My new husband and I married at The Forest House Lodge (for some reason it's been called The Forest House Hotel on this website) in August, 2007. It was my husband's idea, as he had attended a wedding of similar size and temperment (175 people, 125 of whom love perhaps more than a splash of champagne and a good dance tune) at the Forest House in 2005 and had a fabulous time. That couple, in fact, were guests at our own wedding, and Patrick and Monica (facility owners) still remembered them and their wedding, which also went really well.
My husband and I were far from disappointed. The ceremony site, which is something like 1.4 miles from the hotel site, is a breathtaking Sierra Nevada overlook, and can be as much as ten degrees cooler in the summer than the valley below (I think Foresthill, the town where the lodge is, is at something like 3000 feet). Parking there is not a problem, though we encouraged our guests to meet at the Lodge and carpool up to the ceremony site.
We held our reception back at the lodge. The food was really tasty, and I am an unabashed foodie and can be hard to please. we spent our honeymoon in Liguria and Tuscany, Italy, and created our wedding meal menu to reflect some of those regions' influences. Monica and her staff added some special requests onto our menu at little cost to us, which made the meal even more personal. Patrick and his bartender got the party started in the courtyard with beer, wine, and champagne, and kept it going all night in the bar with the Lodge's fabulous bottled beer and cocktail selections. The Lodge also serves a dozen or so wines, but we provided the wine for our wedding ourselves (even with corkage, it's a smart way to go at this venue) which the bartenders happily poured. We had our own cake brought in from Karen's Bakery and Catering in Folsom, CA, but we *did* participate in the Forest House annual tasting for booked and prospective brides and grooms in February before our wedding and Monica's cakes and desserts were very good.
One feature that drew us to the Forest Housew as that we could party as late as we wanted! We had guests dancing until we left at midnight; my father and some cousins from both sides and the bridal party shut down the bar at 2AM and then kept going with darts and pool on the basment level until 3:30 in the morning! Some of my husband's family are Jewish, and Patrick even allowed us to have a chair dance!
In response to some complaints I see on this website: be sure to read your wedding event contract carefully, to be sure you and Patrick are on the same page. After all, your signature thereon means just that--that you HAVE read it, word for word. Also, know your financial limits, and stick to them. Patrick can work within many different sized budgets to help you plan a memorable event. He is also willing to work out a personalized payment plan that suits your finances better than the initial plan he sends out. The key is to be up-front about your desires and your limits, and to keep on Patrick a little, as he is pretty busy and can sometimes take awhile to respond to questions or concerns. But he'll always respond eventually. This summer, 2007, Patrick and Monica hired a new gal to be their full-time event coordinator, and she is (I think) taking over for Patrick as the go-to person for questions and concerns.
As for quality of the venue? Yes, the building is old and has a colorful past. The water can take a few minutes to get hot. The building creaks and moans if it's windy. There is no elevator (if wheelchair accessibility is an issue for you, definitely visit the place in person before making any decisions). However, Patrick and Monica have over the year that we've been visiting the place installed new carpet downstairs (upstairs is next), totally redecorated the basement level to create a luxurious bridal preparation and photo-op area, redesigned the landscaping in the courtyard, and added some features to the ceremony site (a flagstone "aisle", for instance, for the bride and her attendants to walk down). My husband and I love the look of the place, with its rich wood flooring and paneling and original wooden bar, and it gave our out-of-state guests a fun taste of Gold Rush history.
Two things to be aware of: one, the Forest House Lodge is NOT a standard hotel. It is open (as far as I know) only for private parties (in addition to weddings it would be highly suitable for family reunions, as the building can sleep 60-70 guests or more if people don't mind air mattresses and sleeping bags) and for Patrick's much-talked-about "potential bride and groom stay-ver nights." Two, the closest additional lodging that we could find was 17 miles away, on I-80 in Auburn. There are some B&B's in the Foresthill Road area, though, and also some camping. Just something to be aware of, as the road at night is dark and has some twisy moments, and if your crowd parties hard, you night consider a shuttle service to one of the Auburn hotels or tell your friends to bring sleeping bags!
Check out the website at http://www.foresthouse.com/. Happy planning!
- Also Known As:
- Forest House Hotel Foresthill
- Forest Hotel Foresthill