Winter Weddings in California

For those couples seeking a variety of romantic wedding venues for your winter weddings, look no further than the state of California, where you have beautiful ocean views, gorgeous snowy mountains, and wonderful wineries at your disposal.

Have your Winter Wedding at the Ocean

When most people think of a California beach location, they think of the “usual suspects”: San Diego, La Jolla, Santa Monica or Santa Barbara. And, of course, those are all great spots for a beach wedding. But, you may also want to consider some other fabulous coastal venues as well:

Avila Beach: Avila Beach is located near San Luis Obispo, just a 40-mile drive away from Hearst Castle. Also located nearby are 3 championship golf courses and the wine country of Paso Robles and Edna Valley. The Avila Lighthouse Suites, a 54-suite resort, offers intimate wedding packages, as well as packages for larger weddings up to 120 guests.

Pismo Beach: South of Avila Beach on the 101 sits Pismo Beach. There are pricey resorts in Pismo Beach, as well as some very affordable wedding venues. One very affordable wedding venue in Pismo Beach is The Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge, located on the northern end of Pismo Beach, away from the center of town and all the tourist activity. It’s also a part of Pismo Beach where you get cliffs and a more craggy ocean view – which makes for some pretty spectacular wedding photos. The Best Western Shelter Cove Lodge offers a couple locations on their property for weddings, both with awesome ocean views: The Wedding Garden for seating up to 80 guests; and the Panoramic Gazebo with standing room for up to 25 guests.

Pacific Grove: Pacific Grove is a beautiful little town in the Monterey Peninsula, sometimes overshadowed by nearby Monterey and Carmel. But, it’s home to Lover’s Point, which has been called “One of the top 10 most romantic places in America” by Sunset Magazine. With the beautiful lawn and cypress trees overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it’s easy to see why this is such a sought-after spot for couples to tie the knot. It’s also close to the scenic 17-Mile Drive and golf courses of Pebble Beach.

Have your Winter Wedding in the Snow

Yes, California boasts wonderful weather and great beaches. But, California is also home to some wonderful mountain resort areas which make for great winter weddings:

Lake Tahoe: If it’s a snowy winter wedding you want, Lake Tahoe is where you want to go. And, if you’re both skiers, you may want to check out the Heavenly Ski Wedding Package, which includes a wedding in a secluded spot overlooking Lake Tahoe, after which you ski down the mountain as a newly-married couple. You can call 877-889-6379 for more information.

If you wish to wed in a simple, inexpensive ceremony, you might want to call 888-wed-tahoe for the Lakefront Wedding Chapel Specials walk-in special rate, which includes a wedding at one their elegant chapel locations, video or photos of the wedding, a complimentary bottle of champagne and minister’s fee. This package is for 6 people or less.

Big Bear Lake: Big Bear is a Southern California winter playground, and wedding destination favorite, located within driving distance of Los Angeles and San Diego. One unique place you may want to consider for your Big Bear wedding is the StarGAzers Inn, which is also an observatory, offering celestial-themed weddings. They are opened year round.

Have your Winter Wedding at a Winery

The scenery and weather are not the only things which attract people to California. People also come for the wine and the wineries, which makes winery weddings very desirable.

Paso Robles: Paso Robles is known for outstanding wines, particularly their Zinfandels and Syrahs. Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is California’s fastest-growing wine region, with nearly 26,000 vineyard acres and more than 170 wineries within a 40-mile territory. It’s also a wonderful place for a winery wedding. A few winery wedding venues of note include: Meridian Vineyards and Zenaida Cellars, both of which have barrel rooms available for weddings; and Robert Hall Winery, which offers their wine caverns, which can accommodate up to 200 people.

Sonoma County: Just next door to the Napa Valley wine country sits Sonoma County with its outstanding wineries and beautiful country. One winery you may consider for your wedding is the Buena Vista Winery, which is California’s oldest premium winery. It’s located just 5 minutes from Sonoma’s Plaza Square, and is a California Historic Landmark. You can choose to hold your ceremony in their rustic stone Press House, built in 1862, or outdoors in their secluded, wooded area.

Wedding Gazebos Stress Form and Function

Wedding gazebos are a timeless staple of celebration decor which add class and style to any event, but especially enhance the beauty of a wedding.

Traditionally, the gazebos are octagon, providing a Victorian or Colonial feel the design. The size you’re looking for will be dependent on how you plan to use the gazebo. Smaller structures work well for small ceremonies in which the wedding party uses the shelter as a focal point. But, larger gazebos can cover whole receptions.

The octagon gazebos add to the landscape portrait as well as service a functional purpose. Many ceremonies have been conducted at the gazebo entrance, with the presiding official at the gazebo entrance between the columns and the happy couple just below.

Many more wedding photos have included the wedding gazebo, sometimes with the wedding party outlining the structure.

A 10 foot diameter octagon is the bare essential and works well in a backyard setting, but for more public usage and larger weddings, 14 foot and larger diameter octagon gazebos should be considered.

The most conventional color for wedding gazebos mirrors bridal gown traditions: white. White vinyl is the most popular choice for its white, smooth and maintenance free finish. Treated pine gazebos may be painted white, but cedar can also be used for an entirely different rustic look.

The gazebo requires a level foundation, which may extend just beyond the perimeter of the gazebo, may be made of flat stoned gravel, paver stones or concrete. Landscaping choices can conceal most of the foundation, or with prior planning, the foundation may be used as part of the landscaping.

Like bridal gowns, wedding gazebos may be modern, straight and simple or they may be ornate, lavish and detailed. Geography and budget usually play the largest roles in selection, but always consider the aesthetics, styling and photo-potential of any structure used for your wedding!

Ocean City Maryland Wedding Venues

Ocean City Maryland is a brilliant spot for your beach wedding. The free public beach is ideal for priceless photos and memories for you and your guests. If you are planning a reception after your ceremony, I’d like to recommend the top spots at the beach.

The Oceanfront Courtyard Marriott is Ocean City’s newest hotel. Located on 15th street on the boardwalk, the second level atrium is ideal for cocktails and appetizers. Inside you’ll find the Captain’s Table restaurant. The Captain’s Table was a local’s favorite for over thiry years and has been completely renovated in this beautiful new building. The Macadamaia encrusted Halibut is spectacular!

Lighthouse Sound is a picturesque golf course in Bishopville. Located on the bay directly across from the Route 90 bridge, this venue offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Ocean City skyline. The short drive along St. Martin’s Neck Road from Coastal Highway is breathtaking. Ducks and geese abound in this natural setting. The rustic interior design includes an ornate fireplace, lofty ceilings and plush leather chairs. The Chilean Seabass is amazing!

Fager’s Island on 59th street and the bay offers a wealth of options. The upstairs offers fine dining with views of the bay. Owner John Fager imports the most exotic wine Europe has to offer along with an assortment of popular local craft beers. There is an outdoor beach for small ceremonies and receptions as well as a pier and gazebo that stretch out into the bay. Fager’s is renowned for their sunsets which are always accompanied by the 1812 Overture as the red sun sinks into the water. Every Monday in season is the their famous deck party with live bands, djs and a luau. Fager’s also owns to premier hotels within walking distance of the restaurant. The Lighthouse and the Edge both offer intimate Honeymoon Suites.

These unique Mediterranean themed properties are the most elaborate that Ocean City has to offer. Seacrets is the most famous business in Ocean City. Truly world renowned, this is the most exciting spot on the eastern seaboard. In addition to hosting it’s own radio station, Seacrets brings in national recording acts and DJs for its daily summer parties. Weddings at Seacrets usually take place on the north side of the island. Brides take a boat from the south side to the pier next to the altar. In the offseason, Morley Hall is available for rental as well. Saturdays are too busy for a Seacrets wedding, so plan for Friday or Sunday in the offseason. Seacrets is known for their signature drinks and Jamaican Jerk Chicken. The Grand Hotel on 21st st. has two banquet rooms to accommodate your reception. The curved fa├žade make it a beautiful backdrop for your beach wedding photos. The Grand sits on the boardwalk and is literally a ten second walk to the beach. The sixth floor dining offers dazzling views of the bay.

The Clarion Hotel has the largest fine dining area in Ocean City. The Crystal Ballroom seats up to 250 guests. There are two smaller venues for more intimate affairs. The Clarion just added a new outdoor pool to accompany its indoor swimming and cabana area. The cuisine at the Clarion is exquisite. They are annual recipients of the Spectators Choice award for their wine selections. Sommelier Richard Heubeck is renowned for his pairings. The Clarion showcases live bands daily inside and on the outside deck during the summer and indoors on weekends all year round.

The Carousel Hotel on 11th st. is home to Ocean City’s only indoor skating rink. During the summer they feature a daily Ice Show. The Carousel has multiple banquet rooms for different sized receptions. Behind the hotel is a lively patio bar that is a great staging area for the groomsmen to meet and unwind before the ceremony. Home of Seasons restaurant, the Carousel has been an Ocean City landmark for decades.

I’ve been fortunate to have a good relationship with all of these splendid venues. To find out more about Ocean City Beach Wedding Packages visit Rox Weddings & Events.