When searching for a wedding venue, couples start with logical factors such as location, budget, and style. When it comes to choosing "the one" however, it's often more of an emotional decision. You may fall in love with a certain feature or unique element that will help bring your vision to life - a rustic ranch, glimmering pool, or relaxing ocean view. Or it might be more intangible. Perhaps the people you meet, a feeling when you step into the reception hall, or a unique story about the venue that captures your heart.
At Wedgewood Weddings, we love a good story, so we’re sharing a few of our favorite secrets from our venues across the country. Which one do you love the most?
lucky duck luciano
“Lucky Ducky Luciano” stays at San Ramon all year round because he’s the boss. He's even permanently dressed in a feather tuxedo. Seeing him on your wedding day is a good omen; he’s welcome at every wedding, and he keeps an eye of proceedings to make sure everything goes according to plan. His girls and underlings head south but he stays the course, making sure that every wedding under his gaze has double the luck!
"We also have one resident duck that doesn’t fly south in the winter. He’s black and white and kind of looks like he’s dressed for a wedding. He’s been around for years!" - Roxanne Menzies, San Ramon, CA
You probably wouldn't expect to find a lush green oasis on the outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona, but that's exactly what you'll find at Ocotillo Oasis. The neighboring golf course actually helps to ensure that the grounds are perfectly maintained and watered year-round. The seven miles of shoreline make for never-ending photo opportunities onsite.
“We have over seven miles of shoreline, lakes, and awesome waterfalls in the desert which is unheard of! Plus, the grounds are maintained year-round, so you always have a beautiful setting.” - Rosemary Phillips, Ocotillo Oasis, AZ
The Sterling Hotel is a cherished historical statement in downtown Sacramento. The original mansion was built in 1984 by the Hale Family. Over time, the mansion has been converted, sold and restored. First an apartment complex, then a hotel, restaurant and event venue. What we know as the Cellar Lounge today used to be a restaurant, and butler room before that. When the building belonged to the Hale's, it's where Mrs. Hale kept her pet monkeys (a popular Victorian-era trend).
“One of the original owners' hobbies was to care for primates. Our Cellar Lounge cocktail space is where she kept her cute and energetic monkeys.” - Kelsey Gallagher, Sterling Hotel, CA
A Piece of California History
If you head east of Sacramento about 40 minutes, you'll find Placerville, a quaint historic town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Sequoia Mansion, formerly known as the Bee-Bennett House, was built in 1953 by Colonel Frederick A. Bee and later purchased by Marcus Bennett in 1958. Some say it's haunted, and it's featured on many ghost tours of California, but that story is for another day! It's easily one of the most historic buildings in Placerville and the fireplace is completely original and spectacular.
“We are one of the most historic buildings in Placerville! (Built in 1853) and the fireplace in our bar is completely original to the house!” - Kali Lemos, Sequoia Mansion, CA
Pikes Peak Photo Opportunity
Black Forest is known for its sky-high forest and expansive outdoor property. What you might not know, is that it's conveniently located just a stone's throw away from an epic view of Pikes Peak. Enjoy all of the convenience of an all-inclusive venue, with stunning mountain-backdrop photographs that will impress for years to come.
“There is an especially scenic area just down the road, where couples can get a Pikes Peak in the shot. It makes for epic photo opportunities in addition to the whimsical forest on our property.” - Britny Doole, Black Forest, CO
Just 30 minutes outside San Antonio in beautiful Texas Hill Country, you'll find Hofmann Ranch. It's a 370-acre country paradise owned by Hans and Charlotte Hofmann, and now operated by Wedgewood Weddings. They bought the ranch and decided to share the lush beauty with others looking for a place to host their special events. One of the best kept secrets of the ranch? The baby cattle you'll find every Spring.
“We have longhorn cattle who have the cutest babies every spring! If you’d like to see them, just us know. They make for some really amazing, creative photo opportunities!” - Jackie White, Hofmann Ranch, TX
Waterfalls and Bears, Oh My!
Boulder Creek is a charming mountainside all-inclusive venue with a babbling creek that attracts both guests and wildlife alike! Deer are common, and once in a while you might see a local bear if you're lucky.
“We have a hidden waterfall on the property that’s beautiful and fun for photos. Once in a while we have bears wander through here which is really magical.” - Jordyn Voegele, Boulder Creek, CO
To experience one of the most unique and beautiful wedding venues in Northern California, take a tour of Jefferson Street Mansion. The 1861 Formal Military Mansion has been masterfully restored to its pre-Civil War grandeur. One of our favorite poorly kept secrets is that it's been featured on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens and on multiple TV episodes for its historical decor. There is over $250,000 in hand-sewn velvet draperies - imported from France - throughout the mansion!
Few know about the hidden underground tunnels, however! The tunnels led from the Mansion to the Clocktower in Benicia and where secret escape routes should the army come under attack. They've since been boarded up for security reasons.
"Jefferson Street Mansion, is a 1861 formal military mansion that's been exquisitely restored to its former grandeur. It was selected for the cover of Better Homes & Gardens 'Bedroom & Bath' with the distinction of being one of the three best decorated rooms in the country and has been featured on four Home & Garden TV episodes.” - Nicole Sullivan, Jefferson Street Mansion, CA
Lindsay Grove, in beautiful Mesa, AZ, is full of fun & unique history. The little dollhouses that frame the manicured gardens are picture-perfect for photo opportunities, but they weren't always used for weddings. Originally these cute little buildings were built to teach etiquette classes for young girls.
Wildlife and Mountain Views
On the outskirts of Denver is our expansive Mountain View Ranch, a classic Colorado mountain retreat. It's home to epic mountain views, a crystal-clear alpine lake and wildlife of all kinds! While the wildlife isn't exactly a secret, it's not something most couples think about until they discover our wild frinds for themselves! It's truly one of our favorite hidden features.
“Mountain View Ranch has some of the most beautiful spots for your photographer to get you with a stunning mountain background. It's not uncommon for wildlife to join you. We have deer, foxes, and birds of all colors and sizes! Keep your eyes out and you may even see a bald eagle!” - Katie Margolis, Mountain View Ranch, CO
Whether you've chosen your wedding venue already or not, keep an eye out for special details that will capture your heart over and over again. Ask your wedding planner about the history of the property, hidden features, or famous guests. You're bound to uncover a juicy secret to share with your guests on your wedding day.