Here Comes the Guide brings you expert articles and blog postings about California weddings.
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!
Planning a wedding on the Maryland side of the DC Metro area? You’ll discover a wealth of sites full of history and character, including contemporary architectural masterpieces and a fairytale hilltop castle. Check out this selection of unique Maryland venues—and don’t be surprised if you become smitten with more than one of them!
What could be more memorable and romantic than a winery or vineyard wedding? And with Texas now the fastest-growing wine region in the country, you’ll have your choice of visually stunning locales, each with its own charms and personality.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale has so much to offer when it comes to planning an intimate wedding—wonderful hotels, fantastic dining, secluded beaches, and an overall feel that's a bit more serene than its bustling neighbors.
Planning a South Florida wedding? The upscale, picturesque barrier island community of Golden Beach, and its vibrant neighbor, Hollywood, are definitely worth considering. The two cities are easily accessible from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, situated between two major airports, and minutes away from the area's most popular attractions.
With its beautifully preserved Art Deco buildings, pristine beaches, and ultra-hot nightlife, South Beach is an ideal wedding spot—whether your guests are traveling from afar, or just driving in from the next county.
Want to have a fantastic destination wedding but don’t want to learn a foreign language or take a 12-hour plane ride to get there? No problem—some of the best destination wedding venues are right here in the U.S.!
Patina Catering is all about celebrations. Every wedding or special event is customized to reflect your individual personality and style, thanks to a world-class team of experts.
If you're dreaming of an outdoor wedding among blossoms, vines, and shade trees, Georgia is a great place to get married. Thanks to its temperate weather and a Southern knack for making all things beautiful, the Peach State is home to some of the country's most glorious gardens.
Luxury comes in many forms, and these downtown Chicago hotels showcase them all. From gold leaf detailing and crystal chandeliers to hand-painted ceilings and rich, wood paneling, the event spaces in the following venues are both stunning and unique. Add exceptional services to the mix (think in-room spa treatments, afternoon tea and customized everything!) as well as plush accommodations and you’ve got all the elements for an unforgettable upscale celebration.
If an "outside the box" celebration is on your list of must-haves, check out the following places. You’ll find a yacht, museums, soaring urban towers and a zoo among this selection of Tennessee’s unique and inspiring wedding venues.
If there's one thing Texans know how to do, it's throw a great party. (Well, that, and barbecue!) The Houston area, in particular, is home to some of the Lone Star State's most incredible wedding venues. From simple rural charm to Old World elegance, you'll find something to love among these awesome event spaces.
With its prime location directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Arlington is a convenient place for a wedding, as well as a great home base for exploring the capitol. If you’re planning to host your celebration in this historic city, here are a few venues to consider.
The romance of a garden wedding is something everyone can appreciate. Who isn’t captivated by a gorgeous landscape with flowers, trees, fountains, manicured lawns and meandering paths? You’ll find all of those things and more among New Jersey’s garden wedding venues. Here are 10 that are well worth checking out.
Intimate weddings give Virginia’s classic Southern hospitality a chance to truly shine. The state’s perfect mix of bustling cities and rural countryside offers a wide variety of choices to match any couple’s style. As the following venues prove, a shorter guest list doesn’t mean having to compromise your vision for a fabulous day.
Make it clear that this is your wedding, yet you also want to make your families’ customs a part of your day. If they’re not 100% happy with your choices, don’t sweat it. The important thing is you tried, and they’ll probably come around once they see the awesome party you’ve put together.
Get married in the country, and you’re likely to be surrounded by open sky, mountain vistas, hay bales, and maybe even a weathered red tractor. If you want to tie the knot on a farm or party in a barn, pay a visit to these Northern Virginia wedding venues.
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.
Virginia is home to a wide range of exceptional wedding venues, from botanical gardens and historic landmarks to luxury resorts and fabulous farms. We’ve selected a dozen places that showcase the state’s wealth of event locations, and you just might want to check them ALL out!
You don’t have to go to a faraway tropical shore or exotic island to channel your inner beachcomber. If you crave the sand, sun and sea, you can get all that and so much more right in beautiful Southern California. From glamorous resorts to quaint waterfront hotels, here’s our pick of 9 beachy destinations for a romantic getaway:
Some of Texas’ most beautiful waterfront wedding venues aren’t on the Gulf coast—they’re on Lake Travis! Just 20 minutes from Austin, the lake and its surrounding area offer a natural environment with woods, hills, and prairie land, not to mention plenty of outdoor recreation options (fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, camping, and zip lining). Host your wedding at any of these Austin waterfront venues, and you can easily turn your celebration into a vacation!
Think about it: rehearsal dinners include a high concentration of people you love who have gathered in your honor. So why not relax and let your hair down? With very little effort, you can assemble a pre-wedding event that provides some much-needed calm before the busy storm of your wedding weekend. Learn how to make the most of your rehearsal dinner.
It makes sense that a city as rich in history and culture as Miami would have some truly amazing places to celebrate. Want to get married at a private estate or on a beach? Maybe a historic Spanish Monastery is more your style… Here is a selection of unique Miami wedding venues, each one with something special to offer.
Austin’s a great place for an outdoor wedding. It offers a variety of venues and settings, and whether you celebrate at a Victorian Mansion, a resort, or a Sculpture Garden and Museum, nature will enhance your event.
Austin gets high rankings for so many things: its outdoor attractions (parks, lakes and trails), fine restaurants, support of the arts, and overall quality of life. After checking out the city’s wedding venues, we’d have to say it’s a great place to get married, too. Here’s a selection of some of Austin’s best spots to tie the knot.
If you’re getting married in New Jersey, you have your pick of an incredible range of wedding sites: From private estates and country clubs to historic landmarks and amazing museums, the state boasts just about every type of event location you can think of. To give you an idea of what’s available, we’ve put together a little “tasting menu”—10 hand-selected places that we love, each one from a different venue category.
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.
What makes a place “romantic” is different for every bride. To some, it’s a rustic barn or country estate…to others it’s a seaside resort or historic mansion with Old World charm. What do you envision? Here’s a peek at 10 of the country’s most romantic wedding venues.
Connecticut’s coastline makes an irresistible backdrop for events. Each of these waterfront wedding venues has its own style, but all of them possess the unique quality that being on the water bestows.
Sparkling fountains, waterfalls and reflecting ponds…acres of blooming rose bushes…quaint bridges and graceful statuary—these are just some of the things that make gardens so irresistible. If a romantic outdoor celebration is what you have in mind, here are a few of the best garden wedding venues from coast to coast.
With so many charming places to get married in Connecticut, it’s hard to choose favorites! Offering a mix of options that include wineries, historic buildings, a resort and a farm, here are 10 of the state’s best wedding venues in no particular order.
Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary place to host your wedding? From a lakeside villa to a funky, fun restaurant with world-class comfort food, Austin is home to quite a few unique venues. Here are just a few of them to explore!
If you have your heart set on getting married in the great outdoors, then you’ll want to check out Washington’s great outdoor wedding venues! There are so many options to choose from: You can celebrate on the water, overlooking the water, in a garden, on a ranch or farm…. We promise you: At all the venues described below, Mother Nature is definitely front and center.
Chicago is fortunate to have a wealth of outdoor wedding venues. Want to get married in a gorgeous garden? On a yacht? At a historic private estate? Here are just a few of the al fresco ceremony and reception options you’ll find in and around the Windy City.
The Hill Country surrounding Austin may be known for its gorgeous scenery and thriving wine industry, but it’s also a mecca for rustic weddings. Whether you’re planning a down-home celebration with a casual barbecue or a cowgirl-chic bash with a silver-and-crystal reception, you’ll find the natural beauty of the region on display at all of these venues.
Elegant, romantic and very photogenic, Austin’s mansions are popular wedding venues for good reason. There’s definitely something special about saying “I do” beneath a 100-year-old oak or sipping champagne on a shady veranda. Host your celebration at one of these historic places and you and your guests will be transported back to a more genteel time.
There are so many ways to get married al fresco, and Maryland’s outdoor wedding venues run the gamut. From waterfront hotels and museums to mansions, farms and yachts, this state is blessed with a multitude of open-air options. Here are a few you might want to check out!
If you want to get married in a setting that’s a bit more relaxed than Chicago proper but still close to the city, check out these wedding venues in the West Chicago suburbs. See our full list of West Chicago wedding locations…or, expand your search to the entire Chicago area!
With its prime oceanfront location, historic Art Deco district, trendy South Beach nightlife and multicultural flavors, Miami is a premier wedding destination as well as a top vacation hotspot. This city is truly a great choice if you want to have a beach ceremony, and here’s a list of some of the amazing places where you can not only say “I do” on the sand but also host an incredible reception.
If you want your wedding to have a taste of the tropics, head for Fort Lauderdale. Not only will you find pristine beaches, swaying palm trees and nonstop sun, the town boasts an average temperature of 77 blissful degrees year-round! Honeymooning from here is a snap, too, because the city’s Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise-ship ports in the world. But before you dash off to the Caribbean, Mexico or another destination, consider spending some quality time with your new spouse at one of the following fabulous Fort Lauderdale wedding venues where you can tie the knot and have an amazing vacation.
Spectacular during the day and positively electric at night, the New York City skyline is famously photogenic. So why not make it part of your own wedding—not to mention your wedding album! If you’re looking for a place that will bring New York cityscape views to your celebration, here are some venues to check out.
Want to host your big day in a historic ballroom? Perhaps you’re leaning toward industrial chic…or maybe you’ve got your heart set on a gorgeous garden. If it’s an out-of-the-ordinary place you have in mind, Portland is home to some truly unique wedding venues. Here are just a few for your exploring pleasure…
Established in 1843, Portland has a rich past that’s been beautifully preserved in a variety of unique historic buildings. Fortunately for us, many of these architectural gems now host weddings and other special events. And whether you’re a fan of Victorian splendor, industrial chic or European flair, each of the following venues offers an opportunity to step back in time.
Seattle is famous for many things—the Space Needle, coffee (Starbucks originated here!), the movie Sleepless in Seattle, and Pike Place Market to name a few. But this vibrant port city is also a watery wonderland, with up-close views of Puget Sound, Elliott Bay, and Lake Washington. If you’d like some gorgeous liquid scenery to be part of your celebration, check out these popular Seattle waterfront wedding venues.
Seattle has so much more going for it than the Space Needle—especially when it comes to unique wedding venues. If you’re looking for an interesting place to tie the knot (and host a great party!), consider these out-of-the-ordinary locations.
What makes an event venue special? It could be any number of things, like a spectacular view, remarkable architecture, gorgeous gardens or topnotch cuisine. Northern New Jersey happens to have a selection of unique wedding locations, all of which offer one or more elements that make them exceptional. Check them out—you may discover one that fits your wedding vision to a T.
Who knew that Northern New Jersey is home to so many historic—and amazing—wedding venues? Each of the locations listed below comes with an interesting (or even notorious!) past, along with spectacular architecture and equally stunning event spaces. If you truly want a fairy-tale Big Day, visit any or all of these fabulous places. Hey, when your choices include mansions, a castle and a château you can’t go wrong.
Planning a rehearsal dinner in the DC Metro Area? The DMV provides a wealth of venue options! Want to dine amidst historic surroundings? In an elegant hotel? On the water? These venues offer some interesting choices.
There’s a reason so many couples opt to tie the knot in Upstate New York. When you celebrate in the Catskills, you’re surrounded by Mother Nature in a setting that’s tranquil, beautiful, and about as “un-city” as you can get. Here are some Catskills wedding venues you might want to explore.
Chicago is a diner’s paradise, offering some of the best places to eat in the country. This is great news if you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, because you’ll have plenty of choices. Here’s an enticing selection of the city’s restaurants—some are casual and some are more upscale, but all are happy to host your special event.
Next to playing with my dogs and sharing a chocolate soufflé with my husband, browsing wedding dresses is one of my favorite pastimes. Are you with me on this? I thought so. Then believe me when I say that one of the best ways to indulge your fashion passion is by attending a bridal trunk show.
Often called the “Heart of the Arts” by locals, Midtown Atlanta is home to a wealth of cultural attractions (museums, the symphony, theaters) as well as some of the city’s most iconic and historic buildings. With so much to offer, it’s an exciting place to host a wedding. Here are 10 venues that will help you tap into the area’s energetic vibe (listed in no particular order).
If an outdoor ceremony or reception is at the top of your wedding “must have” list, Atlanta offers a wide range of options.From mansions and private estates to historic landmarks and restaurants, here are some of the best places in and around the city for an al fresco celebration.
Established almost 200 years ago, Atlanta is home to quite a few mansions that reflect its history. And fortunately for couples who want to experience the charmed lifestyle of a bygone era, many of them are available for weddings. Here’s a selection of beautifully preserved venues where you can get a delicious taste of the past.
What’s so great about wedding venues in Boston? Everything! The range of options is amazing, from waterfront hotels and museums to a rooftop aerie and a fleet of tall ships. Here’s a selection of some of the city’s most interesting locations to tie the knot.
San Francisco is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, which makes it a much sought-after setting for both local and destination weddings. And although it has a reputation for being pricey, there are quite a few affordable venues where you can host your event.
It was one of the few weekend getaways when I yearned for a lover. Yet even without one I still managed to be seduced—by Eagle Island, a private slice of unspoiled nature and an idyllic honeymoon destination 60 miles south of Savannah, accessible only by boat from sleepy Darien on Georgia’s coast.
1. Work out your budget and establish your top priorities—where to save/where to splurge. 2. Start browsing bridal blogs and magazines to identify your wedding style and color palette.
The newest addition to WE-TV’s Wedding Sunday is “Girl Meets Gown,” an adorable show that profiles brides of all sizes and budgets shopping for their wedding dresses at Stardust, a Texas bridal salon. My favorite part? The tears of joy that signal, “It’s the one!”
Wedding budgets may be shrinking these days, but the number of tasks on a wedding to-do list never does. This video showcases one of our Certified By The Guide wedding planners, Amber Events, as she works her wedding magic.
In the name of that all-important wedding budget (and in the tradition of convenient combo products offered all across America!) what about one item that gives you both class and sass in one neat package? The answer is in the wedding transportation.
When the euphoria of the engagement begins to fade, you're struck by a flutter of panic—"I need to plan the wedding!" Bridal fairs are actually the most convenient way to learn about a myriad of event options. Here are some tips of making the most of a bridal fair.
While the thought of marriage can be compelling, the headiest and most exciting part of a love story is always the proposal. That instant when you both just know. Whoever does the asking, the sheer thrill of being desired can be positively intoxicating, like the beginning of a new love affair; only this time with the added comfort and security of commitment.
In the first flush of joy after your engagement, you’ll probably begin browsing magazines and wedding websites…and soon feel buried by a blizzard of checklists and a daunting array of decisions. That’s when you and your fiancé might want to think about hiring a professional wedding planner.
Planning a green wedding? Check out designer Hanna Hartnell as she goes for the green at her eco-friendly bridal salon.
My colleague Jan invites me to spend the upcoming weekend with her at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, where she’ll be staying while profiling new locations for Here Comes The Guide. I jump at the chance for some quality Ritz time. It’s a well-known fact around the office that I ♥ the Ritzes. (What can I say? I have a soft spot for superior customer service and a swanky setting!)
Your friend is getting married and there’s only one way to celebrate—host a bachelorette party starring martinis and good friends. It’s not only her last night out as a single girl, it’s also a way to quit worrying about that bridesmaid dress you’ll be wearing for the big day. Throw the bride a party and show all your friends a good time to send her off in style!
These days, brides want wedding flowers that exude an authentic, down-to-earth feeling. Think less showy and much more “real.”
Your wedding invitations are more than just functional; they’re a formal announcement of your intentions. So since you’re going to use the U.S. Post Office to send out your invitations, thank-you notes and sundry other correspondence, why not get creative with it? Thanks to modern technology, you can.
Salty air and beach breezes call for a soft, relaxed wedding hairstyle that looks casual, yet polished. This romantic up-do is a particularly smart choice; what with ocean mist or humid conditions, who wants to struggle to maintain sleek, straight hair?
California’s Central Coast, celebrated for its charming wineries and photogenic vineyards, also lures visitors with landmarks like Hearst Castle, and the chance to golf, surf or go horseback riding amidst spectacular natural scenery. If you’re planning a honeymoon or destination wedding in one of the area’s picturesque towns, you might think beyond the winery.
Traditional rehearsal dinner etiquette dictates that the groom’s parents foot the bill because it’s the way for the groom’s mother to show that she knows how to entertain, too. But as more and more couples choose to pay for their own wedding or share the expenses between both families, the bottom line is you get to decide who shoulders the awesome pre-wedding party responsibility. Remember, though, that whoever pays gets the last word on the details!
Whether it’s for your honeymoon, holiday travel or a romantic weekend getaway, these days it pays to pack it all in your carry-on suitcase—and avoid extra charges for checked luggage. The best way to be a breezy bride at the airport is to remember you’re on the vacation of your life…and to “hang loose” when you’re packing. Keep it simple, easy and fun. Follow these five tips, and you’re off to a carefree start.
Monica and Jay met in 1999 when Jay visited California. “At the time, there were no major sparks,” he recalls. But that changed in 2002 when they met at a Boston conference. Monica didn’t recognize Jay with his goatee, but was “checking him out.” When her friend started to introduce them, Jay said, “Monica, you don’t recognize me at all, do you?” She was surprised that this “stranger” knew her name, but soon they were dating.
Are you a free-spirited bride with a yen for vintage elements? Do you dress to please yourself rather than tradition? Do you find romance in the warmth and beauty of nature? If so, your bridal style might be a good match for a bohemian beach wedding!
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.
With the holiday season fast approaching, I like to imagine where our company would have the most rocking holiday party ever. Interestingly, I noticed that my shortlist of holiday event venues wasn’t that different from my fantasy wedding one: Classy art galleries, hip restaurants, sun-kissed vineyards… A dynamic setting can make any celebration pop.
I just got engaged and I keep hearing about trunk shows for wedding dresses. What exactly is a “trunk show”? Is it worth going to one?
—Amanda, San Luis Obispo, CA
Besides your location, the food and drink for your wedding bash will probably consume the largest portion of your wedding budget. Catering costs are usually presented as “per-person” charges, sometimes abbreviated in wedding brochures as “pp” after the amount. But be aware—the per-person charge often doesn’t include everything: Tax and the gratuity (sometimes called the “service charge”) might be extra, and there may also be separate per-person charges for the meal, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and even setup. Read more…
Fola and Alvin had an awkward chance meeting at a conference of medical students in April 2004. Although both had attended Harvard Medical School, they had never met. When they did, Alvin was tired from the conference and could think of little to say—an unusual circumstance for him. Fola informed her conference roommate that she had met “a really rude guy.” The roommate insisted that Alvin was great and arranged another meeting.
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.
We don’t have to tell you that planning a wedding is never simple. There are so many grey areas to navigate: Ecru or bright white wedding dress? Buttercream or fondant on the cake? DJ or live band for entertainment? We could go on…
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.
Letterpress, thermography, engraved, matte, jacquard, glassine… ordering invites will mean learning a few new vocabulary words. You’ll also need to learn about all the components that you might want to include in your invitation, as well as what other printed materials could be part of your wedding scenario. With so many details to consider, you’ll depend on a creative wedding invitation professional to clue you in on the jargon, and guide you in choosing invites that reflect your wedding style.
My colleague Jan invites me to spend the upcoming weekend with her at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, where she’ll be staying while profiling new locations for Here Comes The Guide. I jump at the chance for some quality Ritz time.