Locals often talk about the good energy that flows over the mountains and down into the Coachella Valley. And there it stays, they say, forever. That’s why everyone is so happy here and the sun is always shining, natives boast. The good news is, it’s true! The positive energy in the Palm Springs area is so lively, so warm, and so contagious that it’s rare to meet anyone who has visited the area only once. Couples return again and again, as they have since Hollywood’s early celebrities put us on the map.
So, what can we do to convince you to wed in the desert? Each year, hundreds of couples and their guests wax poetic about why the Palm Springs area was their absolute ideal wedding destination. With a minimum 350 days of sunshine, sparkling swimming pools, renowned golf courses, decadent spas, terrific restaurants, and jaw-dropping mountain views, why wait for the honeymoon to visit?
The most exciting part of your wedding will, of course, be exchanging vows surrounded by friends and family. You can expect the RSVPs to fly right back to you with an effusive “Yes!” when your celebration has a desert address. Make it a true destination event by choosing one of many distinctive and distinguished venues, from hip hotels, classic golf resorts, and luxurious grand ballrooms to intimate boutique inns, historic estates, outdoor landscapes, and signature restaurants with private rooms and patios. Book yours as soon as possible so guests can start planning their “wedding vacation” around your date.
The toughest thing about your Palm Springs wedding event might be choosing from so many one-of-a-kind options. This list of top contenders should help. Enjoy the process — and the scenery — along the way!
Wedding With the Classics
Colony Palms Hotel
Reputed mobster Al Wertheimer welcomed his first guests in 1936 at this Spanish colonial-style boutique hotel, which doubled as a speakeasy/brothel. In the late 1940s, Robert and Andrea Leeds Howard (owners of champion thoroughbred Seabiscuit) took possession. A swanky renovation of 56 luxurious rooms, a Mediterranean restaurant, and Moroccan spa now delivers more swagger than ever. Event planner Gina Leslie recommends its “quaint mountainview ceremony venue, enveloped by wispy landscape and hummingbirds.” 1-760-969-1800.
Sweetly lost in time, this small, Spanish-style inn is a haven for romantics. Antiques and fireplaces dot the rooms, while towering trees, blooming pathways, and a poolside gazebo fill the gardens. The inn has hosted decades of Hollywood luminaries. 1-760-325-0046.
The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn and O’Donnell House
“Old Palm Springs” hospitality shines at these two grandly restored 1920s properties. The Willows is a Mediterranean villa with a veranda, hillside gardens, and pool area; the O’Donnell House offers a tile patio, long terraces, and unrivaled mountain–side views. Maximum guests: 75 for The Willows; 135 for O’Donnell House. 1-760-320-0771.
Midcentury Modern & Retro
Del Marcos Hotel
Built in 1947 and designed by iconic architect William F. Cody, this angular gem combines with a dramatic mountain backdrop. Guests like the period furnishings and old-school courtyard with saltwater pool. 1-800- 676-1214.
The Horizon Hotel
This laid-back modernist compound was built in 1952,with the pool as the centerpiece. It has an easy-breezy setting with detached rooms and mountain views. 1-760-323-1858.
This Palm Desert hideaway is actually early-midcentury (1940s), all charm and authenticity. With 24 rooms and suites, it has a casual, old-fashioned feel when everyone gathers in front of the courtyard gazebo. Wake to breakfast by the pool, and then walk to the nearby shops on El Paseo. 1-800-391-1104.
Once your guests are sure you didn’t misspell this hotel’s name, they can loosen up and enjoy a poolside reception at this midcentury hideout. Tour the town on their cruiser bikes — or use them to make your grand exit from the reception. 1-760-323-3585.
As kitschy as they come, this B&B takes the 1950s theme full tilt. Up to 50 guests can gather poolside on the blue Astroturf for vows, cocktails, and retro fun. Or make it just you two for less than $500. 1-760-320-1178.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
The Commune at this renovated Travelodge — once an example of midcentury motel architecture — offers 3,000 square feet of dog-friendly space, with walls opening to reveal a circular pool and mountain views. 1-760-325-9900.
A sleek, Palm Desert boutique hotel, this quiet little resort has 14 rooms where white is the color and poolside parties reign. Lucite and chrome accents make the whole place gleam. 1-888-MOD-1970.
Parker Palm Springs
Savvy couples always find Jonathan Adler’s “The Parker.” The ballroom has floor-to-ceiling glass windows and space-age daisy chandeliers, but the palm tree-studded grounds offer big mountain views and plenty of areas for sneaking off in the shadows for a just-married moment. Chic, eclectic, and exciting for up to 330 guests. 1-760-770-5000.
Riviera Resort & Spa
Big and beautiful, this renovated resort presents ballrooms, poolside or garden affairs on 24 lushly landscaped acres in the heart of Palm Springs. The scene at Circa 59 Restaurant and Bar adds to the sizzle of a global menu of spa treatments, two pools, and 406 lavishly modern rooms. 1-760-778-6623.
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 signature colors; décor is crisp, clean-lined, and dramatic. Maximum guests: 175. 1-760-320-4117.
El Morocco Inn and Spa
Up to 35 guests (with up to 14 adults overnight) can join you in this not-so-far-away and of exotic textiles, imported furnishings, and Moroccan-style pampering. This intimate Desert Hot Springs retreat keeps the 90-degree, spring-fed swimming pool open 24 hours and Casablanca in a loop in the lounge. Sit around the outdoor fire pits and toast with Moroccotinis under the stars. 1-760-288-2527.
Book the two Moroccan-flavor villas (29 rooms) at this complex with a pool and courtyard for up to 80 guests. Private, rustic, and transportive, the Korakia beckons with candlelit walkways, citrus trees, fountains, and a waterfall. 1-760-864-6411.
Off the Beaten Path
History buffs have wed with up to 200 guests in Wild West garb at this 1800s mining camp replica. Featuring a dance floor, antique wagons, and walk-up saloon, it’s one option at this 1,000-acre ranch on the San Andreas Fault. 1-760-831-6910.
Joshua Tree National Park
Secure a permit to wed in this 800,000-acre park in Joshua Tree known for its views, desert landscape, rock formations, and abundant Joshua trees. 1-760-367-5545.
Living Free Animal Sanctuary
This 153-acre nonprofit refuge for pets in need of homes doubles as a scenic locale for events. Set in pristine mountain country at the edge of a national forest, the grounds and gazebo frame the San Jacinto Mountains. Weddings for up to 100 guests help save the lives of furry friends. 1-951-659-4687.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Guests enjoy a view-laden ride as they travel to 8,516 feet in elevation and the cool, pristine wilderness of 13,000-acre Mount San Jacinto State Park. At the top, choose from an intimate room with a rustic rock fireplace, two patios with fresh mountain breezes and a spectacular vista, or a luxurious restaurant. Maximum guests: 275. 1-760-325-1449.
Pioneertown and Pappy & Harriet’s
Built in 1946 as a set for Westerns, including films with Gene Autry and The Cisco Kid, the area provided a place for the actors to live, with their houses used as part of a movie set. Roy Rogers was an original investor in the 1870s-style frontier town. Once a one-pump gas station and part of the set, legendary Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has hosted several offbeat weddings with its mesquite barbecue, live music, dancing, and friendly folk. 1-760-365-5956.
Nights at the Museum
Palm Springs Air Museum
Dine and dance among the airplanes of WWII and classic cars of yesteryear. Weddings are rare here, but always memorable. 1-760-778-6262 ext. 235.
Palm Springs Art Museum
Close to downtown, the museum hosts elegant events in its galleries, sculpture gardens, and even on stage at the Annenberg Theater. Maximum guests: 250. 1-760-325-7186 ext. 159.
This 1933 estate in Cathedral City can be yours 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 from rehearsal dinner to honeymoon. Lawns, fruit trees, date palms, and gardens mingle with a black-bottom pool, two spas, and tennis court. Maximum guests: 200. 1-760-772-8313.
Corona Yacht Club at Rancho de los Sueños
A manmade lake and lagoon with an island in the middle rest on 20 lush acres in a Coachella palm grove. The hacienda on the water, where swans swim by, is one of the desert’s best-kept secrets. 1-760-398-0206.
You’ll need to follow certain guidelines for a private-estate wedding, but if you like the idea of your own residence, check out Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms (1-877-318-2090), 1940s retreat The Cielo Estate (1-866-734-7838), and Lucille Ball’s own The Lucy House, which hosts bachelorette weekends, casual barbecue rehearsal dinners, and weddings complete with a 1959 Rolls-Royce. Or go through an agency such as Beau Monde Villas at 1-877-318-2090 or The Location Connection at 1-760-250-7175.
Empire Polo Club
Fantasy weddings come true in Indio. Choose a lush rose garden with bubbling fountains; landscaped gardens with a bird aviary and waterfalls; or a tented setting with stone paths and a waterfront gazebo. 1-760-342-2762.
It’s hard to beat nature’s simple beauty. A favorite among local hikers, the scenic canyons have heard many “I dos” from those who feel more at home outdoors. 1-760-323-6018.
The Living Desert
This zoo and gardens invites small affairs (45 or fewer guests) into the rustic elegance of the District Commissioner’s House with stucco walls, thatched ceiling, and windows peeking into the leopard exhibit. Gardens and patio spaces for up to 400. 1-760-346-5694.
Moorten Botanical Gardens
Get cozy with 3,000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants at this landmark. 1-760-327-6555.
Copley’s on Palm Canyon
Popular for rehearsal dinners, this contemporary American restaurant hosts intimate receptions. The building and garden courtyard, once home to Cary Grant, offer easy indoor/outdoor flow for dinner, dancing, and conversation around the fire. Maximum guests: 125. 1-760-327-9555.
Part of the historic Villa Royale Inn, Europa offers Continental cuisine in a charming atmosphere. 1-760-327-2314.
Le St. Germain
For a taste of Paris, head to this local favorite in Indian Wells. Up to 140 guests can fill the garden patio with twinkling lights overhead and a glow from the outdoor fireplace. 1-760-773-6511.
A romantic favorite for more than 30 years. Enjoy French-Mediterranean cuisine in the main dining room and outdoor gazebo (up to 75 guests) or on the charming patio with light-filled trees for seating up to 150. 1-760-325-5059.
Say “I do” on a grassy bluff, then continue the party by the pool, on one of two patios, or inside in the candlelit Bougainvillea Room with stone fireplace and indoor waterfall. Options include valet parking, a harpist, and a Belgian chocolate fountain. Maximum guests: 250. 1-760-325-2313.
Wally’s Desert Turtle
Sophisticated service and time-honored cuisine make Wally’s a local standout. The warm ambiance includes beveled-mirror ceilings, Peruvian artifacts, and hand-painted murals. Private rooms are ideal for groups. 1-760-568-9321.
Golf Clubs & Resorts
Cimarrón Golf Resort
Dramatic golf course and mountain views attract couples to this Cathedral City resort. Reasonably priced packages can host up to 400 guests. 1-760-275-7549.
Wed on this golf course designed by Arnold Palmer and then celebrate in the Tuscany-inspired clubhouse. More than 5,000 trees are scattered on 30 acres with a lake and 14 stone bridges. 1-760-601-3679.
Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa
Enjoy the royal treatment: Arrive by boat across the lake and walk down a rose-petal aisle. White-gloved butlers make the rounds at your cocktail reception, while a harpist plays nearby. With golf, spa, and luxe rooms around them, guests may take a honeymoon of their own! 1-760-341-2211.
Desert Willow Golf Resort
After your ceremony on a lakeview terrace or on the fairway-views lawn, move inside for delicious cuisine with panoramic views at this Palm Desert resort. Maximum guests: 200. 1-760-346-0015.
Doral Desert Princess Resort
Invite up to 400 guests to a beautiful outdoor ceremony overlooking green fairways, then dine on white linens in one of the ballrooms. 1-760-322-7000.
Hyatt Grand Champions Resort
This golf and spa resort with seven pools in Indian Wells offers lush lawns for the ceremony and three ballrooms or a terrace for your reception. Weddings from two to 200. 1-760-674-4040.
Indian Wells Country Club
Ten private event spaces let you tailor your affair in the 70,000-square-foot clubhouse. Options include a ballroom, dining rooms, lounge, and veranda on the 18th hole. Up to 200 guests. 1-760-345-2561.
Indian Wells Resort Hotel
Built by legendary celebrities Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, this resort offers great indoor-outdoor flexibility. 1-760-345-6466.
La Quinta Resort & Club
A waterfall set among palm trees and a rose garden at this Mediterranean-style resort are sought-after settings. Smaller parties like the suite that opens onto a courtyard and a private home that Greta Garbo favored. Opt for the clubhouse or ballrooms for grand-scale affairs. 1-760-564-5773.
Miramonte Resort & Spa
A ceremony in the garden or in the olive grove and a festive Mediterranean-inspired dinner on the piazza: These are the dreamy options at the Miramonte, designed like a Tuscan village. 1-760-837-1645.
PGA West Golf Club & Resort
Three of its five clubhouses are open to the public, each with spectacular views of those world-renowned courses. Invite up to 450 guests. 1-760-564-7123.
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Consider the open-air, three-tiered SunriseTerrace overlooking the golf course, the Starlight Terrace atop the resort with tile water fountain and pergolas, or two large ballrooms with beautiful chandeliers at this Rancho Mirage stunner. Event planner Gina Leslie has helped couples host a “progressive evening” with ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and then off to R Bar for an after-party. For a fun alternative to a formal rehearsal dinner, opt for beachfront burgers and dogs on the sandy beach of the on-site water park, Splashtopia. 1-866-423-1195.
Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa
Choose from three ballrooms and a rose lawn. If you want to do it up big, the resort has 560 guest rooms, two restaurants, and a beautiful pool. 1-760-836-1251.
Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
Arched breezeways and curved walls combine with 360 acres of waterways and lush landscaping that harmonize with the natural surroundings. Get married under towering palms with a waterfall backdrop in the gardens. They can seat 1,000 guests. 1-760-770-2112.