Fact Sheet and Guidelines for Wedding Ceremonies at Chileno Valley Ranch


Ask Sally for a list if vendors.

Please note;

These guidelines are very important and must be adhered to for weddings at Chileno Valley Ranch. It might sound severe, but this will ensure a happy wedding!

Chileno Valley Ranch is a private home and business which offers a few wedding opportunities per year to those who qualify for this service. The principal business of Chileno Valley Ranch is the raising and care of Black Angus cattle. Chileno Valley Natural Grass-Fed Beef and Lamb is sold directly to our customers

See www.mikeandsallybeefranch.com

Mike and Sally Gale’s history can be found at www.mikeandsallygalebeefranch.com

We also have an organic apple business and host U Pick Days for families for apples, pears and other farm products. on Sundays in Sept and Oct..

Primacy of Ranching

Although we host a small number of weddings in the ranch each year, the principal endeavor of the ranch is animal agriculture. The weddings must fit into this primary business. When planning the lay out of your wedding, please keep this in mind.

The following information pertains to WEDDINGS at Chileno Valley Ranch:

Site Description

The, apple orchard, barns, creek, bridge and several fields and available for use for a wedding celebration. Couples considering a wedding at the Chileno Valley Ranch are invited to visit the ranch to plan their ceremony. Couples are encouraged to be creative. However, not all parts of our 600 acres are available.

Site Restrictions

The wedding location will not be held in a field with cows in it.

Weddings may be held in the, orchards, pastures without livestock, and by the creek. The creek is fenced Dinner may not be held in front of the barn. It is too windy there. If the dinner is planned for outside in the apple orchard or in a field and it is windy, the dinner may be moved inside.

Number of Guests

Up to 165 guests fit comfortably in the dairy barn for a sit down dinner. Alternatively, the dinner may be outside.

Getting Ready

The bride may use a bedroom and bathroom downstairs, and the groom may use the same upstairs until 6 PM. The bride will appoint someone to take all of the wedding materials, purses and the like from the house by 6 P M. Only the bride and her preparation party may come in and out of the house. This will include the mothers of the bride and groom, the bridesmaids, the hairdressers, the photographer and the like.

Guests are not allowed on the porch or in the gardens around the house.

House Restrictions

The house and the garden is off limits to the wedding guests. Only the bridal party may be in the house, and then only before 6..If guests are especially interested in gardening, Sally will take them into the gardens.

Parking Restrictions

Parking shall be in the back of the sheep barn and behind the house. The wedding party will provide 2 parking lot attendants who will work with Mike for an hour to make sure parking is conducted in a safe manner. Assertive, confident parking people will be the best.

Bus Limitations

Only compact busses are allowed. The 45 foot busses do not fit through the gate and are not allowed. THIS IS FIRM. Busses may not park on Chileno Valley Road and off-load their guests, as it is too dangerous. Busses must return to Petaluma and wait there for pick up later at the ranch.

Bus drop off will be closely supervised by Mike and his helpers. Bus drivers must be told to expect this and not just come in our their own and do whatever they want to do. Busses will off load their passengers in a safe way away from the area where cars are parking. Drivers will go back to Petaluma and wait there to return to pick up their guests after the wedding.

Delivery Truck Limitations

Rental trucks may not be longer than 16 feet. They must enter the main gate approaching from the east. This would be the Western Street turn off Petaluma Blvd. way to get here. This insures that our entrance trees are not damaged. They must exit the way they came.

No 24 foot delivery trucks are allowed.


The cottage is rented.

Photographer Storage

The photographer may use Mike’s office for storage of personal items and equipment during the event.

Fire Control

In this relatively remote area, Fire Department response is slow. Smoking is discouraged, as a fire would be disastrous. Two members of the wedding organizing committee will be trained and be responsible for our on-site fire response system. They will be called our Fire Marshalls.

It is the responsibility of the bride and groom to appoint the Fire Marshalls .

Catering Staff Education

The catering staff must be trained in fire response. They will plan for a 15 minute orientation before the wedding by Sally.

Smoking Area

A designated smoking area must be set up for those who wish to smoke. Guests smoking in other than this area will be directed to the smoking area. There are no other options.

Caterer’s Barbeque Area

Large and small BBQs will be stationed by the horse barn on the gravel. Care must be taken to place the BBQ on an area that is not flammable. Please ask Sally where to place the BBQ.

Flower Gardens around the House

These are off limits to guests, as is the house.

Wedding Insert Requirement

A wedding invitation insert or some other way to inform guests of our smoking policy and other details, such as the need to wear comfortable shoes and layers, is required. Some couples put this info on their website. An example will be provided.

Parking and Parking Attendants

There is ample off-road parking in a five acre field behind the house.

Two friends or relatives of the wedding couple are required to assist Mike in the parking of vehicles.

The parkers will be at the ranch one hour before the wedding invitation invites guests to the ranch.


The cost of renting out the grounds of Chileno Valley Ranch is dependent on the number of guests..

A $500.00 refundable deposit is required to hold the date.

There is no fee for the use of the horse barn by the caterers.

There is no fee for the stage used by the musicians in the barn, nor is there a fee for any mowing needed in the fields for the wedding.

Wedding Insurance

Wedding insurance must be arranged between the wedding couple and their insurer. A contract between the wedding couple and the ranch owners spells out the particulars of the event insurance. A million dollar coverage is required

There are no other charges.

Couples are required to procure event insurance at a nominal fee. www.galescreek.com is a source, as is 1-800-engage or www.markelamerican.com. None of these are recommended, although all have worked out nicely in the past. A contract signed by parties’ concerned spells out the details of the insurance. Chileno Valley Ranch must be listed as “additional insured” for 1,000,000.00.

Schedule of Payments

A $500.00 refundable deposit is required to secure the desired wedding weekend. This is due at the time the couple decides to rent Chileno Valley Ranch.

Payments may be made gradually. A contract with be provided.

Extra Labor


It goes without saying that wedding guests are expected to behave in a manner befitting the occasion. It is expected that guests will show respect to the wedding party, the ranch and the hosts. Misbehaving guests will be asked to leave. Drunkenness, disrespect, rowdiness and smoking outside the permitted smoking area are all examples of why a guest will be asked to leave the premises. Loud and inappropriate music is not allowed.

The house will be posted as off limits to wedding guests on the day of the wedding.

Curfew and Music

Music will not exceed the level of hearing damage. Louds music is not allowed, mostly due the need to protect the ears of the baby owls in the barn. Amplified music will cease at 10 o’clock and the bar will cease at 9:30 P M. All wedding guests will begin leaving by 10:00P M and be gone by 10:30 P. M. This allows the catering staff to clean up and leave at a reasonable hour. For your planning, remember that the catering staff must stay until the guests are gone, and that they are paid until the time they leave. There are some tasks that they can only do when all of the guests are gone.


There will be no unlimited drinking. If there is to be signature drink after the ceremony, it must be mild. Wine and beer may be served. Alcohol will not be available after 9:30. The owners of the ranch reserve the right to cut off alcoholic beverages to any person or persons.

Alcohol Before the Wedding Not Allowed

This is not allowed. Lemonade or other cool drinks may comfort the guests while they wait for the ceremony to begin. The non-alcoholic drink must be served in a plastic container, not glass, if served in one of the fields.

Wedding Planners

Mike and Sally will help you with wedding planning, but you may also hire a wedding planner from our list. There are no exceptions.

Please be sure you include Sally and Mike in the wedding plans, whether you are doing it yourselves or you hire a wedding coordinator from our list. Good communication and checks and balances insure a smooth wedding day. In particular, Mike and Sally need to know well before the wedding;

•The name of the caterer.

•The arrangement with busses, name, email, if there are any.

•The rental company: name, email and the arrangements.

•The wedding planner ‘s and email.

•Whether there will be a taxi or rental coming to pick up the bride and groom.


The wedding couple will let Sally know when the rental company and the Porta Potty drop off will be made. Sally will oversee drop off and installation. This is no problem.

Rental Pick Up After the Wedding

If possible, The Wedding Couple are expected to notify the Rental Agency that pick- up will take place the day after the wedding. This is usually a Sunday. If this is not possible and the pick up is Monday, the wedding rentals will have to be stored inside the barn until pick up.


Guests are required to remain in the area of celebration. Fields with cows in them are off limits. Hiking is not allowed, as disease affecting our oak trees and animals is a concern.   Only the bride and her party are allowed in the house. Ask Sally to take photos of the bride and groom in areas outside the wedding area.


Pets belonging to either the guests or to wedding employees are not allowed. Pets are not allowed during the time of set-up.   But if a special doggie is wanted in the wedding party, ask Sally.


Children are encouraged to attend the wedding but those younger than 12 are not allowed to be at the Ranch during the time of set-up , unless closely supervised.

Trash and Recyclables

All trash from the wedding must be securely and properly bagged. All recyclables from the wedding must by properly bagged and divided into plastic, cans and bottles. This can be done by the catering staff, but must be made clear by the Wedding Couple to the Caterers. Trash must be removed by the caterers.

All wet food garbage can be saved by the caterers and fed to the chickens. It must be saved in a tightly covered can and secured by a cord or tie to prevent animals from getting into the garbage.

Again, The caterer will remove the trash and recyclables.


Extra lighting may be needed in the barn. The client is responsible for purchasing, installing and removing the lighting. Please see the ranch owners about existing lighting before making your plans. Dramatic lighting effects are allowed both inside and outside the barn, and are the joy and responsibility of the client. Catering staff must have enough lighting in the right bay to work during the service, and to and from the horse barn.

Shade and Seating Before the Wedding

Please think of the comfort of your guests before the wedding. While they are waiting, they need seating, shade and something non-alcoholic to drink. A greeter is a great idea and breaks the ice and starts the ceremony off well. Older folks may need to be driven from their cars or the bus to the waiting site. Mike and Sally can use our Mules to ferry folks who cannot walk.


A stage in the barn is available at no extra cost. The stage has been used in both the wedding ceremony and by the band. It is located at the back of the dairy barn. It is heavy to move and so remains in its place during the wedding celebration.

Vintage Ranch Props

Our daughter, Katie, has furniture rentals and tableware on site. Mike and Sally have wedding arches, chupahs, and some old things for you to use, etc.

Music and Noise

The band will be restricted to a modest level of sound. The decibel level must be under 86 decibels, the point at which sound is harmful to human hearing. Amplified sounds must not be harmful to human hearing nor be objectionable to neighbors. It may not be harmful to the baby owls that live in the barn. The owners of Chileno Valley Ranch must be consulted about the volume level before the band performs. The owners of the ranch will set the volume level. The band must comply with this level.

If the volume is too high, the owners of the ranch will turn down the music.

We expect the wedding couple to communicate with us on this issue.


We suggest one Porta-Potty for every 50 guests. The type that is set on a trailer and fits two Porta-Potties ( for 100 people) is best. You do not need large expensive Porta-Potties.

Sally will give you a choice between 2 types of Porta-Potties. She will make sure they are placed properly.

While setting up before the wedding, please use the Porta-Potties. The cottage is rented out and so off limits.


We require that you rent 6 heaters. The best seem to be the upright propane variety. They may be placed away from wood inside and outside the barn.


Although heavy farm table are attractive, they are difficult to move. Please consider this when renting tables. Lighting outside the barn may be added. Consider that the stars are lovely and a lot of lighting blocks the view of the night sky and prohibits the effect of light streaming through the barn boards.

Timing of the Wedding

3:00 has worked well in the past as an arrival time. However, the wedding day may begin earlier if you so desire.

With the 3:00 o’clock start time, the wedding can begin 4 P.M. Reception may be at 5 P M, dinner at 6 P M and dessert and dancing from 7 P M to 9:30 P M. Guests will leave at 10:00 P M.

Please check sunset and full moon times to assist you with your dates.

Catering Staff

Please ask for an approved list of caterers. You will be limited to those caterers who have worked here before. We know they will do a great job for you.

Caterers are expected to meet all our expectations regarding respectful behavior.

Caterers must undergo training for fire prevention before the start of the event. Sally will do the training.

Electrical Power

There is plenty of power in the barn for lighting and music. However, for your planning, many couples hire a generator for extra lighting.

Hay Bales

You may use our hay bales for your wedding, if we have them. We do not always have hay bales. If you need to buy them, you may buy them from Hunt and Bheren’s in Petaluma. They also deliver.

If you use the hay bales, you must put them back where you found them, unless this is “OKed” by Mike and Sally.

Hay bales are not allowed in the barn during events. Some guests might be allergic to them!

Happy People!

Lastly, we love having happy people at the ranch and look forward to your celebration. We will be there for you when you are making those special decisions, if needed. Please feel free to email Sally with any questions at sallylgale@gmail.com, and to visit as you feel you need to. Your decorating is a very important part of your wedding; therefore we will be flexible about having you out here to decorate. You are not restricted to the day of or the day before the wedding to decorate. Just let us know when you would like to come, and who will be with you.

We will be dressed up to greet your guests upon their arrival, and we will try to make everyone feel at home. We will be available to the wedding party for any last minute problems or needs. We want your wedding to be everything you desire and will be there for you to make sure you have the most wonderful wedding in the world!

Thank you for honoring us by choosing Chileno Valley Ranch as your wedding site.

Mike and Sally Gale