Destination homegrown

You can have a destination wedding within driving distance of Sacramento

Photo By <a">

Photo By

According to the Web site About (at, 16 percent of marriages are destination weddings, and that number is growing as more couples opt for out-of-town events where they can focus more on fun and less on planning. If some of the most popular destinations for weddings—like Hawaii, the Caribbean or Mexico—are too costly or far-flung for you, we’ve got some good news. You can have a destination wedding without boarding a plane, finding your passport or getting seasick. Check out these popular wedding destinations within a two-hour drive from Sacramento.

Lake Tahoe

Sure it seems like an obvious choice; lots of couples from California and other states get married here. But in terms of a destination that offers beautiful scenery, abundant activities and a wide range of lodging for almost every personality type, Lake Tahoe is hard to beat. In fact, your East Coast and Midwest guests will thank you for giving them an excuse to see Tahoe’s pristine water and picturesque peaks. Take advantage of nature’s décor by getting married at the lake’s edge at the LakeFront Wedding Chapel, a one-stop facility for indoor and outdoor weddings and receptions with an unimpeded view of the lake and mountains. Have a “captain’s ceremony” and sun-splashed reception aboard a chartered yacht such as the Party Boat or the Safari Rose, an 80-foot classic wooden yacht. Tie the knot while overlooking Lake Tahoe, literally, from the Lakeview Lodge atop Heavenly Mountain. Snow-loving couples can even get married on skis, snowshoes, snowmobiles or in the back of a horse-drawn sleigh.

Amador County

With the Napa Valley just 90 minutes away, this wine region 30 miles east of Sacramento doesn’t generate much hoopla as a wedding or vacation destination. For the bride and groom, that translates into less pretension, fewer competing weddings and lower prices, all without having to sacrifice great wine and picture-perfect scenery. For example, at the Italian inspired Villa Toscano in Plymouth, you can get married and party afterward in a garden pavilion surrounded by koi ponds and vineyards. The Park at Hanford Courte in Sutter Creek can accommodate outdoor weddings and receptions in landscaped gardens or in front of a cascading waterfall. When the wedding day is over, you and your guests can go wine tasting at more than 20 wineries; browse for antiques and dine in quaint Gold Rush-era towns; go spelunking at Black Chasm Cavern, a designated National Natural Landmark; gamble at Jackson Rancheria; bike the scenic hillsides; play a round of golf; or kick back at a bed and breakfast with one of the excellent zinfandels for which the area is known.

Point Reyes National Seashore

If you want to get married by the beach but can’t afford to jet off to Maui, look no further than Point Reyes National Seashore. Just 2 hours east of Sacramento are miles and miles of beautiful and secluded coastline that make an ideal destination for a laid-back wedding. Drakes Beach is a wide stretch of sand backed by dramatic white sandstone cliffs and easily accessible by car. An easy half-mile hike over sand dunes brings you to Kehoe Beach, a great choice for dog lovers who don’t want to leave their canine companions out of the festivities. Adventure seekers can hike down a steep trail to reach McClure’s Beach, a small cove with intense surf. In the surrounding towns of Olema, Point Reyes Station and Inverness you’ll find plenty of options for lodging and reception venues. For example, the Station House Café has an extensive menu, delicious food and a private dining room for small parties. The Point Reyes Seashore Lodge and Conference Center is a destination in itself, with flower gardens, walking trails, a game room, 23 guest rooms and manicured grounds that can accommodate catered receptions for up to 150 people. The Olema Inn is a historic hotel with country charm that offers gatherings for up to 130 people. And once the wedding is over, you can linger for a few extra days to hike the rugged trails of the national park, visit the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse, or just relax and contemplate your future on the quiet, windswept beaches.