Monday, December 07, 2009

Wedding Venue in Pacific Palisades

Just a quick note about a venue in Pacific Palisades which boasts some of the finest views of the Santa Monica Bay you'll find. The Bel-Air Bay Club on Pacific Coast Highway was built in the late 20s as a place for the "leisure class" to go hang out.

The grounds sit on 14 acres, which includes a 1/4 mile of beachfront and picturesque bluffs overlooking the ocean. The Club consists of a Lower Clubhouse and an Upper Clubhouse, which provides guests with an unobstructed view of Santa Monica Bay and Catalina Island. And that, of course, makes for some pretty spectacular wedding photos:



If you'd like to schedule an appointment to view the property, you can contact them at: mfischer@belairbayclub.com

Location and Contact Info:

Bel-Air Bay Club
16801 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, Ca.
90272310
230-4705
http://www.belairbayclub.com/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Word About Rehearsal Dinners

And, now, a word about the rehearsal dinner. A rehearsal dinner isn't mandatory. But it is an excellent way to bring together some of the wedding party and thank everyone for helping out. It also represents an opportunity to bring the parents of the bride and groom, and possibly the best man and maid of honor, together. In some cases, it will be the first time these wedding party members have even met.

No specific practices are set in stone, but there are some common elements.

  • In theory, anyone who has a part in the ceremony may be invited. But again there are no rules set in stone here. Some couples choose to open it up to include close friends. Others want to restrict the rehearsal dinner to a much more intimate setting that includes only parents and the bride and groom.
  • Printed invitations are still a good idea, though some of that activity has shifted online. This makes it easy to track who is coming and who isn't and saves on printing and mailing costs. Be sure to invite guests well in advance in either case.
  • It isn't mandatory to eat at the most expensive restaurant in town. But if you plan to have a rehearsal dinner at all, something a little nicer than the usual is appropriate. Be sure to make reservations at least a week in advance.

Do you need to have your rehearsal dinner at a restaurant? Absolutely not. There's nothing that says you can't have a more relaxed, informal rehearsal dinner at someone's home. An at-home rehearsal dinner gives you an opportunity to organize some fun games where everyone can get to know the couple better, such as a game of charades where you act out scenes from the bride or groom's life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Win a Winery Wedding in California!

Having a wedding at a winery in California tops the lists of many a couple. So, what could be better than having your wedding at a California winery? Winning it!

Deer Ridge Vineyards and TR3S Special Events Catering are giving you the opportunity to win a wedding package valued at $10,000 at the Deer Ridge Vineyards in Livermore, California. This package includes:
  • Vineyard-view ceremony site
  • Use of event center and reception facilities
  • Complete 4-Star Menu Package
  • Deer Ridge wines
  • Dining tables
  • Chairs and linens
  • Flatware and glassware
  • Flowers
The drawing will take place Dec. 19, at 3 pm at Deer Ridge Vineyards. You don't have to be present to win, but you do have to enter, which you can do by going to www.DeerRidgeVineyards.com/win-a-wedding.html.

Deer Ridge Vineyards is located on a portion of the Old Wetmore Ranch, which is the historic home of some of the oldest vineyards in California history. For weddings, they offer an outdoor patio, with an indoor dining room which can accommodate up to 128 guests. They also offer their Barrel Room for small, intimate ceremonies and receptions. The vineyards is also the recipient of the 2009 Bride's Choice Award from Wedding Wire.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Surf and Sand Wedding - Laguna Beach

I've written before about having your wedding at Surf and Sand Resort in Laguna Beach. I came across this article about the best spots for wedding photography at Surf and Sand, and thought I'd reprint it here, just in case there are those of you planning a wedding at Surf and Sand, or are looking for a place with good photo opportunities.

Photography Analysis of Laguna Beach Wedding Location - Surf and Sand Resort
By Vanessa Honda

There are a number of great locations to get stunning wedding portraits in Laguna Beach, CA. One such location is at the Surf and Sand Resort.

This location is located directly on the beach. The main ceremony location is by the swimming pool overlooking the beach. A glass wall forms the perimeter with the beach in the background. The beach is in front of the resort and is not closed off to patrons and the public during events. So, while this setup provides a wonderful ocean backdrop for the wedding ceremony, it also allows beach lovers to be a distracting part of the background for your wedding pictures.

You can resolve this issue by making sure to, or asking your photographer to make sure all pictures are taken at an angle that will keep the background persons out. If it is impossible to adjust the proper angle, ask your photographer to agree to edit those people out of the pictures.

One favorite ceremony shot for photographers and brides alike is to take a picture from above the wedding party with the beach in the background and the couple in the dead center of the picture. The picture edited with a rounding macro which will create a shot that gives the impression that the entire world is focused in on the couple during the ceremony.

The resort does have a variety of different genre of backgrounds from which you can get excellent pictures. There is, of course, the beach; however, there is also a garden with rustic trees that overhang the tiled pathway. The area contains classic wooden benches which can used to create a European country feel.

The interior of the resort is painted with bright colors. These bright colors are excellent for taking pictures bright flowers and bride maid dresses. Don't have all the pictures of details taken outdoors for this location. The bright walls and excellent natural lighting are perfect settings for flowers, cakes, dresses, and other event details.

While this location may not be for those wanting a modern angular look, it is a good option for those wanting photography which has a classy, classic beach feel.

Vanessa is a Laguna Beach Wedding Photographer who owns a business that specializes Laguna Beach Photography.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Vanessa_Honda
http://EzineArticles.com/?Photography-Analysis-of-Laguna-Beach-Wedding-Location---Surf-and-Sand-Resort&id=2068324

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Napa Valley Wedding in Calistoga

Want a Napa Valley wedding that's outside the bustle of Napa? Try Calistoga, a small town northwest of Napa, famous for it's natural hot springs, fabulous spas, and area attractions such as the Old Faithful Geyser of California, and The Petrified Forest of California, which is a forest of 3 million year old petrified redwood trees.

One spot definitely worth considering in the Calistoga area is Calistoga Ranch, located on 157 acres in a private canyon just outside the town of Calistoga. The Ranch features a stream and private lake, a private vineyard, 140 acres great for hiking, and The Bathhouse, where you can pamper yourself with spa treatments and a soak in the healing mineral waters.

They offer several interesting locations for your ceremony and reception, including The Wine Cave, and Lakeview Patio, which provides spectacular views of Lake Lommel.

They offer larger weddings as well as smaller elopement ceremonies for up to 10 guests.

Elopement packages begin at $3,395 for Monday through Thursday events and include:
  • Private Ceremony Location
  • Minister & Photographer
  • Hair & Makeup for the Bride
  • Bridal Bouquet, Boutonniere, Rose Petals
  • Sparkling Wine Toast and Passed hors d'oeuvres
  • Two-tiered Wedding Cake
  • On-site professional coordinator

Currently they are running a Wedding and Reception Special for weddings with a minimum of 20 guests. The special price is $225 per person for weddings on any Sunday through Thursday through December 31, 2009. This special wedding reception includes a 4-course, plated wedding reception dinner, complete with wine pairing from their Chef for each course.

For more information you can call them at 707-254-2800, or email them at jberanek@calistogaranch.com

Their website address is calistogaranch.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honeymoon in the Sequoias

Just found out about his special honeymoon package at the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park, just 78 miles east of Fresno, California. It's from $264 per couple and includes:
  • one night's accommodation

  • dinner for two

  • bottle of champagne with souvenir glasses

  • local chocolate truffles
The package is available September 7 to October 31, 2009.

The lodge is relatively new, having been built in 1999 as an upscale mountain resort. It features 102 rooms decorated in Mission-style furnishings, with full-service restaurant. Honeymooners in the Sequoias will be treated to giant sequoia trees, spectacular mountain peaks and romantic, star-filled night skies.

For more information about a honeymoon in the Sequoias, you can go to www.visitsequoia.com and click on Specials and Packages.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can you Find a Honeymoon on eBay?

Well, yes, you can find almost anything on eBay, including vacation packages to some very popular honeymoon spots. Some start with a minimum bid and some are "Buy it Now."

Do be sure when considering bidding on a vacation package that you do your research. Make sure the package you're considering is really a bargain. Check the website of the resort and see which has a lower price, the eBay auction or a package you purchase through the resort or other travel sites. Also, be sure to only consider auctions from reputable people. Check their feedback and read the comments. Also, make sure their verified through Square Trade; the verification should be posted on their auction.

Currently on eBay are the following auctions:

  • 5 nights at the Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa in Tahiti for 10/16/09 to 10/21/09 with a Buy it Now price of $2,819.00
  • 7-day trip for 2 to Sandals Ocho Rios in Jamaica for a Buy it Now price of $2,850.00. This trip must be taken between now and December 20, 2009
  • 8-day vacation to Moon Palace in Cancun anytime from August 23 to December 23, 2009 for a Buy it Now price of $2,137.00
  • 5-nights in a deluxe room at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios in Jamaica anytime between August 15, 2009 and December 20, 2009 for a Buy it Now price of $1,298.50
  • 6-nights at the Sandals Regency St. Lucia for the dates of November 15, 2009 through November 21, 2009 for a Buy it Now price of $1,932.14
If you want to check eBay auctions for packages, just go to the Travel category and go to the "vacation packages" subcategory. Good luck!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wedding Transportation - Wedding Carriages and Vintage Cars


Most people would rather not drive to their wedding themselves, so instead they rent limousines to get them around for the day. If you do want to rent a limo, you may want to consider having only a pickup/drop off service rather than having the driver wait through the entire event. This can end up saving you quite a bit of money.

What options do you have when choosing your weddingtransportation? Actually, more than you might imagine:
  • If you have a small wedding party or if price is a
    concern, a chauffeured Town Car is
    typically less expensive than a chauffeured limousine.

  • If you want to stick to the old standards, a
    stretch limousine is always appropriate.
    But, if you need more room you can get the larger SUV
    models that are designed as extra-long Hummers or
    Expeditions
    .

  • If you want something extra formal or classy you can
    rent a Rolls Royce.

  • If you want something less formal but still flashy, you
    may want to rent an expensive sports car or a
    vintage car. A Mustang, Cadillac
    or Lamborghini
    would create quite an
    entrance.

  • For a real fairytale wedding, nothing does it quite
    like a romantic horse drawn carriage for
    two
    . this option can be very expensive. Before
    handing over your money, thought, we recommend seeing the
    carriage for yourself in advance to make sure it lives up
    to your expectations.
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you ask the following questions:
  • Is the deposit refundable if we need to cancel for any
    reason?

  • Is gratuity included in the price?

  • Will there be any food and a bottle of champagne?
Also be sure to work out the exact times the drivers should show up and make sure they have detailed directions to all locations. And, make sure you have your transportation show up well in advance. Plan to leave a little early to avoid any possible delays. While it is expected and traditional for the bride to arrive a little tardy, you don't want to spend hours sitting in a traffic jam on your special day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wedding Reception Seating Arrangements

Just a quick note about the seating arrangements for your wedding reception. If you're angsting about who to seat where, you're not alone. This aspect of wedding planning can be a bit stressful, as people often associate their importance to you depending on where they're seated at your reception. The closer to you the more important they feel. The further away, the more they may have some hurt feelings.

Then there's also the issue of who your guests are seated next to. You certainly don't need the stress when planning all the other aspects of your wedding, but it is something that needs to be taken into account.

The traditional method of having a bridal party seated at a table at one end of the room and everybody else in rows facing them does not have to be adhered to and often there are alternatives where more people can feel like they are as important as everybody else at the reception.

Consider having the bridal party seated at a table in the middle of the reception with all your friends and family seated all round. This is one alternative that you might decide to use but the layout is entirely up to you in a manner that you find most suitable.

Rather than trying to mix up both sides of the family it might be better to keep the seating arrangements where people who are familiar with one another can be at the same tables. Once again this is just a suggestion as you might find that based on the personalities of the families and friends they might enjoy sitting with one another and get to know each other better.

Make everyone feel important and be sure to circulate whenever possible to greet and thank everybody who has attended your wedding. Often with bigger weddings it is very easy to miss talking to someone, so that is one area that you will need to pay special attention.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Win a Free Wedding in Mendocino!

Just stumbled across this contest where you can win a free wedding at the MacCallum House Inn in Mendocino in November, 2010.

How to Enter

Go to http://dreamwedding.maccallumhouse.com/sign-up/ and fill out the information, including a photo of you and your fiance'. You will provide answers to 6 bridal questions and then visitors to the MacCallum House website will vote on which couple they want to receive the free wedding. So, alert all your friends to go vote for you!

What do you Win?

Winners will receive a prize package totally $25,000, which includes:

  • Wedding Coordinator
  • Engagement Photograph
  • Invitations
  • Oceanside Ceremony
  • Limousine Services
  • Honeymoon Suite
  • Custom menu for up to 50 people
  • Exclusive rental of MacCallum House Restaurant for an evening
  • Cake
  • Flowers
  • Photography
  • DJ
  • Makeup and Hair
  • 3 Anniversary Stays at the MacCallum House

Who can Enter?

U.S. residents at least 18-years old. Only one (1) entry per couple.

When does the Contest End?

All voting will end on March 31, 2010, so get on the stick and get yourselves on the site!

For those of you not familiar with the MacCallum House Inn, it's a fabulous bed and breakfast in the village of Mendocino. Awards have included:

  • Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2007
  • 4 Kisses Award - Best Places to Kiss, 6th Edition
  • Top Ten Romantic Inns for 2009 - iloveinns.com


    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Marina del Rey Wedding Packages and Locations

    Here are a few wedding packages and locations in Marina del Rey you may want to consider for your wedding.

    FantaSea Yachts and Yacht Club
    4215 Admiralty Way
    Marina del Rey, CA
    310-827-2220

    There's nothing more romantic than getting married on a yacht! And FantaSea Yachts specializes in romantic yacht weddings for up to 400 guests. They have 3 yachts to choose from:
    • Dandeana, minimum of 75 guests at $80 per person ($110 per person on Saturday evenings and holidays
    • Regent Sea, minimum of 100 guests at $90 per person ($120 per person on Saturday evenings and holidays
    • FantaSea One, minimum of 150 guests, $100 per person ($130 per person on Saturday evenings and holidays

    All packages include (but not limited to):

    • 4-hour yacht cruise around Marina del Rey
    • Three butler-style passed hors d'oeuvres
    • Catered buffet with 2 entree selections and two salads

    Here's a photo of one of the ships, the Dandeana, at Sunset. Just beautiful.



    Shanghai Red’s
    13813 Fiji Way
    Marina del Rey, CA
    (310) 823-4522
    doc02@srcmail.com

    Shanghai Red’s is a restaurant at the far west end of Marina del Rey’s South Bay boardwalk, featuring California cuisine specializing in steaks and fresh seafood. They also have banquet facilities which can accommodate groups of 35 to 300 guests. Ceremony sites include Southbay Patio, boasting a fabulous view of the marina del Rey harbor, or the more intimate Marina Patio or cozy, garden patio.

    Burton W. Chace Park
    13650 Mindanao Way
    Marina del Rey, CA

    The grounds of Burton W. Chace Park is a great (an inexpensive) way to have a fabulous wedding overlooking beautiful Marina del Rey. There are several locations in the park to choose from: North Pergola, South Pergola or the Bridge. These locations are available for rent Monday through Saturday, 8:45am to 4:45pm.

    What's better than the great location and beautiful view? The price. The rental fee is only $40.00 for park grounds for the duration of the event. Insurance, however, is required, so do figure that into your budget. You can get insurance by contacting Municipality Insurance at 1-800-420-0555. The policy must have a $2 million aggregate. To rent the location, you can call Park Staff at 310-305-9595.

    Along with renting the outdoor areas, chairs and tables can be rented. Chairs rent for $.25 each (50 maximum), and tables for $5.00 (2 maximum). You will, of course, have to provide your own officiant.

    There are some permits that may be required. You can get more info by going to http://beaches.co.la.ca.us/BandH/Marina/ChacePkoutdoors.htm

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Arroyo Grande Wine Country Wedding



    I visited Arroyo Grande recently and found an absolutely charming venue for your wedding and/or reception.

    For those of you not familiar with Arroyo Grande, it's located in Central California wine country, inland from Pismo Beach, and just 185 miles north of Los Angeles and 247 miles south of San Francisco. It's filled with beautiful, rolling hills dotted with oaks and vineyards, and plenty of wineries to keep all your wine-loving guests quite satisfied.

    The location I stumbled upon is the Victorian Pitkin Conrow Estate, a lovely Victorian mansion which can accommodate 300 for a ceremony, and 250 for a ceremony with reception.

    The ceremony packages range from $1500 to $2500 and include:

    • 3 hours of site use
    • 1 hour rehearsal time on the Friday before the event
    • Seating is provided for 200 (additional chairs can be rented)
    • Two changing rooms in the historic bunkhouses
    • Parking for 300
    The fee for receptions are $15 per person with a $1500 minimum on Sundays and a $2500 minimum on Saturdays. Chairs for up to 200 are provided (additional chairs can be rented), as well as gift, sign-in, cake and buffet tables. You provide the officiant, as well as the DJ and bartender if desired.

    Contact Info:

    Victorian Pitkin Conrow Estate
    789 Valley Road
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    805-481-4570
    email: info@victorianwedding.net

    Tuesday, May 05, 2009

    Discount Wedding Accessories

    While you're searching for a fabulous place to have your California wedding, you might want to know what's On Sale at The Knot Wedding Shop. I've provided a link for you that will take you to the discount wedding accessories page, where you'll find savings on:
    • Personalized napkins
    • Personalized matchbooks
    • Glass coaster favors
    • Seed favors
    • Seed favor bookmarks
    • Adirondack chair place card holders (great for beach weddings, $13.95 per set of 12)
    • Personalized HERSHEY'S® Kisses
    • Palm tree place card holder
    • Sailboat place card holders
    • Disposable cameras
    • "Just Married" flip flops

    And that link is:

    On Sale at The Knot Wedding Shop

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Wedding in the Desert - Borrego Springs

    While researching wildflower viewing in Southern California, I came across Borrego Springs, a resort area which would serve as a perfect place for a desert wedding. Home to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs is only 2 hours from San Diego and 3 hours from Los Angeles.

    If you've never been to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park you're really missing out. It's the largest desert state park in the contiguous United States, boasting 750,000 acres, 2 wilderness areas and 110 miles of riding and hiking trails.

    The town of Borrego Springs is also home to many artists and their galleries, much like Santa Fe, as well as several golf courses and a few nearby Native American casinos. Borrego Springs is also a fabulous place to view the night sky. In fact, the region has been nominated as a Dark Sky Community by the International Dark Sky Association due to the absence of light pollution.

    Borrego Springs Venues for your Desert Wedding:

    Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa
    3845 Yaqui Pass Rd.
    Borrego Springs, CA
    800-824-1884

    Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa offers several sites on their property for weddings and events: The De Anza Ballroom for large gatherings; the Tennis Pavilion for events under the star-filled skies; and the Rose Garden Patio which features a gazebo and fireplace which accommodates groups of 10 to 160.

    The Palms Hotel
    2220 Hoberg Rd
    Borrego Springs, CA
    760-767-7788

    If you love desert hiking, you'll love the Palms Hotel, which offers guests access to the Palm Canyon hiking trail from the backdoor of their property. You can rent the entire property for your wedding, or have your wedding in their Rose Room, which can accommodate the two of you, plus 16 other guests.

    Borrego Valley Inn
    405 Palm Canyon Drive
    Borrego Springs, CA
    800-333-5810

    Situated on 10 acres bordering the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Borrego Valley Inn boasts naturally-landscaped grounds, featuring the untouched Colorado Desert flora and fauna. They offer their grounds for small, outdoor weddings. Call them for more details.

    Below is also a YouTube video featuring the Borrego Valley Inn, to give you an idea of their property.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Mansion Wedding in Lake Tahoe

    What could be better than getting married in Lake Tahoe? Getting married in a mansion in Lake Tahoe. The place? The Thunderbird Lodge, located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, in Incline Village, added to the National Register of Historic Places in November, 2000.

    Okay, yes, it's not technically California, but, it's Lake Tahoe. Close enough. And, it's a mansion. a 6-acre waterfront estate, to be exact.

    Built in 1936 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in November, 2000, the Thunderbird Lodge offers couples and guests alike a truly unique wedding venue:

    • 3 story waterfall
    • Over 3,000 square feet of interior space
    • Lakeside lawn
    • 2 patios
    • Gazebo with awesome lake view
    • Private sandy lagoon connected by stone pathways
    • Lighthouse Room with floor-to-ceiling windows which sits right on the water's edge
    • 1500 square foot conference room with views of the water and the Lodge's lakeside lawn

    Contact info:

    The Thunderbird Lodge
    5000 Highway 28
    Incline Village, NV 89451
    askus@thunderbirdlodge.org


    Below you'll find a map of the area.



    View Larger Map

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    Unique Orange County Wedding Locations

    Just a quick note about a few unique wedding location venues in Orange County.

    Red Horse Barn
    Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center
    18381 Goldenwest St.
    Huntington Beach, CA.
    jennifer@horseplayrentals.com

    If you're an equestrian, you'll love having your wedding at the Red Horse Barn, located next to an exclusive 10-horse stable. Their outdoor lawn area can accommodate more than 300 guests for both a ceremony and reception, and includes a large bridal suite and groom's room.

    For more info you can contact their Event Coordinator, Jennifer Kawai, at jennifer@horseplayrentals.com , or call 714-848-6565.


    The Historic Cottage at San Clemente State Beach
    San Clemente

    San Clemente State Beach is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and offers an historic cottage with a patio and catering kitchen for your wedding. Accommodating up to 150 guests, the Historic Cottage at San Clemente State Beach is a lovely location, and fairly reasonable to rent year round:


    $2300.00 weekends
    $250.00 per hour on the weekdays (4 hour minimum)
    Other fees include:


    Monitor: $79.00/hr
    Alcohol permit: $150.00

    Insurance is required. Permits accepted on a first-come, first serve basis one year in advance. To reserve the cottage you can contact the California State Parks at 949-366-8589.


    Tivoli Too!
    777 Laguna Canyon Road
    Laguna Beach, CA
    weddings@tivoli-too.com

    Tivoli Too! is a European-style courtyard set against the backdrop of the hills of Laguna Beach. Ceremonies take place in front of their cascading waterfall, where you are surrounded by lush greenery and flowers.

    Rental fees for Tivoli Too! start at $2,500 for a Saturday/Sunday morning brunch wedding for up to 50 guests, on up to $11,000 for a Saturday evening wedding for up to 100 guests. (Additional guests are extra, depending on day and time) Their wedding coordinators and event planners are available seven days a week, so email them at weddings@tivoli-too.com to get started.


    Heritage Museum of Orange County
    3101 West Harvard Street
    Santa Ana, CA

    Museums are also fun and unique places for weddings or other events, and the Heritage Museum of Orange County is no exception. Located in Santa Ana, the Museum offers the perfect spot for your garden wedding, featuring rose gardens, jasmine-laden trellises and citrus blossoms. There are several spots at the Museum you can choose for your ceremony, including the gazebo, rose garden or fountain plaza in front of the Kellog House. The folks at the Museum seem pretty relaxed, even stating on their website that you can set up whatever you like on the grounds: tents, dance floors, "even a bounce house for the kids." That's pretty laid back.

    For more information you can call them at 714-540-0404 x223 or email them at weddings@centennialmuseum.org.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Garden Weddings in the Los Angeles Area

    Gardens are always a popular venue for weddings. I wrote a post a few months ago about an LA garden wedding location, and am adding a few other venues for those of you searching for garden wedding venues in the Los Angeles Area:

    Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens
    120 South Los Angeles Street
    Los Angeles, CA
    213-253-9200

    The Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens in downtown Los Angeles has a unique garden venue for you -- a "Garden in the Sky," located on an outdoor patio on the third floor of the Hotel. The Garden in the Sky is a miniature, half-acre version of an historic 400 year-old, ten-acre garden in Tokyo, complete with lush landscape and flowing streams, with the backdrop of the Los Angeles downtown skyline. This garden venue can accommodate up to 200 guests.

    For those couples booking an event with over 100 guests, you will receive:

    • Overnight suite accommodations for the bride and groom
    • Room service
    • champagne breakfast for the bride and groom
    • Menu tasting for two

    Los Angeles County Arboretum; Botanic Garden
    301 North Baldwin Avenue
    Arcadia, CA
    arboretum.org

    The Los Angeles county Arboretum & Botanic Garden is available for rentals to wedding parties in the months of April through October. Popular wedding sites within the Garden include the Bauer Lawn with surrounding fountains, Queen Anne Cottage lawns, Rose Garden, Waterfall/Meadowbrook, and the Sunset Demonstration Garden. Note that all ceremonies and receptions begin after 5:00 p.m. Fees range from $500 for under 50 guests, up to $2,500 for 25 to 300 guests.

    Exposition Park Rose Garden
    701 State Drive
    Los Angeles, CA

    The Rose Garden has been in existence since 1928 and is operated by the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks. Closed to the public from January through mid-March, the Rose Garden is a popular garden wedding spot between April and November. The earliest start time for your wedding at the Rose Garden is 9AM; the latest start time is at 2PM. Rentals are for a 2-hour period. The fees are:

    1 to 50 people: $250.00
    51 to 200 people: $350.00
    Additional hour: $50.00

    The fees are rental fees only, and do not include other additional fees for folding chairs, banquet table, clean up, etc. For permit information you can email them at EPICC.specialevents@lacity.org.

    James Irvine Japanese Garden
    244 South San Pedro St, Suite 505
    Los Angeles, CA

    Also known as the "Garden of the Clear Stream," the James Irvine Japanese Garden, located in downtown LA, features a 170 ft. stream flowing from a waterfall. It was built in the tradition of Japanese Gardens and received the National Landscape Award from the American Association of Nurserymen in 1981. The Garden is available for weddings between the hours of 5PM and 9PM on Fridays; and Saturdays and Sundays between 10AM and 2PM and 5PM and 9PM.

    For more information email them at events@jaccc.org or call them at 213-628-2725.

    Friday, January 30, 2009

    Get Married in a Napa Valley Wine Cave or Barrel Room

    Napa Valley equals great wine. So, what better place to have a wedding in the wine country of the Napa Valley than in the Wine Cave of The Meritage Resort in Napa, or the Barrel Room of the Culinary Institute of America's Greystone campus in nearby St. Helena?

    The Meritage Resort
    875 Bordeaux Lane
    Napa, CA
    707 251-1900

    Located in the southern part of the Napa Valley, The Meritage Resort boasts the world's only spa in a wine cave, as well as the region's only private wedding chapel, Our Lady of the Grapes. Their Estate Cave also houses their Entertainment Cave, which serves as a unique venue for your wedding reception, accommodating up to 130 guests. If you have a larger wedding party, or wish your wedding to take place outdoors, you can always use their Vineyard Terrace, which overlooks their 8-acre private vineyard.

    As the name implies, the Estate Cave is located underground, built with stone, tile and woodwork.

    The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
    2555 Main Street
    St. Helena, CA

    What's even better than wine? Food and wine! And, what better place to experience the wonderful pairing of food and wine than at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. But, the food and wine's not the only thing Greystone has going for it when it comes to your wedding. The Greystone campus is also a great location to hold your hold your wedding, with awesome vineyard views and two unique ceremony venues - The Herb Terrace, with vineyard views, or the Historic Barrel Room, with walls of stone lined with 2,000-gallon wooden casks. The Herb Terrace holds 350 seated, while the Barrel Room holds 200 seated.

    For information regarding weddings at the CIA at Greystone, you can email e_wagsta@culinary.edu

    What else does the Napa Valley have going for it besides great wine? Granted, for some, that's enough. But, the Napa Valley also offers hot air ballooning, hiking, biking and shopping, as well as the hot springs and mud baths in Calistoga, which is at the northern end of Napa Valley.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Arroyo Grande Wine Country Wedding Special

    Here's another wine country location near Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco -- Arroyo Grande. If you've never been to Arroyo Grande, you should really plan a getaway to explore the historic downtown village, filled with buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as the surrounding vineyards and wineries, which produce top-notch Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs.

    One venue you might want to check out for your wedding is:

    Abella Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast
    210 Oak Street
    Arroyo Grande, California
    email: info@abellagardeninn.com

    Located just a 1/2 mile from the Historic Village of Arroyo Grande, the Abella Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast has affordable wedding ceremony packages to suit many different sizes of wedding parties, from packages for 2 - 4 guests on up to packages for 75 guests. They offer "You Do Everything" packages as well as "We do Everything" packages (minus an officiant and lodging), and "Wedding Packages" which include a minister, license and 2-night's lodging at their romantic bed & breakfast.

    Their "We Do Everything" package starts at $350 for 2 - 4 guests, on up to $1,300 for 51 - 75 guests. Their Wedding Package which includes the ceremony, minister and 2-night's lodging starts at $1,281 for 2 - 4 guests. They also offer various reception packages as well.

    If you are having a wedding elsewhere, you can also check out their Honeymoon Package which includes 2-nights in a spa and fireplace suite, as well as other romantic touches, for $698 plus tax.

    While in Arroyo Grande do check out some of the great wineries in the area. My favorites for this area are:

  • Laetitia Winery
  • Talley Vineyards
  • Saucelito Canyon Vineyards
  • Laetitia Winery puts out some excellent Chardonnay, as well as a very tasty sparkling wine, which would be perfect as a toasting sparkler for your wedding.

    For more information on having your wedding at the Abella Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast, you can email them at info@abellagardeninn.com

      Thursday, January 15, 2009

      Ranch Wedding in California, Anybody?

      Howdy Pardner! I thought you and your fiancé would be interested in a few choice ranch wedding venues in California.

      Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch
      Quincy, California

      Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch has been in operation since 1962, and is located in Quincy, north of Sacramento, fairly close to Lassen National Forest. That's right. Not much out there. Except really beautiful country and a great place for horseback riding. Which makes it a perfect place for a ranch destination wedding!

      Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch specializes in destination weddings, has accommodations for approximately 80 people, and offers loads of fun activities, such as trail rides, wagon rides, line dancing and volleyball. You can get more info by emailing them at ride@greenhornranch.com

      Taber Ranch
      Capay Valley

      Taber Ranch is located in Capay Valley, east of Sacramento. They offer ceremonies at their country altar on the lawn overlooking the vineyard and pond, or on their wedding plateau overlooking Capay Valley. And, of course, there's a barn for a barn dance. You can get more info about their wedding services by emailing kim@taberranch.com

      Highland Guest Ranch
      Philo, California

      That's right, in Philo, located east of Ukia, southeast of Mendocino, 2.5 hours from the Bay Area; about 4 hours from Sacramento. Highland Guest Ranch can host your small, intimate wedding, as well as a larger destination wedding with over 100 guests. For those of you having larger weddings, you will be required to book the entire ranch for a minimum of 16 adults for a two-night minimum. And, yes, there is a barn for a barn dance.

      There's plenty to do for guests of Highland Guest Ranch, including horseback riding, hiking or biking. They also offer yoga and tennis. The location is also ideal for those of you into wine, as it is located within the Anderson Valley appellation, which includes such fabulous wines as Roederer Estate and Husch Vineyards. Roederer Estate, for those who don't know, produces some really fine, inexpensive sparkling wines.

      For more information about Highland Guest Ranch for your California ranch wedding, you can email them at stay@highlandranch.com

      Monday, January 12, 2009

      Wedding Venue in Eureka, California

      If you're interested in a Northern California coastal wedding, you may want to put the town of Eureka on your list, along with the Carter House Inns & Restaurant.

      The Carter House Inns & Restaurant is actually four different Victorian-styled lodgings, the Carter House, Hotel Carter (a 4 Diamond AAA property), Carter Cottage and Bell Cottage. The Carter House was built in the 1980s, using plans for the original Carter House built in 1885 in San Francisco, and destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

      Aside from the romantic accommodations of The Carter House Inns, there's also their Restaurant 301, which has received the Wine Spectator's Grand Award for the last 10 years, and which Frommer's says is one of the best restaurants in Northern California. All this makes for one great place to have your wedding.

      If you plan on staying for your honeymoon, or have guests staying, you'll be pleased to know that all lodging includes:
      • full breakfast
      • wine and hors d'oeuvres each evening
      • tea and cookies by the fire each night
      If you've never ventured that far north in California, then you're really in for a treat. Eureka is blessed with its location on the Humboldt Bay, close to California's giant Redwood forests and state parks, including being 45 miles from Humboldt Redwood State Park, with its Avenue of the Giants. Aside from just enjoying the beautiful scenery nearby, you and your guests can enjoy hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, birding, or scenic drives through the redwoods.

      Two festivals of note which occur annually in Eureka include the Blues by the Bay in September and the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival in March.

      The Carter House Inns & Restaurant will work with you to plan your dream wedding. So, if you're interested, you might want to visit their site at CarterHouse.com, or email them for info at reserve@carterhouse.com

      Friday, January 09, 2009

      Bridal Show in Westlake Village near Los Angeles

      Here's a fabulous bridal show for all you Southern California brides-to-be.

      When: Sunday, January 11, 2009, from 11AM to 4PM

      Where: Hyatt Westlake, 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village

      Why Should I Go?: Billed as the "Bridal Premiere," the show features the usual vendors of bakeries, caterers, florists, photographers, etc, as well as a fashion show featuring bridal attire from David's Bridal, The Men's Wearhouse, and Friar Tuck's Tux Shop. But, this event also features fabulous prizes.

      Be sure to arrive early, because the first 100 brides-to-be to arrive will be entered in a drawing for a Hyatt Weekend Package. But, even if you're not one of the first 100 to arrive, all attending brides-to-be will have the opportunity to win a Mia Solano bridal gown. The winner will have her choice from a variety of gowns.

      The Hyatt Weekend and the bridal gown will be drawn following the second fashion show. You must be present to win.

      For more information, call 805-376-3515 or 877-994-4321 or visit BridalPremiere.com.

      Wednesday, January 07, 2009

      Where to Have Your California Winter Wedding

      Looking for some suggestions for your January, February or March wedding in California? Lucky for you California is a versitile state, with many different types of winter wedding settings available. Here are just a few, many which I've written about on this blog:

      Ocean Weddings

      Well, there's an entire coastline to choose from, all the way from the northern coastline of Eureka, with Humboldt Bay on one side and redwood forests on the other, to San Diego in Southern California. Here are 3 beach locations in between you might want to consider:

      Pacific Grove: Pacific Grove is sits just next door to the city of Monterey in the Monterey Peninsula. For couples looking for a romantic spot for your wedding, take a look at Pacific Grove. It's home to Lover's Point, which has been called "One of the top 10 most romantic places in America" by Sunset Magazine. With the beautiful lawn and cypress trees overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it's easy to see why this is such a sought-after spot for couples to tie the knot.

      Avila Beach: Avila Beach is located near San Luis Obispo, just a 40-mile drive away from Hearst Castle. It's also close to the fabulous wine country of Paso Robles and Edna Valley. If you're into golf, there are 3 championship golf courses nearby. The Avila Lighthouse Suites, a 54-suite resort, offers intimate wedding packages, as well as packages for larger weddings up to 120 guests.

      Pismo Beach: South of Avila Beach on the 101 sits Pismo Beach. I visited Pismo Beach a couple months ago and really like the location. Sure, there are pricey resorts in Pismo Beach, but you can also find some very affordable wedding venues. I wrote about one recently - Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge - which 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. The Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge offers a couple locations on their property for weddings, both with awesome ocean views: The Wedding Garden for seating up to 80 guests; and the Panoramic Gazebo with standing room for up to 25 guests.

      Winery Weddings

      The scenery and weather are not the only things which attract people to California. A couple wine regions I'll suggest to you are:

      Sonoma County: Situated jsut west of Napa Valley sits Sonoma County with its outstanding wineries and beautiful country. One winery you may consider for your wedding is the Buena Vista Winery, which is California's oldest premium winery. It's located just 5 minutes from Sonoma's Plaza Square, and is a California Historic Landmark. You can choose to hold your ceremony in their rustic stone Press House, built in 1862, or outdoors in their secluded, wooded area.

      Paso Robles: Paso Robles is known for outstanding wines, particularly their Zinfandels and Syrahs. Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is also a wonderful place for a winery wedding. A few winery wedding venues of note include: Robert Hall Winery, Zenaida Cellars and Meridian Vineyards.

      Snowy Winter Weddings

      Yes, California boasts wonderful weather and great beaches. But, California is also home to some wonderful mountain resort areas which make for great winter weddings:

      Lake Tahoe: Of course, Lake Tahoe is perfect any time of the year, but if the two of your are skiers, you have to check out the Heavenly Ski Wedding Package, which includes a wedding in a secluded spot overlooking Lake Tahoe, after which you ski down the mountain as a newly-married couple. You can call 877-889-6379 for more information.

      Big Bear Lake: Big Bear is where Southern Californians go for a quick ski trip, as it's within driving distance of Los Angeles and San Diego. One unique place you may want to consider for your Big Bear wedding is the StarGAzers Inn, which is also an observatory, offering celestial-themed weddings. They are opened year round.