ADDRESS: 539 S. Peachtree St., Norcross, GA 30071
WEB SITE: www.flinthill.com
WHAT'S OUT(DOORS): This manor, built in 1835, offers a literal shield from the outside world in the form of a canopy of ancient oaks. Sitting atop a wooded knoll, Flint Hill provides different outdoor experiences throughout the property. The front has a formal air with its view of the house. Courtyards in the back offer park-like settings plus an ornate metal gazebo perfect for weddings and an all-white garden tucked to the side.
WHAT'S IN (STYLE): Guests here appreciate updated Southern hospitality. “A favorite corporate theme, ‘Southern Exposure,’ delivers the expected Southern experience but with a twist,” notes Teresa Day, president of catering and event company Magic Moments at Flint Hill. The unexpected twists include food and decor vignettes featuring South America, Soho — which in this case means “south of Houston” instead of the Manhattan neighborhood — and even a South Pole frozen dessert display. “The gardens provide instant backdrops,” Day says.
INN OF THE SEVENTH RAY
ADDRESS: 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga, CA 90290
WEB SITE: innoftheseventhray.com
WHAT'S OUT(DOORS): Cozy and romantic, this popular restaurant and outdoor event venue offers oak trees, creeks, small waterfalls and thousands of twinkle lights in a hilly, wooded area that feels far removed from nearby Los Angeles. The winding space can serve intimate groups of 50 or larger groups of 250.
The outdoors is part of the indoors here. Inside event spots have windows and glass doors galore, “allowing nature to be part of the setting,” notes wedding and event producer Angelica Weihs.
WHAT'S IN (STYLE): Weihs has noticed origami centerpieces and handmade favors on the uptick, as well as eco-friendly events with everything from organic flowers to eco-limos. Clients are steadily moving away from formal sit-down dinners and opting for food stations.
BAY CREEK RESORT & CLUB
ADDRESS: 1 Marina Village Circle, Cape Charles, VA 23310
WEB SITE: www.baycreekresort.com
WHAT'S OUT(DOORS): This resort overlooks the Chesapeake Bay on Virginia's rural Eastern Shore. Bay Creek Beach and the Marina Pier are popular spots for a party at this beachfront property, while boating events allow guests to enjoy the view from the bay. Paired with the remote natural landscape, dusk provides a striking scenic backdrop for events, according to event coordinator Tiffany Mohr, who says the area “offers incredible sunsets rarely seen on the East Coast.”
WHAT'S IN (STYLE): At Bay Creek, a local ice artist creates ice bars pre-event and ice sculptures during the event for the popular outdoor “Fire and Ice” bash held the last four years.
ADDRESS: Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1PX, England
WEB SITE: www.blenheimpalace.com
WHAT'S OUT(DOORS): Two thousand acres of rolling grounds surround this English Baroque palace built in 1705. The property includes lakes, manicured lawns and gardens, and, of course, an excellent view of the striking building, which served as home to the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace to famed Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Intimate events can be set up near the building, but larger events have the option to sprawl. Horse races often wrap around the lake, while triathlons make use of the lake as a leg in the event.
WHAT'S IN (STYLE): Chief executive John Hoy notes that guests want to create a magical, memorable experience coupled with “value for time and money.” For the ultimate pow for your pound, use a cannon, as some events on the grounds do. That coupled with an orchestra and a fireworks finale “really does make the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention!” Hoy says.