Category Archives: wedding

Wedding Recaps – Mount Woodson Castle

One of the first things we did after we came back from New Zealand (which I STILL haven’t posted about, how terrible am I?) was start looking at venues.  Okay, one of the first things we did was pick a date, but 1) we technically did this on the plane ride home, 2) we later changed the date, and 3) date-picking doesn’t make for a good post.  So, we had originally picked an October 2011 date back in September 2010, giving us a little more than a year to plan a wedding.  I knew nothing of wedding planning, really, but I knew we had to get on the ball figuring out where we wanted to get married because if we wanted a popular spot it could get booked up really quickly.

Do you know how many places you can get married in San Diego?  There are, like, thousands of spots and that’s not even counting churches (and other religious institutions).  We knew we wouldn’t be getting married in a church and we knew we wanted a location where we could have the ceremony and reception. We pretty quickly ruled out a beach wedding and locations along the coast.  I know – San Diego is an ideal beach wedding city.  But, we’re just not beach people, so it wouldn’t have felt very “us”.  After I’d looked into hotels, downtown, Balboa Park, the Wild Animal Park, and wineries in Temecula, we decided to focus our search to North County Inland – mainly, close to our home in Poway.

Our initial list consisted of Rancho Bernardo Inn and Maderas Golf Club.  It wasn’t until later than I even found out about Mount Woodson Castle, and what I did find (on Bridal Insider) was not promising (cancelled contracts, lost deposits, last-minute wedding venue scrambles, etc).  But, Travis heard we could get married in a “castle” and was all over it – at the very least we had to schedule a site visit to go look.

To sum up: Rancho Bernardo Inn was actually our top contender and we got close to putting down a deposit, until we really looked at their quote.  It was just so much money!  Beautiful space, but expensive, especially when we were looking at just 75 people (and that was mainly to meet their room minimum!)  Maderas Golf Club had a slightly lower room minimum, but it was still a lot of money.  Plus, due to some scheduling snafu (on their end) our preferred wedding date had already been booked.  We went back to Mount Woodson, asked them some critical questions, braved a bridal fair to get our “coupon”, moved our wedding up 6 months, and then booked the site.

Mount Woodson was not my first choice, but it turned out to be perfect.  I’ll tell you about the catering later; Personal Touch Dining does all the catering for Mount Woodson events, since Tracy is also the property manager.  

The photo at the top of the post is one of the main reasons I ended up loving the site.  Once we made the decision to hold the ceremony inside, I was looking forward to photos with the light framed by the windows and doors. 

Our ceremony was inside (much cooler, too) and the bar was set up on this little patio right outside.  Dinner tables were set up on the lawn in front of the castle and we had patio heaters all over the place to keep people warm, but I don’t think we even needed them that night.  There’s a refurbished kids room with tables and books and toys, which I also don’t think we used (we only had 3 kids at our wedding).  We had the photobooth set up in one room and the mini donuts were stationed outside where the dinner buffet had been.  The dj was set up on this little balcony over the dance floor (which was where the ceremony was held).

Just around the corner from the castle was all this greenery – it made for beautiful pictures.

We held an early rehearsal, in case some event got booked for the Friday evening before our wedding, but it worked out well so that we had an early rehearsal dinner, which led into dessert back at our house and then an early bedtime.  

We never had any problems dealing with Mount Woodson, Tracy, or anything else having to do with the venue.  

The wood and stone were just rustic enough to give us the casual feel we were looking for, but the space lit up beautifully with all the candles our coordinator spread around.  We extended our reception an extra 2 hours and I still think I could have stayed there all night.

With the new management and all the renovations being done to the castle, I think Mount Woodson is an amazing wedding location.  It’s definitely off the beaten path from San Diego proper, but it’s not as far as Temecula.  The closest hotel is off Scripps Poway Parkway, by SR-67, but there are also hotel/motels in Poway.  I think I would also recommend having a shuttle or bus system set up for evening weddings, since the 67 can get a little tricky to drive in the dark and you want people to be safe!

Wedding Recaps – intro

In my head, I envision a nice, orderly progression of posts where I  lay out all our wedding details and vendors and writeups.  In reality, I just want to start shouting things as they enter my brain because I still feel scatterbrained.  I also want to wait until I have “real” photos to show you, because I know they are going to be amazing and beautiful and I might as well show them along with the pieces of our wedding I want to talk about.

So, here’s how I think it’s going to play out.  Long ago, I gave up writing about our wedding planning process as we went, realizing that I just didn’t have the time to sit down and do it properly.  I think now I’ll go through the main aspects as we found them/booked them/did something with them.  I’m also not going to talk about our wedding straight through (although, I could!) so there will probably be random posts sprinkled here and there.  I know – totally disorganized – just go with it.

Have I mentioned how much I loved our wedding and the days surrounding it?  It was just amazing and awesome and totally fun.


Our wedding was just over a month ago; our Hawaii dinner “reception” was last weekend. Do you think I’ll ever stop saying, “Where did all the time go?”

People have been asking us how it feels to be married, to be living the part of life that comes after planning a wedding. Honestly, it still doesn’t feel all that different. Travis still takes the trash out on Sunday nights, does his own laundry three loads at a time, and washes the dishes after dinner as I sprawl across the couch watching silly tv shows. I still call him up to see what he feels like for dinner, go grocery shopping, and clean the cats’ litter box. We still haven’t really managed to find time to sit still or vacuum or deal with the pile of cards on the table. Sometimes he calls me “wife”; sometimes I call him “husband”. I am still signing my maiden name for credit card purchases. I answer to my new married name, but I’ve yet to refer to myself as such outside of work.

Travis says if we did it right, nothing should really feel all that different.

Maybe it’s because we’d already combined our finances into a joint account, so we’re in the pattern of who balances the checkbook and transfers money into savings. Maybe it’s because we still have separate accounts, so I don’t have to answer questions about the shoes I buy and he can order whatever homebrewing equipement he wants. Maybe it’s simply because we’re older and we knew what we wanted before we ever got here.

I’ve also been asked if it’s a relief not to be planning a wedding.  Honestly, the hardest part of planning the wedding was writing out these huge checks; I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore!  Also, our wedding-related tasks aren’t really over yet.  We have thank you cards to send out (do we send out generic ones or get some printed with photos?), decoration boxes to unpack (do we use the big green vases, donate them, or try to put them up on a wedding site for sale?), and a “registry completion” event to go to (Travis is really sick of our drippy coffee pot).

Funny story: The other night I made salsa and pulled out the food processor bowl that came with my old blender.  It’s larger than a mini chopper (which I love) but way smaller than a stand-alone food processor.  Travis asked why we don’t have a bigger food processor and I joked that it’s because no one bought it off our registry (I was joking! I am in no way ungrateful for the many generous gifts we DID receive!)  I’m guessing the coffee maker and food processor are two items we might be looking to grab for 20% off.

Related side note: From our registry, someone did get us the hand mixer and microloft sheets, items I half-heartedly put on the registry to begin with. The former because I hadn’t felt I needed a new hand mixer after my old one broke, the latter to appease Travis’ love of soft, flannel-y sheets.  Well, I now love the mixer because it turns out there are quite a few things I make that are too stiff for hand whisking but not large enough to warrant pulling out the KitchenAid.  And the sheets? Let me just say it’s like being enveloped by the softest blanket ever, from head to toe, but they’re sheets, so they aren’t stiff and heavy.  Love them.  At some point, it’ll get too warm and we’ll have to switch to summer sheets, but as long as the nights are cool we’re keeping them on the bed.

I think I lost my point. Where was I?  Oh yeah, the wedding’s over, but we still have a lot of things to do before we return to what I call “normal life”.  And that doesn’t even include the ancillary tasks involved with getting my name changed.

So, I’ve set some goals for myself:

  • Make a decision on thank you cards and get them done before Travis disappears for a week at the National Homebrewing Conference next month.  I have the list nicely organized, so I think this can go quickly.
  • Write up some wedding re-caps and vendor reviews before wedding pictures get blogged by our photographer.
  • Make a decision on what to do with the wedding decorations (and billions of candles and votives) and then just do it.  If you know of anyone who would like about 100 used votives (I think the small candles may be melted down already), some large green candle vases, clear glass flower vases, or LED tealights, please let me know.  I have no time frame on this, but maybe I’ll get it done while Travis is occupied with his conference.
  • That’s actually as far as I got with my goals. 

The cat picture I just threw up there because it’s cute.  It’s cute the way the cats have completely made themselves at home when, at one point, we thought we’d always have to protect them from becoming a Sadie-chewtoy.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Ole!

Actually, this post has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo.  But, today is the 5th of May, so there you go. 

We have returned from our Mediterranean honeymoon as newlyweds, faced with a pile of mail, boxes of decorations, and loads of laundry.  The trip was wonderful and I’m happy to be home.  I do want to send a letter to Royal Caribbean about the cruise, as well as one to Holland America to let them know why I wish they had offered the itinerary we took instead.  I am also regretting not smuggling in a few tiny Greek kitties that we saw in town, as the ones we came home to are much larger than I remember.    

I can’t thank our friend Ben enough for house/pet-sitting for us while we roamed the Greek Isles for two weeks; the dogs were happy to see us but not crazy for human attention, which tells me they were well taken care of in our absence.  Knowing someone was keeping them company made it much easier to be gone for so long.  We came home to 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 3 chickens, and as far as I can tell, they’re the same ones we left. 

We also came home to a slideshow of a few wedding photos, which made me tear up a little bit, but also made me smile since I got to see some photos of the boys getting ready.  I want to put all of them on huge canvas prints and cover the house with them.  I can’t wait to see the rest… it’s like reliving our wedding all over again, which I find quite fun.  I wish we could have a wedding all the time, but without all the planning, effort, and payments.

Our to-do list is still quite impressive – unpacking, thank you cards, vendor reviews, write ups and recaps… but we’ll get through it.  What do you want to hear about first?

And then I partied even more (not really)

Okay, one more post about me… and then it’ll be more posts about me?  Well, I guess that’s what you get when you read my blog.  Ha!  I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the fun (yet still low-key and not crazy) night Darlene organized for us blogger gals.  Jenny, Marie, Mary, and Canine Cologne came out to wish me luck before heading into married life and we started at The Wellington.  I’ve mentioned before how lucky I am to have been introduced to these wonderful blogging ladies, and I still feel this way.  Not only is it fun to be able to talk blog and food talk with other people, but they’re so much fun to be around.  And, of course, they have great taste in food!

Some not great photos of very good appetizers – shrimp and polenta and a goat cheesy artichoke dip.  I did get a Pretty Princess martini, which was pink, pretty, and fit for a princess.  We chatted, nibbled, drank, chatted some more, and then were on our way to The Gathering for some dinner.

Canine Cologne brought along some tasty little chocolate chip cakes from Hans & Harry’s, and I can safely say that they also went well with morning coffee.  Versatile! Dessert that doubles as breakfast!  Once those were finished, it was getting late (for a school night) and we headed on home.

Darlene did provide everyone with some party favors – cheese Kit Kats! (The tiara was just for me.)  It tasted more like white chocolate and cheesecake, but the smell was definitely cheesy.  One of those things that tastes better than it smells?  It didn’t smell bad, but it definitely smelled like a savory cheese.

I don’t think I ever told Darlene that these Zero Calorie gels (slim & slim!) were actually pretty tasty.  Travis said the purple grape one tasted just like a peeled grape.  The grape ones were better than the mango, but they were fun to eat.  They must have worked, because I fit into my wedding dress like a dream!

Thank you, Darlene, for coordinating everyone’s schedules and getting us together for a good time.  I hope we get to see each other often throughout the rest of the year!