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A Garden Wedding!

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.  

the charming couple; look at those smiles!the charming couple; look at those smiles!

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.   

cocktails in the lower garden; the festivities begincocktails in the lower garden; the festivities begin


ooooo, moss...ooooo, moss…

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.   

i tried to sing malaguena with them, but they shoo'd me off i tried to sing malaguena with them, but they shoo’d me off

 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.   

garden sculpture just doesn't get better than these!garden sculpture just doesn’t get better than these big succulents!


a charming shed tucked away among the bloomsa charming shed tucked away among the blooms

 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!  

beautiful lauren's hair-do made me swoonbeautiful lauren’s hair-do made me swoon



what a dandy!what a dandy!


friends & rosesfriends & roses

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!  

sunny, relaxed flowers adorned the tablessunny, relaxed blossoms adorned the tables


of course natalie would choose the coolest flowers!of course natalie would choose the coolest flowers!

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!

16 Responses to “A Garden Wedding!”

  1. Germi, what a gorgeous wedding (and I’m glad you fessed up to the tequila right up front, as I know you were enjoying each other!) Your writing is so lovely, and the last part (about weddings in gardens) brought tears to my eyes. Both of my weddings were in gardens, and if I ever got married again (ha) it would be outdoors. Thank you for sharing…

  2. Germi – That is IT! I am coming to California. I have got to see this stuff up close and personal. What an amazing garden! And looks like it was a fabulous wedding.

  3. What a magnificent place for a wedding, and your photos captured the day perfectly!

  4. Love celebration + beautiful gardens + your eye = great read

  5. Jean Prescott says:

    This is a quite spectacular setting, Germi. My daughter was married not quite in a garden but in — well — the woods!! Tall pine trees, like cathedral pillars, around, and a carpet of brown needles on the ground. Mid-March in the Deep South makes for lovely weather, and everything — ceremony and reception — was outdoors. Only the cake-cutting happened in the parlor, to discourage swarms of honeybees. It was lovely and memorable, and I know the Almighty was there.

  6. What a beautiful location for a wedding! My wedding was also in a garden, but with a twist. It was the week before Christmas and we were married in Spokane, Washington where we had met, and my family still lives. I had been working for a woman who owned (among other things) a huge historic home with a beautiful garden that was used as an events facility. A great deal of our courtship took place around that home and it seemed like the prefect location for our wedding, when she offered it we gladly accepted. We wanted a winter wedding, but we also loved the garden. We decided what the heck! Let’s get married outside, under the stars in a snowy winter wonderland. It was beautiful and we loved it. We didn’t make the guests stay in the cold too long…and every one warmed up quickly indoors with roaring fires and lots of wine!

  7. You guys are ALL making me CRY!!!

    Hey sweet Laura! Yes, me and tequila – we had FUN! And it was a glorious event. I love that so many of you have your cherished memories in magnificent outdoor spaces – it confirms my suspicion – God loves Gardens. Whatever ‘God’ means, gardens is where that energy likes to party! Am I right?
    And considering HBF, I wouldn’t take another wedding off the table! Hubba hubba!

    Petal, Dear! Come! See the beauty! Then I can go up to Vancouver and check out the amazing beauty there! This was one of those times when everything came together to create perfection – the people, the setting, the food & drink (’cause that’s important!), and the love. It was all there in the right amounts to make for wedding magic! Next time there’s a garden wedding down here, I’ll ask you to be my date!

    Anna Maria! Thank you for those lovely words! I must confess to sneaking onto your blog, and I was mesmerized! I added a link to you immediately – we must be blog friends!

    Hi Susan! You + me = mutual admiration society! XO!

    Expat – wow! A wedding in the woods sounds incredibly beautiful and full of emotion! You found a natural church (eee! I just got the shivers!). There are those places where the air is thicker, somehow … full of power – and the deep woods are like that! How AMAZING!!!

    A Winter Wedding! Loree, your special day must have been out of this world. I dream of me and Jan doing a re-commitment ceremony in some beautiful snowy location! I can practically see your wedding and the stars and the fire – and I can almost taste the wine! You Winter Bride, you – how very chic and iconoclastic! I LOVE it! Again, we are brain twins!

  8. Hi Ivette.
    What great writing, and what a magestic garden of memories. Looks like a really fun day, (psst. Always go for multiple tequilla shots, much easier to hold, and if you see something cool, a lot faster to neck.)

    I said my vows under a massive weeping willow that engulfed everybody, it created it’s own natural “stage”, our own private wedding den! We had no plan to do it there, the willow just insisted it seems.
    Ah the magic of gardens, they all have it.

  9. Hello Ivette: I don’t know you and unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to meet you. The pictures and footnotes were magnificent.
    Certainly a job WELL done . What a wonderful keepsake for Natalie and George. I cannot think of a more precious gift. You outdid yourself. So pleased that Linda shared this with me. My wife and I stood up for Linda and Victor when they were married and have known Natalie since she was born. A great family and long time Amigos! Take care and continue to enjoy life!!!


  10. Whoa… what an awesome venue. Garden is an understatement.

    I don’t know the people… but I respect the blue shoes.

    Just sayin’…

  11. Hello Clark Grimes, very pleased to meet you! I wish we could have met at the wedding, but I’m certain our happy vibes met and mingled and sprinkled themselves all over George and Natalie. Wasn’t it an exquisite event? Thank you so much for your sweet words – I was so inspired by the garden and the spirit … the post wrote itself! We were lucky to share in the magic of it all, weren’t we? It is a special honor to have such a longtime friend of the Sandoval family comment on this post- you have made my day!

    Hey there James! The blue shoes are pretty fly, right? That is my pal Clay, who is an LA Sartorialist. There aren’t many, so your respect is targeted in the right place – he’s also been known to wear a pink searsucker jacket without irony.
    hey, I had the BEST bbq sauce EVER the other day – and the cook wouldn’t give me the recipe, even when I turned on the charm. Maybe I scared him, now that I think about it.

  12. How did I miss responding to my friend ESP! Shame on ME!

    ESP, I’m afraid I don’t know what ‘necking’ the tequila would be! I am aware of ‘necking’ (having done some of that) but how would I do that with a tequila shot? Maybe I just haven’t met the right tequila yet? But it sounds great – I relish any opportunity to neck, so why not tequila?
    Your wedding was under a weeping willow? How poignant and lovely! I understand completely about the tree demanding it – I felt that way when Jan and I got married. We did it very quickly – after 13years of togetherness one day we just decided it was the day – and I immediately knew where we would be wed … There was a tree in the Los Angeles County Arboretum whose branches swept down to the ground and created the most amazing chapel – my friends and I had created a garden under it’s branches a few years before for a garden show, and the tree had bewitched me. On the day of our marriage, a pagan priestess from the dessert met us by the tree and we said our vows to a chorus of peacocks and assorted birdies. Love those imposing, majestic trees that tell you what to do. They are ALWAYS right!

  13. LindaSandoval says:

    Thank you for the lovely description and photos of my daughter’s wedding. It was a very magical affair for all of us…we spend lots of wonderful hours out in the garden…for many years now, and found it absolutely delightful to celebrate such a special occasion with our families and friends. Natalie and George make such a joyous couple, and now they have their own home with a garden canvas to paint!!! Can’t wait to see what evolves! I know over the last twenty six years our garden has taken many twists and turns….aleays some new idea to try. They say a garden is never finished…it is always a work in progress. I feel that is absolutely true!
    Hope to see you again sometime soon!
    Linda Sandoval

  14. Awesome wedding photos! Love the blue shoes!
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