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.

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