In sunny Southern California, many couples dream of a seaside wedding. But if you’re considering swapping the blue for green — as is “garden” — in honor of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we’re spilling the beans on L.A.’s most underrated garden-wedding spots.
Emily McMahon of Grandes Fetes (www.grandesfetes.com) is a Los Angeles-based wedding planner and event designer who is tying the knot herself at a garden venue this spring. When looking at a garden venue, McMahon advises clients to think in terms of not only their surroundings and wedding photos, but also the included on-site benefits and amenities.
“Many outdoor garden venues in the L.A. area offer [certain advantages] year round, and in a private environment over which you have complete control,” McMahon said. “Easy access to your site from parking or valet, clean restrooms near your ceremony and your reception sites, some form of kitchen facilities, access to power outlets, bride and groom suites, and even a rain plan are all elements I recommend looking for in a garden venue. The more of those elements that come included with the venue, the less you have to spend to bring in your own, and the happier your guests and vendors will be.”
With this in mind, we bring you some of our favorite L.A.-area garden wedding venues.
Contrary to the moniker, Smogshoppe
(www.smogshoppe.com) is one of L.A.’s most unique indoor garden wedding venues. The brainchild of Miguel Nelson and Sherry Walsh, this 6,500-foot refurbished event space is kitted out with succulents of all varieties. The eco-friendly venue also features a stunning garden courtyard.
One of the best things about renting this venue is the included vintage recycled furniture, like distressed wooden dining tables and chairs. In case you’re wondering, the name comes from the Culver City business’ past life as a 1980s-era smog-check center.
If you’re craving a distinctive backdrop for your wedding photos, try Castle Green
(www.castlegreen.com/wedding-events). The ornate Victorian-era castle, complete with red-domed turrets, is a Pasadena landmark. Constructed in 1898 in a not-oft-seen style known as Moorish Colonial, the castle has a romantic old-world garden where you can take your vows by a fountain trickling into a lily pad pool surrounded by shady palms.
Receptions are usually held inside the recently renovated castle, where a grand hallway leads to the ballroom. The interior is done up in cream tones with a high ceiling and light stone-tiled floors, so dancing here feels like playing Cinderella, minus the turn-into-a-pumpkin curfew.
Brookside Equestrian Center
Elizabeth Taylor fans will want to consider Brookside Equestrian Center
(www.brooksideequestrian.com) in Walnut. The 28-acre property’s expansive lawns, whitewashed buildings, leafy trees and running fences are where a 12-year-old Taylor shot “National Velvet” in 1944. Today the center serves as the U.S. Olympic equestrian team’s headquarters. With a bevy of eucalyptus, birch, pepper and Chinese elm trees creating refreshing shady pockets, the al fresco venue stays cool on even the hottest days. Receptions are usually held on the main lawn fronting a bright white two-story barn.
Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens
Couples drawn to the idea of an urban garden wedding should pay a visit to the rooftop gardens at the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Garden(www.kyotograndhotel.com) where the Japanese-inspired gardens provide the perfect marriage of tranquility and urban excitement. One unique aspect of tying the knot up here is the calming quality of the water, said property general manager Joseph Kuhn.
“Central waterfalls gently meander through several different areas, which creates a very Zen feel in the middle of the city,” he said.
The dual-level garden offers a variety of beautiful backdrops, but it is the upper lawn, with its bamboo stands and Zen waterway, that steals the scene: Brides appear to float to the altar via a stone walkway.
So there you have it: some of our favorite leafy green L.A.-area venues in honor of Ireland’s patron saint and, of course, the evergreen quality of true love.
Custom Publishing Writer