15 Dreamy U.S. Venues to Inspire Your Winter Wedding

*Thanks to Siege Media for their help writing and creating this post.

Mother of the Bride, destination weddings are always beautiful and exciting for both the couple and their guests. Destination weddings give everyone the opportunity to take a mini vacation and explore the area where your wedding is being held.

When we think of destination weddings, a summer wedding at the beach or a vineyard event is what usually comes to mind. For something a bit more out-of-the-box, let’s consider some beautiful wedding venues perfect for a winter destination wedding. 

Planning a winter wedding can not only help you stay within budget but can also give you opportunities to get creative and plan a truly unique wedding day. As we all know, wedding costs can accumulate quickly, especially when you book your wedding during peak wedding season. This is why the winter season is perhaps the best time of year to have a budget-friendly wedding. You’ll also have more flexibility when it comes to vendors and venues since it will be a slower season for everyone. 

Winter weddings can help you add creative and warm details your guests are sure to love. Things like blankets or scarves as party favors, a hot cider station, or a hot chocolate bar are just a few fun favorites that will make your wedding cozy and memorable.

Here are a few winter wedding venues highlighted plus a link to them and more below: 

Dunton Hot Springs – Dunton, CO

For a more outdoorsy couple, Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado is great! It’s rustic vibe and crystal white snow background will leave you with little else to add. 

Union Hill Inn – Sonora, CA

This fairytale-like inn is great for couples who want a winter wedding but are feeling a little unsure about heavy snow. The gardens and cottage rooms create an ideal space for any wedding. 

Treehouse Point – Issaquah, WA

One of the most unique venues on this list, Treehouse Point offers a breathtaking area in the middle of the forest full of adorable treehouses for your guests to stay in. Plan your wedding in one of their communal areas for an unforgettable event.

For photos of the above options as well as more venue ideas, check out the full list of winter wedding locations. The roundup includes essential details including peak winter wedding months of each location, capacity, wedding spaces offered, and best nearby lodging for you and your guests.

Have fun with your daughter, MOB, as you consider these winter wonderland destination venues for her big day!

*You might also like to read Favor Help for Winter Weddings, Winter Wedding Cake Idea: Snowflakes!, and Winter Wedding Cake: Pinecones and Baby’s Breath!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Thanks to CarRentals.com for the images.

Free Fly Like Autumn Leaves

I love to watch the autumn leaves—and not just for their colors. I love to watch them fly as well.

The leaves of fall are free flying. They’re not bound by a must-follow route or a set of rules. No one tells them to drop at a perfect 90 degree angle—or any other angle. Each one is different. Each one takes its cue from the wind at the moment it falls.

Some fall headlong, landing right below their former homes. Others venture a few feet away as they drift gently through the air before finding a new resting place. Still others fly like crazy on the wings of a major wind gust, soaring as never before, looking like frolicking birds—up and down and all around, going great distances before running out of breath. Yes, autumn leaves are free flying.

Makes me want to do some free flying myself. Anyone else?

The good news is we can. As believers in Jesus, as children of God, we can free fly on the wings of his Spirit living within us. We can abandon ourselves to his leadership, whether on short straight paths, lilting walks, or adventures of a lifetime. Following the Spirit, we’ll soar as never before.

We can also free fly on the wings of encouragement. Sometimes all we need to be spurred on to try something new or go after a dream is the confidence inspired by a friend or family member who cheers us on. Sometimes all it takes is a little push. We then find ourselves free flying and loving every minute of it.

Other times it takes a little more. It takes a major gust of courage to launch our flight. The ride holds out hope of great and mighty things—but only if we’re willing to take the risk, only if we’re brave enough to step out of our comfort zones or battle whatever problems are trying to hinder our flight.

As the leaves free fly around us this autumn season, let’s ask ourselves if we’re ready to do a little free flying ourselves. Let’s abandon ourselves to the wings of the Spirit, let’s fly on words of encouragement. Let’s be bold and allow courage to carry us to new heights. Let’s free fly!

“. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

*How have you been free flying lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by _hq_, Creative Commons License

Book Launch Giveaway for Mother of the Bride!

IMG_8433The official launch day for my book Mother of the Bride is finally here! The book has been available in limited supply on online sites already, but with the arrival of July 1st, it will now be widely available both online and in stores. I’m so excited!

To celebrate the launch of my dream come true, how about a super fun giveaway? The winner will receive a signed copy of the book as well as some other special gifts—a to-die for Peppermint Latte bar of Beigetone Soap (hand-made by my friend Nancy Douglas), a jar of True Blue Spa 60-Second Manicure Hand Scrub from Bath and Body Works, a bottle of OPI Nail Polish in the Hawaiian Orchid shade, a beautiful Butterflies Journal by Peter Pauper Press, and also the decorative container pictured above. You certainly don’t have to be a mother of the bride to win this giveaway, but I’ve designed it in honor of all mothers of the bride out there who deserve to be pampered in the midst of all their wedding planning.

But first, here’s a brief description of Mother of the Bride:

Mother of the Bride will help MOBs step away from the hurried pace of daily life complicated by a demanding new role. It will offer them the refreshment found in discovering community as they take time for themselves time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them.

Through essays featuring relevant quotes or Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and practical tips for wedding planning, Mother of the Bride will nurture the all-important but too often neglected mother of the bride.

Mother of the Bride is the perfect gift and resource for mothers of the bride. The vendor worksheets alone (found at the back of the book) are themselves worth the price of the book. Why not make it your go-to gift for mothers of the bride you know—both now and in the future!

You may buy the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com, and it will be available in bookstores as well. To find out more about the book, check out MotheroftheBrideBook.com.

*****

Now for the giveaway. Here’s how it will work:

*1 entry for leaving a comment on this post here on my website. The ones on Facebook are greatly appreciated, but to be entered in the giveaway, you must leave a comment here.

*2 entries for Liking my Cheryl Barker, Writer Facebook page (tell me in the comments.) If you’ve already Liked the page, just say so. That definitely counts!

*3 entries for sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter (tell me in the comments and include the link where you shared.)

*4 entries for subscribing to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter (tell me in the comments but be sure to confirm your subscription when you get a confirmation email.) Sign-up is to the right under “Free For You”. If you’re already a Life Notes subscriber, you bet that counts. Just mention it in your comment.

*Giveaway is open to US residents only due to customs and mailing costs.

*Drawing will be done by Random.Org.

Enter by noon CST July 20th, and I will announce the winner in my July 21st posts here and on my Mother of the Bride Blog as well.

I won’t be posting here again until July 21st. Yes, that’s a long blogging break, but I want to leave this post front and center for a while so everyone will have a chance to see it and enter the giveaway. Plus, I will also be taking a trip with my sisters—a first for us!—so I want to concentrate on enjoying that special time with them. In the meantime, why not enjoy some of the inspiration and encouragement found in previous posts? Look under Favorite Posts to the right for some posts you might especially enjoy.

And now, good luck to everyone! I will see you here again on July 21st!

Pinterest Pin - Perfect Gift and Resource

Giveaway Celebrating Launch of Mother of the Bride!

Pinterest Pin - Friend for the JourneyThe official launch day for my book Mother of the Bride is finally here! The book has been available in limited supply on online sites already, but with the arrival of July 1st, it will now be widely available both online and in stores. I’m so excited!

To celebrate the launch of my dream come true, I’m doing a giveaway for a signed copy of the book as well as some other special treats. See all the details and enter on my home page giveaway post by noon CST July 20th, and I will announce the winner in my July 21st posts on both blogs.

Also, fyi, I won’t be posting here again until July 21st. I want to leave this post front and center for a while so everyone will have a chance to see it and enter the giveaway. I will also be taking a trip with my sisters—something  we planned long before I knew the launch date for my book—so I want to concentrate on enjoying that special time with them. In the meantime, scan the blog post titles in the archives to find just the help you might be looking for right now, MOB. You will find a wealth of ideas, tips, and advice there.

But first, MOB, head on over to my home page and enter for your chance to win a copy of Mother of the Bride. If you don’t happen to win, you’ll have to be sure to treat yourself to a copy. I hope it will be a wonderful encouragement, help, and blessing to you!

*See sidebar for links to buy the book!

Dream Like Crazy

13026914033_d92fcaf0b0_zDo you have a dream? If so, be encouraged by my post today. Over seven years ago I wrote a piece called “Dream Like Crazy” for my very first Life Notes newsletter, and the dream I shared in that piece is in the process of coming true right now. That’s right, my first book will be released on July 1st!

So won’t you read “Dream Like Crazy” today and rejoice with me at how God is honoring the dreams of little ordinary me. Hope it encourages you to pursue those dreams of your own!

Dream Like Crazy (written in November 2008)

Are you a dreamer? I am. When I sleep, I dream like crazy, but for the past several years, I’ve become a dreamer of a different sort. I’m a writer now, and writers have to be dreamers. Not only do we have to dream up ideas and words, we must have vision—dreams and goals—if we hope to have our work published.

My writing dream didn’t start until I was 40 years old. Just as the world was telling me I was over the hill, I saw a new hill to climb. And even though I’ve had to take a couple of detours along the way, I’ve been climbing slowly but surely ever since. One step at a time.

The dream to touch other lives through my writing has grown over the years. When I began, I just hoped to have some articles and poems published, but within a few years, a desire to write a book took root as well. Now I have more than one book project tumbling around inside my mind and out onto my keyboard. I continue working at my ongoing goal of having more of my work used in various publications, compilation books, and on greeting cards, but now my dream encompasses seeing books of my own published as well.

A book sounds like a pretty big dream for a small-time gal like me, doesn’t it? Especially given the fact that my over the hill 40th birthday is now a distant memory. You know what keeps me pressing on, though? I believe God has given me my dreams and called me to write. I’m just following his lead.

As far as traditional book publication goes, I know the odds are stacked against me. In the publishing world, the market is more competitive than ever before. Some might say, “Why bother? Why go to all that effort? You’ll probably never get a book contract.” And you know what? They may be right. If so, I’m okay with that. I still feel incredibly blessed to have any of my work out there touching the lives of others.

Even so, I’m not ready to give up my dream of book publication. Those voices could be wrong. Jesus said, ‘”…with God all things are possible…'” (Matthew 19:26), and after all, God is the One who has given me my dreams as well as the ability to write. I’m just getting ready for his blessing. Just doing my part to see my dreams become reality!

*Do you have a dream? Take it to the Lord and get ready for His blessing!

*Sign-up for my free Life Notes newsletter is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License