Hidden away on Carpenter Road in Oakley lies a majestic garden oasis where wedding dreams come true. La Grande Wedding and Event Center offers a charming setting for a wedding of any size, and managers Theresa Fiore Bragg, Renee Bragg-Bellison and Janelle Bragg Hartman offer three generations of event-planning experience to ensure that your special day is everything you hoped for.
The Bragg women offer 100 years of combined expertise. Theresa has planned more than 2,000 weddings and daughter Renee has more than 800 to her credit. Granddaughter Janelle is moving up in the ranks, offering a fresh take on planning events that are magical and contemporary.
“I can plan a wedding in 45 minutes,” Renee said. “Give me some basic details about what you want. I’ll make some calls and make it happen. Usually, you want to plan a wedding a year in advance, but in recent years, we’ve encountered a lot of service men and women who want to get married before they deploy. They don’t have a lot of time to plan, and that’s where our experience shines. We’ve seen it all, and we know how to put on a great party.”
The Braggs have their own event-planning business but have been hired by La Grande owners Bob and Phyllis to help get the 9-acre event center up and running. For the next year, the Braggs plan to focus all their energies into La Grande; they even plan to move to Oakley from Clayton to be as close as possible to the action.
Theresa has big plans for La Grande. “Our plan is to make La Grande a top notch wedding center in Northern California – not just Oakley,” she said. “We want this to be a destination. This is an amazing location; it’s just an hour from San Francisco. There’s so much opportunity here at La Grande, and we’re so excited to be part of it.”
La Grande radiates a magnetic, whimsical aura embodying romance and comfort. The venue offers several outdoor ceremony sites, including one in the garden and another by the lake. An outdoor dance floor and bar are illuminated by carnival-style string lights. The dinner reception area, known as the Pavilion, is enclosed in a white tent embellished with chandeliers. An onsite vineyard offers a secluded and mesmerizing location for photos.
While guests are arriving, the bride and her bridesmaids stay in Casa Grande, a refurbished home open only to the bridal party and immediate family the day of the wedding. The bridal suite on the second floor is an enchanted room complete with a bed and couches, a hair and makeup studio and full bathroom. It also features a terrace where the bride can go to get fresh air without risking being seen by the groom.
Downstairs is the kitchen and living room. The groomsmen have a lounge to relax in while they wait for the big moment. Renee would like to convert the garage into a game room so the guys can play pool while they wait for guests to arrive.
Theresa recommends that newly engaged couples establish a budget before they start making plans; decide how much to invest in attire, flowers, catering, entertainment – and the size of the guest list – before they begin shopping around for vendors and venues.
Renee recommends couples tour several venues before choosing a site. “It’s hard to explain, but when you find the right place, you just know. You get this feeling when you enter the room and you can picture your wedding. You see the ceremony. You can picture the first dance. You know it’s the right fit. We hope that’s the feeling you get when you come to La Grande.”
La Grande is located at 1799 Carpenter Road in Oakley. For a consultation, call the Braggs at 925-435-4461. For more information, visit www.thelagrande.com.