A Most Thoughtful Wedding Guest


Think you’re the most thoughtful guest?  Think again.  I do believe that honor belongs to a mentor of my husband.  I was tackling my major summer project, that of purging the basement.  What a chore.  I tend to be a pack rat, and well…we’ve been married almost 33 years… Yes, that’s us 32.65 years ago at our wedding in Ojai, California, my home town.  If you’d like to read more about Ojai, and it’s “Destination Wedding” options, just click on the link!


I found the above letter in my cleaning frenzy yesterday.  I hate to admit it, but I had forgotten I possessed it. I knew that it was old based on the address on the envelope. But I must digress a little.

You know how important First Year Anniversaries are?  They really are a big deal… I had frozen the top layer of our wedding cake, and my darling husband dutifully ate it.  He recently told me that it was awful.  🙁  I don’t remember how it tasted.  But if you’d like to save the top layer of your wedding cake, or a portion, click on the following link, and check out the way to do it right!  Saving the Top Layer of Your Wedding Cake.  And to Defrost it.. Defrosting Your Wedding Cake  🙂


But back to my story…As you know, each anniversary year has a gift assigned to it.  For the first anniversary, it’s paper.  Kenny and I received the above letter, with a most gracious note from his friend, mentor and fraternity associate.  And inside…was a cocktail napkin from our reception.  It took us both back and was a most thoughtful reminder of a beautiful day.  Below, is a circle of Kenny’s fraternity brothers, (Kenny’s mentor is a patron), singing to us at our reception.  We are in the middle of the circle.  I can barely make us out.


And here we are below, 30 years later at our daughter’s wedding.  Time does fly.


Photo: Patty Cloherty



Destination Wedding – Your Alma Mater?

What about a destination wedding – held at your alma mater?



My alma mater is the University of Redlands, located in Redlands, CA – an hour from the beach, an hour from ski resorts, an hour from Palm Springs, an hour from LA.  Does it get much better than that?



I’m not sure of the fees for holding a private event at the University.  I don’t discuss fees on my blog – I could be wrong, or fees could change.  I am making an assumption, however, that an alumnus may receive a better deal that someone who is not. Above  you see the  exterior and interior of the University of Redlands Memorial Chapel – a work of art.  This would be a very traditional spot to say, “I do!”.  But not the only one…



The photos above and below are of the Greek Theatre.  It is where large groups of students convene, and where graduation is held. Above, you see a wedding party taking advantage of the great photo op.  Perhaps they were actually married on the stage.  Below, is my own photo of my daughter’s freshman orientation held at the Greek Theatre.


Mary P. Karnes photos

The ‘Hall of Letters’, where I attended most of my classes, is another lovely wedding site.  I don’t know…For me…. I think I’d start having flashbacks to a test I needed to take…  🙂



The Alumni House, formally the University of Redlands President’s residence when I was a student, is another great venue.  I was a bridesmaid in a wedding held there once upon a time. The gazebo makes for a most romantic setting.



And below — the majestic Office of the Registrar. Even if you don’t have your ceremony there, the photo opportunities are many.   And yes, it really is that beautiful…





Ojai, CA Wedding On A Budget


Love the resort town of Ojai, CA, week-end kick-back of the stars?  But are the prices of venues like the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa a little out of your price range?  You DO have options… The photo above is the beautiful gazebo in the lovely Libby Park – right on Ojai Ave, Ojai’s “Main Street”.  Can’t you see yourself getting married here?  62647240


Above, another shot of the interior of Libby Park.  There is a very famous tennis tournament played every May in Ojai – the “Ojai Tennis Tournament”.  All the greats played there when they were rising stars. Libby Park is where the finals are held.

Want a religious ceremony?  There are plenty of churches in town that don’t require membership to allow you to marry at their place of worship.  (Not the Cathoic Church, of course.  One must prove all your sacraments are in tact and are a member of good standing in their parish – (If you’d like to read about a Catholic Wedding, click on the link).

One such church, is my home church growing up, the Ojai Presbyterian Church.



Perhaps things have changed since my wedding, but then, non-members were allowed to marry in their church.  Below is a picture my new husband and myself in front of the Ojai Presbyterian Church 32 years ago.


Where to go for your reception?  Parks are a nice option for a low cost affair.  Rental costs are minimal, and then you have the choice of supplying your own food or having it catered.  Be warned, however… if you hold your reception in a park, they may have  a “no alcohol” policy.

Holding the reception in the nearby beach town of Ventura is another lovely choice.



The beautiful two photos are of Ventura, via Facebook.  I’m a little partial to Ventura…I was born there.  🙂

More Wedding Options at The ‘Hotel Del’

There are so many Wedding Venue Options on site at the Hotel Del.  The Wedding Specialists’ goal is to make your day a once in a lifetime experience, whether you are hosting four or four hundred.  They have the specialized locations and experienced staff to accomplish this.  Think about it.  When you go to a wedding, you have a wonderful time.  You eat delicious food, drink good wine, dance to fun music.  Easy, right?  No…to pull off an elaborate affair such as a wedding, countless hours go into the creation.  I know this from the stand point of a ‘mother of the bride’ and a professional wedding planner.


The Vista Walk, ( photo from the Hotel’s own website), is a lovely wedding venue for a party under 100.  The top photo shows it all decked out for a wedding with a rather eclectic theme.  Below, my own photo, on an average day, waiting to be transformed…image

Below, the Garden Patio, my own photo, in it’s everyday attire. Isn’t the grass lush?  It so impressed me, especially with the drought California is experiencing.  Then I walked on it.  My heels didn’t sink in!!  What?!?  Yup…it’s turf.   And the best, most realistic turf I’ve ever seen.  What a wonderful, ecological choice for the resort to make at this delicate time in California’s climate crisis.


Next photo showcases the garden patio ready for a wedding!  This venue also hosts a smaller group than say, the Crown Room, or the Windsor Lawn.  The venue is intimate without being cramped.




Garden Tea Room – (photo, hotel website).  Feeling in the mood for an indoor affair?  I visualize this space used by a bride with a late-morning, early afternoon wedding.  It feels light and airy.


Beach (Hotel website stock photo)

And really..can you get any better than a celebration on the beach like the one above?  It IS the Hotel del Coronado, after all…