THE LOUISIANA CASTLE
ADDRESS: 47168 Highway 10, Franklinton, LA 70438
WEB SITE: www.louisianacastle.com
ENGAGING EVENT SPACE: A replica of a 12th century Norman castle, the Louisiana Castle sits on 10 secluded acres just north of New Orleans. This fantasy fortress is the ideal setting for outdoor wedding ceremonies; a sound system complete with wireless microphones is available. The castle's 2,500-square-foot ballroom — which can accommodate up to 250 wedding and reception guests — features double-leaded glass and mahogany doors and crystal chandeliers; a wraparound deck provides additional event space. The Throne Room includes “king” and “queen” chairs and castle props, including a suit of armor and goblets; the room is a popular pre-ceremony bridal party gathering space and photography spot.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT: The 1,200-square-foot Juliet Suite, which features a bedroom, a large dressing area and two full bathrooms, is available for bridal party preparations or for an overnight stay. The suite's balcony overlooks the property's gardens; overnight guests have exclusive use of the entire castle and its grounds.
THE HERLONG MANSION HISTORIC INN AND GARDENS
ADDRESS: 402 N.E. Cholokka Blvd., Micanopy, FL 32667
WEB SITE: www.herlong.com
ENGAGING EVENT SPACE: The Herlong Mansion property provides an enchanting backdrop for intimate weddings and receptions. Originally built as a typical Florida “Cracker”-style home in 1845, the house was transformed into a colonnaded Greek Revival mansion in 1910. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion offers six guest rooms, three suites and three cottages; the property's grounds bloom with azaleas and pecan trees. Garden weddings may be held on the manicured lawn; the inn's jasmine-draped gazebo is a romantic spot to exchange vows. The property can seat up to 100 guests for an outdoor ceremony; a banquet room outfitted with antique furniture seats up to 60 guests for indoor weddings. Catering is available upon request; the mansion's dining room provides seating for up to 20 guests.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT: The mansion offers several wedding packages; staff can recommend a local horse-and-carriage service. Champagne receptions — complete with chocolate-dipped strawberries — are available.
ADDRESS: 1131 S.W. Skamania Lodge Way, Stevenson, WA 98648
WEB SITE: www.skamania.com
ENGAGING EVENT SPACE: Located 45 miles east of Portland, Ore., Skamania Lodge is situated on 175 wooded acres in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The rustic lodge offers more than 22,000 square feet of indoor event space; open-air courtyards, available in season, provide 40,000 square feet of event space for outdoor weddings. The venue specializes in hosting everything from intimate weddings to grand ceremonies with up to 500 guests. Events can be held on the lodge's front lawn overlooking the Columbia River or in the elegant Stevenson and Cascade Locks ballrooms, which feature wrought-iron chandeliers and 14-foot ceilings. The property's amphitheater, which offers views of the Cascade Mountains, is available on a seasonal basis.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT: The lodge offers several pampering wedding packages; The “Bridesmaid Bliss” package includes a 50-minute massage for bridal party members. Men can choose from a 45-minute facial or a mud wrap, among other offerings,in the “Make Room for the Groom” package.