While I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 30 years, I took my very first trip to Lake County only recently when I rented a house on Clearlake for a much-needed family vacation. Now that I’ve finally visited, though, I’m already starting to wonder when I can return to this peaceful region north of the wine country. Of course I managed to scout out some ideal wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner sites while there. A couple of my new favorite places:
Makiivka Estate: Owner Jan Attard’s mission to create a taste of old Europe amongst California’s vineyards has already been achieved in their lovely ranch house, but I learned there are even bigger plans for this property. Situated on a picturesque stretch of organic farmland near Lakeport, Makiivka Estate will soon boast a reflecting pool, a spa and an olive grove for outdoor ceremonies. Proceeds from events will benefit an orphanage in Makiivka, in the Ukraine. Jan refers to this location as her “passion in progress,” and I’m confident that this passion of hers will quickly become the highly sought-after wedding venue she envisions.
Terrill Cellars: If you get a thrill finding places off the beaten path, you might be just as drawn to Terrill Winery as I was. The Tuscan-style grounds include an adorable 22-seat chapel right next to their tasting room. Guests can stay in nearby Kelseyville, where we found a charming vacation rental with sunset views overlooking the entire lake.
I imagine that saying your vows in a place as quiet and natural as Clearlake can be a spiritual experience. If you’ve discovered some of your own wedding locations in this region, let me know so I can have a good excuse to go back.
Would you like to have a giraffe crash your wedding? It’s possible, and for animal lovers it would make a jaw-dropping story to tell for years to come. If you want to get wild at your wedding, consider these animal-friendly wedding locations in Southern California:
San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park: Exchange your vows while herds of giraffes, rhinos, gazelles, and oryx roam nearby, or maybe say “I do” at a lagoon surrounded by rare birds and plants. The staff at the San Diego Zoo can design your own customized wedding “habitat,” complete with animal print linens and whimsical leopard-dotted and zebra-striped cakes.
The Condor’s Nest Ranch: With pot-bellied pigs, goats and horses, The Condor’s Nest Ranch outside of San Diego won my heart with their gorgeous skyline views and serene poolside reception area. Their on-site wedding coordinator encourages animal encounters for visitors—which would be a great way to keep children entertained at a wedding!
In case you’re wondering how to express your love on Valentine’s Day: Love is chocolate. Just ask the Buddhist monks who make Intentional Chocolate™.
Infused with the intention of health and well-being by experienced meditators—some of whom trained with His Holiness the Dalai Lama—Intentional Chocolate nourishes both body and spirit.
Need Justification to Indulge?
Through rigorous scientific testing, researchers found that one ounce of Intentional Chocolate per day for three days increased subjects’ well-being, vigor and energy by an average of 67 percent and, in some cases, up to 1,000 percent. Besides being a great treat for your significant other, it’s also the perfect pick-me-up for couples exhausted from spending all their free time planning a wedding (including yourselves!), and it makes a thoughtful wedding favor.