Location, Location, Location Eight best bets for where to tie the knot
By Brittany Reiher and Kirsten Palladino
Knowing who you’re marrying is the most important factor of a wedding, but the where is probably the second most vital decision. It effects the how (elegant or casual), the when (availability around certain events, weather for outdoors), the who (size really does matter when thinking about your guest count) and how much (as in what you can spend on everything else). Check out these our eight picks for same-sex friendly wedding venues around the country.
Courtesy Cal-a-Vie Chapel
Dreaming of marrying in a classic spa setting? Find wedded transcendence at Cal-a-Vie Health Spa, a spacious property spanning 200 acres dotted with lavender fields. Couples with 125 or less guests can get married in a 400-year-old chapel, and hold their spa-menu-inspired reception in a Provencal L’Orangerie—both the chapel and the L’Orangerie were imported from Dijon, France. You and your guests staying in the spa’s villas (there are only 26 on property) for the weekend can indulge in spa treatments, too. What future mother-in-law couldn’t use a hot stone massage to relax?
Cal-a-Vie Health Spa 29204 Spa Havens Way Vista, CA 92084 760.842.6819 www.cal-a-vie.com
Courtesy Legion of Honor
History buffs, show off your intelligence with a wedding at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, which houses a collection of more than 4,000 years of ancient and European art in a majestic setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Wed amongst neoclassical architecture on either the Balustrade Lawn or the Court of Honor, where Rodin’s “The Thinker” himself provides a thoughtful conversation piece. Each of these ceremony locations can hold about 275 guests. Receptions can be held throughout the museum—you can even rent the entire building if your wallet allows. For 220 (seated) to 300 (standing), consider the Legion of Honor, on the garden terrace level of the museum. Only have 130 guests? Hold your entire event in the Rodin Galleries, where your well-wishers include Rodin sculptures. While you and your beloved are taking photos with family or friends, invite guests to view an exhibition, like the “Impressionist Paris: City of Light,” from June 5 to Sept. 26, 2010.
Legion of Honor Museum 100 34th Ave., Lincoln Park San Francisco, CA 94121 415.750.3698 www.famsf.org/legion
Courtesy The Central Park Boathouse
The Central Park Boathouse is one of the most famed places to have a dream wedding in the Big Apple. Located in Central Park, the Boat House is overlooking the lake, which makes this spot not only beautiful but very romantic as well. A fun fact about this venue is it is the only place in Manhattan that you can have an event by the lake. The Boathouse offers a number of ways in which it can accommodate all of your guests: 230 guests seated in the pavilion with a dancing reception, 180 guests with a buffet and dancing, 300 guests seated with no dancing, or a 500-guest standing cocktail reception. The Central Park Boat House is also famous for being in movies including “27 Dresses” and TV shows such as “Sex in the City.”
The Central Park Boathouse East 72nd St. and Park Drive N. New York, NY 10021 212.517.2233 www.thecentralparkboathouse.com
Courtesy Georgia Aquarium
Celebrate your love of aquatics by getting married in clear sight of two of the newest beluga whales, Maris and Beethoven, at the world’s largest aquarium in Atlanta, Ga. These lovable guys, plus all their friendly neighbors, from penguins and otters to nurse sharks and sting rays, don’t even need to be included in your guest count—which, by the way, can be up to 500 in the Ocean’s Ballroom. Wolfgang Puck Catering provides in-house catering, so you can be confident your foodie guests will be happy.
Georgia Aquarium and Wolfgang Puck Catering 225 Baker St. Atlanta, GA 30313 404.581.4000
Courtesy Zen House
Getting married in the hot city of Miami? The chic Zen House lives up to the Magic City standards of sexy. Located in south Miami, the property fuses contemporary architecture with Zen design. A luscious garden flanked by a fabulous aquamarine pool makes for an eclectic outdoor setting for both ceremony and reception. Accommodates up to 120 guests.
The Zen House 270 Catalonia Ave. Miami, FL 33134 305.662.4742 www.bestmiamiweddings.com
Courtesy Lobo Castle
Agoura Hills’ Lobo Castle brings the edifices of Europe to the Santa Monica Mountains. The Lobo Castle is a new building, despite its Old World design. It was the brainchild of owner Denise Antico-Donlon, whose love of the medieval times inspired the architectural marvel, which was completed in 2009. The castle’s stone towers, hillside gardens and Tuscan-inspired courtyard all reflect different countries from Antico-Donlon’s travels. Accommodates 200.
Lobo Castle 31400 Lobo Canyon Road Agoura Hills, CA 91301 818.261.2186 www.lobocastle.com
Courtesy The Venetian
Discerning princes and princesses, listen up. The Venetian’s storybook wedding theme is obtainable, but it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Romance and luxury converge at the Bridge, the Waters of the Venetian and the Chapel; spaces expand to accommodate both intimate numbers and large weddings. After you tie the knot, hop on your own sweet gondola ride. Major perk: Your families certainly can’t get bored in this active city.
The Venetian 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas, NV 89109 866.548.1807 www.venetian.com
Courtesy National Aquarium, Baltimore
Though the National Aquarium, Baltimore is home to more than 16,000 aquatic animals, there’s no pressure to match that number with your wedding count. Host a small group of 10 or blow it out with 2,500 guests with an extraordinary view of the Baltimore Harbor. Screen images from your life together as a couple, plus a few fun embarrassing childhood photos for good measure on the 4-D Immersion Theater. Sustainable, fresh seafood from the on-site kitchens make the aquarium a natural choice for Earth-friendly couples. Both ceremony and reception can be held either indoors or outdoors—by a dolphin pool, no less.
National Aquarium, Baltimore 501 E. Pratt St. Baltimore, MD 21202 401.576.3869 www.aqua.org