Ever since it gained popularity with the Hollywood elite in the 1940s, Greater Palm Springs has been a popular wedding destination. With its spectacular setting, year- round sunshine and lush, championship golf courses, the Oasis is home to some of the most spectacular wedding venues in the world and also some of the most unique. How about straddling an earthquake fault or recreating a celebrity wedding? These one-of-a-kind venues that transform weddings from bland to bling are only found here, in Greater Palm Springs.
San Andreas Fault
One of the most unique wedding venues in Greater Palm Springs might not be a venue at all, but rather the dramatic San Andreas Fault.
“My brother and his wife had done a Desert Adventures Jeep tour to the San Andreas Fault and they loved it. They felt a connection there,” said Mary Sushinski of Occasions Bridal Consulting, who organized their wedding. Sushinski worked with Desert Adventures to transport the small wedding party plus photographer to just the right site, just outside of Indio.
“It was completely remote. We had to drive there and then hike to it.”
For couples considering getting married on the fault line, Sushinski recommends keeping the group intimate and being flexible when making arrangements.
“We drove around and then walked until we found the right location. Then we opened some champagne and after that we had a campfire and just enjoyed the beauty of the desert.”
Couples looking to recreate the glamour of the 1940s by holding their wedding in a private estate, should look no further than Twin Palms, the former home of Frank Sinatra. This year marks Sinatra’s 100th birthday and everyone is talking and celebrating—why not a Sinatra-style wedding? The estate, which Sinatra purchased in 1947, was designed by renowned architect E. Stewart Williams, who is considered one of the founding fathers of the Palm Springs modern architectural style. Decorated with period furnishings, the home can accommodate up to 150 guests, and it also sleeps up to 8. Music fans won’t want to miss getting married by the piano-shaped swimming pool, which was custom-built for Sinatra.
Glass Wall Vistas
A wedding in a private home is not for everyone, especially since the logistics can be prohibitive. A great alternative is the Pavilion at the Indian Wells Golf Resort. The venue is fully enclosed, but with glass windows and doors on three sides that maximize its commanding views of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
“Brides who want an estate wedding subconsciously want privacy,” said Sharon Clark, Event Sales Manager at the Indian Wells Golf Resort. “At the Pavilion, the only people are the staff and the wedding party. There aren’t any strangers walking around.”
An added benefit of working with Indian Wells is that couples can completely personalize their entire wedding, from their entire menu to all the extras. The resort’s mixologists will even create up to three signature cocktails themed around the wedding.
When Ginger Rogers married French actor Jacques Bergerac in 1953, she did so in front of the waterfall at the glamorous La Quinta Resort & Club. Today, couples can still exchange their wedding vows in the same location, although the lushly manicured Waldorf Astoria property has a variety of wedding venues, including La Casa, Greta Garbo’s romantic desert retreat.
The 2,000-square-foot El Presidente Suite, a one-bedroom suite with an adjoining guest house and private pool and hot tub, is the perfect site for an intimate family gathering. Or, for an extra romantic retreat, couples can reserve the resort’s romantic Starlight Casita where they can enjoy the dramatic views of the Coachella Valley while sitting by a cozy fire pit in the casita’s outdoor living area.
Couples looking for a playful wedding theme can jazz things up at the Saguaro Palm Springs. The property, which was fully renovated in 2012, was designed by architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, who created a bold color palette for the midcentury modern hotel which is painted in 14 vibrant colors inspired by the desert’s wildflowers. Adding to its lively setting, the Saguaro has one of the largest pools in the Coachella Valley, featuring weekly entertainment, including DJs, live musicians and movie screenings.
The property is also the perfect setting for foodies. All menus—from the restaurant and room service to poolside snacks and the catering options—were designed by famed Chef Jose Garces, and this is the only Coachella Valley location to feature a James Beard award-winning Iron Chef.
Outdoor weddings are practically a necessity in the Oasis, but couples who are looking to beat the heat can travel to the summit of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
“The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway offers some of the most unique wedding venues anywhere,” said Greg Purdy, the Tram’s public affairs manager. “Couples can exchange vows on the Desert View Terrace overlooking the entire Coachella Valley from an 8,516-foot vantage.”
Because temperatures cool down at the Tram’s summit, located nearly 3 miles above the desert floor, weddings can only be scheduled from April through October.
If one-of-a-kind views aren’t enough of a draw, consider this. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, located in the Mount San Jacinto State Park, is the oasis’ only location that offers desert views and an alpine forest.
For more information on planning your wedding, go to visitgreaterpalmsprings.com/weddings.