Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where to say our I do's? Part 1!

We knew right away we wanted to tie the knot in sunny Southern California close to all our families, but where? Mr. Castle and I both agreed we wanted to get married outdoors. Might as well take advantage of California's almost perfect weather. We also liked the idea of having the ceremony and reception at the same location. Coming from a Catholic family myself, I always hated the gap between getting from the church to the reception. We also were looking for a place that didn't need a lot of decorating. Meaning we wanted an space that was already beautiful on it's own, not a place we had to "dress up" with decorations or lighting. After a thorough search of all our options we came up with our four favorites. During a quick trip to California last March we visited them all in one day!


 The first possible venue we visited was Middle Ranch Lodge in Lake View Terrace California.
Image via Herecomestheguide.com/Photography by Bella Pictures

This place had a couple different locations for an outdoor ceremony. The reception would also take place outside, on the other side of the lodge. The awesome thing about this venue was they basically let you have the run of the place for your day to do whatever you want. They told us we could come do our rehearsal any time the week before, we could arrive however early the day of, and we could use the lodge in whatever way we wanted. I don't have a picture, but inside the lodge was a huge, beautiful stone fireplace. We imagined lining the mantel with our parents and grandparents wedding pictures...

The only down fall was the location. It is about an hour drive from where my family lives. It doesn't seem like much, but after a night of partying it might have been a little too far. There was also not many options for hotels in the area for any out of town guests.

We left with the feeling of, "Yeah, we could get married here." It was a good start to our day, but we still had three other places to visit! 

Image via Altaclub.com

We originally didn't want to look at country clubs, but the price and pictures from their website made us feel differently. They had two options for ceremony locations and reception banquet rooms. Both were stunning and beautiful. Each room had huge windows that looked out onto the mountains and club. The location was great, very central for both Mr. Castle's family and mine.

The downfalls with this venue were, for one, there could be two weddings going on at the same time. The rooms are right next to each other so I didn't really like that idea. They also make you pay for valet parking, even though the parking lot is right next to the club house... And they charged extra for things like nicer chairs and upgrading the decorations to the lovely way it is in all the pictures.

But with it's killer location and amazing views, it was still in the running. We then went straight to our third venue option. 


This place is literally about 5 minutes from where I grew up and I never knew it existed! Its a botanic garden that has only native California flowers and plants. It is very beautiful and the package this company was offering was amazing. Unfortunately as we drove up we both could feel it wasn't "the one." There was a huge hill guests would have to climb up before trekking to where our ceremony would be held. After the ceremony they would have to walk a ways over to the reception area. It just seemed like to much walking. Also the views in all the pictures show a beautiful field of flowers as the backdrop for the reception. What they don't show you is a very ugly and old building on the other side. It just didn't feel right. I know it probably looks gorgeous for weddings. The woman who was showing us around said they had just booked a wedding for the TV show, My fair wedding with David Tutera. I'm sure he'll make it beautiful, but like I said for us it wasn't "the one."

We made a quick stop for a Del Taco lunch before heading to our final venue. (I miss Del Taco so much since moving to NYC!) The last place we were visiting was my favorite from the photos, but also the most expensive. I knew we could get married at any of the places we had seen so far so I figured, in reality we were just going to look at the last venue just for fun...

The story of the final venue to coming up next! How many venues did you visit before making your decision?

1 comment:

  1. New follower from WB! The botanical gardens look amazing! Can't wait to see what you picked. Stop by my blog: www.sandytoesbride.blogspot.com

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