Monday, October 18, 2010

Where Do We Say "I Do"?

Let me just say, at first the decision on the where to get married was not easy.  A few months into dating, Mr. Goodlaff mentioned that he had always pictured himself getting married in a church.  Me?  Yeah, not so much.  He loves the architecture and the sacredness, and while I think them beautiful, I also find them incredibly intimidating.  The last thing I want to be on my wedding day is intimidated.  Neither of us being particularly religious, the idea of getting married in a church was quickly dismissed.

So then what? I’d always loved the idea of getting married outside surrounded by nature. A garden, a vista, a park--now that I could get behind.

Can you imagine getting married with this in the background? 

But what about the weather?  Sometimes we have snow and rain at the beginning of May; other years it’s like summer shoved spring aside and took over. The thing with getting married outdoors is that there’s absolutely no guarantee that it won’t rain (or snow, or hail, or be so hot you keel over from heat stroke) on your wedding day.

Thankfully, we’re lucky enough to live in the Sierra Foothills of California, meaning there are plenty of beautiful places less than 100 miles away.   We talked about Lake Tahoe, the ocean, or a country club—all beautiful places, but like goldilocks and her porridge, we were looking for one that was just right.

Here were our top three contenders:

Monte Verde Inn in Foresthill
The website bills this as a private country estate built in 1939.  It’s gorgeous outside and in, and offers all-inclusive packages to make planning easier.  The gardens surrounding the inn are beautiful, with flowers and grapevines covering the property.  The pictures are to die for.  I took screen captures from the slideshow on their website to give you an idea, but, please, go look at the amazing photos here.

Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley
I have been to this State Park more than any other, and I just love the grounds.  In spring, this park has one of the most colorful gardens around, and the history here is palpable (you can actually walk down into the top of a mine shaft!).  Every brick and rock is a symbol of the town’s mining heritage, and the glory of the Gold Rush Days. The house on the grounds, built in the late 1890's) is the Bourn Cottage, summer home to the Bourn family during the days of the mine’s operation, and one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen.  Take a look for yourself:

Personal Photo

Miners Foundry in Nevada City
The Miners Foundry in Nevada City is one of the oldest buildings in town.  It has an amazing Stone Hall, with beautiful old-fashioned iron chandeliers, a stone fireplace, and exposed wood beams.  The foundry has a ton of character and charm, and also a lot of space available for renters.  With a foyer full of old mining artifacts (this was where all the mining tools were made), it would be a great place for our guests to mingle during the cocktail hour.  Did I forget mention that it’s right next to a winery? I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures—they don’t do the hall justice…

 Personal Photo

Up next: the big venue reveal!

Did any of you fall in love with one or more amazing wedding venues near where you live?

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