My husband and I are both originally from outside California. Specifically, he is from New York and I am from Chicago. With most of our guests traveling, we wanted an area of LA where people did not need a car. We chose Pasadena.
When we found Happy Trails Catering and Gardens, we loved it right away. To be honest, I hardly looked anywhere else, because we really loved the location and Kathy the owner/operator. We had not even tried her food. We had only fallen in love with the backyard.
Working with Kathy was a dream. She was very accommodating to us and our questions. She was responsive immediately and responsive to my dad (who had a lot of questions). Kathy was a dream to work with. We finally tried her food at our tasting (which in itself was a party) and it was spectacular.
The day of our wedding came. I never really could picture how HTC was going to set everything up, but what I saw was truly amazing. It seems like a small space, but we fit 130 guests so comfortably. And HTC utilizes the space in an incredible way. Using the same area for the ceremony, cocktail hour, food service and dance floor....and doing so effortlessly. I really was awesome. EVERYONE raved about the food.
To sum it up, it was a beautiful location, a great deal and amazing food. What more could you want!
Happy Trails is a real hidden gem. We had a small wedding there (50 guest counts) on Sept 5, 2011, it was intimate & romantic, everything just went perfectly. Kathy Black was very friendly, patient & helpful, she would answered every questions that you asked and make sure everything is good. The food were awsome, all our guests loved it! However,we were too busy that day that we didn't have chance to eat and Kathy packed all the left over for us to bring back to the hotel. Even though it's cold, they tasted delious! We stil missed the food & wished they would served those food during the regular hours.
If you are looking for a simple & intimate weddding, Happy Trails is the perfect place!
Choosing wedding venue and caterer is probably the single most difficult decision in the whole planning process, but I really lucked out --- I wanted a location that is full of natural beauty, and yet close to civilization so that the wedding guests (and us) wouldn't have to drive after the drinking and partying. Sounds like a pretty impossible combination right?
Imagine my surprise when I came across Happy Trails Garden. I saw it on the web and immediately thought: "I think this is it!" The gorgeous camphor tree totally drew me in and it is a block away from old town Pasadena. When I went to see in person, the garden was even more beautiful than I could imagine! And when the sun went down, the tree lights up in the most gorgeous way.
So if your dream is a garden wedding for 20 to 200 people (I had 150), Look no more, this is the place you are looking for.
And now onto the catering. As with perhaps all brides, I barely ate during the wedding. But my guests told me that they really enjoyed the food (poached salmon, grilled tri-tip, paella with shrimp chicken ham ...), and we took home a bunch of leftover and it was delicious!
Last but not least, Kathy Black, the owner, is always warm, helpful, and flexible. Wedding planning is a very stressful project, but every time we talk to Kathy in person we'd literally feel the stress level come down. In retrospect I realized I worried about quite a few more things than I needed to --- If you go with Happy Trails, my advice is, just trust whatever Kathy tells you!
p.s. A note about street noise -- The garden is located right off Fair Oaks, and before the wedding, I was concerned that the street noise might be a problem (before the wedding, one is highly concerned about everything!). But during my wedding, I heard no street noise. I don't know if it's because it was a quiet day, or that the sound insulation was good, or that I was simply too absorbed in more important things, but it simply wasn't an issue.
Another note about Pasadena weather. As with all outdoor wedding, there is a chance of bad weather. With Pasadena, it is possible for the heat to be unbearable during the day, but, by about 5pm it is almost always magically perfect weather. The tree also provides excellent shade that makes the temperature more moderate in both directions.
Last note about parking. Happy trails does not have parking lot for your guests, but can arrange valet service. I chose to ask my guests to park at Westin Pasadena (where we had the post-party) , and had a shuttle bus to transport my guests. The other option for my guests is to park at the Del Mar parking structure (part of the light rail station) which is just a few minutes walk away. This will likely be a much cheaper option than valet parking.