The Highlands Estates

Posted on Jan 17, 2018

Photo credit: Nelson J Photography Ready to say I do? Our rustic wedding venue offers a wedding site with views of our vineyards as well as the Four Seasons Barn, a fully heated and air-conditioned barn for year-round celebrations. The Highlands Estate wedding venue was just given the 2018 Couple’s Choice Award by WeddingWire. The Estate is located in the Yorkville Highlands Valley and surrounded by the Alexander and Anderson Valleys and is easily accessible from anywhere in northern California including the Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Sacramento and San Francisco bay areas! Check out our Wedding Gallery to see just some of the locations and views around the property. Sincerely, Whitney Cookson Photo credit: A Tale Photography Photo credit: Nick Kovak Photography Photo Credit: Katch Silva Photography Photo credit: Russie Denay Photography Photo credit: The Highland...

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Stunning Bride in Grace Loves Lace

Posted on Jan 14, 2018

The Vendors Wedding Planning & Day of Coordination: Simple Country Weddings DJ/Band Dj Eric Carido/The Rich Martini Band Caterer: Chef Russ-The Hidden Table Photographer Russie Denay Venue: The Highlands Estate Shuttle/transportation: MGM Transportation Floral: Florals By Alana Marie Gown: Grace Loves Lace Shoes: Grace Loves Lace Anklets: Salita Matthews for Grace Loves Lace     The Details How did you meet? Bay To Breakers.  Bay to Breakers is an annual race across the City (from the Bay to the breakers aka: ocean beach).  Some people actually run the race.  Most people dress up and party along the course.  The race has a really long history and has changed a lot over time.  People used to build entire floats and roll beer kegs across the city.  It’s a pretty crazy day.  I was with a group of friends and we had all gone as the cast of ghostbusters.  Near the end of the race a lot of people end up in Golden Gate Park.  Chris was dressed as an astronaut at a BBQ with some of his friends in the park.  My girl friend went to high school with some people at the BBQ Chris was at and our two groups combined.  I pretty rarely gave out my phone number but I remember really hoping Chris would ask for it (he did). Where was your first date? Our first date was at a little restaurant in my old neighborhood.  I made him take me there because they had fancy whisky drinks and nice lighting.  I remember telling him I didn’t want a boyfriend. LOL Where did you get engaged? Camping in our favorite spot in Humboldt.  We go to this spot that’s really private and not technically part of a campground.  We have to get a code from the rangers to the lock on the gate that leads to the fire road.  Chris made me breakfast before I got out of our tent and greeted me with champagne that he had snuck into the truck while packing.  He was playing Al Green and had everything all prepared.  I was so surprised that instead of replying “yes,” I said, “RIGHT, NOW?!” as in, “you’re doing this right now?” I had just rolled out of a tent and felt ill prepared.  Obviously, I wasn’t mad about it.  When did you start planning your special event? Not long after the engagement.  A lot of our friends have already gotten married so we were pretty aware of timelines, we got some of the best advice from our friends.  Chris is also really organized so he probably had a spreadsheet the week after we got back from camping. What was the most fun detail in planning your wedding? One of our favorite parts was figuring out the seating chart.  Chris is very extroverted and I’m an introvert, we have lots of different ideas about social...

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Pantone Color 2018

Posted on Jan 9, 2018

Every wedding season has its own trends whether it’s the theme of the event or the colors used throughout. The little touches that tie everything together are what make a wedding unique among others. We love to stay on trend so why not incorporate 2018 Pantone Color of the Year? Here is how we would incorporate Ultra Violet into 2018 winter weddings. The attire: For women, why not have your bridesmaids dress in Ultra Violet? Purple looks great on everyone. It flatters all skin tones and hair colors. If you are more of a neutral fan, add Ultra Violet accents. This could be with a belt, hair accessory, makeup or even in the bouquets! Sometimes less is more. For men, I don’t expect to see groomsmen dressed in a purple suit (if anyone has ever witnessed this please share photos) but this is an opportunity for accents of Ultra Violet to really make an appearance. Pocket squares, socks, boutonnieres or even ties! All shades of purple look fabulous with a grey suit or black tuxedo. We love the suits and tuxedos available over at The Black Tux. You really can’t go wrong with this wedding color. The decor: Centerpieces are always the talk of the wedding, good or bad. This is an opportunity to really set the bar high. Terrariums filled with purple flowers, Ultra Violet ribbons wrapped around extravagant vases, table numbers or floating purple candles. The list goes on! Of course there are many more decor elements aside from the centerpiece. Maybe purple bows around each chair or dangling lights in front of a photo wall. Anything is possible! (Or something like this) The cake: The cutting of the cake is a moment that everyone looks forward to. Either to laugh at the couple smooshing it into each other’s face or because they simply can’t wait to get their hands on a slice. The look of the cake is not only important for appetizing reasons but also to tie in the theme of a wedding. This is a perfect opportunity to bring in the Pantone Color of the Year. Add a purple floral design, whether it’s polka dots, flowers, ribbons or weaving. Have a purple ombre cake that highlights multiple shades of the gorgeous color. Or to really stay trendy, purple-colored cake pops. (Or something like this) How would you incorporate the 2018 Pantone Color of the...

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Love at The Four Seasons Barn in Cloverdale, CA

Posted on Jan 7, 2018

Amanda + Peter   The Vendors Wedding planner | Simple Country Weddings 916-271-6345 DJ/Band | Matthew Mason (nephew:, 916-694-8535) and Dave Chelini (accordionist; 916-428-8764) Caterer | Preferred Somona Caterers (Edie, Bakery/desserts | Giorgi’s Wedding Cakes (Judy), Photographer | Chloe Jackman Photography,, 415-699-2671 Venue | The Highlands Estate, Whitney & Gard Cookson,  707-894-9500 Floral | Accents by Sage, Cheryl Sage; 916-799-6242    The Details How did you meet? We met playing tennis.  Mutual friends of ours were practicing for a tournament and they brought us out to the courts for a little mixed doubles practice. Where was your first date? Hmmmm, this can be disputed.  Peter thinks it was on the tennis court.  Amanda thinks it was at Mikuni’s.  Amanda can be convinced, though, that our first date was on the tennis court. Where did you get engaged? It was Amanda’s 38th birthday, and we had just purchased a boat that we were cruising to our home port.  After a day on the boat, when it was finally just the two of us, we were hanging out in the galley and Peter said, “I have a present for you.” And he pulled out a small box with a fancy bow.  The rest is history. What was you first impression of each other?I (Amanda) thought he was a good tennis player.  Peter was smitten.  😉 When did you start planning your special event?Within a couple of weeks of getting engaged.  First we selected a date.  Amanda is a little obsessive with numbers, so all of the numbers had to be even, and when we found a date with multiples of four, even better.  Once we found the date, Peter suggested The Highlands Estate for the venue.  We had stayed there a few months prior and adored the owners and loved the charm of the venue. What was the most fun detail in planning your wedding? Peter playing Bella Notte on his accordion, and also Peter’s accordion instructor playing at our wedding.  It showcased Peter’s Italian heritage. How did you choose your style/theme? The venue, The Highlands Estate, looks like it could be in Tuscany, so it was easy to choose a Tuscan/rustic/soft/elegant wedding theme. What was the most difficult detail to agree on? There really wasn’t one.  The most important thing for both of us was that the people we loved were there to celebrate our day. What was the most unique detail about your ceremony? Reception? My sister made my wedding gown, and she sewed our wedding date into the hem of the dress.  She also sewed a button from my grandmother’s wedding dress into the hem. What personal touches did you include in your ceremony? Reception? Hmmmm . . .my nephew prepared chalk art signs for the bar, showcasing our “signature” drinks. What was the inspiration behind your flowers? I love peonies and hellebores.  I hadn’t even told the florist that hellebores were my...

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Summers Hottest Couple

Posted on Nov 13, 2017

Our wedding day was perfect. Except for the 104 degree temperature (NO THANK YOU) All I remember is people telling me that the day was going to fly by, so to enjoy every moment of it. Looking back, I know I did. After saying “I do” CJ and I spent the rest of the day together. From eating our delicious food, to saying hello to all of our guests. Then we left the party for the sunset photos. And this will be something I never forget. We got to go away and just be ourselves and enjoy how happy we were. After a good breather and many pictures later, we had a blast returning to the party and just danced the night away.

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