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

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

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

      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

      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

      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

      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, or email them for info at

      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

      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.