Stephanie + Tim’s California Botanic Garden wedding was one for the books! Most couples want wedding venues that feel unique and special; this garden-style venue feels exclusive and distinctly Californian with an outdoor atmosphere where couples are surrounded by mature oak trees and native California plants!
Stephanie + Tim started the day at Casa 425 in Claremont, which as a photographer, I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the amazing suites and windows (if you want a seriously happy photographer, get ready in a room with windows!).
I often describe my clients as bubbly and fun, and those words could not be more fitting for Stephanie! In fact, when I came into the suite they were playing music from one of my favorite movies, The Greatest Showman, so I knew it was going to be a fantastic day 🙂 Stephanie and her bridesmaids also kept saying, “Huzzah!” and eventually I asked, “Have you guys seen The Great?” and they HAD! (Seriously, it’s a fantastic show – put it on your list!)
Tim was getting ready just down the hall with his groomsmen as well! I loved his burgundy suit! Perfect for a fall wedding!
Stephanie + Tim chose a first look on-site at the Garden, which gave us time to get some sweet and intimate moments! They were so excited to see one another!
I’m a huge fan of first looks, in part because they’re insurance on things running behind on your wedding day! If you’re trying to figure out if a first look is right for your day, check out Everything You Need to Know About Having a First Look on Your Wedding Day!
Aren’t they just the most gorgeous and amazing together?
From there we headed to their outdoor ceremony pavilion, a gorgeous site that gives a beautiful view of the trees and reflecting pond.
I think this is the, “Heck yes we just got married!” cheer!
This shot always makes me laugh! This was Tim’s idea and I love how very TIM it is!
Stephanie + Tim’s reception was in the Container Garden, a beautiful outdoor space with enough wall space to make it enclosed but open enough to feel like part of nature!
They opened with a sweet first dance – I just love the way they look at each other!
After dinner they moved onto the toasts! Lots of laughter and sweet moments! Stephanie’s family also coordinated a video from Tim’s family members who were unable to attend which was so touching to view!
One of the last photos of the evening! As it gets later in the night I like to try to get creative with flash. I used an orange-gelled flash here (Tim was holding it!) and some battery-operated lights to create the blurred lights in the foreground. A fun way to recap an AMAZING wedding day!
Venue: California Botanic Garden // Photographer: Courtney McManaway Photography // Wedding Coordinator: Fete & Flower // Rentals & Linens: A Better Party & Design // Florals: A Better Party & Design // Lighting: 1024 Productions // DJ: 1024 Productions
California Botanic Garden is located at 1500 N College Ave, Claremont, CA.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has an incredibly interesting history! Founded by Susanna Bixby Bryant, 200 acres were set aside as a native plant garden on her estate in Yorba Linda. In conferring with a botanist, Bryant was cautioned to reduce the size of the garden to 50 acres. Her response was, “In the traditional feminine manner I am going to compromise by going ahead with my original scheme.” Fires impacted the natural gardens, however, and in 1951 the location of the Botanic Garden was moved to the 86-acre estate in Claremont. You can read the full history here.
My personal recommendation for getting ready is Hotel Casa 425, a boutique hotel located at 425 W 1st St, Claremont, CA. This hotel has large, gorgeous rooms that make for the perfect setting for getting-ready pictures of your wedding party! It’s 1.5 miles away from the Botanic Garden.
California Botanic Garden can accommodate up to 400 guests within two facilities. Both facilities are located outdoors in open-air settings.
Cultivar Garden Large Gazebo – the Cultivar Garden Large Gazebo is the best option for most standard weddings. Your guests can be seated within the gazebo, which overlooks a reflecting pond.
Cultivar Garden Small Gazebo – the Cultivar Garden Small Gazebo is the best option for more intimate events. The space can accommodate up to 30 guests standing.
California Courtyard – the California Courtyard can accommodate up to 400 guests in theater-style seating for a ceremony, or 280 seated at tables for a reception. The space can be tented and electricity is available.
Container Garden- the Container Garden option is a more intimate space surrounded by an artistic structure. This site can accommodate up to 150 guests theater-style, or up to 100 guests seated for a reception.
California Botanic Gardens allows couples to bring in their own vendor teams. All catering and bar service needs to go through As You Like It Events & Catering. Other vendors such as floral designers, photographers, videographers, DJ, etc., may be brought by the couple. Design and decor of the reception and ceremony space shall be done with respect to the Botanic Garden’s wildlife safety and care.
There’s no shortage of outdoor wedding venues in Southern California, but California Botanic Garden has a very different feel compared to venues like wineries or country clubs. Couples and their wedding guests will have views of the San Gabriel mountains, oaks, and native California plants. The setting is not only gorgeous, it makes for a gorgeous backdrop for your wedding photos!
While the Botanic Garden is a public garden, the ceremony and reception sites are set back in the garden. This gives your wedding day a private and exclusive feel.
Bring in Your Own Wedding Day Vendor Team
Many couples are concerned with wedding reception costs, and having your wedding day at a venue where you can bring in your own vendor team is a great way to save money.
The Botanic Garden can accommodate both full weddings and intimate ceremonies. For those interested in a ceremony only, couples receive access to the ceremony site for 2 hours and changing rooms for the couple. Full weddings and receptions have the space for 6 hours, also with access to changing rooms for the couple.
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