There is a motel called El Bonita near V. Sattui Winery (where we got married). It's a basic motel but it's less than 5 minutes from downtown St. Helena. As far as I know, it's the cheapest lodging in the area. Our friends were pretty scattered around in terms of lodging. Some of them rented a house together and I think that worked out to be a little cheaper than getting a hotel room individually.
We held our "day-after" brunch at the Tra Vigne restaurant and it was great. It's also in St. Helena. Outside the restaurant is a nice shady courtyard. That's where we had the brunch.
I have to second the suggestion of El Bonita. It was the only place we found in the area that was reasonably priced for our guests. We were married right next door at the Harvest Inn. You should look into the Harvest Inn for your reception. It is absolutely breathtaking. It is right on the main drag, but as soon as you drive in you feel like you are in another world. The pictures online absoultely didn't do it justice.
thank you so much for your recommendations! I just got back from Napa and we found some great venues. The lodging is the hardest part, but we looked at El Bonita, and it looks like the best place for a good rate. Thanks so much for the info!
"joeyismydog," Do you know where your friends found the houses? i.e. what website or through what company?
"bumbletsc," - Do you think the Harvest Inn would be a good place for a Rehearsal Dinner? We already have a reception spot.
Try vrbo.com and vacationrentals.com. Vrbo is the biggest vacation rentals website. You can find rentals for your future vacations as well. The only thing to keep in mind is that summer is super high season so many owners require 3 or 5 or 7 nights rental. You will not find any who will be willing to rent for 1 or 2 nights during these months.