Monday, December 29, 2008

California Winery Wedding - Paso Robles

While researching different venues for New Years Eve events in wine country, I came across a winery that I know would be perfect for your California Winery Wedding: Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles, which is conveniently situated midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Robert Hall Winery is located on a hilltop overlooking vineyards of Syrah and Cabernet grapes, and offers several different venues on their property for private events, including ceremonies and receptions. A few outstanding places to consider for your wedding would include:
The Wine Caverns

If you're going to have your wedding at a winery, why not have it amidst the wine barrels in the Robert Hall Winery wine caverns, a 19,000 square feet structure with chandeliers and hand-painted walls? The wine caverns can accommodate 200 people with banquet-style seating. And, just for those of you freaked out by earthquakes, the wine caverns were built to withstand an 8.5 earthquake.

The Meritage Room

The Meritage Room can accommodate 150 guests for a reception, and features a hand-crafted chandelier and Mahogany doors which open up to reflecting pools.

The Garden Terrace

Perfect for an outdoor wedding, and located under a majestic oak tree, the Garden Terrace can accommodate 150 seated for a reception, and 200 for a ceremony. Have your wedding at sunset and you'll be rewarded with an awesome view of the sun setting on the beautiful vineyards.

For more information on having your California winery wedding at the Robert Hall Winery, you can contact their Events Manager, Reggie Pike, at 805-239-1616, ext. 24. Or, you can always email them at events@roberthallwinery.com

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas Time Wedding at the Christmas House - Southern California

What better place to plan a Christmas-time wedding than at the Christmas House Bed & Breakfast Inn located in Rancho Cucamonga?

The Christmas House was built in 1904, and has played host to weddings and receptions from the start, offering two lovely Victorian settings: the Parlor for weddings up to 50 people; and the Garden for weddings up to 150 people.

Parlor Weddings:

If you want a smaller, more intimate wedding, go for the Parlor, where you can make your grand entrance from the carved wood staircase, while your ceremony takes place in front of the parlor fireplace. For ceremonies and receptions up to 30 people, you have a couple of low-priced packages to choose from: a ceremony and buffet reception for $4300; or a ceremony with a cake and champagne reception for $2700.

Garden Weddings:

The garden of the Christmas House can accommodate weddings and receptions with up to 150 guests, and feature English gardens with a Carriage House, gazebo and lawn area and a quaint tree swing which makes for fun wedding photos. Of course, there's space in the courtyard for dancing.

There are a couple of Garden Wedding packages to choose from, with a ceremony and reception featuring a variety of menus starting at $9600 for up to 50 guests, or $11,100 for 100 guests. This package includes the meal, wedding cake and DJ service.

If you want something more informal, you might want the Cocktail Party Reception, which uses a combination of the gardens as well as the parlor. Prices for this package start at $7600 for 50 guests on up to $8600 for 100 guests. This package includes ceremony and reception, buffet meal and wedding cake, as well as the services of a DJ.

There are also other packages available for those who wish to utilize the 6 guest rooms at the inn, which are furnished in period antiques.

For more info, you can go to the Christmas House website at ChristmasHouseInn.com. You can also call them at 909-980-6450 or through email at contact@christmashouseinn.com

Friday, December 05, 2008

Small Wedding Locations - Northern California

Just a quick note about a couple small wedding packages for those wishing a ceremony in Northern California:

Glenelly Inn
5131 Warm Springs Road
Glen Ellen, CA
707-996-6720
glenelly@glenelly.com

The Glenelly Inn is offering a couple small wedding packages to help you tie the knot:

Marriage/Elopement Ceremony

This ceremony includes the two of you plus up to 8 guests and includes sparkling wine, wedding cake, and an officiant who will help you customize your vows. The ceremony is performed under inthe rose garden, their 300-year-old oak, or inside their common room. The cost is a very reasonable $450, plus the cost of your lodging for you and/or your guests.

Intimate Ceremony

If you're looking for a special ceremony for just the two of you, check out their Intimate Ceremony, which includes the wedding officiant, a bottle of sparkling wine, small wedding cake and a 2-night midweek stay with breakfast delivered to your door each morning. The cost for this package is $800.

Hans Fahden Winery in Calistoga
4855 Petrified Forest Rd
Calistoga, CA

Since this is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, I thought I'd share a great location for a winery wedding. The Hans Fahden Winery is located 5 minutes from downtown Calistoga. For those of you not familiar with Calistoga, it's famous for its spas and mud baths, which makes it a great place to honeymoon as well. What's also special about the Hans Fahden Winery is the special wedding sites they offer, including their volcanic ash cave for intimate weddings.

You can call the winery directly at 707-942-6760 for information regarding your wedding or elopement ceremony; or you can also go through a wedding planning company such as Enchanting Elopements, who has put together an elopement package at the Hans Fahden Winery. Their number is 800-655-3677.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Decadence Package - Avalon Hotel, Catalina Island

Have you picked a honeymoon spot yet? Let me recommend the Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island and their "Decadence Package." It's not a honeymoon special, per se, but it is a romantic package that makes a great honeymoon. And the Hotel is top notch, winner of the "Best for Romance - United States,TripAdvisor 2008 Travelers' Choice awards."

The "Decadence Package" goes for $795 plus tax per couple, and includes the following:

transportation aboard Catalina Express's high-speed fleet
one night in a balcony room
gourmet chocolates
rose petals
Champagne
a couple's 50-minute massage

Catalina Island is, of course, the "Island of Romance," and plays host to weddings and honeymoons all year round. Catalina Express, the provider of boat service for this package, offers trips to Avalon from San Pedro, Dana Point and two ports in Long Beach, downtown and at the Queen Mary.

The honeymooning couple will have a plenty to do on the island, from snorkeling to scuba diving to birding to golfing to renting bikes and exploring the island. I definitely recommend a tour on a glass-bottom boat.

For reservations to the Avalon Hotel, call (310) 510-7070 or you can email them at: kate@theavalonhotel.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pismo Beach Wedding - Great Views - Inexpensive

I visited Pismo Beach a couple weekends ago and found a really great wedding venue for a pretty reasonable price.

The Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge is located on the northern end of Pismo Beach, away from the center of town and all the tourist activity. It's also a part of Pismo Beach where you get cliffs and a more craggy ocean view - which makes for some pretty spectacular wedding photos.

Shelter Cove Lodge has two venues they rent for weddings, both with awesome views:

The Wedding Garden offers a wedding ceremonial arch, as well as seating for up to 80 guests. You can rent this venue for a two-hour wedding ceremony for $700.

The Panoramic Gazebo offers stunning ocean views, as well as standing room for up to 25 guests. you can rent this venue for a one-hour ceremony for $250. (You will have to arrange for your officiant)

You can get more particulars by emailing them at weddings@bwsheltercove.com.

Pismo Beach is really a lovely location for a wedding, not only because of the ocean views, but also because it's super close to several different wine country areas: San Luis Obispo; Arroyo Grande and, a little further drive north, Paso Robles. Be sure if you have your wedding there to pick up some bubbly from Laetitia Winery, just south on the 101 from Pismo Beach. And, definitely have dinner at Rosa's, which is just a couple miles south of the hotel.

I snapped this shot of the two different wedding venues. The wedding garden with the arch is on the left, and you can see the gazebo on your right.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wedding Chapel in Palos Verdes, California

Looking for a beautiful wedding location in Palos Verdes? Consider the Wayfarers Chapel, a church without a membership, welcoming people of all faiths.

The Chapel itself was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, and sits on 3.5 acres of gardens, offering a stunning ocean view. Visitors are treated to a forest garden, rose garden, extensive lawns and an outdoor amphitheater.

The contribution for the Chapel and wedding service is $1,800 Monday through Thursday, and $2,300 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. This contribution includes the use of the Chapel for two hours, the Chapel Minister, wedding staff, recorded music, and candles on the altar. You may also choose to hire The Chapel Musicians at an added expense.

Weddings are performed at the Chapel in 2 hour blocks Monday through Saturday on even hours from 10AM to 8PM, and from 2PM on Sunday. The Chapel seats a maximum of 100 guests. There are no receptions allowed, although they will give recommendations of places in the general vicinity of the Chapel for your reception.

The minister who will perform your service is ordained by the Swedenborgian Church. If you desire, and at your expense, your Minister, Priest or Rabbi can also participate in the service.

A reservation can be made in person or by calling 310-377-1650. For more info go to WayfarersChapel.org.

Location:

Wayfarers Chapel
5755 Palos Verdes Drive South
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

I'm Disappointed in You, California

Well, California, you really screwed up by passing Prop 8, which bans Gay Marriage in California. Marriage between consenting adults should be celebrated! As Whoopie Goldberg said today on The View: If you don't like gay marriage - don't marry a gay person!

Just because someone is gay and married does nothing to lessen your marriage. It doesn't impact mine! If it impacts yours, then your marriage is already in trouble.

I know there are passionate people on both sides of the debate. There was the same passion decades ago in many parts of America when interracial couples were not allowed to marry. Then, as now, children were used as the rallying cry. "Think about the children" they pleaded. I wonder how those people would feel now to see the child of an interracial couple as our next President Elect. If the people had been allowed to vote on it back then they would have overwhelmingly voted not to allow interracial marriages, thus preventing the "tragedy" of a Barack Obama being born.

Of course, that's why people should not vote on matters of civil rights. That's why courts have always had to step in to protect minority rights from being trampled by the majority. The majority doesn't like to share! Never has. And, as our past history of civil rights struggles has shown, the majority has often been wrong.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Haunted Wedding Venues in California

In the spirit of Halloween, here is a list of some notoriously haunted venues in the state of California. Not only are they haunted, but they all offer wedding services! Even if you have your wedding elsewhere, they all are great places to honeymoon as well.

Here's a few you might want to consider:

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA
Reservations: 800-950-7667

A favorite of Marilyn Monroe, who lived here from time to time (Cabana 246). There are those who swear they can see her image in the mirror in the lobby. FYI, the mirror used to be her personal mirror. Great place for a wedding or haunted honeymoon.


The Queen Mary
Long Beach, CA
sales@queenmary.com

Long-known as a haunted ship - now a tourist attraction and hotel. Beautiful, art deco furnishings for those who want something more than just a haunted place to stay. Available for weddings small and large.


1859 Historic National Hotel
18183 Main Street
Jamestown, CA
(209) 984-3446

A hotel built for the gold-rush town of Jamestown. While there say "hello" to the resident ghost, Flo, who, they say, usually stays upstairs in the hotel, favoring the rooms in the front of the building. Some say she's been seen floating through the walls. Hauntingly wonderful for weddings or honeymoons.


Hotel Del Coronado
1500 Orange Ave.
Coronado, CA
800-HOTELDEL

The Hotel Del Coronado has been named the "number-one wedding destination in America" by the Travel Channel, visited by such historical and entertainment figures as Babe Ruth, Madonna and ten U.S. Presidents. Oh, yeah, and it's supposedly haunted as well. Meet Kate Morgan, the resident ghost of the Hotel Del Coronado. She checked into the resort on November 25, 1892 and, as they say, "never checked out." Many have reported experiencing ghostly happenings.


MacCallum House Inn
45020 Albion Street
Mendocino, CA
800-609-0492

For your haunted wedding and reception, consider the MacCallum House, which offers extensive wedding services, in addition to an elopement package starting at $825. Who knows, you might get to meet the spirit of Donald MacCallum, who some say, still lives in Room 4, which used to be his childhood bedroom.


Queen Anne Hotel
1590 Sutter Street at Octavia
San Francisco, CA
800-227-3970

Before becoming a hotel, the Queen Anne was "once Miss Mary Lake’s School for Girls." Many people have reported ghostly chills and experiences while staying the night here. Have your wedding or reception with up to 150 people. Who knows how many ghosts may show up.


Groveland Hotel
18767 Main Street
Groveland, CA
209-962-4000

Located in the Yosemites, The Groveland Hotel was built in 1849 and claims a resident ghost, an old gold miner named Lyle. While living, Lyle lived in Room 15 for many years before crossing over in 1927. Okay, maybe he didn't "cross over." Maybe he's still there as a ghost. Some say he plays tricks on the staff and guests in or near Room 15. They can accommodate weddings of up to 150 guests in their Garden Courtyard.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buy a Used Wedding Gown - Give to Charity

Brides Against Breast Cancer's Charity Wedding Gown Sale is Coming to Los Angeles. What a great way to buy a used wedding dress and fight breast cancer at the same time! The Brides Against Breast Cancer holds these sales of new and used gowns all over the country, and now it's Los Angeles' turn!

At this sale you will find hundreds of name brand and designer wedding gowns from $99 to $799, valued up to $8,000. These gowns have been donated by manufacturers, retailers, designers and individuals. In addition, exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 are also available at a 25% to 75% savings. (While you can find great used wedding gowns, more than half the wedding dresses presented during each event are new designer gowns).

When:

Pre-Sale ($20 Admission): October 27, Noon - 4PM

General Sales (Free Admission):

Monday, October 27, 5PM to 9PM
Tuesday, October 28, Noon to 9PM
Wednesday, October 29, 10AM to 5PM

Where:

Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
2025 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA

For more information about the sale, you can go to Brides Against Breast Cancer and click on the "Click For Event Info" button.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Northern California Elopement Packages in Mendocino

Everyone's trying to save money now, even on their weddings. One great way to do that is by eloping! Here are a couple elopement packages in Mendocino County in Northern California which are set in lovely surroundings and priced reasonably!

Little River Inn
Little River, CA
1-888-INN-LOVE (1-888-466-5683)
info@littleriverinn.com

The Little River Inn is located on the rugged Mendocino Coast, 2 miles south of the village of Mendocino. All of their rooms have views of the Pacific Ocean, or you can choose to stay in a private, cliffside cottage with a fireplace and hot tub. This area of Mendocino County is so laid-back and relaxing that you might forget all the wonderful things there are to do in the area: ride the Skunk Train, visit a local gallery, sample wine at a local winery, play golf...

And, of course, have a beautiful elopement ceremony! Little River Inn offers the "Romantic Elopement Package" for those who want simplicity without sacrificing a beautiful wedding ceremony. You can exchange your vows on their private deck overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on their beach, or in their garden. This package starts at $1,550 per couple (Sunday through Thursday) and $1,750 per couple (Friday & Saturday) and includes:
  • Champagne toast, service & memory glasses
  • An hour with their favorite local photographer for a personal, one-on-two shoot
  • A small cake and cake service
  • Your choice of a bouquet and boutonniere OR a large arrangement for your room
  • A three-course dinner for two
  • Officiant
  • Breakfast in bed for two
  • A consultation with their Wedding Coordinator
This package rate does not include room charge or tax. This rate is also subject to change based on season booked. If interested, they ask that you contact Melissa at 707-962-2256 for a personal consultation. You can also go to their website at LittleRiverInn.com.


The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek
7051 North Highway One
Little River, CA
(800) 731-5525
Innkeeper@schoolhousecreek.com

Also located in Little River, The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek is the oldest resort on the Mendocino stretch of the North Coast. Close to all the great things the Mendocino coast has to offer: Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens; town of Mendocino; Anderson Valley wineries; whale watching expeditions; horseback riding on the beach or through the redwoods.

The Inn offers both formal and casual weddings located on their 8 acres of Cypress groves, lush meadows and lovely flower gardens. While you can host a wedding their for up to 150 wedding guests, you can also have an outdoor elopement ceremony in the upper meadow, at one of their private cottages or cliffside cottages. They require a 2-night minimum stay, as well as a fee of $1,000, which includes:
  • Coordinator fees
  • Minister fees
  • Small bridal bouquet
  • Small cake
  • Champagne

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Budget Wedding Venue Near Santa Cruz

Couples wanting a budget destination wedding venue in the Santa Cruz area might want to consider the Best Western Scotts Valley Inn, located just 6 miles from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. They have a special wedding package which includes:

  • Complimentary room for the bride and groom for every 8 rooms booked
  • Summer Rates of $129 for 1 King Bed or $139 for 2 Queen Beds
  • Winter Rates of $109 for 1 King Bed or $119 for 2 Queen Beds
  • Complimentary Wedding Space
  • Daily Extended Complimentary Breakfast

All you need is your wedding officiant and you're set!

Aside from offering budget accommodations and complimentary wedding space, the Best Western Scotts Valley Inn is close to so many wonderful things for you and your guests to see and do:

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - steps from Santa Cruz beach, the Boardwalk includes two National Historic Landmarks - the 1911 Looff Carousel and 1924 Giant Dipper, a giant wood-framed roller coaster.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary - where you can spend the day kayaking, hiking, whale watching, fishing, sailing, surfing, and scuba diving.

Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad - just minutes from Scotts Valley, travel by steam train up a narrow-gauge track through the Big Trees to Bear Mountain or by beach train down the scenic San Lorenzo River to the beaches of Santa Cruz.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park - home of the giant Redwood Grove. Hike, bike, go horseback riding. Discover trees that are 1,400 to 1,800 years old.

Valley Gardens Golf Course - executive, nine-hole course, located in Scotts Valley.

Contact info for Best Western Scotts Valley Inn :

Best Western Scotts Valley Inn
6020 Scott's Valley Drive
Scott's Valley, CA 95066
Phone: 831-438-6666 Fax: 831-439-8752
Email: 05443@bestwestern.com

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Affordable Wedding Veils

With the economy slumping lately (okay, it's in the toilet), saving money on your wedding is something many of you are striving for. Every little bit helps, so I found a couple affordable bridal veils you may want to check out, if you're in the market for a bridal veil.

Allure Wedding Veil

Allure Wedding Veil

$59.00

This look is classic with a finger-tip length cascading in a graceful fall. The classic cut means there are two layers to this veil, the top tier measures 30" with a 40" long bottom tier. Veil measures 72" wide. Price as shown is $73.00 in ivory with a .25" satin ribbon edge and no decoration.

Tiffany Wedding Veil

Tiffany Wedding Veil

$59.00

This single tier wedding veil in your choice of seven subtle colors gives you minimal fullness on top, but plenty of playful swing at your elbow. Embellish with your choice of edge and a pretty decoration for a look that's uniquely you. Each veil measures 108" wide, 27" long and arrives with a comb attached. Price as shown is $69.99 in diamond white with a .25" ribbon edge and no decoration.



Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Botanical Garden Wedding in Berkeley

Looking for a garden wedding in the Bay Area? Give some thought to the University of California Botanical Garden in Berkeley, which contains over 12,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world.

Established in 1890, the Garden offers several different sites for your wedding, with hourly rental rates starting at $50 an hour for the Oak Knoll location, on up to $275 an hour on Saturdays for the Conference Center and the Stephen J. Mather Redwood Grove and Amphitheatre, which can accommodate up to 130 people. Other sites of interest include The Garden of Old Roses for intimate weddings up to 30 people.

In addition to the two-hour minimum site rental fee, there are also a few required fees, such as a cleaning and damage deposit, security staff and rental monitor.

The Garden is located at 200 Centennial Drive #5045 in Berkeley. You can check availability or make reservations by contacting:

Margie Richardson,
Rental Coordinator,
510-642-3352
Fax: 510-642-5045

You can also take a virtual tour by going to: http://tour.circlepix.com/tour.htm?id=251985&refurl=

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Avila Beach Wedding Location

For those seeking out the best beach locations in California to wed, let me recommend Avila Beach, near San Luis Obispo. More specifically, the Avila Lighthouse Suites, a fabulous oceanfront hotel.

Avila Lighthouse Suites offers 54 two-room beach suites, all with private patios or balconies. And, more importantly, they have ceremony and reception packages for either intimate weddings, or larger weddings up to 120 guests.

Avila Lighthouse is situated right in the heart of the Central Coast and all the wonderful attractions it offers:

Hearst Castle: only a 40-mile drive away

Three champtionship golf courses, located from 5 to 40 miles away: Avila Beach Golf Resort; Blacklake Golf Course and Cypress Ridge golf Course

The Wine Country of the Central Coast - Edna Valley; Paso Robles .

To request wedding information from Avila Lighthouse Suites, you can contact them at weddings@avilalighthousesuites.com or call 805-627-1900 and ask for their Event Coordinator.

How beautiful is Avila Beach?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Your Wedding Reception Dance - Shake it up a bit

Dancing is an essential part of most wedding receptions. We look forward to the couple's "first dance" and the bride's special dance with her father. It's also a moment that some of your wedding guests might dread, particularly those who are shy or who are insecure with their dancing abilities. You then end up with a ballroom full of people sitting in their seats, waiting for other brave couples to start dancing first so they can blend in.

Why not liven things up a big and have dance teacher for your wedding reception? As a kind of pre-dance activity, the teacher will quickly walk people through their paces on the dance floor, perhaps teaching a bit of the waltz or, for something completely different, a little bit of the tango, before the music officially begins and dancing commences.

Having a dance teacher do a bit of teaching not only livens up the reception right from the start, but it gets people out on the dance floor who might otherwise be too self-conscious normally to get out there and let it all hang out. And practically speaking, it will likely make the wedding guests feel more confident in their skills before the "official" dancing begins.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bridal Fairs for Los Angeles in October

If you're getting married within the next year, you don't want to miss this:

"Expo Bridal Presents The Fall Annual Bridal Show Atop The Hill At Universal"

When:

October 19th, 2008 from 11Am to 4PM

Where:

Universal Hilton
555 Universal Hollywood Drive
Universal City, CA

Why Attend:

Because you'll be treated to the Gown Fashion Show where you can check out the newest Gown fashions for 2009. Also, you can shop and compare DJs, photographers, caterers, and other wedding service providers.

And, you can be entered in a bridal giveaway worth approximately $8,500 in wedding services.

For more information call 877-537-7444

But, wait, there's another one to tell you about!

That's right. On the same day in at the Fairplex in Pomona, there's another bridal fair you might want to check out. It's called the "Here Come The Brides, The Elegant Bridal Experience"

When:

October 19, 2008 from 11AM to 4PM

Where:

Fine Arts Building - Fairplex in Pomona
1101 West McKinley Avenue, Gate 1
Pomona CA

Why Attend:

Again, you'll be able to meet and compare wedding professionals serving the Inland Empire & High Desert. You'll be able to find vendors for wedding cakes, wedding favors, DJs, etc. And, there will be a bridal fashion show with all the latest bridal fashions.

How Much:

$9 at the door; $7 with pre-registration. You can go to HereComeTheBrides.net for more information and to pre-register.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mill Valley Wedding Venue on Mt. Tam

For those of you looking for a fabulous wedding venue in the Bay Area, have you considered Mill Valley? Mill Valley is located about 4 miles north of San Francisco, just over the Golden Gate Bridge, and on the eastern slopes of Mount Tamalpais.

In addition to being an "artsy" community, Mill Valley, especially as you travel up the slopes of Mt. Tam, has some of the most beautiful scenery in the Bay Area.

One such place with an out-of-this-world view is Mountain Home Inn, located at 810 Panoramic Hwy.

The Mountain Home Inn, only a 25-minute drive from the Golden Gate Bridge, is set on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, 1,000 feet above Mill Valley, nestled amongst Pines and Redwoods, with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay. Its location not only gives you wonderful views, but also an opportunity to experience the hiking and biking trails of Mt. Tam. There's nothing like a honeymoon walk through a redwood forest.

You can rent the entire Inn for your wedding and reception (can accommodate up to 70 for plated service, or up to 100 for cocktail service), or rent their Bay View Room for smaller, more intimate gatherings.

The Inn offers 10 guest-rooms and a full service restaurant, beer and wine bar.

As an added bonus, Mill Valley is also close to the Napa and Sonoma wine country areas, which makes for a nice day trip during your honeymoon stay.

For more information you can call them at 415-381-9000 or email them at innkeeper@mtnhomeinn.com.

For some more on Mill Valley:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Temecula

I came across this video of a hot-air balloon ride over Temecula, California.

I've written about Temecula Weddings before, but, for those of you unfamiliar with Temecula, it's Southern California's premier wine country destination, which makes it a great location for those couples from Los Angeles and San Diego wanting a winery wedding venue which is close to their home. (And, yes, there's always Ventura and Santa Barbara, and Santa Ynez, also fabulous wine regions in close proximity to Los Angeles).

This video highlights a hot air balloon flight over the Temecula Valley by SunRise Balloons (1-800-548-9912). The video gives you a great overhead view of Temecula. Who knows, maybe you'll want to celebrate your wedding with a hot-air balloon ride over Temecula!

SunRise Balloons offers private balloon flight which accommodate up to eight average sized adults. Every two people have their own compartment with a champagne picnic served aloft, approximately 100 professional photographs and a video clip of the launch! You can go to their site at SunriseBalloons.com or call them at 1-800-548-9912 for more information.



San Ysidro Ranch Wedding - Santa Barbara

Want to get married in the same spot Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged their vows? How about honeymoon in the same cottage used by John and Jackie Kennedy for their honeymoon?

Then you want to consider San Ysidro Ranch in the Montecito foothills, just south of Santa Barbara.

Situated on over 500 acres, San Ysidro overlooks the Channel Islands and offers superb views of the Pacific Ocean. It also boasts 41 individually decorated private cottages and suites, many with fireplaces, hot tubs on private outdoor patios, and antique furnishings.

For a real honeymoon treat, choose the Kennedy Cottage, which was used by John and Jackie Kennedy for their honeymoon in 1953. The Kennedy Cottage comes with twin master suites, each with a king bed, fireplace and private bath. But, the real plus (other than honeymooning in the same room as Jack and Jackie) is the ocean-view deck with hot tub and outdoor rain shower. Of course, if you're on a tight budget you may want to skip the Kennedy Cottage, which rents for $2995 per night. A ranch room begins at $650 per night, while a Junior Suite begins at $895 per night.

San Ysidro's event venues can accommodate from 10 to 50 guests.

You can email them for wedding information at sanysidro@rosewoodhotels.com

They're located at 900 San Ysidro Lane, Santa Barbara.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

For a Resort Wedding, Consider Newport Beach or Palm Springs

I came across this press release from April, 2008, that states that two California cities made it on the "Top 10 Resort Towns" list put out by AOLTravel. And those two cities are: Newport Beach and Palm Springs; which makes them obvious choices for your California destination wedding.

How does a city meet the criteria for inclusion on the top ten list? For starters, there has to be easy access from major and regional airports, which is really important if you're having a destination wedding with out-of-town guests. And, each resort town "offers the upscale luxury you demand, the accessibility you need, and the ability to see and be seen while you're there."

I get the "be seen" part of the quote, but not really sure what "the ability to see" is all about. See as in see celebrities? Or see as in see a beautiful place?

Oh, well, anyway, back to Newport Beach and Palm Springs.

Yes, both are places where you can find upscale luxury. What resorts in both towns would you want to consider for your destination wedding?

Newport Beach

The Balboa Bay Club
1221 West Coast Hwy
Newport Beach

Balboa Inn
105 Main St.
Newport Beach

Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach

Palm Springs

Parker Palm Springs
4200 East Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs

Riviera Resort & Spa
1600 N. Indian Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn
412 West Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs


Just FYI, I have a couple posts on the site which include Newport Beach and Palm Springs wedding locations. One is

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs and the other one is Newport Beach Weddings on Land or at Sea

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Winery Wedding in Temecula

Just a quick note here about another Temecula Valley winery venue for a wedding.

Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyard
35960 Rancho California Road
Temecula, CA

Temecula, which is easily accessible to both San Diego and Los Angeles, is a fabulous choice for those of you seeking a California winery wedding experience. For one, it's close for those of you who have guests from Southern California. And, it's just a real beautiful, romantic location, with numerous wineries available for weddings.

Here's a Google Map, for those of you unfamiliar with where Temecula is located:


View Larger Map

Anyway, Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyard is perfect for any size ceremony, boasting two outdoor wedding gazebos (perfect for more intimate ceremonies), an indoor barrel room for up to 75 guests, a wine cask room for up to 40 guests, an outdoor garden for up to 500 guests, and, my favorite, "Merlot Mesa," which is located among their 70 acres of vines, and can accommodate up to 75 guests. In addition, they have a 4,000 sq. ft. ballroom.

You can check out their pricing at WilsonCreekWinery.com, or contact them by email at info@wilsoncreekwinery.com.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Garden Wedding Location in Long Beach

Hey, do you see yourself getting married in a beautiful garden, with a pond, and maybe a footbridge to make your grand entrance? Then here's a quick note about a garden venue you might consider if looking to get married in Southern California:

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard,
Long Beach, CA

The Japanese Garden at Cal State Long Beach has hosted many an event, including weddings. There are several wedding packages to choose from, including:

Winter Garden Wedding & Commitment Ceremonies

This package is available February, March, October, November & First three weeks in December for a site-rental fee of $1895.00 ($1995 for 2009).

This includes a 2-year garden membership, a 2-hour timeslot, 1-hour consultation, 1-hour rehearsal, chairs and umbrellas and a sound system.

Saturday Morning Wedding & Light Reception Package

If you're willing to have a morning ceremony and reception from 9AM to 12PM the rental fee is $2800 ($3000 in 2009).

For all other dates and times, the rental fee for a ceremony only is $2300 ($2400 in 2009).

You can email them for more info at: jgcoordinators@csulb.edu

Gay Wedding Packages in Lake Tahoe

Thanks to one of our readers, Larry, who made a comment in my post on Fabulous Gay Wedding Venues in California, with a recommendation for a couple ministers in Lake Tahoe who welcome gay and lesbian couples (as well as straight couples). They are:

Tahoe Mountain Unions
Day & Evenings (866) 944-5444 · Local (530) 577-6030
Rev. Joshua Denniston
E-Mail: minister@tahoemountainunions.com

The Oneness of Love - Lake Tahoe

(800) 544-6193
P.O. Box 550591
Tahoe Paradise, CA 96155
*E-Mail: reverend@onenessoflove.com

Both of these companies have wedding packages you might be interested in (and yes, the packages are for both same-sex and heterosexual weddings):

Tahoe Mountain Unions

Tahoe Mountain Unions has a wedding package for $800 on Monday through Thursdays and $900 on weekends and holidays which include:

>> Photography including 80 digital images
>> 2-hour limousine ride in a Lincoln Town Car
>> Ordained wedding officiant
>> Hand-tied flowers or boutonnières
>> Music on CD
>> Champagne

You have your choice of many wonderful outdoor locations, including Emerald Bay, ski resorts or along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe. For more info you can go to TahoeMountainUnions.com

The Oneness of Love - Lake Tahoe

The Oneness of Love provides weddings packages in all the wonderful outdoor locations in and around Lake Tahoe, including some you may not have thought of, such as weddings on skis, in hot air balloons, snowmobiles, and sleigh rides. Their packages include an elopement package for $275 which includes a wedding license, minister, wedding certificate and roll of 24 35 mm exposures (cd of your photos for $25 extra). They also offer a "Gold Wedding Package" for $450 and a "Diamond Wedding Package" for $800 on Monday through Thursday and $900 on weekends.

The Diamond Wedding Package includes the following:

>> Ordained wedding officiant
>> 2-hour limousine ride in a Lincoln Town Car
>> Hand-tied flowers or boutonnières
>> Music on CD
>> Champagne
>> Photography including 80 digital images

For more info you can go to OnenessOfLove.com

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garden Wedding in the LA Area

Looking for a garden wedding venue in the Los Angeles area? Consider Occasions, El Segundo, a 1920's reception room and garden, which boasts a garden surrounded by trees, a waterfall and stream which flows into a koi pond, and an iron gazebo that screams "I do." Just FYI, if you hold your wedding at night, the gazebo is lit up with lights that give it a very fairy-tale feel.

If you choose to also have your reception at Occasions, El Segundo, you will also be treated to European Trained Chefs, a customized menu, and a hardwood dance floor. The reception room seats up to 150 guests. You will provide the alcohol, but there is no corkage fee.

They hold two weddings per day, the first scheduled from 11AM to 4PM, and the second from 6PM to 11PM. They are closed on Mondays.

They are located at 139 Richmond Street in El Segundo; and can be reached at occasionsla@aol.com, or by calling 866-322-wedd. You can also go to their website at OccasionsLA.com.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weddings at the Japanese Garden - Lake Balboa



Looking for a beautiful oasis in Southern California to tie the knot? Think Van Nuys.

Van Nuys?

That's right, Van Nuys, more specifically the Japanese Garden at Lake Balboa, which is in Van Nuys. Of course, while you're there you just feel you're in a paradise all your own.

The Japanese Garden at Lake Balboa is a 6.5 acre authentic Japanese garden which you can rent out for your wedding or other events. Your guests are free to stroll the gardens, which offer lakes, streams, reflection pools, waterfall, tea house and bridges.

Your guests will also appreciate the fact that the Japanese Garden is so accessible, close to two major freeways and lots of free parking.

The price:

Wedding with no food or drink: $750 for 3 hours.

You can email them at bse@san.lacity.org to inquire about other arrangements, such as having a lunch.

For those wishing to have their wedding photos taken there, the cost is $200 Monday through Thursday for 2 hours.

Photo by kkinjo - http://www.flickr.com/people/kinjosan/

Congrats to Del and Phyllis and Shame on you Protesters

Congratulations are in order to Del Martin, 87 and Phyllis Lyon, 83, who became the first gay couple to get married in San Francisco, at 5:01PM yesterday.

These two women have been together for over 50 years, and became the first gay couple married in 2004 in San Francisco during the brief period of time same-sex weddings were allowed in that city. That was, of course, before the courts ruled the marriages (over 4,000 of them were performed) invalid. The California Supreme court has since ruled that same-sex weddings are now legal, although a ballot measure in November could make them invalid once again.

Okay, so what really burns me is the fact that there were protesters outside City Hall in San Francisco holding nasty signs aimed at these two 80+ women. Would you really want some numb nut taunting your grandmother as she was leaving an event that was special to her? Would you really want some idiot yelling at your grandmother, telling her she was sinning? For God's sake, people, what did these two women ever do to you?

I want all you couples out there who are planning weddings to imagine having your wedding with people yelling at you as you were leaving the ceremony, holding signs derisive of your love, taunting your guests. You'd be really pissed, wouldn't you? It's not right to spoil someone's special day, no matter if they're 83 or 23, gay or straight.

Come on, folks, it was a wedding. And you weren't invited. But, you showed up anyway to shower people with your hate, like it was rice or confetti.

If you feel your marriage is that threatened by the wedding of two women who've been together over 50 years, then work on your own marriage. Strengthen it, instead of tearing someone else's down.

Wild Wedding Toppers - the Movie

Okay, dumb title. But, again, I found this video on YouTube and just thought I'd like to share it. It's pretty clever, though you don't want them at your wedding, because I really think they'd steal the show.



Just FYI, I do have a page of wedding toppers you can buy (from various vendors) at my Squidoo page at http://www.squidoo.com/wedding_cake_toppers

None of them move around the cake like this couple, but, maybe that's a good thing. You wouldn't want your cake toppers making off with your wallet and car.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Waterfall Wedding Cake - I don't know about this one

Okay, so while I was surfing around on the web I came across this video of a waterfall wedding cake. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? But, the idea of pairing water and cake just is odd to me. There may be some of you who think it's cool, but it reminds me of one of those "Got Milk" commercials. It's the one where someone ran out of milk for chocolate milk and instead used water and stirred the chocolate syrup into water. It just was... not right. What do you think? Would you like a waterfall wedding cake? Here's the video:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where Can I Find Bridal Flip-Flops?

If you're getting married in California, there's a good chance you might be one of the many couples choosing a beach wedding, or a beach-themed wedding. And, there's a chance you might be wondering, "where can I find bridal flip-flops?"

Well, depending on how casual you're wedding's going to be, you can find your bridal flip-flops anywhere - Nordstrom, Target, even Payless.

But, if you want a pair of some of the finest flip-flops in the world to adorn your bridal feet, you will want to go with the Slim Swarovski Crystal Havaianas Flip Flops. Have you not heard of Havaianas Flip-Flops? They're from Brazil and gaining quite a following, having been included in years past Academy Awards celebrity gift bags. Of course, some of those pairs are priced upwards to $1,000 because they're diamond-studded. Yours will be cheaper. Much cheaper.

Why are Havaianas so popular? It's the rubber! The secret-recipe rubber they use to make them is buttery soft.

You can check them by out by clicking on Shop Limited Edition Sandals at Havaianas

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weddings at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills

I attended a wine tasting benefit at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills over the weekend and discovered what a great place it is for events - including weddings!

For those of you not familiar with the Greystone Mansion, here's a little history: The mansion was built in 1928 for Ned Doheny and his family; Doheny a rich oil man during that time. The mansion consisted of 55 rooms in 46,054 square feet of living space. After being sold a couple of times in the 1950s, the mansion and surrounding property was sold in 1965 to the city of Beverly Hills and is now used as a park, with the grounds often rented out to weddings and filmings. In fact, many interior scenes for "There Will Be Blood" were shot at the mansion. Other movies filmed on location at the Greystone Mansion include "Rush Hour," "Ghostbusters," "The Big Lebowski," and "Indecent Proposal."

The Greystone Mansion is a beautiful location for weddings, offering many different outdoor ceremony sites including: the formal gardens, which feature a grassy lawn and cascading fountain; the Terrace, which features a view of the city and reflection pond; and the former pool area, of which I snapped the photo below:



Rental fees for weddings and other events at the Mansion begin at $292.90 per hour for residents and $371.00 per hour for non-residents, with a 2-hour minimum, with up to 100 guests. The fee increases with increased number of guests. You can find more info at:

Greystone Mansion.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Great Places for Wedding Photos in LA Area

Just a little thought here on some great spots for wedding photos in the Los Angeles area:

1. Pasadena City Hall

One of my favorites, and favorite with many locals, is the Pasadena City Hall. You may need a permit, so do check. I ran across this blog about a photo shoot at Pasadena City Hall and the photos were stunning. Take a look here:

Pasadena City Hall wedding photos

2. Korean Friendship Bell

Located in San Pedro, the Korean Friendship Bell is a popular spot for weddings, as well as wedding photographs. See more at my post: http://californiaweddings.blogspot.com/search/label/San%20Pedro%20wedding

3. Griffith Park Observatory

Many interesting spots to take great wedding photos, with great views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign.

4. Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park

Located in Northeast Pasadena, Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park is a wonderful and cost-effective place for events, as well as a spectacular place for wedding photographs. You may need a permit, so do check.

5. Descanso Gardens

Located in La Canada/Flintride, the Descanso Gardens provides many different beautiful spots for wedding photographs, including the Main Lawn, Feather Falls and Japanese Garden. Those not having their weddings at Descanso Gardens can still have their wedding photos taken there, but will have to pay a fee of $250 for 1-10 people for two hours. The price goes up with a larger number of people.

6. Whittier Narrows

Whittier Narrows is a 400-acre sanctuary of riparian woodland featuring four lakes, which makes for some very nice wedding photos. You will need a permit for wedding photos.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cool Beach Wedding Favors I Just Had to Share

You'll notice I added a little video of beach wedding favors to my left sidebar. I couldn't resist! Those palm tree favor boxes are truly adorable, and will make a great, fun addition to any beach wedding or beach-themed wedding.

Okay, so what do you put inside of them? Well, anything you want that will fit inside. You could put M&Ms (yes, with your wedding date printed on them), Jelly Belly candies, etc. The company has other beach wedding favors as well: seahorse cookies; flip-flop keychain; shell coasters; beach bucket place card holders; and on and on.

Here's a link to the "My Wedding Favors" site so you can take a look around. Truthfully, if you're at the beach in the sun you might want to stay away from any chocolate favors. But, if your wedding is inside or on a cooler day, they have plenty of chocolate favors to choose from as well. Anyway, the link is just below:

Planning a beach wedding? Find just what you're looking for! Shop My Wedding Favors for great selection and value pricing.


And, if you're interested, here's a code for 5% off:

Enter coupon code SAVE5 to receive 5% off of your order.


You know, the palm tree box wedding favor would go great with this palm tree wedding cake topper (click on the palm tree and you'll go to the merchant site for more info):

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fabulous Places for Gay Weddings in California

By now you all probably know that same-sex weddings may begin in California as early as June 17, 2008. (Update on 6/18/08: yes, indeed they have!)

Congratulations all you couples considering or who have already tied the legal knot.

There are, of course, a couple things you should know before taking that step.

1) Voters of California may overturn the California Supreme Court's decision, making your marriages invalid AGAIN.

2) If you got married in Canada, you cannot get married again in California. BUMMER.

Having gotten that out of the way, there's one other thing you now have to consider. WHERE TO GET MARRIED! That's where this blog comes in. There's a ton of places in California to get married, and I've profiled many of those places the past couple of years. Feel free to consider all these wonderful places, and consider some of the following, which are actively marketing their services to same-sex couples. Many have offered commitment ceremonies and are also able to offer legal wedding services.

San Francisco

San Francisco was the first city in California to offer legal, same-sex weddings before the California State Supreme Court declared them invalid in 2004. It only makes sense to spend your wedding dollars in the city that started it all! And, what better place than in the building that hosted all those 2004 gay weddings: San Francisco City Hall.




San Francisco City Hall is where you can go for a license, as well as a wedding ceremony. And, what a splendid place it is! With a wide, winding staircase (great for photos) and intimate nooks and crannies (also great for photos) San Francisco City Hall is a very elegant and cost effective place for a wedding ceremony. It'll cost you $89 for the license and $67 for a ceremony. Ceremonies are available Monday through Friday at 10AM, 10:30AM, and from 12:00 noon through 3PM every half hour. There is also an additional 11AM and 11:30AM ceremony on Thursdays and Fridays only. You can get more info at www.sfgov.org/countyclerk . If you've got more bucks to spend and you have up to 200 guests, you can also rent the City Hall Rotunda on Saturdays before 3PM with a special wedding package for $4,000. For more info on this package you can go to http://www.sfgov.org/site/cityhallevents_index.asp?id=26609

Other venues of note include the Palace of Fine Arts, which is located at the edge of Presidio Park. The Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Expo, and is perfect for larger-scale weddings, providing a classic Roman rotunda, and a lake complete with swans. You might also want to consider the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, a very popular place for weddings, as well as some spots in Golden Gate Park: Queen Wilhelmina's Garden, Fuchsia Garden, and the Chinese Pavilion. You can find out more about renting these sites at http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/recpark/Permits_and_Reservations/wedding_sites.pdf

Lake Tahoe:

The Lakefront Wedding Chapel in Lake Tahoe has been hosting commitment ceremonies for awhile, and now they're pleased to offer same-sex weddings when the licenses become available by the state. They say this is the only wedding chapel in Lake Tahoe that's right on the water. Their packages start at $375 for a Sunday through Friday wedding up to 6 guests, on up to a $3,000 package for a Saturday wedding for 1-10 guests, with $20 per additional guest. You can find more info at: http://www.commitmentceremonies.net/.

San Diego County:

If you're in the northern San Diego county area you might want to check out Pala Mesa Resort for your wedding ceremony and/or reception. Pala Mesa is close to the wine region of Temecula, with spectacular mountain views and rated one of the Top Ten Courses in San Diego County by Golf Digest and Zagat. It also has many different wedding packages available, including small, intimate ceremony packages starting at $500 on up to Saturday evening ceremonies at $3,000, with receptions from $80 to $110 per person. You can contact them at 800-722-4700.

You can also choose to have your ceremony at one of San Diego County or LA County beaches and parks and hire a wedding officiant to perform the ceremony. Our recommendation is Minister Deb, who performs wedding ceremonies in the San Diego and Southern California region. According to her website "Minister Deb has performed over 150 gay weddings and commitment ceremonies in San Diego and Southern California. She is the only wedding officiant in the nation catering exclusively to the gay and lesbian community." Her wedding packages start at $175, more for premium packages. You can reach Minister Deb at deb@ministerdeb.com

Remember, if you wish to have your wedding at a public beach or park you may need a permit, so do check with your local government offices.

Los Angeles Area:

One of my favorite wedding spots is the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I checked their website and they have offered commitment ceremonies in the past, so they should probably be a great place for your wedding as well. They have many different wedding packages to choose from, including chapel ceremonies as well as ceremonies on the Verandah Deck and Deck Gazebo. You can get more info by going to queenmary.com.

Calamigos Ranch in the mountains of Malibu is yet another Southern California venue that has hosted gay commitment ceremonies in the past. Reward them by hosting your wedding there! You'll be treated to lush greenery, waterfalls and lakes on this 130-acre Malibu retreat. They offer both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, accommodating from 75 to 500 guests. They can be reached at info@calamigos.com

A gay wedding officiant in the Los Angeles area you might want to consider is Rev. Ogannes John Agayan, a minister out of Granada Hills. His number is (818) 772-4552.

Orange County (Yes, Orange County!)

THIS JUST ADDED: Just read on gaytravel.about.com that the Wyndham Orange County in Costa Mesa "is offering a '50% discount to the next 50 same-sex couples to book weddings at the hotel.' (The ceremonies must take place by Dec. 31, 2008.)" Their phone number is 714-751-5100 or or 877-999-3223.

These are just a few places to get you started. Please browse through this blog and check out other locations as well. Also, I have a Squidoo page on Gay Weddings that I am going to continually add new content. I have some information on where to get your license and other venues not mentioned on this post. You can go there by clicking on Gay Weddings.

Oh, by the way: I just added a page on wedding cake toppers, where I list some that would work out well for same-sex weddings: http://www.squidoo.com/wedding_cake_toppers Just scroll down a little for the page contents and you'll see a link to "same-sex wedding cake toppers."

There's also some monogram toppers, and a wedding photo frame topper that would also work really well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bridal Show at the Queen Mary, Long Beach

Hey, here's a two-fer for you. You get to attend a bridal show, and check out one of the coolest venues for a destination wedding in Southern California. Of course, I'm talking about The Queen Mary.

I've written about weddings on the Queen Mary on this blog before:

Queen Mary Weddings

In that post I mentioned that the month of October is fun because that's the month of Halloween and The Queen Mary's "Halloween Terrorfest." Just in case you didn't know, the Queen Mary is supposedly haunted, so who knows who'll show up at your wedding when you marry aboard this fabulous ship. As long as none of them raises an objection as to why you shouldn't be joined in matrimony, you'll be okay.

Anyway, in August there will be a bridal show aboard the Queen Mary.

Here are the particulars:

When: August 17, 2008, from 11:00am to 4:00pm

Where: The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach

How Much at the door: $5

How much in advance: $1 off with coupon

In addition to vendor booths, you'll be treated to fashion shows, free hors d'oeuvres and door prizes.

Plus, it gives you a chance to check out The Queen Mary. If you love history, cruise ships and the art deco period, you'll love this ship.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Want a Reason to Elope?

Did you know that the average cost for a wedding in the U.S. is approaching $30,000? And that the average honeymoon costs over $4,500? That's making an elopement ceremony sound better and better, now doesn't it?

Granted, the thought of eloping is hard for many couples to even touch. What about family members who might feel slighted or angry that there's no big wedding to attend? Of course, maybe a big wedding is something that you've dreamed of your whole life and eloping would become a big letdown.

But, for second weddings, or weddings of older individuals, these weddings are often more conducive to a destination wedding or eloping. Maybe family is so spread out that it's too hard to decide where to hold a wedding that will please everyone. Eloping, then, care spare some feelings.

Where are good places to elope? We have quite a number of great venues in California, many of which I've spoken about in this blog. Here are eloping posts you might find interesting, which include elopement ceremonies:

http://californiaweddings.blogspot.com/2008/03/newport-beach-weddings-on-land-or-at.html

http://californiaweddings.blogspot.com/2008/03/long-beach-wedding.html

http://californiaweddings.blogspot.com/2008/02/lake-tahoe-weddings.html

http://californiaweddings.blogspot.com/2008/02/northern-california-coast-wedding.html


And, of course, you can also visit my website and learn more about eloping

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs

Sure you can go to Vegas and be married by some Elvis impersonator. And, that's nice. But, why not go for something a little more authentic. Get married where Elvis and Priscilla Presley had their honeymoon! Get married at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs!

The Hideaway is a private estate situated at the base of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains, once leased by Elvis Presley. And, it comes with a story. It seems Elvis and Priscilla were meant to be married around the pool at the estate, but their plans were thwarted by a gossip columnist, which brought hordes of media surrounding the estate. So, they slipped away and were married in Las Vegas, but came back to the estate for their honeymoon.

Now the estate is open for guided tours, as well as hosting events, such as your wedding and/or honeymoon!

Even if Elvis and Priscilla hadn't had their honeymoon at the estate, it would still be an absolutely fabulous place for a wedding. There's a diamond-shaped pool, with an area of stonework perfect for a wedding gazebo. The estate can accommodate about 180 guests around the pool.

You will also have use of the home itself if you desire an indoor wedding. And, for those of you wishing to stay for your honeymoon, you will be blessed with an awesome view of the Santa Rosa Mountains from the circular master bedroom suite, which includes a Jacuzzi.

Other amenities include a tennis court. Limousine services, a butler, cook and/or maid are available upon request.

Now, if you really want to have "The King's" honeymoon, take note. When they arrived back to the estate from getting married in Vegas, Elvis carried Priscilla over the threshold and up the stairs of the Honeymoon Hideaway singing "The Hawaiian Wedding Song". Better tell the prospective groom to start practicing.

They also provide tours of the estate Monday through Friday at 1PM for $25 per person. There are also annual events held throughout the year, including the upcoming Honeymoon Weekend May 2 through May 4th, with tours and concerts.

For more info about the Honeymoon Weekend, or having your wedding at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway, you can go to their website at ElvisHoneymoon.com or call 760-322-1192.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Win a Honeymoon to St. Croix!

Who wants to win a honeymoon on beautiful St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands?

Well, who wouldn't?

I found a sweepstakes I think you all will love. The winner receives:

..::4 Nights - 5 Days in a Luxurious Oceanfront Suite at the Carambola Beach Resort on St. Croix
..::Airfare Voucher for two ( valued at $1,500 )

..::Breakfast and lunch each day of your stay

..::Two on-site and two off-site dinners

..::One hour professional digital photography (you know, so you can make your friends jealous)

..::And, a whole bunch of other things (beach towels, champagne flutes, stuff like that)

Who can enter?

Anyone 18 or older, and who are legal residents of the U.S. Employees of the sponsor, Bonnier Corp., are excluded.

When does the sweepstakes end?

You must enter by June 23, 2008

How do I enter for this fabulous honeymoon vacation?

Okay, the official rules say you go to DestinationWeddingsMag.com and enter. However, that url just looks like one of those meaningless parked pages with nothing on it. So, I would go to their submission page at:

www.greatresortweddings.com/registertowin.html and enter there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wedding Venues in Downtown Los Angeles

Looking for some ideas for a wedding in downtown Los Angeles? Here are a few venues you might want to check out:

Dodger Stadium
1000 Elysian Park Ave
323-224-1469

Have your wedding at the Dugout Club at Dodger Stadium, close to downtown L.A. Seating for 350 inside, 2000 outside.

Los Angeles Athletic Club
451 West 7th Street
213-625-2211 ext. 3301
Go to clubweddings.com

Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer Street
323-225-2700
heritagesquare.org

A living history museum with historic homes, beautiful grounds and flower gardens; makes for lovely wedding portraits.

Cicada Restaurant
617 S. Olive St.
213-488-9488
go to cicadarestaurant.com

Wonderful Italian restaurant which hosts wedding ceremonies as well as receptions.

Hilton Checkers
535 South Grand Avenue
213-624-0000
hiltoncheckers.com

A historic Los Angeles hotel that dates back to the 1920s. Fully restored to its orginal beauty, the Hotel Checkers is the only four-diamond boutique hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Have a rooftop wedding; available for up to 175 people, or sit down dinner up to 100. Great view of the L.A. skyline.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bridesmaid Gift Bags - Not Just for the Bridesmaid

You've heard of bridesmaids gift bags? What about the Bride’s Friendship Bag? A Bride’s Friendship Bag is great spin-off on the way a bride can show appreciation to her wedding party members - maid of honor, bridesmaids and close friends - showing appreciation and thanks for the person participating in your special day.

Many of those who receive the gifts tend to keep them as a keepsake to remind them of your special day, something to look back on and think of the wonderful memories your day brought to you and your guests.

What Goes in the Friendship Bags?

You can put anything you want in your Bride’s Friendship Bag. It can be as extravagant or as small as you wish. Maybe you want to put cosmetics or something small like chocolates and a card. A bottle of red wine with your chocolates would also be good (red wine goes great with dark chocolates by the way). Or, maybe you'd like to put in a pound of coffee with some biscotti.

Whether it's a bridesmaid gift bag or a friendship bag for bridesmaids and other friends, there's nothing that says you have to give a gift to those in your wedding party. (Although, let's face it, many may be expecting at least something). But, if you do decide to give gifts, the bags are a unique way to deliver the traditional wedding favors.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Newport Beach Weddings - on land or at sea

If you've been searching for a great location for your Newport Beach wedding, guess what? You're search is over. I have a few that you're going to love so much that you will end your search today!

Well, okay, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, but, I do think I have some ideas you'll like

Newport Beach Boat Weddings

Yes, I know I've written about boat weddings in California before. But, Newport Beach is loaded with yacht companies just aching for your wedding business. They usually offer "one-stop" shopping, meaning they'll coordinate everything. You just make a few decisions on what you want, show up, say "I do," eat some, toast some and dance some, and voila, you've had a great wedding on the water outside of Newport Beach that everyone will be talking about.

There are numerous charter companies, we're going to offer you three of them.

Pacific Avalon Yacht Charters

They offer three yachts, The Royal Princess (149 max. capacity), The Ambassador (150 max. capacity) and The Majestic (400 max. capacity). They provide everything you need, and will work with your suggestions, or, if you want some ideas, they will provide those as well. Call them at (949) 673-8545 for a complimentary consultation.

Legend Charters

Get married by the ship's Captain on a sunset cruise. For more information on what they offer, email them at info@legendcharters.com

The Electric Riverboat Angela Louise
located at The Fun Zone on Balboa Peninsula
700 Edgewater Ave.
Newport Beach
949-633-5997

While the other two wedding cruises are on yachts, this one's on a riverboat. How cool is that? They offer a one-hour wedding ceremony cruise for 30-70 passengers Sunday through Friday for $999, plus $100 docking fee. Includes the wedding ceremony performed by the Riverboat Captain, and a champagne toast for the bride and groom.


Weddings on the Beach

Okay, so you don't want to go out on a boat. You want to have a beach wedding. Here's a full-service company which performs beach weddings in Newport Beach - WedToday. They offer several different elopement packages, which include:

California marriage license
Personalized Ceremony
Rose petals on the sand
5 digital wedding photos
Marriage License Certificate of Vital Record

Costs:

Full service beach wedding on-the-sand for up to 40 guests: $895
Up to 30 guests: $595
Intimate Beach Elopement package for bride and groom only: $495
Officiant only: $350

Go to californiacoastweddings.com for more information.

You can have your ceremony on public beaches (check for permits), or you can always rent a beach house or cottage and have your ceremony there. You can check beach vacation rentals by going to vacationrentals.com or vrbo.com.


Newport Beach Resort Wedding

Balboa Inn The Resort
105 Main Street, Newport Beach
Toll Free: 877.BALBOA9

Enjoy the Newport Beach view in style at the Balboa Inn The Resort, which boasts ocean-view rooms and balconies, in-room Jacuzzi tubs, Italian marble floors and bathrooms, and a private ocean-view sundeck and Jacuzzi pool.

The Balboa Inn offers two options for your wedding; the Siena Room, which accommodates 175 guests, or the Siena Grand Terrace, which gives you a panoramic ocean view.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

San Francisco Wedding Expo for April

Having a wedding in San Francisco? Then you'll definitely want to make it to the Great Bridal Expo at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco on April 13, 2008. You'll not only get to visit many different wedding vendors, but you'll also be treated to a bridal fashion show, honeymoon show, as well as have the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in prizes.

The tickets are only $7 in advance, $9 at the door. Advance tickets can be bought at the Expo's website, greatbridalexpo.com. You can also email them for information at info@greatbridalexpo.com.

The Concourse Exhibition Center is located at 620 Seventh St.

Doors for the Great Bridal Expo of San Francisco open at 12:00 noon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Long Beach Wedding

Today we're looking at weddings in Long Beach, California. There are certainly many different venues you can choose in Long Beach, as well as a public beach or park. Below are some standouts:

Hyatt Regency Long Beach
200 S Pine Avenue

What's cool about the Hyatt Regency Long Beach is their private lagoon, where you (the bride) can arrive in a gondola. Nice effect. I love gondolas.

The Hyatt Regency Long Beach hosts intimate weddings as well as larger weddings up to 1,000 guests, with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. If you're having a reception, they offer several ballrooms to choose from. They also claim their Beacon Ballroom as the only waterfront ballroom in Long Beach, with a view of the Queen Mary, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island.


The Ebell Club
290 Cerritos Ave. at Third Street
info@ebellclublb.com

The Ebell Club evokes a sleek, classy time. Built in 1924 as a private women's club, the club was renovated in 2003. They specialize in combined ceremonies and receptions. Not that most people know what this means, but, they say the Ebell Club is an example of Churrigueresque-style architecture. It features an indoor courtyard with a surrounding balcony. Nothing says grand entrance like a balcony! Well, okay, maybe a gondola (did I already mention I love gondolas?). For receptions, The Ebell Club can accommodate 150 guests for a plated sit-down dinner service and 190 for buffet service.


Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave
frontdesk@molaa.org

There's just something about having an event at a museum! I attended a birthday party once at an aquarium (similar concept) and it was absolutely fabulous. The guests were able to view exhibits after hours and celebrate a birthday at the same time. Anyway, the Museum of Latin American Art has two locations for weddings you'll love: the Balboa Studio, with a seated capacity of 350; and the Sculpture Garden, an outdoor theater with greenery, flowing water and a 30' projection screen, with a seating capacity of 375.

Looking for a Quick Long Beach Wedding?

Not really into planning a big wedding? Want a cheap, quick wedding so you can start your honeymoon right away? Then you might want to look into FNS Services, a very non-assuming tax services building at 2527 Pacific Avenue. That's right, they provide income tax services, notary public, fingerprinting, accounting and bookkeeping, real estate loans, immigration services, divorce and child support services, and yes, weddings! They have an on-site wedding chapel, as well as perform wedding services at your own location, like a public beach or park (with proper permits, of course). Here's a link to a picture of their wedding chapel: fnsservices.com Go for a public outdoor venue.

FNS Services can provide you with a marriage license, services of a non-denominational minister, and photos of your wedding. No appointment is needed, and they accommodate "same day and rush" weddings. Call them at 562-424-2020.

Wedding Officiants

In addition to FNS Services, there are many officiants in Long Beach who will go to your preferred location. Below are just a few non-denominational officants:

Affordable Wedding Minister
Matthew Linzmeier
(949) 939-4239 tel

Matthew is a recently ordained minister through Universal Life Church, and will officiate your wedding for a flat fee of $100. Matthew's also a barista at Starbucks, for all you Starbucks afficianados. Oh, and he's worked 3 years doing stand-up comedy.

A Ceremony for You
Judy Burke
(562) 799-1984 tel

Judy is a licensed non-denominational minister who can issue marriage licenses, and performs wedding ceremonies as well as vow renewals. Her prices start at $150 depending on your location.


A Ceremony of the Heart
Mary Jean Valente
maryjean@minister.com

Mary Jean has over 10 years experience performing weddings, vow renewals and Domestic Partner and Commitment Ceremonies. She is also a Second Degree Reiki Practitioner.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Diamond Carat Weight - Just a Little FYI

We're going to deviate a little here from California wedding locations and give a little info on diamond carat weight. If you've been shopping around for wedding rings, your mind is probably overflowing with things like "clarity," "cut," "color" and "carat." But, just what is diamond carat weight?

Diamond carat is a term used to describe how much the diamond weighs. A single diamond carat is equal to the weight of 200 milligrams, or .2 grams.

Diamonds are described two different ways in regards to the diamond carat. An abbreviation of “ct” is used to describe the weight of a single diamond stone while an abbreviation of “ct TW” is used when describing the total weight of an entire piece of jewelry- when it has more than one stone in place.

It's important to recognize that two stones may have the exact same carats, yet they are completely different in size and appearance. This is due to the actual density of the stone. The more dense a stone is, the more weight it has, and sometimes a smaller stone will actually weigh more than a larger stone because of density.

When selecting your diamond ring, you can choose between a single, solitaire style setting (a single diamond on the ring) and a setting that has multiple, smaller stones to make up the ring. The value of a solitaire one diamond carat will actually be more than if you buy a ring that has two diamonds that add up to one carat or greater. Larger sized diamonds are more rarely found when mining diamonds, making them more valuable and expensive than purchasing the same amount of diamond carats in smaller stones.

So how do you determine what size diamond to buy? Do you want a diamond carat of 1, or 2, or do you want a ring with multiple, smaller stones? The answer to this will depend greatly on your budget, as well as the person who will be wearing the ring.

A diamond will look larger on a slender finger, so keep that in mind when buying the ring. The actual diamond carat measurement is probably not as much of a concern as the appearance, shape, and setting of the ring. Particularly because a 1 carat diamond ring will not look half the size of a 2 diamond carat ring, it's far more important to select a ring that is pleasing to look at than it is to buy one with the most carats you can afford.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Wedding Hairstyles Tip of the Day

Whether you're going for a simple elopement or a grand wedding, you do want the wedding photos to be something you want to show off. And that does demand a certain attention to some details, like your hair.

If you're wearing a wedding dress, you’ll want to find just the right look for the type of gown that you’re wearing. You want a design that is going to complement your wedding dress without taking away from the whole overall look or appearing too overbearing.

If you have short hair you’ll want to add a volumizer to give you lift. Short hair looks great adorned with small accessories but once again remember not to make your hair the focus of your wedding look.

If you have longer hair there are more things that you can do such as keeping it loose and flowing or pinning it up with a few flowers that match the flowers that you’re going to be carrying.

No matter what style of hair that you choose make sure that you ask for a price ahead of time so that you know how much of your budget you need to set aside to have the perfect hairstyle.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Bear Lake California Weddings

Big Bear Lake is a prime destination wedding spot in Southern California due to its proximity to Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as its great weather in the summer, and snow activities in the winter.

Oh, yeah, and there's the lake, which offers a beautiful backdrop for all those wedding photos you're going to want to show off to family and friends.

Where to Get Married in Big Bear

A few wedding venues you might want to consider in Big Bear and the surrounding Big Bear Lake area include:

StarGazers Inn

Star Gazers Inn is no ordinary inn, it's also an Observatory, where you can observe the night sky in all her brilliance, and enjoy presentations by NASA and other scientists. It's also fast becoming a destination for people looking to elope or have an intimate wedding under the stars. StarGazers Inn specializes in celestial-themed wedding, elopement, and vow renewal packages. When it comes time for the honeymoon, each of StarGazers guest rooms features a queen featherbed with down bedding, gas fireplace, TV, and a deep-soak candlelit spa tub for two. StarGazers Inn is open year round. Email them for more info at: info@stargazersinn.com.

Marina Resort

The Marina Resort is located right on the water, with all rooms having lake views. You can have the Marina Resort arrange all details of your wedding, or, if you like, just book the venue and make all other plans and arrangements yourselves. All couples who get married at Marina Resort get one night's stay for no additional charge. Call them at 800-601-8722 for more details.

The Knickerbocker Mansion

The Knickerbocker Mansion is a secluded 2.5 acre mountain property located just three blocks from the village of Big Bear and four blocks to Big Bear Lake. I stayed at Knickerbocker Mansion many years ago (before the current owners took over) and really enjoyed the Mansion and its location. From what I've read the current owners have renovated beautifully and offer a great setting for a wedding.

They offer summer outdoor weddings for up to 150 people and indoor winter weddings for up to 40 people. You can get more info by emailing them at knickmail@knickerbockermansion.com.

The Inn at Fawnskin

The Inn at Fawnskin is another inn located directly on Big Bear Lake, with a garden gazebo just perfect for your elopement or more formal wedding. The Inn boasts a panoramic view of Big Bear Lake, as well as the forests surrounding Big Bear. You can get more information by emailing them at info@fawnskininn.com.

Gold Mountain Manor

You can plan an intimate ceremony or larger destination wedding, with accommodations for up to 50 guests (complete with gourmet breakfast) at Gold Mountain Manor, a 1928 historic log cabin mansion bed and breakfast, which has been featured in the books, "Best Places to Kiss" and "The Fifty Most Romantic Places in Southern California." Outside weddings can accommodate up to 75 people, while indoor weddings can accommodate up to 40 people. For more information, email them at info@goldmountainmanor.com

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lake Tahoe Weddings

Alpine lakes, waterfalls, trees... Lake Tahoe is truly a gem in Northern California (and Nevada). And a great place to elope or hold a destination wedding for friends and family.

Eloping in Lake Tahoe

If you wish to elope in a simple ceremony, you might want to call 888-wed-tahoe for the Lakefront Wedding Chapel Specials walk-in special rate of $499, which includes a wedding at one their elegant chapel locations, including an outdoor terrace; a professional video coverage of the ceremony on DVD or VHS (although they do reserve the right to substitute 12 photos for the video or DVD), a complimentary bottle of champagne and minister's fee. This package is for 6 people or less.

Another Lake Tahoe eloping package is the Emerald Bay Wedding Package. You and your future spouse can exchange vows at Emerald Bay, a private cliff edge location just 30 minutes from the Casino/hotel area. The fee is $475 and includes up to 15 guests and 36 professionally photographed photos of your wedding. Call 800-336-3585 for more information.

Weddings on a Ski Slope

The Heavenly Gondola is an 8-passenger car at the Heavenly ski Resort which takes you up a vertical 2.4 miles in over 12 minutes. One company will arrange for you to be married at the top of the Gondola, among the pines, or on the Observation Deck with a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe as your backdrop. The price isn't that bad: $599 saturday and sunday (plus $24 each for Gondola tickets for the bride, groom, minister, photographer and each guest); or $499 Monday through Friday (plus Gondola tickets).

Go for the Heavenly Ski Wedding package if you both are skiiers. Your ceremony will take place at this secluded spot overlooking Lake Tahoe, then you ski down the mountain as husband and wife. Prices: Saturday and Sunday: $750; Monday through Friday: $650. You will also have to pay for lift tickets for the bride, groom, minister and photographer. Limo service and flower package also extra. You can call 877-889-6379 for more information.

Lake Tahoe Casino Chapel Wedding

Though located across the state line into Nevada, you might want to check out Caesar's Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. They have an elegant wedding chapel and can handle elopements of just the two of you, to grander destination weddings of up to 150 people. Their indoor chapel features a Corinthian columns and ivory pews. They also offer an outdoor chapel with groomed gardens and a Roman fountain. Call 800-833-4422 for more information.

Lake Tahoe Hot Air Balloon Wedding

Want a little adventure with your Lake Tahoe wedding? How about getting married in a hot air balloon? Adventure Weddings has wedding packages that include all types of activities, including cycling, snowboarding, dog sledding and rock climbing. Call 530-544-6119 and ask for their Adventure Wedding Coordinator.

Lake Tahoe Yacht Wedding

How does a wedding ceremony or reception on a yacht just by yourselves, or with your closest friends and relatives sound? Woodwind Cruises offers several different yacht options to make your wedding day perfect, from yachts with a maximum of 16 passengers to a yacht with a maximum of 60 passengers, with rates beginning at $1135 for a 2-hour weekend day cruise. They also offer sunset cruises. If it was me, I'd go for the romantic sunset cruise.

You can let their wedding coordinator handle all the details for you, and can choose to be married by the Captain or a minister. You will have to have a Nevada or California marriage license. For an extra charge, you can also choose a catered reception, professional photography, as well as a video tape of the event. For more information, you can go to sailwoodwind.com/infoform.htm

FYI, I just created a page on Squidoo on eloping if you'd like to take a look: Eloping

Friday, February 08, 2008

Grass Valley Weddings

Grass Valley is one of those places everyone in California should visit, and a great location for a wedding. Approximately two and a half hours north-east of San Francisco, Grass Valley is located in the Sierra Foothills, at the northern end of "Gold Country."

Of all the Gold Country locations in California, I like Grass Valley the best. I just felt it was the prettiest location, and the downtown is really quaint, with just the right amount of "touristy" shops, without feeling overly touristy. Some of the Gold Country towns feel way too touristy. (I also like Sonoma, at the southern end of "Gold country" for that same reason, although Sonoma can feel a little wild at night - what's with all the screaming from cars and trucks?) There's also alot to do in the area surrounding Grass Valley, like hiking, rafting, golfing, as well as the Gold Country attraction of mine tours and gold panning (yes, you can still get some gold up there).

Grass Valley, California Wedding Locations:

Alta Sierra Country Club
11897 Tammy Way, Grass Valley, CA
(530) 273-2041

If you like golf, then having a wedding at the Alta Sierra Country Club will feel like getting married in Heaven. You can get married outside on the golf course with the mountains as your backdrop. Fall, by the way would provide a spectacular burst of autumn colors. The golf course is open to members and non-members for weddings.

Alta Sierra Biblical Gardens
16343 Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA
(530) 272-1363

The Alta Sierra Biblical Gardens is a retreat in the Sierra Nevada foothills, complete with a forest filled with fern, camellia, rhododendron, azalea, and dogwood, as well as creeks and a 90-foot waterfall. Run by a non-denominational organization, the Gardens include an outdoor chapel available for up to 150 people.

St. Joseph's Cultural Center
410 South Church St.
Downtown Grass Valley
(530) 272-4725

St. Joseph's Cultural Center is the site of St. Joseph's Hall, a wood building completed in 1894, used for weddings, receptions, concerts, and many other private events; as well as the Rose Garden, which has many intimate areas for smaller weddings, as well as a grand staircase for larger weddings. You can call for more information at the above number, or go to their website at www.saintjosephsculturalcenter.org.

Wedding Officiants in Grass Valley:

Sierra Wedding Ceremonies
Shawn Flynn
P.O. Box 2594
Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 470-0569

and

Weddings by Reverend Phillip Lanzarotta
311 Chamberlain Ave.
Auburn, CA 95604
(530) 889-0735

Go to our website for more Northern California Weddings