From the moment she said yes, we knew that we wanted an intimate, fun, outdoor wedding where we could have our best friends and family relax together for a weekend. We didn’t want to be limited to the standard 4-10 PM window (or midnight if you’re lucky!). That’s how we found Horsetail Ranch and that’s why we drove down to see it. We’d never set out to find the most beautiful wedding venue in California, but when we got to the property it took our breath away. The house, the cabin, the hills, the oaks, the views, the hawks overhead. So classically California, rustic but modern, quiet and peaceful but very alive. We had more venues we had to see that weekend but we looked half-heartedly; we knew the other places didn’t stand a chance.
Once we picked a date and signed our contract, the owner Kena helpfully laid out all of the services we’d need to arrange (porta potties, insurance, day-of planner, etc) with recommendations and was really responsive and understanding as she helped with all of our many questions and concerns all the way up to the day of the wedding. Though she has some preferred providers, we weren’t boxed in and were able to choose the vendors we wanted and go DIY where we could. She was also really generous with site visits as our plans got more concrete, and flexible in accommodating our ideas.
Brian, the caretaker who lives on the property with his family, was a real pleasure to work with. He loves the land and the houses and he takes great joy in sharing it with guests. Any time we had an idea or a problem to solve, he knew immediately how to make it work and seemed to genuinely enjoy being involved in putting together a memorable ceremony and reception. We had a barbecue for our guests on the evening before the wedding and I will never forget Brian driving back and forth between the Cabin and his house as he thought of fun new games for us to play with.
The main house is stunning. It has a huge, two-story main room with a well-stocked large kitchen, dining room, and living room. There are also five bedrooms, three with their own bathrooms, so your guests will have plenty of privacy when it’s time to get away from the party. The Cabin is less private but sleeps quite a few and is a really cool space to stash your groomsmen. It has unique views and a great covered area for hanging out. We had our night-before-the-wedding barbecue there because it’s a great space in its own right and also kept the ceremony/reception area at the Villa a surprise.
Our goal was always to have a wedding our guests would remember as relaxing and fun. Horsetail Ranch was the perfect place for that. Our friends and family got to know each other over a long weekend; we played lawn games and barbecued; we stayed up late after the dancing was over, laughing in the hot tub under the stars. The look on our guests’ faces as one after another they told us they’d never been to a more beautiful venue was just a nice bonus.