by germinatrix | June 29th, 2009
Saturday the 27th of June was wonderful – hot but breezy; very Southern California … and it was the perfect day to celebrate the marriage of two lovely people – my friends George Stubbs and Natalie Sandoval.
George is young Artist/Entrepreneur, Natalie is a budding Landscape Architect, and their wedding took place in the house Natalie grew up in, Casa El Encanto, a beautiful Spanish home in the hills of Sierra Madre, California. The name translates to ‘House of Enchantment, and you could feel the spell being woven as you walked in; spanish moss dripped from the low branches of ficus trees, mature palms held court over the proceedings, and the gardens enfolded the guests in welcoming arms.
Natalie has told me so much about these gardens, and I’d been looking very forward to this day, not just because two of the sweetest people I know were affirming their love for one another, but so I could GARDEN SNOOP! It was FUN! But I must admit, it was difficult trying to compose pictures with a margarita in one hand and a tequila shot in the other.
The landscape was a wonderful example of a Southern California estate garden – lots of mature succulents, towering palms, pines and cypress casting shade, and extensive strolling gardens.
Many of the guests took the opportunity to incorporate the spirit of a garden into their ensembles. There were flowers in hair (feathers, too!), colorful suits, eye-catching shoes; sartorial splendor was everywhere!
The garden was on a gentle slope with an upper lawn level, a pool level, the strolling garden, and the final destination was a large stone patio where long tables had been set up for the yummy dinner buffet. The night unfolded effortlessly; we were all feeling the love (George, being a connoisseur of fine wines and spirits, curated the best bar I’ve seen at a wedding! What a host!), and the bride and groom were absolutely radiant!
A garden is such a natural place for a wedding. We express our love when we plant, when we nurture our plantings, when we relax in our crafted outdoor spaces while enjoying the fruits of our many labors – it follows that the ultimate expression of love and commitment should take place in a garden so layered with emotion. Natalie grew up in this garden; she ran up and down those paths, she played foursquare with her friends on the stone patio where we enjoyed her wedding dinner. The garden nurtured her passion for plants and for landscape design; her life is inscribed in it, and the poignancy of it was lost on no one. It was the perfect place for George and Natalie to become husband and wife.
My favorite weddings have taken place in gardens. My wedding was in a garden. When we think about the weddings that touched us in a special, visceral way, I’ll bet there was a little bit of the garden spirit to bless the union. Another example of the magic of gardens!