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My husband and I got married here in May 2014 and had a fantastic experience. We rented the facility for the weekend, with a rehearsal dinner and bonfire on Friday, ceremony and reception on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. As we have many family members from out of state, this was a great opportunity for everyone to spend time together.
They set you up with a wedding coordinator which is extremely helpful. Shaunah was our coordinator, and she led us every step of the way through our planning process. She helped us set up a timeline for the whole weekend, was easy to reach by email (I sent her a million questions throughout the process), and she helped things run smoothly on the wedding day.
Location: a bit of a drive, limited cell service. I was worried about guests getting lost, but as far as I know everyone made it up there ok! We scheduled a shuttle (The Santa Cruz Experience) to drive guests to and from a hotel in Aptos which was helpful, but it seemed like everyone driving made it up there ok. Just make sure you send out detailed driving instructions! Once you are up there, the location is BEAUTIFUL. You really can't beat it.
Accommodations: My husband and I stayed in the redwood cottage the whole weekend and loved it. So cute and private, with a little balcony. The Orchard House is beautiful, which is where we had close family stay. Other family and friends stayed in the Sangha house and cabins, and some people even camped with tents. If you're looking for 5-star luxury accommodations, this is not it. But for us and our family, it was perfect.
Food: Fantastic! The rehearsal dinner, reception dinner, and Sunday brunch were all amazing. A little pricier than some catering companies that staff different venues, but it was so worth it. We were in charge of bringing our own alcohol, but Pema Osel Ling doesn't have corkage fees so we saved a lot of money. The bartender they assigned us was great.
All in all, our experience was excellent. The entire venue i
The Amphitheatre of the Redwoods is a beautiful location for a wedding and we felt really excited and blessed to be able to have it there.
We had perfect weather and no mosquitos for a 4pm ceremony in the amphitheatre in late July. Make sure you reserve a long time in advance as usually they are booked out for a year unless you're going to be on an off peak day of the week or something.
The venue is certainly remote and a twisty drive for guests who are staying off property to get in and out, especially when leaving after a long day, so make sure they book their accommodations as close as possible to the site.
I deducted from the responsiveness rating because it took a while to hammer out the final contract. Almost a month passed between the estimate and getting a contract signed and this caused me some stress and I still don't understand what took so long -- almost nothing changed between the original estimate and the contract-signing estimate. I could not proceed with booking other vendors until we had the venue signed, so this delayed many elements of our planning and created stress.
The food was very good and we had our reception in the Celebration Hall. There are lots of photos of that space on the venue's Facebook page, so check them out. The venue provided a ladder so we could hang our ceiling decorations.
This is a good venue if you either have a vendor doing your decor or you are prepared to DIY . . . some of the facilities are a bit rustic.
Bathrooms could have been kept clean and maintained better during the big day. Make sure you ask about this and tell them to put attention there. Luckily our guests were pretty chill about this kind of thing.
Margo was our wedding coordinator and once we were in her hands, all went well. She definitely went the extra mile on our big day.
Thanks Pema Osel Ling, the Vajrayana Foundation, and staff!
Thank you for the great review. We will be sure to address the bathroom situation with our staff.
Regarding the one month time period from Reservation to Contract singing. Our policy states that it is one month from the time of the Reservation Request to the contract signing. This allows for time to create the contract, time set up a one hour teleconference with the couple to review the contract with the Sales personnel, and to complete the final signing. Unless I am missing something, we were within our guidelines.
Keep in mind that booking a year in advance allows more time to choose your vendors and lessons the stress of planning.
Thanks again for your positive review!
The food was fabulous and the chef took a lot of requests and changes for dietary restrictions. Our wedding coordinator, Shaunah, was amazing. She was quick to answer any questions and on the day off, she was on top of it and super helpful! She seriously made everything run smooth. The site is breathtaking. All our guests were floored and couldn't stop talking about how beautiful the scenery was. The houses and our cabin were really nice too. Clean and comfortable. The whole experience of a 3 day escape made my wedding experience so relaxing and it was great to have both of our families there spending time together. The only issues we had were with the initial sales person. She seemed a little spacey and gave us a lot of misinformation that we didn't find out about until the last minute and ended up costing us a lot more than we had planned. We spoke to other couples and they said they had the same experience with her as we did. I recommend POL to anyone is who looking for a wonderful destination wedding.
Thank you for the great review! We are delighted that you and your guests had such a wonderful experience at Pema Osel Ling.
I apologize if there was something that you were unaware of or did not anticipate as I take every step to ensure that you are aware of our requirements and any additional rental costs during the tour process. I provide each couple with an estimate of costs after the tour and during the contract consultation process we go over each point in the contract together for clarity. Most couples are very happy to receive such a detailed outline of cost during the tour. I apologize that you did not have that same experience.
With Kind Regards,
I can't really describe how amazing this place is, except to say that it blends rustic charm, incredible food, and amazing people to create the perfect wedding experience. Both of our families stayed onsite, and a number of guests camped on our wedding night, and everyone had nothing but positive things to say about Shaunah and the team, and the facilities. From the second that we pulled up the driveway, it just felt right. You get the entire site (indoor and outdoor) to yourself, so it's great for guests with kids who can't sit still through a reception. It has very understanding chefs, so even your vegan gluten-free diabetic friend has lots to pick from. And Shaunah is ready to help guide you through the planning process, but also make sure that your dream is realistic and achievable. Bonus: you have/get to bring your own alcohol, so the price tag is extremely reasonable.
Absolutely a magical place, amazing positive energy, everything just lines-up mysteriously... all my guests said this is by far the best wedding and the most beautiful ceremony they have ever been too.. the beauty is breathtaking, and the fact that you can stay and create a memorable weekend for your friends and family is priceless...The experience exceeded my expectations, the staff, the food, the grounds, the energy, the lovely cabins, everything.....I am forever grateful for coming across POL as the location to celebrate my wedding...I highly recommend it...
overall, loved the place. gorgeous, very friendly, staff was great. the one warning is that i thought there would be less coordinating and planning given that everything was in 1 place (rehearsal, ceremony, reception) and there is a wedding coordinator but it was actually quite complicated. you are personally in charge of coordinating all the guests, accommodations, who sleeps where, collecting money, meals, etc. it was a very big job. i'm glad i did it but it was a lot more work than i anticipated. of note, the food was EXCELLENT!! all the guests commented on it.
We had a fabulous time at our weekend wedding at POL! The staff were friendly, responsive, flexible and completely supportive of all of our weird little ideas to make our wedding unique (s'mores! outdoor pancake flipping! after-party after-party!). It's a gorgeous location, and the perfect spot if you want your wedding to be a mini-retreat with your friends and loved ones.