Sifting through all of the outdoor wedding venues in Sacramento area can be quite overwhelming. There are so many to choose from, where do you start!? We are lucky that the greater Sacramento area is home to some of the best northern California outdoor wedding venues. As wedding photographers, we evaluate the quality of a wedding venue through a slightly different lens than a bride or groom might.
Couples are primarily concerned about whether the venue reflects the vibe they want, amenities the venue offers and price point. While us photographers are looking for things like big windows for natural light for those dreamy getting ready shots. We are looking for big open spaces (a body of water is always nice). An epic background for those statement pieces you want to hang on your wall afterward. We are looking for lots of shade so the couple and their family can take portraits away from direct sunlight in optimal lighting conditions. The position of the ceremony area in relation to the sun is also critical. We don’t want the bride and groom or their guests to be squinting into the sun the entire time.
And it’s not just us saying these things. In a Redfin blog post, these are some of the key elements wedding experts advise homeowners consider before embarking on transforming their backyard into a wedding venue. With that in mind we have made our list of our top six outdoor wedding venues near Sacramento that we love. We hope that this is an ever-evolving list, and will continue to grow beyond six in the future. 😊
#1 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues near Sacramento – Grand Island Mansion
Grand island mansion weddings are always epic and memorable. They have an almost Disney ‘beauty and the beast’ vibe about their property that so many couples love. The good news is we love it too! They have two gorgeous ceremony setups shaded from the sun. There is also a stunning fountain perfect for portraits you will be dying to hang on your wall and see in your album. There is open space in front of the mansion that is shaded (depending on the time of day) with stairs used for photos of wedding parties.
For outdoor receptions they have a large white tent that guests can enjoy their dinner under. White is always nice for photos because it reflects nicely off the skin. Plus, if you choose to have your reception inside, the room has large open windows perfect for some bright reception shots. All of this and more makes grand island mansion one of the most popular northern California outdoor wedding venues. If you want to see more, visit our blog post on a wedding we did at Grand Island Mansion at the beginning of 2020.
#2 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues near Sacramento – Forest House Lodge
Forest House Lodge is another one of those favorite outdoor wedding venues near Sacramento mostly because of their epic ceremony location. If you have ever attended a wedding there or even just seen the pictures on their website, you were probably stunned by the beauty and picturesque view of the Sierra mountains couples and their guests look upon as they say their vows. It also makes for absolutely breathtaking photos and video footage. There is nothing like a drone shot moving through the sierra mountain trees only to reveal the couple on a cliff kissing at their ceremony location. Did somebody say wedding videographers dream shooting conditions!? Because it’s warranted with Forest House Lodge.
Back at the lodge you have the option to celebrate all weekend long with your entire family staying in the various rooms. This takes a lot of the pressure around time away for photographers and videographers. There is also a lovely courtyard for receptions with plenty of shade, and in the winter the lodge itself can hold receptions. For more on Forest House Lodge, check out a wedding we did there back in December 2020 on our blog.
#3 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues near Sacramento – Sheldon Inn Weddings
Sheldon Inn is best known in Sacramento as a fancy restaurant, but it’s also a gem of a venue! If you are looking for a wedding venue that feels intimate, cute and has a country-like feel, but still allows for a large amount of guests, Sheldon Inn is the place. Their ceremony area has a nice platform under oak trees. It provides great shade for the bride and groom and looks picturesque. The guests sit around in their beautiful courtyard gazing on as the couple is married.
They have a garden area with flowers that are perfect for some great couples portraits. The ceremony area can be quickly transformed into the reception area as guests enjoy cocktail hour under shade in their gazebo area. And again, this venue has a good size parking lot, so your guests don’t have to worry about fighting over spots. We’ve seen couples have a blast here and we can’t wait to shoot here again!
#4 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues near Sacramento – Wolfe Heights Event Center
Wolfe Heights is a great California outdoor wedding venue conveniently located between Elk Grove and Sacramento. Wolfe Heights boasts beautiful vineyards that provides a great backdrop for photos (we love it when wineries allow for this)! Their suite they provide for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready in is gorgeous and has large windows and great setups for bridal portraits. The ceremony location, called the unity circle, is very unique as it is a circle formation with a gazebo in the center. Brides typically use the gazebo to adorn with flowers in their theme/colors. Guests sit around the couple on the benches.
They also have plenty of room for large weddings in their outdoor reception area. This made them outdoor wedding venue in Sacramento during COVID because they could accommodate large groups and still maintain social distance. In addition, Wolfe Heights has plenty of parking! This may not be something you think of right away but it makes a huge difference for your guests if they have to struggle to find parking. You can see pictures of the venue on our blog post from a wedding we shot there during the pandemic.
#5 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues near Sacramento – Morgan Creek Golf Club
Golf Clubs often offer wedding packages but the reason we love Morgan Creek so much is that their ceremony location is covered with a large canopy allowing for shade during ceremonies. This is so important, as guests don’t want to be burning under the Sacramento sun on a 100 degree day. And photographers can’t get a flattering shot when the sun is beating down on the bride and groom. This is often a challenge at golf courses. But at Morgan Creek they have a nice shaded area that overlooks their beautifully manicured golf course. That’s why they are on our list of best outdoor wedding venues in Sacramento.
They also have a cute bridge, that is perfect for first looks and portraits. Their reception area also has the large windows which allows for plenty of light for those nice reception photos. And sunset photos on the golf course overlooking their pond can be really epic. If a golf course is what your attracted to, we definitely recommend checking out Morgan Creek Golf Club.
#6 Favorite Outdoor Wedding Venues in Sacramento Area – Park Winters
Another stand out California outdoor wedding venue is Park Winters. The estate is truly charming with country vibes, but also mixed with a dash of Victorian flavor and dreamy gardens. Not only that, but they are situated in the countryside that makes for stunning drone footage leading to the venue. Park Winters is frequently used as the backdrop for styled photography shoots by wedding vendors, a testament to its beauty and high demand. Their ceremony area has a garden like feel with lots of greenery.
They have lots of room on the property if you want to bring in food trucks or bands. If you want to venture to the edge of the property there are some great countryside portraits that can be taken at sunset. Their reception area is lit with cute white lights above the reception tables, which are often decorated in a rustic type feel that feels like it fits perfect with the venue. This venue can really make for some gorgeous photos!