Debbie and Caleb had their hearts set on getting married at Manka's Inverness Lodge, a small, rustic hotel about an hour north of San Francisco. "The hotel does a limited number of weddings, but we kept saying 'We have to do this here,'" says Debbie. What motivated the East Coast pair? The food. Inventive dishes and an almost obsessive policy of using only local ingredients has made the lodge a gourmet's delight. Manka's cabins are scattered in a lovely patch of woods, but it's the kitchen that's the heart of the compound.
The New Yorkers' 51 guests arrived at the lodge on a Friday in April and were treated to a woodland picnic; that evening, a seven-course rehearsal dinner featured dishes with yardlong descriptions ("sprigs of watercress pillaged from The Point and draped over a bite of housemade bacon"). The morning of the wedding, guests chose between yoga with Debbie or sea kayaking with Caleb. The ceremony was held in front of the boathouse fireplace. Afterward, a San Francisco trolley retrofitted with wheels whisked everyone to the lodge for a dinner that included lamb from a neighbor's farm; back in the boathouse, dancing to a local band went on for hours. Satiated and ecstatic, Debbie and Caleb escaped to their private cottage, which was decorated with fragrant-though, sadly, inedible-rose petals. —Leigh Newman
3 Things Debbie Learned
Picture It: Just after the ceremony, Debbie had her photographer snap a group shot of the entire 53-person wedding party. "That's my favorite photograph of all."
Be Arts and Craftsy: "I became obsessed with my paper goods," says Debbie. Both media professionals, she and Caleb designed their own wedding logo (an antique rose compass that symbolized their love of travel), which was printed on the invitations, programs, and place cards.
Give and Receive: After the wedding, Debbie donated her dress to the United Jewish Appeal. "I hope somebody else is enjoying it for her wedding." Her gold Prada wedges, however, are stashed in her closet.
Ceremony and Reception Site
Manka's Inverness Lodge, 800-585-6343, mankas.com
Alison Events, 415-567-7605, alisonevents.com
Verde Flowers, 415-457-7542, verdeflowers.com
Thomas Megna, 415-609-3968
Ceci New York, 212-989-0695, cecinewyork.com
Thayer Allyson Gowdy, 212-587-9009, thayerphoto.com