We moved to Nevada County, CA in August of 2016. It took us awhile but we finally made it out to explore Empire Mine State Historic Park in the spring of 2017. We got to see a lot of the grounds and all the old buildings and flower gardens. David Townsend, Empire’s Senior Park Aide, and as we saw him, their Wedding Guru, showed us around and told us some of the Bourne family’s history. I enjoy imagining all the people who lived at and visited the grounds (though I also imagined the natives who tended this land before it was mined). We learned about the thirty miles of mine tunnels under Grass Valley! I loved reading about how the Cornish miners carried tiered lunch pails with tea on the bottom and a pastry called a “pastie” on the top; the entire pail could then be heated over a small fire (way down in the mine shaft) and a fresh, hot meal and tea were enjoyed.
Everywhere we looked was magic; the grounds directly surrounding the main house, the rose gardens, the pool, the areas with abundant nature, as well as the old mining office buildings, with their rock walls and rusted tin roofs. It was all so beautiful and we look forward to photographing a wedding here one day.
The venue has some strict restrictions but also a highly coveted lottery system for even getting a chance to wed here in the first place, which is definitely worth looking in to. While they are able to accommodate a pretty large capacity, because of their time limitations, I see these as an ideal location for smaller wedding ceremonies, or for larger weddings without too much on their agenda. The perfect, idyllic location for chill couples who like to go with the flow (and have epic wedding photographs).