Mountain Gardens Make a Perfect Wedding |

Mountain Gardens Make a Perfect Wedding

If being married out of doors in a beautiful garden overlooking a small lake nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is your idea of a great way to make memories, Big Springs Gardens may be the right choice for your wedding and reception. There’s no doubt it’s pure romance.

Twenty acres of tall trees, purple irises, pink water lilies, and magenta rhododendrons, lush green lawn, enchanted walkways amongst the springs that clock in at about 1,000 gallons a minute, birds and butterflies–all against a craggy mountain backdrop. You probably can’t find a prettier location for a wedding than this. But, look for yourself online at http://www.bigspringsgardens.

This is a dream fulfilled for Don Phillips, a former developer and Stanford Business School assistant dean, who personally hosts every wedding that takes place there. After all, it’s also his summer home, complete with hisprivate lodge on the other side of the lake.

“I want the bride, groom and their guests to feel happy, comfortable, and relaxed,” says this charming man with the twinkling blue eyes, “just as if it were a wedding of a friend of mine.”

The menu he offers uses “the best of the best” ingredients, as he puts it, in the form of “an elegant buffet that is served informally” in the open airdining area of big round tables with umbrellas from which diners look down into a lovely lake. Phillips does the shopping and oversees all preparation-from a grand variety of hors d’ oeuvres and salads to entrees of barbeque ribs and poached salmon. Pretty to look at, even better to eat.

During the reception, folks have the gardens to stroll around in while they listen to the lovely sounds of nature or live music and watch the colorful rainbow trout swim lazily in the one-acre lake, or perhaps even take a short walk on one of the close-in hiking trails that winds up into the pines. The facilities can handle about 100 very comfortably.

Getting to the gardens takes you 60 miles along side the breathtaking Yuba River, through the old Gold Rush town of Downieville, and up around 5,000 feet in elevation, a most beautiful ride, to be sure. For those who think outside the box, Phillips has an ingenious suggestion for a truly carefree, fun mode of transportation: hire a bus to transport the wedding guests to and from the gardens. Then everyone can eat, drink, and be merry to their hearts content.

Niki and Kelly Romer, a young outdoorsy couple from Reno had their wedding and reception at the gardens in 2003. “A wonderful setting,” said Kelly. “The gardens were just beginning to bloom. It was a moving ceremony. The harpist from Grass Valley was awesome. Our families kept calling it a fairytale wedding.”

Phillips has a collection of thank you letters that sing praises to the gardens, which, by the way, also host regularly scheduled luncheons during the week and a Sunday brunch that is the envy of fine restaurants.

Saturdays, though, are reserved for specials gatherings such as weddings.

Big Springs Gardens officially opens this spring on May 26, with the first Saturday being available for a wedding June 6. The last wedding Saturday of the season is September 24.

Phillips says he’s eager for the new season to start so he can once again play host to people who appreciate beauty. Extending a cordial invitation, he says, “I’m looking forward to some truly memorable weddings here this summer.”

Big Springs Gardens

32613 Highway 49

Sierra City, CA 96125

530-862-1333 (leave a message and you will be called back shortly)

NEWS FLASH: Drop by our booth at the Wedding Fair, Sunday, February 20, at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center in downtown Nevada City, and get your questions answered as well as see many images of the gardens. Call the wedding fair coordinator at 530-265-6951for further information.

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