to drink the night away without having to travel in their cars afterward. Not only were there gorgeous villas to rent on the property for us and our wedding party, but there were so many cute hotels and inns around Dahlonega where Montaluce is located
- Quality of Service– These wedding venues know how to treat you like a king and queen, after all, you’re spending your life’s savings for 1 day of extreme happiness. However, the quality of service at Montaluce Winery is far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. My month-of wedding planner, Shelby, was literally a Godsend. Katie, the events director is the most organized, kind person you could ever have the pleasure of working with for your wedding.
Montaluce Winery Makes Wedding Planning Easy
I’m no wedding expert, but in my own experience, it was important to work with an organized venue. I opted not to use a wedding planner. We did, however, purchase the wedding package that included a month-of wedding planner. I would highly recommend having a wedding planner of some sort to make sure your focus on the day of the wedding is only your wedding. Leading up to the wedding, I didn’t want to have to deal with the vendors beyond the required things like deciding the things I liked and wanted to have. I had no interest in logistics of how everything was going to get there in the end.
The Folks at Montaluce Are Insanely Organized
I’m sure all wedding venues worth their salt has the typical wedding packet that tells you all the preferred vendors and accommodations in the area. They all also likely tell you what to expect on the day of your wedding, etc. But when I tell you I received a physically printed packet and a digital packet that included everything I could ever need and want. It’s one of the main reasons I didn’t need a wedding planner. Well that, and the fact that I had planned events as a marketing manager for many years.
Their packet gave me floor diagrams, dinner menus, rehearsal dinner options, information about the food tasting, details about the ceremony and a timeline for the events leading up to the wedding day. It also came with a full list of vendors including:
- Live musicians
- Wedding Planners
With all those things in hand, it was easy for me to make the calls, check the websites and narrow down the vendors. I was so happy to save the money on a wedding planner. Thanks to the venue, I was confident I was choosing vendors that would understand the location. I’ll save all the details of the wedding planning for another post. Instead, I will end this by telling you I have no idea why there are so many Bridezillas, but I can hypothesize it has a lot to do with the ease of working with the venue.