If the trend toward extravagant, royalty-tinged weddings has been slowing down in recent years, it may come to a screeching halt in 2010. Yes, there are still unbelievably gorgeous and luxurious wedding venues in Ventura County, and a few are listed here. But there are also some unusual locations that host wedding ceremonies for a fraction of the cost of the traditional venues.
Recessionista’s dream — Camarillo Library
The newest and by far the most affordable wedding venue is a bonanza for book lovers. You can now start the next chapter of your lives at the Camarillo Library. Seriously. There is a tiled fountain area in front of the photogenic arches of the library for the ceremony. Inside is a spacious banquet hall. DJ’s California Catering and Event Services will provide everything needed. The maximum seating is 180. Site fees run from $75 to $350, depending on the day, time and number of guests. Meals range from $32 to $47 per person. For more information, call DJ’s California
Catering at 850-0194 or go to www.djscatering.com.
Seriously historic — Camarillo Ranch
For a true Ventura County experience, you can have your wedding at an original Spanish land-grant ranch featuring an 1892 Queen Anne Victorian house set on 4.5 acres. The Camarillo Ranch, owned by the city of Camarillo, was restored in 2001. The estate includes the original stables, garden and a living museum inside the mansion. The ranch’s Big Red Barn can host an indoor reception. The front lawn seats up to 1,000 guests, but there are also smaller, more intimate areas available. This site does not provide a caterer so you can chose your own. Site rental runs from $125 to $6,500 depending on the day, time, type of event and number of guests. For more information, call 389-8182, or go www.camarilloranch.org.
Ocean breezes at the park — Serra Cross Park
Nothing is more iconic of Ventura than the large wooden cross at Serra Cross Park. Plus there is a world-class ocean view of the Channel Islands off in the distance. The cross as a signpost to travelers dates back to Father Junipero Serra, who founded the San Buenaventura Mission in 1782. The wedding will be catered by Jonathan’s at Pierano’s Restaurant and Catering. The site can seat up to 300 guests. Prices for the venue run from $750 to $1,500 depending on the hours and type of event. Catering packages start at $55 per person. For more information, call Jonathan’s at Pierano’s Restaurant and Catering at 223-5505 or go to www.serracrosspark.org.
World-class equestrian estate Hummingbird Nest Ranch
The Hummingbird Nest Ranch hidden in the northeast corner of Simi Valley is the most luxurious venue in Ventura County. Set on 140 acres in the Santa Susana Mountains, the estate is now under the stewardship of the city of Simi Valley. Overlooking the property’s lake is the 17,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial-style villa. There are 10 different wedding locations, including tiled patios and park-like grounds overlooking the Grand Prix jumping fields. Bride and groom arrive in a horse-drawn carriage. Prices start at $10,000, depending on the size of the wedding. The outdoor ceremony site can hold up to 1,200 seated guests. For more information, call the event department at 579-8000 or go to www.hummingbirdnestranch.com.