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

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Northern California Coast Wedding Location

Found a fabulous place on the Northern California coast for those of you looking for an intimate, beautiful location to elope just the two of you or have a larger wedding for up to 200 people.

The Sea Ranch Lodge is located on a bluff 29 miles north of Jenner, which is approximately, 3 1/2 hours drive north of San Francisco.

Your ceremony can take place in many spots surrounding the Lodge, including the a bluff overlooking a beautiful cove; Bihler’s Point with the ocean surrounding you on three sides; the Sea Ranch Chapel or a courtyard filled with flowers and old-growth trees. Their wedding packages include a wedding coordinator, officiant, photographer, and dinner in their dining room. You will, of course, want to stay in their bridal suite, which has an ocean view (as do all but one of the regular guestrooms), a fireplace, and private courtyard with your own private hot tub.

You will also be surrounded not only by the beautiful scenery, but also a vast array of activities: nearby Sonoma wineries for wine tastings, kayaking, hiking, whale watching (December through April) and three golf courses.

The Lodge itself has won numerous awards and mention by several prestigious publications. Here is just a sampling:

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004
In-Style Magazine - Wedding Edition, June 2004
Chicago Times "Best Lodging"
AAA - 3 Diamond Rating
Zagat Survey Rated Restaurant - Very good to Excellent 2004
Sunset Magazine - Feature in Wedding Edition 2004
Bon Apetit "Ultimate destination" 1998
Sonoma Business "Best romantic getaway" 1998
Best places to Kiss "Most romantic spot" 1997
San Diego Union "Best spot for a honeymoon" 1996

You can get more information about the Sea Ranch Lodge by emailing them at inquiry@searanchlodge.com

If you want an idea of the beauty of the area, we have included this short YouTube video. Enjoy.