Gardener Ranch is a rustic wedding venue located in Carmel Valley, California. Situated on the pristine banks of the Carmel River, the venue is covered with magnificent oak trees and lush fields. The property offers a rustic charm in a beautiful natural setting, with spacious lawns and indoor spaces perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
Facilities and Capacity
Spread over 24 acres of land, Gardener Ranch can accommodate up to 350 guests. It has five stunning outdoor sites with views of the Carmel Valley River, towering oak trees, and sprawling, lush grass. The Main House, a private estate with a patio and a swimming pool, is perfect for large gatherings. The River House offers beautiful views of the Carmel River. In the corner of Gardener Ranch is River Cottage, a quaint space perfect for use as the bridal suite. Then there is a guest house under sycamore and oak trees, offering magnificent views of the mountainsides. Gardener Ranch accommodates couples for any length of time they desire.
Gardener Ranch provides a variety of settings and services for bridal showers, elopements, receptions, ceremonies, engagement parties, and rehearsal dinners. In addition, they have available wedding event items such as altar/arches, tables and chairs, other furniture, and a dance floor. The venue offers the following wedding services:
Recommended by 96% of couples
13 User photos
Nicholas Blondin · Married on 04/06/2019
Great Place for a Wedding
My wife and I got married at Gardener in early April of 2019. We did some venue scouting at a couple other spots in Carmel Valley which were all nice but we were drawn to Gardener because of the excellent blend of classy event space and casual rustic appeal. Nothing feels pretentious yet you get the vibe of being somewhere really special. As soon as you walk on site, you immediately notice the huge trees, landscaping and planted flowers/trees blooming all around and the various building structures on the property almost fade into the background so that it feels much more like you are in the middle of a forest clearing. And that is without any kind of added floral decorations of any kind. [pro tip: save some money and go easy on your florist order]Sent on 09/24/2019
We rented the venue from Friday afternoon until check out on Sunday morning. This gave us the opportunity to host our Friday night welcome party on site instead of having to rent a separate space off site. Apart from bringing in a caterer to do a taco bar, we kept this event as simple and casual as possible and it was an awesome way to kick off the weekend festivities with almost all of our wedding guests in attendance. We used the pool deck furniture that came with the site and brought some picnic blankets to throw down on the lawn in case there wasn't enough space for people to sit. No issues for a group of roughly 120-130.
We elected to use Gardener's alcohol package for both Friday and Saturday as it was roughly the same amount as if we had purchased all of the booze ourselves (without ending up with a ridiculous amount of leftovers to take home) and definitely cheaper than having a third party supply it with insane wedding price markups. I would highly recommend using this service as there are several different types of packages available and Gardener was really helpful and flexible with us making small adjustments to get exactly what we were looking for.
Another aspect that drew us to Gardener was having the guest houses on site. We asked a couple different groups of friends to stay in the various houses and it gave the weekend kind of an adult summer camp vibe with one of the houses that included a kitchen preparing breakfast each morning. It was nice to be surrounded by friends the entire weekend but still have our own cottage to relax in and get away from the action if we needed. We had everyone pay us a small amount to stay on site (a fraction of what they would have spent on a hotel room) and that helped us recoup a little bit of the money we spent on the venue, which was nice. Whether you have friends or family staying on site this is a great touch to have a more inclusive and fun wedding. For all other guests there are several hotel/inn options in the immediate area that range from simple and affordable to higher end luxury, so everyone can still have easy access to the site. In addition to the guest houses, there are really nice bridal/groom suites on site to get ready in prior to ceremony. A great place to relax and hang out.
It should be noted that, as with all things wedding, costs can get out of hand sometimes and far too often, additional fees pop up after initial discussions. Because you have to bring in third party vendors for almost everything (outside of onsite lodging, pool deck furniture/heaters, tables/chairs), a venue like Gardener can come with more costs than a venue that provides those things like food, alcohol, lighting, place settings, etc. This is something you should consider if cost is a huge factor for you as there will be things you never thought of that will come up throughout the process. However, I will say that through the planning process, Gardener was very up front about all the costs that we would be on the hook for and we never had any surprise fees from them. Our only complaint would be that occasionally we had a hard time getting timely email responses on certain items. Keeping in mind that you aren't their only clients and that sometimes things can slip through the cracks, follow up emails and phone calls were required sometimes when we needed to get in touch on more time sensitive or important matters.
Since our date was relatively early in the wedding season, we had the impending doom of a rainy forecast up to and through our wedding weekend. After a couple "end of world meltdowns" we realized that even though we may not be able to have any of our events outside, that the interior spaces on site, while a bit more cramped, are still quite beautiful and charming and that the rain wouldn't impact our ability to have fun. We were told by Gardener to not freak out and to wait and see as the weather in Carmel Valley had it's own way of doing things, contrary to the weather forecast for the greater area. Since certain vendors need a final plan several days ahead of time we had to make a decision whether we were going to move everything indoors or roll the dice on our outdoor festivities. Gardener helped us make the decision by saying that if it was going to rain day of, that they would move everything inside for us and do whatever needed to be done so that we wouldn't have to worry about anything (with no additional fees or anything like that). As it turned out, it rained a bit Friday morning but by the time our welcome party started it was sunny and you would never know it had ever rained that week at all. We got that sunny weather all the way through the end of the weekend as we had been told we might, but it was nice to have the reassurance that we didn't need to change our entire plan for the weekend or have to worry about making changes last minute. Because of that we had the most relaxing weekend with nothing but good times to focus on.
All in all, we had a blast during our whole wedding weekend and the location had a lot to do with it. Whether it was having the ceremony next to a babbling creek, eating dinner with the sunlight of dusk filtering through the trees or watching our guests jump fully clothed into the pool as festivities ramped up later in the night, I would very much recommend exploring Gardener ranch as an option for anyone planning their wedding in the Carmel Valley area.
Happy planning and try to remember not to let the little things freak you out :) Everyone remembers the atmosphere and how much fun they had, not the little details that may not have been correct or exactly how you wanted them. Cheers
Lexi · Married on 03/23/2019
Unbelievable! Best venue in Carmel Valley!
We had our wedding at Gardener Ranch and it was stunning! We invited 230, and 170 came. I did a lot of research in Carmel Valley for a wedding venue and ended up falling in love with GR. I felt like I had the most flexibility with GR. Other places had a lot of rules and stipulations which really frustrated me: requiring you to use certain vendors or catering, Mission Ranch has a 5 hour maximum event time which I didn’t like (including ceremony to end of the reception). GR really gives you so much control to create your own unique event, you aren’t just another wedding like all the others. You could go as cheap and rustic as you want with a food truck, or as fancy as you want with full catering and they won’t pressure you to do anything a certain way. We chose to stay three nights, such a fun way to bring families together and it was SO worth it to have a full wedding weekend with everyone.Sent on 05/02/2019
When our friends & family arrived and toured the grounds, they were stunned! It was beautiful. We all loved visiting each other in the houses. It was a great way for our families to get to know each other better. We had our rehearsal dinner on site, very convenient and fun! Very relaxing to have everyone on site or nearby and able to enjoy the whole property!
GR really goes above and beyond to make the experience easy. Heather & Nanci were extremely easy to work with and always thorough with their responses.
I was a very budget conscious bride. We picked off season and had our wedding in March, which saved us a good amount of money. We used GR’s alcohol package to receive a 20% discount and that was great. We did an hour of margaritas (they were strong and very good!) plus wine & beer. We used Jeffrey’s catering, the food was amazing and you can’t beat the price. They weren’t always responsive to us, but when it came to the wedding the food and service was great. Most catering companies gave us quotes over $25k, Jeffrey’s was about $12k and we had a lot of people comment that the food was amazing and the wine was flowing freely! We picked salmon and filet mignon and did a sundae bar which was a hit. We did a small cake with Layers, they are the best in town!
GR was constantly there in the background, cleaning up things and moving things to set them up for us. But I really felt like we had the place to ourselves and could fully enjoy the property. We used Bouqs Co and made our own flower bouquets right there on the venue which was fun and easy.
We were worried about rain for our wedding. We went through options with Chic’s rentals. Option 1) Pay over $20k for a huge tent and dance floor 2) Pay about $5k for a custom tent from Chic’s rental that fits on the patio area- we would have chosen this if rain was 100% for the whole afternoon. 3) Move inside and split up our guests. Fortunately it didn’t rain for our outdoor ceremony, but because of the temperature we chose to move the reception indoors which ended up being just fine. Make sure you think through a rain option and go over options with Nanci & Heather so you’re not stressed before your wedding.
I highly recommend hiring Mark Banks for your DJ. He played live music for us, and everyone loved it! Brandon Scott was also an incredible photographer. Oh and the black and white dance floor! It’s SO awesome in pictures!!!
You are guaranteed to have a unique and lovely wedding at GR. You can choose to do something more budget conscious like I did (I kept ours under $45k) or of course do something extravagant, but it is possible to do it for a more reasonable price!
One piece of advice I wish I had known: lodging for the venue gets tricky very quickly. We chose to charge everyone $60 per night per person staying on the venue. We ended up having about 42 people stay. Anticipate a lot of opinions on where people want to be. If I could do it again I would charge people less if they were staying on a couch. A lot of our family opted to stay across the street at Carmel Valley Lodge (which was convenient and easy!), but anticipate that when you are doing your budget. We had hoped to fill all 51 spots but it just didn’t happen.
I cannot recommend Gardener Ranch enough. We are still getting compliments on what a wonderful venue we picked. Especially our out of state guests—they loved the excuse to come to Carmel Valley!
Lauren · Married on 10/20/2018
A real-life dream come true!
Faith brought us to Gardener Ranch in our search for wedding venues, and it was truly the best choice we could have ever made! Nancy, Heather, and Gardener Ranch's Staff are the best!! We stayed the whole weekend and had the most amazing time with our family and friends. We used as much of the property as we could and took it all in!! They took amazing care of us and our guests. We had beautiful weather (10.20.18), and everyone left saying 'That was the best wedding they had ever been to' and that 'We did it right!' (probably due to the fact that we never once had to leave this amazing property all weekend!). Thank you so much again!! xoxo Lauren & MiguelSent on 01/07/2019
Gardener Ranch has everything you need for your event! From the onsite lodging to the perfect Bride and Groom getting ready locations to the poolside cocktail area, this venue has a myriad of options for you. Oh and don't forget to plan to have your ceremony by the creek surrounded by trees! I wholeheartedly recommend Gardener Ranch and am always excited when my couples choose it for their venue!
Gardner Ranch has been a Carmel Valley institution since forever. It's wonderful having it restored and well cared for again. The property is a stunning, secluded oasis. As if once you walk through their gates your time exists apart from the rest of the world. I love that type of escape.
Exceptional venue! Totally unique atmosphere! The vibes are welcoming, bohemian, and classic. We would recommend this place to any bride looking for the perfect location.