The Hummingbird Nest Ranch was a little taste of Spain for C+J's outdoor spring wedding. From the stonework to the tiles that decorated fountains and stairs throughout, this wedding venue in Santa Susana truly is a hidden gem that brings Europe to Southern California. To allow the architecture and colors of the natural foliage to shine, this day was designed with lighter spring tones and neutrals to create a look of chic elegance with a hint of glam (as you can see in her gown). The abundant aisle florals made for a show stopping entrance into the ceremony and brought the little pop of color to balance the whites of the rest of the design.
Some of my favorite parts of this venue are...
+ There are photo locations EVERYWHERE. Not a single part of this venue is bad for photos.
+ You can choose to do your ceremony in a few locations. This couple chose in front of the Italian Cyprus trees, but you could choose to do it in the courtyard or gardens.
+ the girls getting ready house features beautiful historic windows and tasteful red brick.
+ The cocktail hour/pool area is incredible at sunset, just look at the gallery below.
+ There is a pool! (Fully clothed, end of the night dip, anyone?)
This venue is tucked away in the hills of Santa Susana giving it a privacy and exclusive feel as you take a windy private drive back to the ranch. With ample acreage and a wide variety of locations to choose from, this space can be for weddings both big and small. There are six locations to choose from with unique looks to each.
1. The Sitting Bull (Pictured in this gallery)
This site at Hummingbird Ranch is my number one favorite because it's elegance. It leans more Spanish and less rustic. The main features are: the casita for getting ready, the pool area that is great for cocktail hour, the lawn that this couple used for their ceremony and the main courtyard they used for their reception. There is also a private garden behind the casita that is great for photos!
2 and 3. The Lake Lawn and Grand Prix
Both of these sites are great for larger, tented weddings because they are on large open grass fields. One is lakeside and the other is mountain side. These are great if you need a large open space to bring your vision to life.
4 and 5. Main Barn and The Villa
The Villa is in the courtyard/large fountain-focal driveway that is directly in front of the main barn. The Villa features fabulous views of Santa Susana below and can be great for larger outdoor or tented weddings. The Barn is the only fully indoor option and is the most rustic space they offer.
6. Q Vineyard
If you want the look of vineyard, they have that too!
This venue includes the getting ready location and the main buildings. They do have on property townhouses as well for you or your guests to rent. You'll need to source most of your vendors, but with an experienced planner it will be a breeze.
You'll want someone with an eye for beauty when documenting your wedding at Hummingbird Nest Ranch. Even better if they've already photographed there. With large venues like this one, you want someone who knows the best places and how to document their quirks. You may spend a lot of time walking while looking for the best spots to take your bridal portraits, so knowing where to go can get you back to your party quickly.
Since I can only speak for photographing at the Sitting Bull location, I will say that stilled lowlight shooting is a must for that romantic Spanish courtyard look. This location can be very dark if you don't have string lights brought in, as well as ample candles on the tables. I recommend a combination of both for intimate and romantic lighting.
When looking for where to take your formal family and wedding party portraits, there are lots of options that depend on a few things: time of day and how many people you have in your biggest photos. Be prepared to have family portraits more focused on the people than the backgrounds when doing those prior to the ceremony. The reason being, where the sun is in the sky and all the movement for preparing ceremony and reception will limit how many locations are easily available.