August 27, 2020
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‘Tis the season to get hitched. But there's plenty of planning to be done before donning the dress and walking down the aisle, and choosing your wedding venue is one of the most important decisions you'll make. The Golden State's luxurious resorts, historic locations, and private estates are perfect locales for saying "I do," but the number of options can be overwhelming.
To help make the venue-selection process a bit smoother, we've rounded up the best desert wedding venues in California. Whether you're envisioning tying the knot in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, or Indian Wells, the SoCal desert has no shortage of spectacular venues for your dream wedding.
The Best Desert Wedding Venues
1. Desert Willow Golf Resort
Location: 38-995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert
Capacity: Up to 300 people
Tucked away in the foothills of the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains, Desert Willow Golf Resort boasts an ideal ambience for a desert wedding—verdant expanses, gleaming lakes, and undulating mountains serve as spectacular backdrops for wedding photographs.
Brides: Prepare to walk down the aisle on a spacious stone patio, which overlooks the golf course and lake, and say your vows. After the ceremony, guests will make their way to the Palm Desert Terrace to savor drinks while admiring breathtaking vistas of the landscape. Host the reception at the Firecliff Terrace or the indoor Firecliff Ballroom. The terrace provides sweeping desert views, while the upscale ballroom features modern chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the property.
2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Location: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert
Capacity: Up to 400 people
What better place to say “I do” than at the zoo? If you’re getting married in 2020, add the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens to your list of venues. This unique desert destination offers six beautiful wedding ceremony sites and seven reception venues.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens will take your guests on a worldwide adventure—host your desert wedding at the District Commissioner's House next to 20th-century antiques, savor drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the Giraffe Platform as giraffes wander on the lush hillside, or enjoy a party on the Lurie Reception Patio.
If you love garden parties in particular, look no further than the Palm Garden Patio. This lush oasis is home to over 50 species of towering palm trees that surround the venue. The site is fully equipped to host cocktail parties, dinners, receptions, and ceremonies.
Whether you want to host your evening with the beautiful desert backdrop or go for a safari theme, the unparalleled Living Desert has you covered.
3. The Saguaro Palm Springs
Location: 1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
Capacity: Up to 275 guests
The Saguaro Palm Springs is the perfect boho desert wedding venue. Situated in Coachella Valley, the rainbow-colored hotel is lined with palm trees and cacti. The vibrant locale offers couples the opportunity to mix and match their wedding styles—whether it's whimsical, bohemian, retro, or classic styles—for an out-of-this-world wedding.
Host your wedding poolside and admire magnificent desert views as you tie the knot. You can also host your event at the Jacinto Lawn, Sago Ballroom, Studio Dining Room, and Palmetto Patio. No matter which site you choose, The Saguaro chefs can create a bespoke menu and dessert bar, and the hotel personnel will ease your stress by helping you plan your dream wedding.
4. Smoke Tree Ranch
Location: 1850 Smoke Tree Lane, Palm Springs
Price: Starting from $5,000
Capacity: Up to 750 people
Smoke Tree Ranch is a 20-acre compound found in the middle of Palm Springs (which is one of the best places to elope) and is ideal for couples looking to go all out with a desert-chic wedding. This secluded, coveted venue boasts gorgeous views, refined service, and tasteful simplicity. (It's beloved by celebrities for a reason.)
Exchange vows as hummingbirds flutter past you in the serene gardens, creating a tranquil vibe. Or, host your celebration in one of the property's farm-style buildings. For indoor celebrations, Disney Hall is as magnificent as it can get. Named for the animator—who enjoyed Smoke Tree Ranch so much that it became his home away from home—Disney Hall boasts blush-hued walls and white ceilings, making any bride-to-be feel like Cinderella as she gracefully walks down the aisle. Afterward, wedding guests can enjoy finger food and cocktails in the country-chic lounge complete with glass ceilings, iron chandeliers, and wood panels.
5. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort And Spa
Location: 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells
Price: Starting from $135 per person
Capacity: Up to 400 people
The Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa is a relaxing oasis within the Coachella Valley. This 11-acre resort is home to citrus groves, olive trees, golf courses, and fragrant gardens perfect for an outdoor wedding. The pool is a particularly picturesque place for ceremonies; the curved archways and massive pillars swirled with floral vines mirror a romantic fairytale scene. Regardless of whether you decide to host your big day alfreso or inside a grand ballroom, you'll have an unforgettable day at the Mediterranean-inspired resort.
6. The O’Donnell House At The Willows
Location: 412 West Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs
Capacity: Up to 125 people
Be prepared to fall head over heels for this magical venue. Located at the base of Mount San Jacinto, The O’Donnell House at The Willows is among the most iconic Palm Springs wedding venues. This historic cliffside estate, overlooking the Palm Springs Art Museum, was built in 1925 by architect William Charles Tanner.
The 4,100-square-foot medieval home serves as a gorgeous wedding venue, bringing forth the splendor (and roar) of the 1920s. Considered one of the top 10 wedding destinations in California, Palm Springs' majestic mountain backdrop and opulent desert gardens will leave you and your guests in awe. Celebrate your marriage and host your elegant reception on the O’Donnell House patio, all while indulging in the scenic views.
7. Indian Wells Golf Resort
Location: 44-500 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells
Price: $88 per person
Capacity: Up to 400 people
The Indian Wells Golf Resort highlights panoramic mountain views, sky-high palm trees, and a blooming landscape, setting the scene for an outdoor extravaganza. Overlooking one of the state's best golf courses, Fairway Lawn is a prime wedding venue featuring tropical American plants, vivid wildflowers, and swaying palms.
Move your party indoors to dance the night away in the Celebrity Ballroom or Player's Room, or host the reception at The Pavilion for an indoor-outdoor feel. With glass on three sides, the pavilion showcases breathtaking vistas of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Watch the sun set over the mountains before gazing at the starry night sky as you slow dance with your life partner.
8. Historic Cree Estate
Location: 67698 Carey Road, Cathedral City
Capacity: Up to 200 people
You're bound to feel like a Hollywood star at one of Palm Springs’ rare wedding venues where many celebrity couples have tied the knot: Combining Old World charm with modern-day amenities, the Historic Cree Estate is the perfect destination for a fairytale-esque wedding in the desert. Surrounded by orange and lemon trees, this private estate built in the 1930s stretches over 2.5 acres.
Guests are welcomed by a grand Spanish fountain at the entrance. Patches of emerald green lawns embellish the site—the tree branches create natural archways for your ceremony. As the sunny California sky morphs into twilight hues, guests can enjoy their drinks encircled by stone benches and classical statues.
The Historic Cree Estate also features a main pool intricately tiled in Catalina blue, evoking the feel of a charming tropical lagoon. Guests will be inspired to dance the night away here; the glittering lights on the surrounding trees coupled with the candles and flowers floating on the water will leave you swooning. Make it a whole weekend affair so your guests have plenty of time to explore the grounds.
9. La Quinta Country Club
Location: 77-750 Avenue 50, La Quinta
Capacity: Up to 300 people
La Quinta Country Club is perched on an 18-hole championship golf course. Boasting perfect views of the Santa Rosa Mountains, the country club's Spanish architecture and red-tiled roof welcomes guests to one of Palm Desert's most popular clubs.
The outdoor areas are impeccably decorated with beautiful fountains and towering palm trees, creating the ultimate romantic ambience. For indoor celebrations, book the Pavilion Ballroom. Large lanterns hang from the ceiling, while balcony-style openings and massive windows showcase a gorgeous desert backdrop. Weddings are held seasonally—only from October to May—so make sure to book it well in advance.
10. Embassy Suites By hilton Palm Desert
Location: 74-700 CA-11, Palm Desert
Price: $48–$73 per person
Capacity: Up to 500 guests
Embassy Suites By Hilton Palm Desert is located 12 miles away from Palm Springs and is a beautiful place to tie the knot. Guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the lovely poolside patio surrounded by blooming flowers and elegant fountains. If you prefer the indoors, book the spacious ballroom for a lovely reception. With crystal chandeliers hanging from vaulted ceilings and plenty of room to dance the night away, what more can a bride ask for?
While wedding planning can be stressful, don’t let the overwhelm get the best of you; see our tips on how to survive the wedding-planning process, and remember to focus on the big picture and to enjoy it all. Head to these stunning desert hotels and venues to start planning your special day.