This is one of those blog posts that is sending me down a rabbit hole of updating blog posts. It didn’t occur to me that when I started writing this post I was going to have to update 4 others (I have lots of old posts with broken photo links that need to be updated.  File under: things on the long list that get consistently shoved to the end of the list). You see, Zoë and I go WAY back. Once upon a time, a fantastic couple by the names of Jamie and Kristen hired me off Thumbtack to photograph a very unconventional engagement session: they wanted to be attacked by a yeti in the woods and have their dog save them. Zoë, in her engagement session acting debut, played said yeti.

This extended group of friends has now hired me and shared me and referred me more than any other group in my decade plus history as a wedding photographer. I have photographed FIVE weddings between all of them, multiple engagement sessions, multiple maternity sessions and more. There is no compliment higher than being referred out again and again and again and this group continues to pay me the highest of compliments. On one side of the group, Jamie and Kristen would hire me for their YMCA of the Rockies wedding, which was an absolute blast.  It felt like summer camp, there were animal masks galore, lawn games and a dance party. Emily, the lynch pin of this extended group hired me for her Medieval Times wedding. On the other side of Emily are the Moxes, who were the first and hired me for their Doctor Who themed engagement session and Magic the Gathering themed wedding. Through them I was introduced to Liz and Michael, who have also hired me for their Santa Cruz mountains wedding and growing family portraits.

In short, it came as absolutely NO surprise when Zoë reached out for her Gold Hill Gardens wedding. “I was the yeti,” she said at the onset.

While Zoë and Jordan’s Gold Hill Gardens wedding erred on the side of more traditional when it comes to this friend group, they still had plenty of non-traditional surprises in store. These included a tarot card reader which was a super huge hit. She had a line almost all night.  Both Kimmi and I had our cards read and I found it to be so incredibly fun and shockingly on point.  Because of the proximity to Halloween, they also had a pumpkin carving contest complete with trophies presented and the tables were full of whimsical tarot and Halloween themed centerpieces.

I hope that this group of friends never stops getting married (though I suppose we must run out of people eventually) because I daresay, my life has been enriched by this magnetic group of people.

Venue: Gold Hill Gardens | Planning and Coordination: Forever Peaceful Events | Catering: Antonio Ayestarán | Bakery: Nothing Bundt Cakes | DJ: Elegant Events Media | Attire: Ellis Blake Bridal, R Douglas Custom | Hair and MU: MM Beauty | Tarot Card Reader: Wedding Astrology | Sensational Second Shooting thanks to my dear friend Kimmi at Starscape Studios

Planning a Gold Hill Gardens Wedding in Newcastle, CA

Until Zoe and Jordan’s wedding, I had never ventured into Newcastle.  It’s a relatively small (only 1,100 residents!), charming little town in Placer County, CA.  Originally established in the 1860s, it served as a mining camp for gold prospectors during CA’s gold rush.  Just northeast of Sacramento, the rolling hills that make up the backdrop of a Gold Hill Gardens wedding is going to give you the ambiance and secluded feelings you desire but in a location that’s extremely convenient to Sacrament, Roseville and Auburn.

Must-Visit Newcastle Attractions

  • Old Town Auburn: Every visit to every town with an “old town” must start there, am I right?  Wander through the historic streets lined with well-preserved buildings that date back to the 19th century. Shops, galleries, and cafes dot the area, making it a delightful place to stroll and soak up some Gold Rush history.
  • Newcastle Produce: For a taste of local flavor, pop into Newcastle Produce. This beloved market offers fresh, locally sourced produce, artisanal goods, and gourmet treats. It’s an excellent spot to pick up picnic supplies or unique souvenirs to remember your visit.
  • Black Vinyl Ale Project: Black Vinyl Ale Project is for the craft brewery lovers that travel through Newcastle. This microbrewery combines a passion for beer with a love for vinyl records, which hits a Venn diagram of things I love. Stop by to sample their innovative brews and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.
  • Hidden Falls Regional Park: A short drive from Newcastle, this park features trails, waterfalls, and opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Lodging Options for a Gold Hill Gardens Wedding

  1. Auburn: Located nearby, Auburn is a larger town with more lodging options. You can find a range of hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments. Auburn is about a 10 to 15-minute drive from Newcastle, making it convenient.  Auburn also has a super fun Old Town area to explore and wander in.
  2. Roseville: Roseville is a bit farther away but provides plenty of choices for accommodations, including hotels and extended stay options. It’s a larger city than Auburn.
  3. Vacation Rentals: Consider looking for vacation rentals in and around Newcastle. Websites like Airbnb or VRBO may have options for cozy cabins, guesthouses, or cottages, providing a more personalized and local experience.