SITE: Descanso Gardens
ADDRESS: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada, CA 91011
PHONE: 818/949-4293 (site rental), 818/949-4291 (wedding office)
WEB SITE: www.descansogardens.org
VISUALS & VIBE: Descanso, meaning “I rest” in Spanish, features more than 160 acres of oak forest, flower gardens and lawns.
IN SEASON: Spring, when award-winning irises and lilacs bloom alongside more than 26,000 tulips and 3,000 rose bushes.
EVENT AREAS: 100-guest-capacity Japanese Tea Garden; 2,800-square-foot, Craftsman-style Van de Kamp Hall with adjacent outdoor courtyard; historic 22-room Boddy House mansion with indoor and outdoor event space featuring 125-guest total capacity; more than a dozen garden locations with capacities from 80 to 500. Patina Catering is Descanso's exclusive caterer.
SPECIAL SPACE: The 200-capacity Rose Pavilion, surrounded by the gardens' five-acre International Rosarium, has a granite tiled floor and 25-foot vaulted timber ceilings.
SITE: William Paca House and Garden
ADDRESS: 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, MD 21401
WEB SITE: www.annapolis.org
VISUALS & VIBE: Rose, holly, boxwood and flower parterres share space with fruit and vegetable gardens at this 18th-century Georgian mansion and pleasure gardens, built by Declaration of Independence signer William Paca.
IN SEASON: Peak bloom time for the rose parterre comes in late spring, when heirloom varieties of roses join tulips, daffodils and flowering perennials in a show of color.
EVENT AREAS: Two-acre garden; two terraces; 35-by-15-foot indoor conference room. A full caterer's kitchen is available.
SPECIAL SPACE: The garden terraces, with a total of 1,848 square feet of space, are open for events from April through October, and can be tented with two 20-by-40-foot tents, available from the facility.
SITE: American Horticultural Society at George Washington's River Farm
ADDRESS: 7931 E. Boulevard Drive, Alexandria, VA 22308
PHONE: 703/768-5700, ext.114
WEB SITE: www.ahs.org
VISUALS & VIBE: This historic estate, once owned by George Washington, sits on the banks of the Potomac River amid 25 acres of lawns, gardens, meadows and woods.
IN SEASON: Spring finds more than 2,000 bulbs in bloom throughout the garden and surrounding grounds.
EVENT AREAS: The estate's main house, registered as a “gentleman's home” by the Fairfax County Historical Society, includes a 45-by-20-foot ballroom, a large parlor overlooking the river, and a dining room with garden and river views.
SPECIAL SPACE: Planners working on events in the 160-guest-capacity tented patio, available for weddings, fund-raisers and corporate events, have access to a list of approved caterers; on-site guest parking is available.