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, or by calling 866-322-wedd. You can also go to their website at

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 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 -

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

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:

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 . 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

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

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:

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

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

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

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 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: 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.