Here Comes the Guide brings you expert articles and blog postings about your California wedding ceremony. You want to make it personal, creative and heartfelt and we’re here to help.
The list below gives you the option to read longer, more detailed pieces from our Articles + Ideas section or shorter, topical and timely pieces from our blog. Either way, you’ll get great info from the experts on everything related to California weddings.
The Napa/Sonoma Wine Country is famous for its wines and gorgeous scenery, but it’s also renowned as a wedding mecca. And although hosting your Big Day here can be pricey, you’ll be happy to know that the region is also home to more affordable venues. Here’s a list of places that are easier on your wallet!
The main point of any wedding is for you and your partner to get married, right? But beyond that, it may also be the biggest party you'll ever throw! And when we think of the word “party,” we think FUN.
My father is Middle Eastern, my mother hails from Louisiana’s Cajun country, and I’m proud to say that both cultures have always been an integral part of who I am. I can make hummus and shrimp gumbo pretty darn well, and I can swear in Arabic and Cajun French if the need arises. We’re also Texans, so that means we all can whip up a mean barbecue, too. When I became engaged to Jon, who has Nordic and German roots, we just sprinkled a few more ingredients into our family’s melting pot.
If you’re planning a small wedding, you may feel a little like Goldilocks as you try to find a place that fits your event “just right”. But if you’re searching in Chicago you’re in luck! The Windy City offers plenty of options for hosting an intimate wedding, from a private mansion or vintage loft to a sleek yacht or Italian restaurant. While some of the venues we’ve listed also have spaces that are great for larger groups, all of them happily accommodate cozier celebrations.
As a recent bride, I’m still addicted to all those fun wedding TV shows I watched during my wedding planning, like David Tutera’s “My Fair Wedding” and even “Bridezillas” (just to keep my own bridal ego in check!). So I’m excited about the new season of “Platinum Weddings,” and want to share this sneak peak with you.
Yes, you will save money by hiring the cheapest vendors you can find or doing things yourself. But the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” really comes into play here. Skimp on services and you could end up paying a big price anyway. More info on saving yourself some headaches.
There’s nothing like a prop to bring out a woman’s inner diva. Whether vamping it up with a feather boa or flirting coyly with a painted fan, a woman becomes positively magnetic with the addition of just the right accessory. Though a bouquet is a bride’s traditional best friend, daring damsels are reaching for parasols and umbrellas to best set off their feminine charms.
With all its gold medals and high style, the Central Coast retains its small-town friendliness, and locals have positively thrown out a red-carpet welcome to bridal couples from near and far. Recently we did our own Central Coast Wine Country investigation.
Make sure your guests know that the wedding is actually on the sand, so they can dress appropriately. This can be communicated with the invitation (included with the map/directions), on your wedding website and through word-of-mouth.
9 Locations Where You Can Tie The Knot On The Sand!
by Jolene Rae Harrington, Director of Creative Content
As a born-and-raised California girl, I knew one thing for sure—when I got married, it would be on the beach. Not next to the beach, not overlooking the beach or on an ocean view terrace, but actually on the sand.
Neither my fiancé nor I are at all religious despite our upbringings, though we do share a broad-based spirituality. Our families are much more traditional, and might be offended if our wedding ceremony is entirely secular. Is there a way to honor the belief systems of our parents without being hypocritical?—Pamela G., Vacaville
Read our experts’ answer.
Palm Springs is HOT and we're not talking about the temperature. The Palm Springs of the new millennium is young, chic, and a great place to party. Here are some of our own suggestions for local activities and “can’t miss” Palm Springs ceremony and reception locations.
Estate wineries, golf courses, day spas, new hotels and historic downtown areas exert an unquestionable appeal in the Tri-Valley area. We're going to take you on a quick tour of some the Other Wine Country's best wedding and special event locations.
You no longer have to wrestle with your conscience to have a celebration that is both beautiful and "green"— here's how.
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:
Through the front door swooped the lovely staff from Tarpy’s Roadhouse, there to make our dinner. But, more than that, they took care of us. They made us tea, they served us in front of the TV so we could watch Glee and they whipped up fantastic, comforting food: a salad with apples, pecans and gorgonzola, steak and garlic mashed potatoes, Chilean Sea Bass with a mango relish and, finally, strawberry shortcake—yum!!!
We dined in the Lake Room upstairs, which extends over the lake and has views on three sides plus a fireplace and it’s own bar. This room, as well as the Gondola Room on the opposite side of the restaurant, is a charming space for a rehearsal dinner, reception or other kind of private party.
I recently visited Ca’ del Sole Ristorante for Here Comes The Guide, and I have to say: If you’re looking for a great venue for wedding rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions and bridal showers, this North Hollywood restaurant should be on the list:
For a love note ceremony, the bride and groom both write a good old fashioned love letter to each other on their wedding day, expressing in detail how they feel about their relationship. They’re not allowed to see the other’s letters or show them to anyone else. The letters are then sealed and given to the officiant at the ceremony, who locks them in a box with a bottle of good wine, creating a time capsule and emergency wedding kit in one. If the bride and groom ever feel that the marriage is in jeopardy, they’ll open the box, drink the wine, and read the letters together.
The Dream Inn, a Santa Cruz landmark, has just reopened after a fantastic retro-chic makeover—and their stylish new oceanview banquet space is so ready for primetime.
I spent my 4th of July at The Carneros Inn in Napa for the wedding of Christy & Christian. It was such a treat to be a part of this event. Not only did I get to go to one of my favorite places in Wine Country but I got to witness a truly beautiful wedding. Martha Stewart eat your heart out!
It would be great if you could turn your entire wedding wish list into reality, but in this tough economic climate it’s not always easy to do. So rather than trying to get everything perfect, couples are striving for a more realistic goal: making just one detail of their wedding so memorable that guests will be talking about it for years to come. I like to call this the “wow” factor.