best-special-event-venues

Where to Hold That Special Occasion

Anything but typical, event spaces across the Coachella Valley turn a big day into the experience of a lifetime.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Weddings Planner

best-special-event-venues
The new Moroccan-influenced Sands Hotel & Spa provides an exotic departure in Indian Wells.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL SEGAL PHOTOGRAPHY

boutique hotels

Where A-listers hang before they buy their own place in the desert.

Quintessentially Palm Springs, these chic hotels are destinations unto themselves. Their intimate spaces and distinctive décor offer a natural fit for modern celebrations. Outdoor courtyards strung with lights welcome day-to-night events, which can flow from one venue to the next without leaving the grounds. Let them roll out the red carpet and treat your group like regulars, because you likely will be — especially after a few extra days lounging by the pool.

Tip: Parker Palm Springs, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, and Avalon Hotel and Bungalows keep a full calendar; plan your date around their availability.

Book it: Alcazar Palm Springs, Arrive, Avalon Hotel and Bungalows, Colt’s Lodge, Holiday House, Hotel El Cid, Hotel Paseo, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, La Serena Villas, Los Arboles Hotel, Parker Palm Springs, Sands Hotel & Spa, Sparrows Lodge, Triada Palm Springs.

View the complete Weddings digital edition at palmspringslife.com.


Colony29.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY BETTY NEWMAN, COJ EVENTS

Cruising around the hillside grounds of former artist retreat Colony 29.

BougainvilliaEstate

COJ Events planned this family-style reception at the Bougainvillea Estate.

feeling glamorous

Classic properties that make a grand statement.

An air of exclusivity and elegance are the makings of a wedding fantasy come true. Five-star service and incredible bluff-top views await guests at The 
Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage. Or take over one of the area’s most notable private homes, where you and your guests can love, laugh, and be yourselves in luxurious seclusion.

Tip: Fully appointed private residences range from sweet Spanish Colonial homes with gardens to sprawling 10-bedroom estates with tennis courts and lakes.

Book it: Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, Bougainvillea Estate, Casa de los Arcos, Casa de Monte Vista, Cielo Estate, Colony 29, Desert Ridge Estate, Dinah Shore Estate, Henry Mancini Estate, La Chureya Estate, The Pond Estate, The Solomon Estate, The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.


acehotelandswimclub

PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIANNA BROYLES

Cheers to the dark and sultry Amigo Room at Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.

making a scene

Want to throw a really great party? Bring it.

These hotels are as colorful as the cast of characters in their tribe. Cool pools with DJs, signature restaurants, and cocktail lounges encourage everyone to unpack and stay local. Backdrops for fabulous wedding photos are around every corner. Convenient and close to downtown, their social, late-night scenes make them strong contenders for your bachelor and bachelorette bashes, too.

saguaropalmsprings

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHEW DAVID STUDIO

Just married at Saguaro Palm Springs.

Tip: The Ace Hotel & Swim Club and Saguaro Palm Springs sit across the street from each other, making it easy to enjoy both 
properties. V Palm Springs is up the street.

Book it: Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Riviera Palm Springs, Saguaro Palm Springs, V Palm Springs.


rugged beauty

Free spirits unite amid untamed beauty.

Big sky above, mountain vistas on every side, and acreage to spare — these rustic locales are defined by a deep connection to nature’s splendor, often in its rawest, most ancient form. The mountains watch over earthy elopements and down-home weddings where cowboy boots and free-flowing lace dresses are the norm. Laid-back yet elegant, Smoke Tree Ranch has been a private Palm Springs hideaway since 1930. Or flee to the outskirts of the High Desert to twirl together on a starlit dance floor, gather around a fire, then ride off into the night on horseback.

Tip: High Desert lodging options have increased, but many couples appreciate the contrast of a middle-of-nowhere wedding and in-town accommodations.

 desertpopup

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHEW DAVID STUDIO

Artfully styled Joshua Tree elopements are the specialty of Desert Pop Up. These two shared champagne and cupcakes without a soul around.

Book it: Boulder House, Crazy Horse Ranch, Genuine Draft Horse Ranch, Huell Howser’s The Wheelhouse, Joshua Tree National Park, Le Haut Désert Aerie, Makerville, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, Pioneertown Sound Stage, The Ranch House at The Lautner Compound, The Ruin Venue, Smoke Tree Ranch, Sunset Ranch Oasis, Tumbleweed Sanctuary Garden & Labyrinth.


midcentury vibes

Come for the architecture; stay for the killer Manhattans.

Choose from one of history’s finest hotels or private estates, built while the Rat Pack ruled. Mod masterpieces from the 1950s and ’60s will have you swingin’ like Sinatra and his pals.

Their glass-walled living rooms, period furnishings, and poolside party spaces call for an appropriate soundtrack, attire, and signature cocktails. Rent a vintage set of wheels for photos and cruising with the top down.

FrankSinatraEstate

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM+KELLY

Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate.

Tip: Sinatra’s own Twin Palms Estate, complete with original audio system and piano-shaped pool, is pricey but epic.

Book it: Arthur Elrod’s Escape, Caliente Tropics, Casa Verona, Del Marcos Hotel, Desert Hills, Desert Riviera Hotel, Frederick Loewe Estate, Gene Autry Residence at Parker Palm Springs, The Hideaway, The Lautner Compound, L’Horizon Resort & Spa, The Monkey Tree Hotel, Orbit In, Palm Springs Rendezvous, Ruby Montana’s Coral Sands Inn, Skylark Hotel, Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate.

thelautnercompound

PHOTOGRAPH BY JES WORKMAN

The Lautner Compound, a four-unit hotel with outdoor event space, is an architectural gem.


indianwellsgolfresortexterior
golf resorts

Little white balls and big, glittery ballrooms.

Hit the links and get hitched all in one wild wedding weekend. The Coachella Valley’s immaculate fairways are encircled by mountain panoramas — but the views are only the pregame. Wed on manicured greens by the lake, move to the terrace for cocktails, then savor the chef’s finest flavors in the ballroom. Mood lighting and custom dance floors make it an evening to remember. You can skip the car rental, too. Restaurants, tennis courts, pools, spas, kids’ activities, and at least 18 championship holes are all on-site.

Tip: Each resort’s events team loves to plan a party and please your guests. (Ask about honeymoon and spa discounts or upgrades.)

Book it: Classic Club, Desert Falls Country Club, Desert Willow Golf Resort, DoubleTree by Hilton Golf Resort Palm Springs, Escena Golf Club, Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Indian Canyons Golf Resort, Indian Wells Country Club, Indian Wells Golf Resort, JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta Resort & Club, Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Golf Resort, Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, Mission Hills Country Club, Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa, The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Woodhaven Country Club.

 KatieGeibergerphotography

PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATIE GEIBERGER PHOTOGRAPHY

Day to night, this tented affair planned by COJ Events at Indian Wells Golf Resort had a green blanket underfoot.


gardens and grounds

Natural backdrops for  timeless photos. 

Spectacular landscapes meet privacy like that of your own backyard at these multifaceted properties. Let the desert reveal its softer side, hidden amid towering palms and giant cactuses or dotted with lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, fountains, and pools. These native surroundings or manicured gardens present a botanical canvas for your taste and style.

Tip: Beyond photos at the lake and lawns of Trilogy at The Polo Club, couples like the giant outdoor chess set, the silver beaded doorway of the private dining room, and the chevron-patterned wooden dance floor when shot from above.

Book it: The Chateau at Lake La Quinta, Corona Yacht Club, Cree Estate, Eldorado Polo Club, Empire Polo Club, Jackalope Ranch, Moorten Botanical Garden, Old Polo Estate, The Park at The Lautner Compound, Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, Trilogy at The Polo Club.

 moortenbotanical

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHEW DAVID STUDIO

Plants and succulents, some in massive proportions, surround couples inside the intimate grounds at Moorten Botanical Garden. The unusual Cactarium is a favorite spot for photos.


historic landmarks

Your keys to old Palm Springs.

The city is home to a beloved collection of small hotels dating back to the 1920s and ’30s. Add your love story to their history books, enveloped by Spanish architecture and a serene ambiance. An old-fashioned romance endures down the flower-lined pathways for wandering, in fountain-filled courtyards for conversation, and past the doors of their charming rooms to hole up in. These properties have enchanted the lovestruck for decades.

Tip: Clawfoot tubs, private patios, and decadent breakfasts are among the amenities at these tranquil venues, each with its own fascinating backstory.

Book it: Amin Casa, Casa Cody, Colony Palms Hotel, Ingleside Inn, Korakia Pensione, O’Donnell House, Sand Acre Estate, Spencer’s Restaurant, Villa Paradiso Palm Springs Estate, Villa Royale Inn, The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn.

colonypalms

PHOTOGRAPH BY MATTHEW DAVID STUDIO

Most couples who wed at Colony Palms Hotel, which opened in 1936, exchange vows in the garden then party by the pool. Right: The 1920s O’Donnell House.


cabazondinosaurs

Claude Bell’s Cabazon Dinosaurs, en route to Palm Springs from Los Angeles, are a dino-mite sight off Interstate 10.

SalvationMountain

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JIM+KELLY

Colorful paint covers Salvation Mountain in nearby Niland.

outta the box

Buck the trends like you always do.

If convention isn’t your thing, you’re in the right place. Love is the only tradition you need in these offbeat environs. Say your vows in a museum by night, use a white tented photo studio as your personal canvas, feed the giraffes at the zoo, or surprise your guests with views from the world’s largest rotating tram car. Just a few ideas to signify the start of your next adventure together.

Tip: The 10-minute ride up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway leads to the wilderness trails of Mount San Jacinto State Park, restaurants, and other venues at the top, where temps are typically at least 30 degrees cooler.

Book it: Cabazon Dinosaurs, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Living Free Animal Sanctuary, Magical Adventures Balloon Rides, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs Art Museum, Salvation Mountain, Snapshot Palm Springs.