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wedding sites and bites

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though this is slightly out of the realm of usual chowhound topic boundaries, i thought i'd throw this one out to everyone: does anyone have any personal recommendations for memorable/wonderful wedding sites, e.g. Beaulieu Gardens?

i'm planning for an upcoming wedding next fall and have been looking at various locations without much luck. any insights or advice would be incredibly helpful!

also, if you have any catering or cake bakery recommendations, please forward those on as well. thanks!

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  1. We had our wedding banquet at Harbor Village, a Chinese restaurant at the Embarcadero. The food was great, but the service was awful and the prices were unreasonable. They nickel and dime you on everything they can.

    Cake tasting was one of the most fun parts of planning the wedding. We went to several different places: Victoria Pastry, I Love Chocolate, Katrina Roselle in Rockridge, the Sweet Stop in J-town, Marjolaine French Pastries in San Jose, and Aki's Bakery in San Jose.

    Our favorite was Katrina Roselle. They had a cake that was called something like Almond Vanilla. It was made with almond pound cake. It was the best cake I ever had. However, we went with Victoria Pastry because it was a little cheaper and they didn't charge for delivery. We had a different flavor for each cake tier: Princess, Mocha, Lemon custard, zaballone (I don't know how to spell that). It ended being the wrong choice, though...the cake was very dry and soggy at the same time.

    4 Replies
    1. re: macky

      Renaissance Pastry in Santa Rosa.

      A friend had them do their wedding cake last June. It was amazing. Huge pieces and great flavor. It was just a basic white cake with lemon filling, but it tasted like real scratch cake with lemon filling, not the mix stuff with the artificial flavoring. Real buttercream frosting as well.

      Worth the trip to check out. I think they have a full pastry shop too.

      Try the local chamber of commerce for places to get married or stay. They usually have a massive list of places.

      Good luck!

      1. re: John Galt

        Thanks for the advice! Any more suggestions would be sooo welcome.

        Also, for anyone considering Katrina Rozelle as their bakery of choice for a wedding or party, I have to throw out a warning. I recently threw a surprise birthday party for my fiancé at Ton Kiang and ordered a cream cheese pound cake with lemon curd and raspberries from Katrina Rozelle. The party was amazingly fun but sadly, the cake was less than exceptional. It was incredibly dry...so dry that it was actually crumbling in places. Additionally, the order was taken incorrectly, and we ended up with a cake with NO raspberries though it was clearly specified and noted. All around very disappointing (especially with 50 guests).

        To add insult to injury, when I called Katrina Rozelle to bring attention to the situation, I received an unbelievably insulting letter of response. I was told that a) I didn't know how to place an order for a cake b) I didn't know how to care (defrost) a cake c) I probably hadn't tasted their cakes before and therefore didn't have a clue what I was talking about d) I was lying and was just trying to get a refund.

        Actually, my fiancé and I had previously ordered at least 5 cakes from the bakery and were well acquainted with both the quality and the care associated with these cakes. To be honest, we were more than happy with the Katrina Rozelle's products before the incident and were actually considering using the bakery for our wedding. After this incident and the affirming comments of several other friends regarding the declining quality of the bakery, we have decided not to patronize Katrina Rozelle any longer.

        I have sent a letter of reply to Katrina Rozelle Topp regarding her inadequate response and have predictably, not received any answer. Any business worth their salt would take responsibility for their mistakes and their products rather than insult their customers.

        Just a warning for those in the market for cakes... Sorry about the diatribe!

        1. re: Virginia

          In the course of work I see a lot of wedding cakes. I've been pretty impressed by the cakes from perfect endings. I don't know anything about their pricing or how they are to deal with but they can do some very impressive work. I believe they are a SF business...don't know their phone number.

          1. re: Virginia
            j
            JB Leibovitch

            I had a similar experience, on a smaller scale. We ordered a very simple cake for my daughter's 2nd birthday, and we were very specific on the color (purple) and one other detail that escapes me--I think it had something to do with the ballons that Winnie the Pooh was holding! The cake tasted just fine, but the color was white. Someone at the Katrina Rozelle bakery in Oakland tried to convince me that the frosting was indeed purple (a very LIGHT purple) and that I should have chosen Lavender instead! Well, my 2 year-old thought it was white, I thought it was white, and I offered to show them pictures and video. In the end, they offered me a small refund or a larger credit towards future purchases. I chose the refund. I do not think the product is bad, but I just don't want to go through that level of hassle again OVER A CAKE.

      2. a
        Alexandra Eisler

        The Albion River Inn is a lovely site with excellent food and a full bar if you are interested in an afternoon wedding.

        The Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg makes superb cakes. The dining room was almost SILENT as our guests concentrated on the cake; there was not a crumb left to take on the honeymoon...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alexandra Eisler

          I used Katrina Roselle for my wedding about ten years ago.

          The quality was fine, and there was no problem with the order, but I do recall that they had a very superior attitude about what we were ordering.

          Specificaly, I wanted a pound cake with mousse filling, which they had as a standard item with white chocolate icing, but we wanted Italian mereingue (sp?) instead. I had to be very assertive in the face of the bakery's insistence that I didn't know what I was talking about. They also sold us a larger cake than we really needed.

          As it turned out, the cake was just what we wanted. In hindsight, however, if I could have found a plce with just as good cake and much less attitude, I would have gone elsewhere.

        2. Just went to a late morning/early afternoon wedding there last month and it was a nice setting. You can't linger though, as the hourly rates in the late afternoon are steep.

          1. Check out Divine Gluttony (divinegluttony.com). The owner was a pastry chef at various SF restaurants and has now started her own business. Although I haven't tried any of her wedding cakes, her other cakes are very good. (She's a friend of mine, so I may be a little biased, but she really is good.)

            1. I just got married in the montclair women's club this spring (they are located in Oakland Hills). They have a really beautiful hall. They don't have much of an outdoors though.

              I went cheap on my cake, I went with sugar bowl bakery. They do a decent cake for the price. The fresh strawberry filling is very good.