SITE: KEW GARDENS
ADDRESS: Kew Gardens, London, England TW9 3AB
WEB SITE: www.kew.org/venues
VIEWS & VISTAS: The Royal Botanic Gardens, as Kew is formally known, sprawl over 300 acres and display many rare plant species.
EVENT AREAS: Picturesque outdoor settings include the Orangery and the Palace Pavilion Marquee; the latter can accommodate 400 seated guests. The Temperate House is a greenhouse filled with decidedly non-English plant life such as palm trees.
GREAT OUTDOORS: Capable of holding as many as 150 guests, Cambridge Cottage is the most popular event space at Kew; corporations including the BBC have held events here. Its French doors open into the private Duke's Gardens, where both day and nighttime events are permitted.
NOTES FROM NATURE: The gallery houses a collection of drawings and paintings of rare orchids from around the world.
SITE: DESCANSO GARDENS
ADDRESS: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91101
WEB SITE: www.descansogardens.org
VIEWS & VISTAS: Tucked into the San Rafael hills, the 160-acre Descanso Gardens are considered a museum of living collections. Founder E. Manchester Boddy purchased the land in 1937; the gardens and woodlands he preserved are now complemented by cuisine from Los Angeles-based Patina Catering.
EVENT AREAS: The open-air Rose Pavilion, accented with a Spanish-style fountain and surrounded by 4,000 rose bushes, has a capacity of 180 guests. Other event areas include the 2,870-square-foot Van de Kamp Hall, the Japanese Garden with a capacity of 30 guests, and the Boddy House.
GREAT OUTDOORS: The Japanese Garden and Tea House provided a realistic Japanese setting for scenes in the 2005 movie “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
NOTES FROM NATURE: Currently undergoing renovations by the Pasadena Showcase House of Design team, the Boddy House — a mansion with a capacity of 120 guests — features a lawn and patio flanked by an oak forest and a chaparral-covered hill.
SITE: OPEN AIRE AFFAIRS' PEARL S. BUCK ESTATE
ADDRESS: 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA 18944
WEB SITE: www.openaireaffairs.com
VIEWS & VISTAS: More than 60 acres of land dotted with ponds, stone buildings and wildflower gardens surround the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's 19th century farmhouse.
EVENT AREAS: The 5,500-square-foot Garden Pavilion tent seats as many as 300 guests. The permanent structure features a carpet, chandeliers and sconces, allowing guests to enjoy nature without worrying about the elements.
GREAT OUTDOORS: Event planners often key on the natural world surrounding the tent, incorporating earth-colored linen and floral designs into their decor.
NOTES FROM NATURE: Other quaint areas on the property can be turned into event spaces with temporary structures. Past events held at the estate include weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and corporate award galas.
SITE: THE LARK CREEK INN
ADDRESS: 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, CA 94939
WEB SITE: www.larkcreek.com
VIEWS & VISTAS: Built in 1889, the two-level Victorian house offers a bubbling creek and English gardens on its grounds. Inside, the stone-floored sun porch and a dining room with a glass ceiling ensure the feeling of dining al fresco.
EVENT AREAS: The patio seats 100 people for a ceremony and about 80 for meals. Centered around a brick oven, the dining room seats 150 people; 24 guests can sit at the bar and in the garden view room upstairs.
GREAT OUTDOORS: Located in a redwood grove, both the patio and gardens overlook the creek. The patio was recently upgraded with white picket fencing, new bricks, umbrellas and flowers.
NOTES FROM NATURE: The menu features seasonal fresh fare and products from local ranchers, farmers and fishermen. Dishes include seared scallops, braised butter beans, blood sausage and sauteed snapper.