Wedding Settings

This gorgeous valley offers more wedding locations than you can toss a bouquet at!



Cree Estate

Photo by imagineimagery.com

You’re in love. And isn’t that what weddings are about? First and foremost, yes. But as a close second, they’re about location. Everything seems to revolve around it — the wedding date, the size of the guest list, the level of formality. It’s nearly impossible to start booking wedding vendors before you can tell them what date you’re getting married and where. Certified wedding coordinator Carolyn Russom of Signature Weddings and Events feels that country clubs and golf resorts are some of the best, most hassle-free places to host a wedding in the area. (And there certainly are enough of them from which to choose!) “You’re guaranteed to have a great location — and a great backdrop for your photos,” Russom says. If you are hosting both the ceremony and reception at a club, Russom’s advice is to not get too tied to the ceremony site first: “The ceremony location will be gorgeous at any club. It’s the banquet facilities, service, and prices that will vary.”Hiring a wedding coordinator will give you a head start on whittling down the hundreds of amazing choices. So will our list below featuring some of the area’s top choices for ceremonies and receptions. We’ve even divided them by category to save you the trouble. You have enough to do! (Maximum guest capacity listed is for seated receptions;cocktail parties may allow for more.)

NEW SCHOOL

Parker Palm Springs. Modern young brides with a “not-my-parents’-wedding” mindset always find “The Parker.” The ballroom has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and space-age daisy chandeliers, but the palm tree- studded grounds have those big mountain views and plenty of areas for sneaking off in the shadows for a just-married moment. Chic, eclectic, and exciting, locals love to be invited to parties at this hotel. Maximum guest capacity: 330. (760) 770-5000

Viceroy Palm Springs. Outdoor weddings are the specialty at this modern hotel with an intimate feel. Grounds are divided into spacious courtyards and cozy nooks with two pools, a lounge, and several indoor spaces. Fresh white and sunny yellow are the property’s favorite colors; décor is crisp, clean-lined, and dramatic. The mid week wedding package gives you and up to 130 guests full run of the hotel for two nights and includes a wedding dinner, photographer, music, lighting, and lots of extras. Maximum guest capacity: 175. (760) 320 4117

MUSEUMS

Palm Springs Air Museum. Your guests will dine and dance among the airplanes of WWII and classic cars of yesteryear. The museum has hosted corporate events for up to 3,000. Weddings are rare here, but always memorable. (760) 778-6262 ext. 235

Palm Springs Art Museum. Close to downtown and filled with culture, the museum hosts elegant events in its art galleries, public spaces, and even on stage at the Annenberg Theatre. Maximum guests for a sit-down dinner: 250. (760) 325-7186 ext. 159

FANTASTIC RESTAURANTS

Copley’s on Palm Canyon. Popular for rehearsal dinners, this contemporary American restaurant has also hosted intimate receptions. Set on almost an acre, the restaurant and garden courtyard were once the estate home of Cary Grant. The indoor-outdoor flow works for dinner, dancing, and chatting around the cozy outdoor fire pit. Maximum guest capacity: 125. (760) 327-9555

Le St. Germain. For a taste of Paris, head to the dining room of this local favorite in Indian Wells. Or take up to 140 guests onto the garden patio, with its sparkle of twinkling lights overhead and glow from the outdoor fireplace. Packages include a three- or four-course dinner. (760) 773-6511

Le Vallauris. For more than 30 years, this romantic restaurant has specialized in French Mediterranean cuisine. The main dining room and outdoor gazebo are perfect for smaller parties (under 75 guests), while the charming patio with towering trees filled with lights can seat up to 150 guests. (760) 325-5059

Spencer’s Restaurant. Get married on a grassy bluff on the property and continue the party outside by the pool, on one of two patios, or inside in the candlelit Bougainvillea Room with a large stone fireplace and indoor waterfall. Kirk Douglas, Dinah Shore, and Frank Sinatra, among others all attended parties here. Options include valet parking, a harpist, and a warm Belgian chocolate fountain. Maximum guests: 250. (760) 325-2313

Wally’s Desert Turtle. Beveled-mirror ceilings, Peruvian artifacts, and hand-painted murals create a warm and elegant ambiance at this timeless destination. Several private rooms are ideal for intimate groups. Wally’s service, atmosphere, and cuisine remain unparalleled in the area.(760) 568-9321

CLASSIC PALM SPRINGS

Ingleside Inn. This small, historic inn offers a Spanish- style haven for classic romantics. The inside boasts antiques and fireplaces. Outside, a garden courtyard — where Cupid poses in a small pond — is surrounded by towering trees, flowering pathways, and a poolside gazebo. It’s no wonder the inn has hosted decades of Hollywood names for weddings, honeymoons, or quiet getaways. (760) 325-0046

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn and the O’Donnell House. These two stunning restored properties exude an Old Palm Springs hospitality and graciousness with refined elegance and modern amenities. The Willows is a Mediterranean villa with a veranda, hillside gardens, and pool area, while the O’Donnell House is a 1925 former residence with a tile patio and unrivaled views of the valley from its mountainside perch. Maximum guests: 75 for The Willows; 135 for O’Donnell House. (760) 320-0771

MIDCENTURY MODERN

Ballantine’s. As kitschy as they come, this boutique hotel has 14 rooms themed in 1950s campiness. Some have private patios and kitchenettes, with décor ranging from surf’s up to pretty in pink. Up to 50 guests can don Hawaiian shirts and full-skirted sundresses for a sunset wedding and casual barbecue. (800) 485-2808

Del Marcos Hotel. Built in 1947 by desert architect William F. Cody, the angled architecture of this Palm Springs gem creates a dramatic backdrop, as do the nearby San Jacinto mountains. (800) 676-1214

Mod Resort. A sleek, Palm Desert boutique hotel, this quiet little resort has 14 rooms where white is the color. Lucite and chrome accents make the whole place gleam. (888) MOD-1970

Mojave Resort. This Palm Desert hideaway is actually pre-midcentury (1940s), and full of charm. This retro-chic boutique hotel with just 24 rooms and suites has a casual, old-fashioned feel when everyone gathers in the courtyard with fruit trees and a gazebo. Guests wake to breakfast by the pool, then can walk a couple blocks to shop on El Paseo. (800) 391-1104

Orbit In. Once your guests are sure you didn’t misspell this hotel’s name on the invitation, they can loosen up and enjoy a poolside reception at this gem of midcentury architecture. Tour the town on their retro cruiser bikes — or use them to make your grand exit at the end of your reception. (760) 323-3585

EXOTIC FLAVORS

El Morocco Inn and Spa. Step into a far away land of exotic textiles, imported furnishings, and Moroccan-style pampering at this 12-room retreat in Desert Hot Springs. The 90-degree, spring-fed swimming pool is open 24 hours, all rooms face the inner courtyard, and breakfast is served in the Kasbah Lounge each morning. Wind down with an evening Moroccotini under the stars. (760) 288-2527

Korakia Pensione. You’ll have to book the whole hotel, but if you’re looking to host an event that holds the sultry mystique of Morocco, this complex of two villas (holding 29 rooms), a pool, and a courtyard fits the bill. Private, rustic, and transportive, the Korakia beckons with citrus blossoms, olive trees, oleander bushes, date palms, bougainvillea vines, fountains, and a stone waterfall. (760) 864-6411

GREAT OUTDOORS

The Living Desert. This zoo and gardens filled with vibrant desert plant and animal life offers a handful of exciting venue options. Small affairs (45 or fewer guests) can enjoy the rustic elegance of the District Commissioner’s House with its stucco walls, thatched ceiling, and windows that offer an insider’s view into the leopard exhibit. Gardens and patios are other venues, and the zoo can host up to 400 guests for dinner. (760) 346-5694

The Indian Canyons. It’s hard to beat the scenic, all-natural surroundings of these canyons. A favorite among local hikers, the canyons have also seen their share of couples who want to wed someplace special. (760) 325-3400

Empire Polo Club. Fantasy weddings come true in Indio at three romantic venues: a rose garden with fountains and 7,000 bushes in bloom; landscaped gardens with a bird aviary and waterfalls; and a tented setting with stone paths and a waterfront gazebo. (760) 342-2762

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Your guests will enjoy the ride and the views as they travel 8,516 feet in elevation to the cool and pristine wilderness of the 13,000-acre Mount San Jacinto State Park. The Mountain Station at the top offers an intimate room with a rustic rock fireplace for a smaller wedding, two patios with fresh mountain breezes and a spectacular vista, and a luxurious restaurant. Maximum guests: 275. (760) 325-1449

Living Free Animal Sanctuary. This 153-acre nonprofit refuge for dogs and kitties in need of good homes is also home to a scenic locale for ceremonies and receptions. Located in pristine mountain country at the edge of a national forest, the grounds and gazebo have the San Jacinto mountains looming as a lovely backdrop. Booking your affair for up to 100 guests at the sanctuary contributes to saving the lives of furry friends. (951) 659-4687

Joshua Tree National Park. Secure a special-use permit to wed in this 800,000-acre park in Joshua Tree known for its vast views, desert landcape, unsual rock formations, and abundant Joshua trees. (760) 367-5545

California Castle. Up in Yucca Valley, in the hills above Palm Springs, sits an old-fashioned castle fit for that storybook affair. 333-8368

PRIVATE ESTATES

Cree Estate. Couples love to rent this 1933 estate in Cathedral City for the weekend. A formal dining room, six bedrooms, and a bridal suite (with skylight and fireplace) make it an ideal all-in-one site for the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and even the honeymoon. Lawns, fruit trees, date palms, and gardens mingle with a black-bottomed pool, two spas, and tennis court. Maximum guests: 200. (760) 772-8313

Corona Yacht Club at Rancho de los Sueños. A manmade lake and lagoon with an island in the middle is set on 20 lush acres in a Coachella palm tree grove. The hacienda on the water, where swans swim by, is one of the desert’s best-kept secrets. (760) 398-0206

GOLF / COUNTRY CLUBS

Cimarrón Golf Resort. The dramatic golf course and mountain views are what attract couples to this Cathedral City resort. Reasonably priced packages can host up to 400 guests — 200 seated inside and 200 outside. (760) 275-7549

Classic Club. Wed on this golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, then celebrate in the Tuscany-inspired clubhouse. More than 5,000 pine, California pepper, and olive trees are scattered on 30 acres with a lake, other water features, and 14 stone bridges. (760) 601-3679

Desert Willow Golf Resort. After your ceremony on a terrace overlooking the lake or on the fairway-views lawn, move inside for delicious cuisine with panoramic views at this Palm Desert resort. Maximum guests: 200. (760) 346-0015

Indian Wells Country Club. Ten private event spaces let you tailor your event in the 70,000-square-foot clubhouse. Options include a ballroom, dining rooms, lounge, and veranda on the 18th hole that can host up to 200 guests. (760) 345-2561

Indian Wells Resort Hotel. Built by legendary celebrities Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, this resort offers great indoor-outdoor flexibility. (760) 345-6466

Desert Springs J.W. Marriott Resort & Spa. Enjoy the royal treatment of arriving by boat across the lake to walk down a rose-petal aisle. White-gloved butlers make the rounds at your cocktail reception while a harpist plays nearby. With golf, a decadent new spa, and luxe rooms, guests at this Palm Desert resort may never want to leave. (760) 341-2211

La Quinta Resort & Club. A waterfall set among palm trees and a rose garden at this Mediterranean-style resort is always in high demand as a setting for desert weddings. A suite that opens onto a courtyard and a private home that Greta Garbo favored are popular for smaller parties, while the clubhouse or ballrooms are great for those celebrating on a grander scale. (760) 564-5773 

Miramonte Resort & Spa. A ceremony in the garden or in the olive grove; a festive Mediterranean-inspired dinner on the piazza. Such are the dreamy options at the Miramonte, designed like a Tuscan village. (760) 837-1645

Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. Head to Rancho Mirage to explore ballrooms, an esplanade, and the 10,000-square-foot rooftop Starlight Terrace. Golf, tennis, and a spa are also set on 240 acres of lushly landscaped grounds dotted with palm trees and sparkling lakes. (866) 423-1195

Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa. One of the most sought after locales in the desert for social events boasts three ballrooms and a rose lawn. If you want to do it up big, the resort holds 560 rooms, two restaurants, and a beautiful pool area. (760) 836-1251


Weddings

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