Category Archives: Hidden Chateau

The Great Outdoors

By | Hidden Chateau, Outdoor Weddings, Private Estates, Venues | No Comments

An outdoor wedding is par for the course here in L.A.  Because we have no real seasons (except for a bit of rain in the winter and a hellacious few weeks in the summer – when global warming doesn’t get in the way), outdoor venues are fair game nearly the year ’round.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when working with Mother Nature – and of course, the #1 factor in keeping an outdoor wedding a a success is, the weather.

If you’re looking to wed in an unpredictable time of the year, build into your budget about $2k or so for a large tent in case of rain, and an install day as well.  Most venues will add some sort of fallback into the contract, but many don’t.  Talk about your options.  But fret not:  Heavy rain is rare here in L.A., and the weather forecasts tend to be super conservative.  Watch for:

  1. Anything greater than a 50% chance of rain a week out, surrounded by days before and after with a similar forecast. That means a real storm is on its way.
  2. A forecast for a high percentage of rain, within 2-3 days of the event.  The closer to the date, the more accurate the forecast.  A 30% chance predicted 7 days ahead, just for the day of your wedding? Be alert, but don’t lose sleep over it.
  3. Tent requests.  Call your rental company a couple weeks in advance and put a hold on a tent if you have concerns.  If the forecast looks nasty leading to the week of, you may want to put down a deposit – every rental house in town will have clients asking for them.

Many spots, like the L.A. River Center, have indoor spaces that work well as backups.  Others provide other outdoor areas that lend themselves well to tenting.  Just cover it extensively in your negotiations so you can rest easy.

The fountain at LARC - a conversation piece in and of itself.

The benefits of outdoor weddings, however, far outweigh the meteorological dangers.  Natural greenery is so beautiful, and it lessens the need for large and expensive floral arrangements.  Many outdoor spaces are also full of character, from the beautiful Hidden Chateau to private estates.

We have a Malibu estate wedding coming up, and the space is just stunning. The view is without compare, and the different nooks and crannies built into the living space provide the clients unique opportunities in designing the look and feel of the event.

For example, there is a built-in seating area that, with additional chairs, can hold up to 20.  In the middle is a fire pit, which will come in handy after dinner when the sun goes down.  It’s an ideal place for parents of the bride or other VIPs.

A unique grass/stone "checkerboard" space with the banquette/firepit in the corner.

Up on the back patio is a small cove that is ideal for cake. It’s raised above the main party area, so everyone can admire dessert while they mingle for cocktail hour.

We'll replace the small table with a 42" round for the cake.

Architecture is something you see beautifully highlighted in many outdoor venues, from SmogShoppe’s living wall –

The living wall at SmogShoppe, with a Gilly centerpiece.

To LA River Center’s famous tower, here lit up with a gobo.

The tower at LARC, lit up at night.

Parcans or LED uplights can show off arches, and laser-cut gobos can splash a design or your initials on a tall exterior wall.  Some spaces will even allow for projecting an old movie on the exterior of a building.

At the risk of using a cheesy exterior pun…folks, the sky’s the limit when designing your outdoor wedding (groan…I couldn’t help myself!).

Spring is (almost) here: A visit to two special gardens

By | Callas, Hidden Chateau, Pretty Stuff, Stress Relief, Succulents | No Comments

I still don’t feel completely like myself, but I think it’s a psychological affect of being sick for so long I don’t know HOW to be well.  Folks, I got a mean case of this flu.  Now, it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had – not by a long shot – it was rather mild; the problem was, it wouldn’t go away. Thursday afternoon, I was running around the backyard with my toddler; two hours later, I was shivering on the couch, noshing on crackers and anti-nausea meds.  Again, I’ve been way sicker, but what’s up with the off-on thing?

In old movies and romantic novels, when characters ‘take ill’, the doctor sends them to the country to recuperate.  So yesterday, feeling on the mend but spending all day on the couch to recover, I decided to straggle out of bed to make the appointment I made at the Hidden Chateau earlier this week.

Talk about recuperation..this place is absolutely heavenly. I met one of the owners, Jill, and her team, including the charming Carolyn, who is often on site for events draping, decorating, and overall holding down the fort.  Jill kept apologizing for the wintry wind-swept foliage, but I don’t know what the heck she was talking about – it was beautiful.

The ceremony space that later turns over to dining.

The space has a flowing layout and a sense of being in the  middle of nowhere – even though you’re in the West Valley of Los Angeles.  Being in the fresh post-rainfall air, walking around a lush garden and the charming store next door, was as good a cure as chicken soup.

The bride makes her entrance through this little passageway near the old stone building.

I had a little more outdoors therapy today, as well.   My father in law can grow ANYTHING – I’m not kidding. Today in his garden, we saw callas making an appearance for the first time this spring – and his succulents – he has thousands, he even sells them to my clients doing their own flowers! – are thriving.

Callas have such a noble, clean beauty, and as weddings have taken a modern approach, callas have become enormously popular.  They don’t just come in the large white variety – purple/white, deep pink, burnished orange – sky’s the limit. And they’re available nearly year ’round.

I can’t even keep track of the succulents my FIL has. I have three clippings of his that have been sitting in plastic cups for weeks, and I just keep refreshing the water and they keep growing…!  Once I put them in the ground, though, I’m not sure if they’ll flourish like Sergio’s.

After a weekend frolicking in the tulips, I finally feel decent again.  The doctors of yore had it right:  A day in the ‘country’ can cure just about anything.