ABOUT COLE DRAKE EVENTS
Cole Drake Events is a luxury destination Napa & Sonoma wedding planning company located in the heart of the Napa Wine Country. We have created a planning foundation based on appealing to the senses, using the pillars of our process: Honesty, Authenticity, Sensory, Creativity, and (a sh*t ton of) Humor with just a smidge of sarcasm.
Allow us to guide you to your memorable wedding, fabulous fete or luxury Napa or Sonoma experience. Where details, precision and creativity are paramount to a successful event, we invite you to experience the difference of Wine Country wedding and event planners, Cole Drake Events.
OUR WEDDING PLANNING TEAM
Stephanie Cole – Founder/Principal Planner
Many in the industry would say that Stephanie has a certain “je ne sais quoi” about her. One could say it genetically came from her mother – an industry icon who plans large, elaborate events for non-profits and California cities. Others could say it developed when she began to work and learn the business at a young age (or as she describes it, “was volunteered to volunteer”). Either way, her passion and love for her profession is one that is as effervescent as a bottle of Champagne.
While studying in the South of France for a year, Stephanie, determined as she is to this day, completed a French Oenology program. Initially, she believed it would be her “easy” class – she could casually practice the language on new French friends and be “forced” to drink French wines for homework. She had no idea what she was in for. By the end of the semester, she had gained a new found respect for sommeliers, understood the importance of food and wine pairings and had acquired a much expanded vocabulary of French adjectives. She returned to wine country, still drunk on French wine and culture, to graduate with a BA from CSUS and began working for an ultra-premium winery in the, you guessed it, Events Department. In an event planning setting, and being much older (“and wiser” she would joke), she quickly found how deeply gratifying planning and event execution can be. It was there a wedding and event planner was born (again). She became a student of her industry seeking to gain knowledge and experience – first with a boutique catering company, next with Auberge Resorts and finally with a premium wedding and event planning firm. Few people have such a broad base of experience in the industry and, with this, her clients benefit exponentially. When Stephanie isn’t planning weddings and events, she is an avid organic gardener, a brilliant baker (try her pastry!), a coupon clipper and a (rescue) Basset Hound enthusiast/supporter/activist. She lives next to an expansive vineyard with her charming English husband (a Director of Food and Beverage – no surprise there) and their adorable son and daughter.
MaKela Allen – Creative Director/Lead Associate Planner
It’s time to meet the “Hostess with the Mostess”. MaKela Allen is the epitome of hospitality’s golden rule, due unto others as ‘they’ would want done unto themselves. From a very early age, she realized the profound quality of curated events and allowing guests to enjoy their day to the fullest. From this early onset, it became an obsession to understand how guests move, taste, touch, smell, and visualize their surroundings and what can be utilized in events to bring joy. This meticulous nature allows her clients a transformative experience throughout the planning process. From the months, days, minutes and seconds prior to the event, to the memories that will be cherished forever.
A Southern California transplant, MaKela began her journey in Northern California through University at Sonoma State. This offered a tremendous period of growth and solidified her passion for events. Now MaKela had the opportunity to dive into the events world head first, giving her a plethora of new challenges; like running donor luncheons, hosting hundred plus guest lists for overnight conferences, managing trade shows, staging political events, but the one that truly struck home was… you guessed it, Planning Weddings! This passion became her career and she has worked at several prestigious Napa Valley event locations before joining Cole Drake, the Crème de la Crème of the event world.
On the rare occasion that MaKela isn’t found planning world class weddings or events she can be found doing some pretty amazing things. From a girl with “What Would Beyoncé Do” as a life motto, it’s obvious that spirit is key. Some nights she is dancing in the kitchen with a local glass of Pinot and a new recipe on the stove. Other nights she is cuddling up with her Hubby, their new baby boy, Andre, and their two sweet pups, Winston and Tank. Every night she is smiling and having a good time!
Courtney Bailey – Lead Associate Planner
From start to finish, Courtney will help you create an event that you and your guests will never forget. She believes that Napa paints the perfect backdrop for any wedding or event. Her background in luxury hotels, managing wedding and social events (and even a bit of corporate), allows her to produce high quality events with an emphasis on every little detail. Her well rounded experience comes in handy when negotiating contracts or choosing the right vendors. For Courtney, nothing is more important than bringing her clients’ vision to life and watching the joy it brings to them on their special day.
Courtney is a self-proclaimed sparkling water connoisseur, loves exploring local restaurants and always a ‘yes’ to a glass of wine. In her spare time you can find her planning small family vacations to support her husband’s crazy endurance sports goals, park swinging with her little girl Ella, or cuddling up with her cat Nickolai.
Emma McNeilly – Associate Planner
For a girl born and raised in Wine Country, you can easily assume hospitality (just as much as a love for food and wine) has been engrained into her from an early age. Emma — charismatic and caring — has a profound love for Disney movies, romantic comedies and a good storybook ending! It was from her adoration of love that Emma found herself engulfed in the idea of weddings, and from there, her own path in events evolved!
Emma began her career in events at the age of 12 helping her father in a multitude of different local wineries and restaurants. From this young age, she was able to understand how seeing every detail through can allow someone to be fully present and be able to enjoy their happiest celebrations. Into her adult years, Emma’s career and love for events flourished. Upon graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California, she began working at a local Country Club in Moraga, where after just one year, her professionalism and commitment propelled her to the position of running and executing events throughout the Club. Emma spearheaded three day golf tournaments to corporate lunches, and finally landed on weddings. Weddings captured her heart which lead her to pursue a job at a premiere Napa resort – where she completed a minimum of 60 weddings a year!
Emma LOVES to find the smallest detail and turn it into something meaningful; a personalized escort display, curating the perfect seating chart or offering engaging guest book ideas. She loves to see the puzzle pieces of the planning process come together to make for a seamless wedding day! When Emma isn’t detailing out a wedding weekend timeline, you can find her spending time with the most important thing in her life — her immediate friends and family (which includes her three adorable dogs). Self described as a “selective foodie”, finding new restaurants and exploring craft cocktails is a fun pastime for Emma.
Megan Wright – Events and Administrative Assistant
Energetic, kind, and detail oriented – easily anyone’s first takeaways after meeting Megan. After spending some time living on a vineyard getting to know the process of wine making in Mendoza, Argentina, Megan and her husband moved back to their home-roots in “glamorous” Chico, CA, in hopes of eventually making their way to the Napa Valley region. It was here Megan began producing multiple corporate events a year with up to 500 guests in attendance and what followed shortly thereafter—Weddings!
She has a can-do-attitude that not many can match and it is with this mindset that Megan has so easily fallen into a career in events and hospitality. She has passion for all things details, design, and thrives off seeing multiple months of hard work in the planning phases coming to fruition on an event day.
When Megan is not onsite at an event or crafting a beautiful timeline, you can find her hanging with her husband and dog, enjoying at a concert or trying out a new restaurant.