The Road Less Traveled
Wonderous Wedding Locations Off the Beaten Path (but well worth the drive!) in Northern and Southern California.
by Jolene Rae Harrington, Director of Creative Content
Sometimes you have to make a little extra effort to get something you really want. Nothing Herculean, mind you. Not even as strenuous as your after-work spinning class. But to secure that magical location, the one the Wedding Fairies have sprinkled with pixie dust just for you? Now that may require thinking outside the box and venturing a bit beyond your usual stomping grounds. Where wedding venues are concerned, going the extra mile can lead to spectacular sites overlooked by less imaginative souls.
But you, oh Savvy Sojourner, know that the journey itself is part of the reward. Whether traversing unspoiled country roads or a traffic-free stretch of the Pacific coast on the way to your off-the-beaten-path wedding destination, you’re the one slowing down to take in a field of wildflowers, or opening the window to catch the scent of fresh-mown hay on the breeze So give yourself a mental pat on the back for choosing the road less traveled—it will take you to a celebratory setting that’s just right for you.
Come with us while we explore a dozen out-of-the way gems.
Roughly a four-hour drive from the Bay Area or a short flight from L.A. puts you in the lap of Lake Tahoe’s scenic luxury. To make the most of this truly breathtaking landscape, celebrate at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. Reminiscent of a grand alpine ski lodge, Edgewood’s timber-and-glass clubhouse rises from a small hill, while the sparkling blue water of the nation’s deepest alpine lake and the soaring peaks of the Sierra Nevadas frame the building like a living photograph. Inside, steeply vaulted wood-beamed ceilings, rock pillars draped with ferns and soaring windows embracing the fantastic views make Edgewood seem like a veritable mountain cathedral. In summer, have your ceremony on the lakeside patio; in winter, marry in front of the lofty windows of a banquet room, with the backdrop of the lake and snow-topped mountains completing the picture-perfect tableau.
The Bear Flag winery and organic farm could pass for a tiny village in the European countryside. Flourishing orchards, grapes ripening on the vines, and an abundance of flowers in bloom all contribute to a joyous, pastoral ambiance. The pale stucco walls of the main house, cottage and barn give off a rosy glow in the sunlight, and the luxuriant grounds offer a cornucopia of sites for each phase of your wedding: a grassy amphitheatre; a spacious terrace shaded by sycamore trees; or one of the many groves that perfume the air with their fruity sweetness. Or set up a tent in front of the winery for shelter from the elements. At night, the terrace is lit with paper lanterns, enhancing the romantic mood for that special “first dance.”