Whether it’s June or January, it is always time for a wedding and where better to find the perfect venue to say “I do” than in Topanga…and beyond…for your wedding, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower and romantic lodgings for the newlyweds.
The Santa Monica Mountains, the largest urban park in the U.S., offers nature’s own backdrop for many idyllic settings in which to get married. Whether you opt for a barn, ballroom or beach, a lavish wedding or a low-budget natural setting, these majestic mountains make magic happen and memories last forever.
Explore and discover your dream venue to say “I do” and “I love you.”
The Inn of the Seventh Ray, 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA, (310) 455-1311, innoftheseventhray.com—This beautiful restaurant with its fairyland patio and twinkling lights is nestled creek-side, only minutes from the city and can host parties of two to 220. Say your vows in romantic candlelight under the stars, or sparkling sunlight filtering through grand old sycamores. Brick pathways, waterfalls and fountains add their ambience to this bucolic setting. Menu plans cater to the organic palate, vegetarian or not, with organic produce from local farms created and prepared by Chef Bradley Miller. Say farewell to the ordinary and hello to the extraordinary as your special wedding unfolds here.
The Mountain Mermaid, 20421 Callon Drive, Topanga, CA, (310) 455-3181, themountainmermaid.com—This is a place of beauty, butterflies, warmth and wonder with a checkered past. Owner Bill Buerge had a passion for “resuscitating derelict, older and sometimes historic properties and made it his art form. He bought the Mermaid in 1990, moved in with the rats, bats and one feral cat and shoveled horse manure from the floor. In 1993, Sacramento approved it as a “California Point of Historic Interest” and today it is one of Topanga’s most sought-after venues, for weddings, yes, but also by photographers and filmmakers from all over the world and, especially, by migrating butterflies attracted to the garden of native plants, a certified Butterfly Waystation. Inside, a fireplace dominates the Great Hall, with a full kitchen, dining area and three bedrooms that can be used by the bridal party as changing rooms or to accommodate overnight stays. Stroll-worthy landscaping and paths lead to patios and a beautiful pool below for a morning swim.
Rosewood, 1135 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga, CA 90290, (310) 428-1581, rosewoodintopanga.com. While Rosewood does not accommodate weddings, it is an elegant setting for rehearsal dinners, tastings and other intimate gatherings.
Topanga Community Club (TCC), 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Topanga, CA, (310) 455-1980, topangacommunityclub.com—Since 1951 the house and grounds have continued to be the life of the community and a welcoming place for people to celebrate their special events. It is home to the famous Topanga Days Country Fair on Memorial Day weekend and the mid-summer Reggae Festival. The rest of the year, the Great Hall in the house, with its historic fireplace and windows overlooking the mountains, easily takes on any ambiance you wish to create…like a fairy tale wedding. Below the playground is another advantage for family weddings with kids attending. An ancient oak tree shades picnic tables that has, in the past, accommodated small, intimate ceremonies, and for large events, the adjacent ball field has held thousands.
This is the most affordable venue in the canyon with qualified staff to assist with the planning. The House can accommodate up to 250 guests, there is a full kitchen, a stage and a small room that can be a changing room or staging area and a parking area that can be tented for a larger reception. For more information contact the rental agent directly at: email@example.com.
The 1909, 1909 N. Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Topanga, CA, (424) 371-6856, the1909.com. Tucked away into the romantic hills of Topanga Canyon, The 1909 is ideal for couples searching for a space unique to typical wedding venues. Settled below the rustic embrace of California Oak trees, accented by the gently flowing waters of Topanga Creek, it provides the perfect balance of tranquility, timelessness and harmony. The 1909 proprietors understand the desire for that unforgettable evening and strive to exceed all expectations. Make it your own! Bring in your own caterers or use theirs. Hire your own bakery, florist and bartenders to make budgeting easy and economical. The 1909 is surrounded by nature and you can have your ceremony in the amphitheater and reception in a meadow under bistro lights, then escape up to the dance hall and party the night away! You have three timeless locations in one venue. Let the customary stress of nuptial gatherings melt away as you and your spouse enter into a lifelong bond of strength and love amidst an environment reflecting those same values.
PALISADES, MALIBU AND BEYOND…
Bel Air Bay Club, 16801 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA, (310) 230-4700, belairbayclub.com—Imagine exchanging your vows in a lush, romantic garden framed by flowers with a backdrop of warm Pacific waves sparkling in the light of a red-gold sun behind you. This is the experience of the Bel-Air Bay Club, an exclusive Malibu wedding venue with a beautiful ocean view and private estate on the bluffs overlooking Los Angeles bay where all your wedding dreams can come true. After exchanging vows, enjoy cocktails and congratulations in the spacious Living Room, or wander to the more intimate setting of the outdoor Courtyard with its lighted fountain and crackling fireplace as the stars start to blaze overhead. Dine and dance the night away in the Dining Room, where vaulted ceilings, wrought iron chandeliers and a grand fireplace are just steps away from the ocean breezes on the balcony. Every room features grand windows with an endless view of the Southern California coastline, unmatched by all other Malibu wedding venues twinkling all the way to the lights of the Santa Monica pier. Feel as if you have been magically whisked away to the Mediterranean in this Spanish-style mansion with its expansive floor plan and gracious landscaping. The romantic backdrop of this beautiful Los Angeles wedding venue is specially tailored to your particular needs with an on-site catering team. This site is known to be one of the best among all Malibu wedding venues.
Buerge Chapel, 925 Haverford Avenue, Pacific Palisades, CA, (310) 454-6699, buergechapel.org.—Buerge Chapel (pronounced ‘Berg-ee’) welcomes you to its old world charm and intimate atmosphere. A perfect wedding location for your small to medium-sized wedding or event (3 to 130 people). Located on the grounds of historic Aldersgate Retreat Center, Buerge Chapel has a unique design, allowing the side doors to open onto the beautiful lawn and garden which is perfect for outdoor seating and receptions under the majestic Ficus tree. A treasure of rustic charm, Buerge Chapel is open to all faiths and civil ceremonies. The chapel seats up to 48 inside (16 pews) and can accommodate up to 130 with seating on the lawn. Many seating configurations and wedding packages are available. Packages can include use of the historic 1892 Aldersgate retreat house, just steps away from the chapel, for overnight accommodations. We offer wonderful food options for receptions and formal or informal meals designed to engage your imagination and unique personalities. A conversation with the Aldersgate Director and Chef is the first step!
Buerge Chapel is part of Aldersgate Retreat Center (aldersgateretreat.org), owned and operated by the Cal-Pac Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Buerge Chapel and Aldersgate’s retreat house are non-alcoholic facilities. The Woman’s Club next door hosts wedding receptions and allows beer and wine served by licensed caterers. No DJ, dance music or karaoke for garden receptions; Low level background music only.
Saddle Peak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA, (818) 222-3888, saddlepeaklodge.com—This stunning venue is a favorite of mine, and one of my dear friends, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, got married here. The Saddle Peak Lodge offers the convenience and accessibility of Los Angeles with a rustically romantic atmosphere unlike any other. In the Santa Monica Mountains located in Malibu Canyon, its outdoor ceremony site boasts panoramic views of the surrounding hills and provides a picturesque backdrop all year-round. The Award-winning event menus, professional and personable fine dining service, and a rustic atmosphere are quite unique compared to others in the Los Angeles area. Wedding couples return year after year to celebrate their anniversaries here as well. The Lodge has four private indoor spaces and two seasonally available outdoor areas, and can accommodate weddings and private parties of 10 to 200 guests. Brunch, lunch, and dinner event menus offer something for everyone.
Serra Retreat, 3401 Serra Road, Malibu, CA 90265; (310-456-6631; serraretreat.com—Perched on a coastal bluff high above Malibu, Serra Retreat is a community of Spanish Mission-style buildings that has been home to the Franciscan Friars of California for more than half a century. Although this facility was once available only for retreats, the Franciscans have opened their gates to couples who wish to wed in a place of great natural and spiritual beauty.
Named for Father Junipero Serra, the retreat encompasses 26 acres of pines, eucalyptus, flowering gardens and untamed wilderness. Meditative walking paths meander throughout the estate, leading the thoughtful wanderer to contemplative spots such as the Shrine of Fatima or a peaceful wooden bench overlooking the headlands.
Two sites stand out as sensational: the Chapel and the Junipero Serra Gardens. If you’re leaning towards a traditional wedding, then the Serra Chapel will appeal to you. Designed in the round, with enormous windows set into every wall and blond pine beams supporting a lofty ceiling, this hilltop sanctuary affords spectacular views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific. Overhead, light cascades through a cupola skylight, burnishing the Mexican-tile floor.
A short stroll away is the Junipero Serra Gardens, one of the most breathtaking sites we’ve seen. Here brides make their entrance via a Malibu-tile staircase, stepping out onto a grassy promontory awash in flowers and shaded by towering pines. A quaint cobbled path running around the perimeter of the point makes a perfect bridal promenade. Couples say their vows at the west end of the gardens in front of a tall crucifix and statue of Junipero Serra. After the ceremony, guests will naturally be drawn to the white stucco balustrade at the promontory’s edge, delighting in the dizzying 360-degree view of the eastern mountains, wooded canyons and the sea’s wide blue horizon.
While it is possible to host receptions in the Junipero Serra Gardens, your best bet is to stage festivities in the Bell Garden, closer to the hub of the retreat. Featuring an iron bell and cross, potted palms and intricate iron railings, this large sunny patio overlooks a bright blooming terrace garden. Indoor receptions can be held in the Mediterranean-style Serra or Dining Rooms, both of which provide views of the ocean and gardens. What’s nice about the Serra Room (which was once the chapel in the original 1920s home) is the colorful and ornate Malibu tilework, set inside hand-carved wood frames along one wall of the room.
Although Serra Retreat is a Catholic retreat center, people of all faiths are welcome here; the Franciscans ask only that guests remain mindful of the quiet beauty and grace that embody the spirit of this lovely place.
The Sunset Restaurant, 6800 Westward Beach Road, Malibu, CA 90265, (310) 589-2017, thesunsetrestaurant.com—Set against the Malibu bluffs and just steps away from Zuma Beach, you can have it all… a romantic setting, delectable cuisine and gracious service. The Sunset is housed in an updated classic beach bungalow. The two-story restaurant breathes with space and light thanks to its expansive front windows overlooking the Pacific. Exchange your marriage vows on the beach where, as you walk down the aisle, a light breeze lifts your veil. Other elements further enhance this idyllic setting: sailboats drift across the horizon and the sound of the waves creates a soothing harmony. Your guests are entranced as they move into the private outdoor lounge where they are warmly greeted with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and, perhaps, enjoy one of Malibu’s jewel-toned sunsets. Following the cocktail hour, the party continues in a reception hall recognized for its understated classic beach décor that can easily adapt to your own vision.
Triunfo Creek Vineyards Private Estate, 2714 Triunfo Canyon Road, Agoura Hills, CA, (818) 914-5186, triunfocreek.com—Set upon a rolling emerald landscape and nestled amongst eucalyptus, California oak and sycamore trees, this is a truly elegant and idyllic setting for the most unforgettable pictures. This is the perfect secluded outdoor venue, beautiful from the time you drive up to everything from that moment on. The white house and the simplicity of the landscaping can only enhance your wedding, especially if the ceremony takes place under a giant tree with breathtaking views of the vineyards as a backdrop. Note: This is a private estate and is shown by appointment only. Please call in advance for private viewing.
THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY….
Orcutt Ranch, 23600 Roscoe Boulevard, West Hills, CA, (818) 346-7449, wedding-spot.com/venue/5509/Orcutt-Ranch-Horticultural-Center—The historic Orcutt Residence is surrounded by 24-acres of gardens and a citrus orchard. The gardens include heritage oaks trees, wandering garden paths, formal flowerbeds, and a variety of interesting specimen trees, exotic shrubs and flowering plants. The structure’s adobe walls and its design are based around a central courtyard and fountain. The Spanish tile roof and the ceramic relief vignettes adorn the home’s exterior along with the ornate ironwork and hand-carved woodwork. The colorful glazed tile panels depict domestic scenes of American Indian, Mexican and Spanish cultures, all incorporated to create a complete architectural work. The property is a wonderful setting for a wedding that you and your guests will never forget.
The Villa Restaurant, 22160 Ventura Boulevard, Woodland Hills, CA, (818) 704-1185, villawh.com—The Villa is timeless with the option to hold your event inside around the fireplace or outdoors on one of their cozy patios. On the second floor, the dining room lounge with adjacent balcony is a unique and gorgeous event space with its massive fireplace, private full-service bar, Carrera marble counters, custom and antique chandeliers, rustic-style and plush furnishings. Your guests will feel “right at home” in this warm and inviting yet graceful and elegant venue space. A fourth option for outdoor celebrations, is its recently updated garden patio to host wedding ceremonies and other events as it has for generations of couples and families in the past.
Woodland Hills Country Club, 21150 Dumetz Road, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, (818) 347-1511, woodlandhillscc.org—Woodland Hills Country Club’s garden is ideal for wedding ceremonies or outdoor receptions and provides a spacious ceremony area with a gazebo and a panoramic view of the San Fernando Valley. It can accommodate small to large events. The 4,000-square-foot Terrace ballroom with its 1,000-square-foot dance floor and spectacular granite-top bar will accommodate the most extravagant wedding and photo opportunities are available with a variety of romantic landscape settings on or around the golf course. This facility is able to accommodate all types of events, from small business meetings to extravagant weddings and offers great flexibility in the scheduling of your function.