Early September weddings in Palm Desert can be unbearably hot. So we couldn’t have been happier that Sandy and Eric decided to get married at a lakeside venue in Northern California with a special family connection! On September 7th, we hopped in the car for a road trip up to Auburn, where Sandy Thor and Eric Salzmann were preparing for their September 9th wedding.
New venues always hold new opportunities and new challenges. We made sure to arrive a day early to attend the rehearsal and get accustomed to the unfamiliar location. Lake of the Pines Country Club in Auburn is an absolutely picturesque venue. Mountain roads snaked their way through tree-lined hills which opened almost miraculously to a crystal alpine lake. The lodge-style clubhouse was situated right on the lakeshore and surrounded on three sides by water and a rose garden at the entrance. Sandy and Eric are already a pretty laid-back couple who seemed to have little stress planning their destination wedding. Standing on the patio deck overlooking the lake, watching sail boats and water skiers pass by created a calming peace to set the mood for nothing but joy and celebration. Family and the wedding party began to arrive after traveling from locations as far as England. Some met for the first time, while some, like their mothers, had become great friends over the several years Eric and Sandy had been dating.
In addition to its natural beauty, Lake of the Pines held extra significance for Sandy and her family. Sandy’s dad has since passed away from cancer, but he once played in a band that had frequent gigs in the Lake of the Pines clubhouse. So, having their wedding here was a way to remember and honor him and sense that he was there with his baby girl.
Sentimental value combined with impressive views made Sandy and Eric’s big day even more meaningful. Even as they were prepping in their hotel rooms at the Auburn Holiday Inn, we could tell that the emotions of the day were beginning to set in. Reading through his vows, Eric was visibly touched before he had even seen how beautiful his bride looked in her flowing a-line sweetheart gown.
All the anticipation made for a very tender first look when we finally arrived at the clubhouse and Sandy found her groom in the rose garden. Sandy’s grin stretched from ear to ear while Eric couldn’t resist the tear of pure joy when he saw his bride.
The view didn’t need anything embellishments, but was perfectly enhanced by arrangements of pink and maroon flowers with vibrant foliage adorned over an archway with maroon dresses and navy suits on either side. Their fun-loving bridal party and joyful family brought along a lot of levity, but the ceremony was no less emotional. David was a long time friend that knew both Eric and Sandy very well from their years at UCSB and since he had officiated a couple other friends weddings, he was an immediate choice for their own wedding day as well. So, David lead the procession and found his place under the flower adorned archway with the lake behind him. The rest of the wedding party found their places and stood at attention for Sandy and her brother. David began with a few fun stories of the early years of ‘Eric and Sandy’, Eric’s mom shared a reading and a prayer, they each exchanged their own personal heartfelt vows and sealed their promises with a ring and a kiss.
Time to start the party! The newlyweds and their bridal party entered the reception to thunderous applause. They sat back at the sweetheart table, ready to enjoy the festivities—because only they knew the fun that was in store. In order to be released for dinner, each table of guests was required to huddle around the bride and groom and serenade them with any song they could think of with the word ‘love’ in the lyrics. Sandy and Eric enjoyed terrible renditions of All You Need is Love, She Loves You, and As Long as You Love Me to name a few, and there wasn’t a straight face in the room.
After several entertaining and moving toasts, Sandy and Eric enjoyed their romantic first dance together. Followed by the mother-son dance, but perhaps the most touching moment of an already touching day came next. Instead of a father-daughter dance, a slideshow was projected above the dance floor where he had once played with his band depicting scenes from Sandy’s life with her dad and a video of him giving his marriage blessings to Eric and Sandy 2 years prior to this day. To let everyone recover from the flow of tears throughout the entire room, we pulled them out side for a couple stunning sunset portraits and followed up with cake! Cake and cookies solves everything- especially apple pie filled cookies. With the formal festivities concluded, everyone got busy dancing the night away!
It was a sweet end to a sweet occasion—one we were honored to be a part of, and we’re truly excited for Sandy and Eric Salzmann!
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Auburn, Ca
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Lake of the Pines Country Club
Officiant: Friend, David Silva
Floral Decor: Bellevue Floral Co
Wedding Cake: Madonna Inn Bakery
Desserts & Treats Table: The Cookie Connection
Videographer: John Silva Video Production
DJ: Chad Stalzer Productions
Hair and Makeup Artist: Minx Salon and Spa