Thursday, November 29, 2007

Castle Weddings in California

Looking for a fairy-tale wedding? Don't be shy, of course you are. Of course, one woman's fairy-tale wedding might be different from another woman's fairy-tale wedding, but, for many women a fairy-tale wedding has to involve a castle. And a horse-drawn carriage would be nice, too.

But, let's face it, most castles are located in Europe, and the costs of a European wedding add up quickly. So, what's a gal to do who wants a castle wedding in California? We have a few suggestions for you.

The Enchanted Forest

The Enchanted Forest is a private estate located about fifty miles from San Diego, between San Diego and Los Angeles, and comes complete with Guinevere's Castle and Merlin's Tower, not to mention swans, ponds and a secret garden. (And, no, it's not the above photo) Not only are you able to get married in a castle, but you're in a great spot in southern California to enjoy some things which are quintessential California: the wineries of nearby Temecula, beaches which are relatively close by, and hot air ballooning over some of the prettiest scenery in Southern California.

Getting married in The Enchanted Forest is a fairy tale wedding with great photo ops as well, with a bridge, lake and waterfalls. And, if you like grand entrances (this is a fairy-tale wedding after all), you can choose a wedding package which allows you to make your entrance by a horse-drawn carriage.

The owners of the estate only allow several marriages on the castle grounds each season, so if this appeals to you, contact them as soon as possible. You can get more info by emailing them at or call 760-451-8683. I believe they allow weddings May through October, but they can give you more detailed info.

Other California Castles to Consider for Weddings:

Sleeping Beauty's Castle - Disneyland

I'm going to be perfectly honest. Getting married at an icon of childhood doesn't appeal to me. But, it certainly does appeal to a lot of women, as getting married at Disneyland is quite a popular wedding destination. And, yes, you can arrive in a horse-drawn carriage - Cinderella's Coach. If the idea of getting married at Sleeping Beauty's Castle lights your fire (see above photo), then go for it. But, do it early as the Castle is reserved months ahead. (Photo by Jessie Barber, , under a Creative Commons License, )

Castle Green - Pasadena

Is it really a castle? Well, maybe not, but it's called "Castle Green" and that's good enough for me. And, it too is popular for a wedding venue, as well as a setting for numerous film projects shooting in the Pasadena area. It was built in 1898 (old by California standards) to serve as the annex for the famous Hotel Green, and is a seven-story structure built in the Moorish Colonial and Spanish style. It's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you choose this venue you will enjoy Victorian interiors, a ballroom to accomodate 425 people standing or dancing, 220 if seated, as well as a venue close to Old Town Pasadena, which is a perfect base for out-of-town guests. If you want something smaller and cozier, you can also choose their Sunroom for you and a few guests. For more info you can email them at

"The Castle" at Ledson Winery - Sonoma County

Did you think I'd forget about Northern California? Here's another venue which isn't really a castle, but is built in the French Normandy style, and known in the area (and the world they say) as "The Castle." The 16,000 square foot building, just an hours drive from San Francisco, houses the Ledson Winery and, if you are a wine club member, available for private events such as weddings. Don't worry, if you become a wine club member you aren't signing up to drink crappy wine you ordinarily wouldn't buy. Ledson wines are fabulous! You'll be doing yourself a favor by trying this wine. Once you try it you will have it again and again. For more info on joining the wine club and reserving your space in "The Castle," go to
As you will see if you read the comment that accompanies this post, Ledson Winery no longer hosts weddings. I emailed the events person at Ledson (through their contact email on their website) to check on this, but my email came back as "udeliverable." Thank you to the commenter for bringing this to my attention.

Hearst Castle - San Simeon, CA

Almost forgot Hearst Castle. I have a separate page on weddings at Hearst Castle, along with a YouTube video at, but here's some basic information. Yes, you can have weddings at Hearst Castle. but it will it'll cost you $7,500 to reserve the Castle for 1 to 50 people for up to 3 hours, $15,000 for parties larger than 50 people or for weddings lasting longer than 3 hours.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Korean Friendship Bell - San Pedro CA

This is a photo of the Korean Friendship Bell, a location in San Pedro, California, where many couples hold their wedding ceremonies. See info below.

Cheap Los Angeles Area Wedding

Visited San Pedro over the weekend and found some inexpensive places to hold your wedding in the Los Angeles area. San Pedro is located about 20 miles south of Los Angeles, and has some spectacular oceanside locations where you can tie the knot with million-dollar views and still keep within your budget. As an added plus, San Pedro is also home to the Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center, where many major cruise ships embark on cruises to Baja and other points of interest. Great for your honeymoon!

What are some spectacular places you can get married on the cheap?

Averill Park

Great park with streams, ponds and waterfalls. There's also a gazebo and bridge perfect for ceremonies. There is a small fee, so contact them at 310-548-7671 for more information.

Pt. Fermin Park

37 landscaped acres, along with rugged bluffs, provides incredible vies of the Pacific Ocean toward Santa Catalina Island. The photo above shows the view which could be the backdrop for your wedding photos.

Korean Friendship Bell

In close proximity to Pt. Fermin Park, the bell and pavilion was donated to the people of Los Angeles in 1976 by the people of the Republic of Korea. The Bell honors veterans of the Korean War, and is also popular with wedding parties for the dramatic views.

The Destination Wedding Experts provide wedding and elopement packages at Averill Park and The Korean Friendship Bell starting at $375, which includes the Minister, marriage license, one certified copy and music at the location. Or, you can choose the Deluxe Package for $775, which includes flowers for the bride and groom, 20-photo wedding album, cake, cake topper, and cider in champagne glasses (alcohol is prohibited at the Korean Friendship Bell and Averill Park. You can call them at 310-325-3930 for more info, or visit their website at They also provide a special "wedding before cruise" package which will marry you and deliver you to your cruise ship in time for embarkation.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cheap Wedding Invitations

Whichever place you choose in California to have your wedding, you'll probably be interested in saving money on your wedding invitations. Sometimes it's the little things that add up in planning a wedding, and wedding invitations are no exception. But, you can save yourself a chunk of change by doing your wedding invitations yourself on your computer using Wedding invitation templates. There are many places online to find cheap or even free wedding invitation templates. Here are a few places you might consider:

Another alternative is to purchase an invitation template software program. One product specifically designed for wedding invitations is PrintingPress Wedding Software for wedding and shower invitations, which works with any stationery and includes fonts and graphics, and allows you to use predesigned templates or design your own template, using clipart or your own photos. This software even includes tracking, which allows you to keep track of RSVPs and gifts you receive. You can purchase this software at Amazon for $29.99. Or, you can go to, which is the software company. They also put out a line of general invitation software, which you might want for any other future invitations.

If you're not put off by sending your invitations by email, you can also go to and send invitations by email. They say they're free, though I've never used them before, so don't know if there's a catch. But, you might want to give them a try if you're into sending invitations by email.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Meaning of Wedding Traditions

Ever wonder where some of the common wedding traditions came from?

For example, why is there a "Best Man?" Someone to help plan the bachelor party? Not quite. You see, in days long ago (yeah, before you were born) it was common for the groom to kidnap his potential bride and force her to marry him. We don't do that anymore. Now we have "The Bachelor." Anyway, way back in the kidnapping days, the groom would take along the best man he could find to help him capture his bride. The groomsmen were also at the ready to help capture her and prevent her family from rescuing her.

Kidnapping the bride also led to the tradition of the honeymoon. The groom would take his new bride into hiding to prevent her family from taking her back. Presumably, by the time her family tracked her down she would already be pregnant with the groom's child.

Thank God for the ancient Greeks who brought love into the marriage equation. It was they who began the tradition of the wedding ring, as they believed the "vein of love" led directly from the third finger to the heart. So, they used wedding bands to symbolize love.

What about carrying the bride over the threshold? Back in the day it was believed that if the bride stumbled or tripped while going into the new house they would all be cursed with bad luck. So, to be on the safe side, the groom would carry her into the new house. Woe to the groom with a bad back.

Finally, what about "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe" on her wedding day.

Something old symbolizes the connection the bride has with her family and with her past. Usually the bride wears a piece of jewelry that belonged to her mother or grandmother.

Something new symbolizes the wish for good luck and prosperity in the couples' future together.

The something borrowed should be an item worn by a happy bride at her wedding. The hope is that some of the luck and happiness will rub off on the new bride.

Something blue comes from biblical times when the color blue was a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness.

Placing a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was a sign of wealth. It is also a symbol of the hope that the young couple will experience financial wealth. Today many brides substitute a penny in place of the sixpence.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wedding in Temecula

Yeah, yeah, another wedding video. But, if you're interested in a wedding in the Temecula wine country, you might be interested in this video of a wedding at Lake Oak Meadows in Temecula. If you like a grand entrance, you might like the horse and carriage which brings the bride to her groom. If you like what you see you might visit their site at

Temecula is south of Los Angeles and, though not as well known as some of the other wine regions, is quite lovely.