Are you ready to see what we finally decided on?!? From where we last left off I believe that we had just discovered that we would not be getting married at the Estancia La Jolla to our disappointment… I was feeling pretty frustrated and could suddenly understand why people elope. It was to avoid all this planning craziness and stress. But in spite of all the craziness from our venue hunt there was an upside!
After seeing so many places (Refer to Part I, Part II and Part III for the details) we knew more of what wanted. We wanted a unique location that had a sort of rustic charm, an outdoor ceremony, an indoor reception, not too many onlookers around, an efficient coordinator, local accommodations and nothing that our guests would feel crammed into. To meet the criteria and stay within our budget, I decided that we needed to move further inland or further south. Because of the concern that driving south would be to far for some of our guests (adding an additional 1/2 hour to a several hour drive) we decided to try searching inland. Sure enough I found that pricing was much more reasonable.
Once place stood out in particular and that was the Rancho Bernardo Inn, it seemed beautiful in the pictures and affordable from the packages that I had been sent. I was in San Diego by myself visiting my family for the weekend when I first spoke to the catering manager. She said that if I wanted I could come that day and she would show me around in person before she left. I jumped into the car with parents and fell in love with the location.
The Rancho Bernardo Inn has this rustic Tuscan feel from when you arrive on the property. The property is huge, but each area feels private. While it is a resort it doesn’t feel like a touristy destination spot. It has it’s own charm while being a major resort. There is a beautiful golf course, luxury spa and some amazing restaurants. My parents and I ate dinner there the first time we visited and it was amazing! I have no fear that my guests will have a wonderful dinner at our wedding. But I will stop all my rambling and share with you the pictures…
Disclaimer/Side note: These pictures do not do the place justice, especially since they don’t show the venue set up for an event. Use your imagination and think of all the possibility that is there…Most of the pictures I took personally unless noted otherwise
(Photo Source: Shadowcatcher photography)
I love how lantern hang in the trees and there are all these special spots and benches to enjoy your surroundings.
How great does this pool look? It makes me want to go for a swim!
Our ceremony site is on the Aragon Lawn. I’m so excited for this because at first we didn’t know if we could actually have this particular site** (see at the end for the full story). Here is the ceremony location from afar…
Here is a closeup version. The black trellace has vines and those lantern I love hanging from it. Each side is surrounded by white rose bushes and park benches. The pictures really don’t do it justice.
The cocktail hour will take place on the terrace outside the reception ballroom. The terrace is a shaded area that overlooks the golf course. There are french doors that open from the ballroom. These aren’t the best pictures, but you can get an idea.
Outside our ballroom we have our own private bar area that will be a part of the cocktail hour and somewhere to gather that is inside. Isn’t it cute?
Hung C Tran Blog
From the bar area is the entrance to the Bernardo Ballroom, where our reception will be held. The ballroom has high ceilings with wood beams, wrought iron chandeliers and french doors that open up onto the terrace where the cocktail hours was. It has that simple, rustic and can be molded into our vision for the day.
Photo from San Diego Style Weddings
Photo from Here Comes the Guide
Well that’s all the pictures I have for now. I will try looking for more pictures of actual weddings that have taken place there so you can get a better idea of what everything looks like.
I called Mark from the location describing each detail and the feel I had from being there. He was excited and told me he was supportive of whatever I decided. After deciding this was “the one” we worked with the manager to negotiate the specifics including the Aragon lawn and other details. Before signing the contract Mark and I went to the Rancho Bernardo Inn together so that he could see it in person. He loved it as well (other than the fact than I had coffee spilled all over him from our drive over, so he was very uncomfortable) and we signed turned the contract in before we left the hotel.
So what did I learn?
- That I needed to be willing to compromise. No, I was not getting the coastal location I had originally envisioned, but many of the places I had looked at were coastal regions with no views anyway. I do not have an unlimited budget and I needed to be reasonable.
- Patience, persistence and honesty pays off. During our search I felt so frustrated and at certain times wondered if it would ever work out. However, we did eventually find the location we wanted and were able to make the guarantees (the Aragon lawn) that were important.
- The most important thing is that at the end of the day Mr. Ducky and I will be married and I get to spend the rest of my life with the most amazing man in the world. This sounds so cheesy, but it’s an important thing to remember when I get stressed or disappointed during the wedding planning part.
Have you learned any important lessons along the way of wedding planning? When has your patience paid off?
**The Aragon lawn was actually not supposed to be guaranteed for our ceremony site. The lawn is attached to the fancy Aragon conference center. I would only be able to use the lawn if the conference center was not in use the day of the wedding and that would not be confirmed until weeks before. They could not guarantee the lawn and I’d have to reserve one of the other ceremony sites. I liked the other ceremony sites, but did not love them like I did the Aragon lawn. Well long story short I was honest with my catering manager about my feelings and budget (I could not afford to rent out the conference center for the wedding) and she totally worked with me. I had to be flexible on my date, but it worked out. So be patient and persistent for what is really important to you.