All you need to know about your Houdini Estate wedding
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Houdini Estate wedding is the ideal choice if you want a little magic vibe. It’s probably the most enchanting venue in the whole L.A.
At the Houdini Estate wedding, apart from its mysterious fleur, you will enjoy romantic spacious gardens, unrivaled photographic backdrops, and perfectly manicured areas for the ceremony & reception.
Location & History of Houdini Estate
The Houdini Estate is a 5-acre property located in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, on the Laurel Canyon Blvd. It is just 6 minutes from Sunset Boulevard, 10 minutes from Beverly Hills, and 13 minutes from Universal Studios.
Coming here, you will see a historic stately mansion with well-cared gardens able to host really lavish celebrations: more than 1,500 persons outdoors. It has on-site parking for 80 cars and up to 150 cars with a valet.
Harry Houdini after whom the property is named was a world-famous magician and illusionist performing his escape acts in the 1900-the 1910s. He was successful enough to be able to afford luxurious homes such as his house in New York. However, he never lived in the mansion on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in LA. In 1919, he and his wife just rented a guest cottage next to a grand mansion of the property. The owner of the main house was Houdini’s friend Ralf Walker. Probably, Houdini’s wife also lived in the cottage some years after Houdini’s death. The main mansion building itself was burned by a fire in 1959 and was rebuilt after and open to the public.
Now Houdini Estate is a great historic (though not original) venue full of amazing souvenirs, pictures, and memories about the talent and personality of the famous illusionist. It’s available for special event rentals, including grandiose Houdini estate weddings.
Facilities & rental fee of Houdini estate
You will have the entire estate for your celebration for 8 hours including one day and night. You will enter the grounds in the early morning to prepare for your wedding, and host your celebration spending the night at the property. The following morning after the event you can stay at the Houdini estate until 11 a.m.
You can also book the venue to stay longer after your big day enjoying your honeymoon. The Houdini Estate offers a stay without booking an event. The minimum vacation rental is 3 days and 2 nights. You can book an overnight stay for your guests as well: the house’s 4 bedrooms can accommodate 8 persons. There are a lot of nice amenities on the property for relaxation: a heated pool, an outdoor spa, outdoor fireplaces, and barbecue patios.
Houdini estate wedding costs will depend on your guest count. For example, the current rental fee for an event of up to 150 people will cost $19,990. It does not include additional service charges.
The venue provides only the house and grounds, plus maintenance staff. You have to bring your own vendors: caterers, musicians, equipment, and decorations. The venue is ready to help with recommendations.
City noise ordinances mandate 10 P.M. as a music cut-off time. Also, outdoor music has to be at a certain level due to noise restrictions. But you can enjoy indoor music until 1:30 a.m.
You have to make the full cleanup after your event.
The venue is up in Laurel Canyon and the estate is on a steep hill, plus the estate has two separate entrances for vendors. So, judging by the reviews, the management highly recommends to take a walk through the area before booking. The best is to take your caterer with you and have a look at how all the things are located.
Event sites of your Houdini Estate wedding
For your wedding, you will have a selection of both indoor and outdoor event spaces:
- The mansion is rebuilt in the Edwardian tradition of the early 1900s. It is served as a vacation house for guests who like to enjoy the property without booking an event. The bride & groom are also offered to have here their preparation.
- For the ceremony, couples usually use a mosaic terrace in front of the house, as well as a front lawn a bit down.
- For the dinner and reception, there are numerous options. Firstly, there is a pond terrace at the pond dell area. Some couples also place dancing and dessert up on the porch of the house and by the pool. Some start with a cocktail party on the lawn and transition to a pool party later in the night.
So, compared to other L.A. venues, the great advantage of this one is lots of indoor & outdoor areas for an event.
Getting Ready Shots at the Houdini Estate
The Houdini house has 4 guest rooms. The most convenient is that the couple can get ready on separate levels of the house without seeing each other. On the ground floor there is a lower master room and a twin bedroom; on the upper floor there is a big spacious master room and a classic elegant living room. The bride at the wedding where I was, has chosen the room upstairs. It was a nicely designed lounge with glass walls, full of light and space. We didn’t have the slightest problem with getting ready shots: we could freely move in the house taking pictures in any of the rooms or outside on the terraces. As you see, if you book a venue, you’ll get the house at your complete disposal. It’s not a rule at many historical venues.
A few words about the decor: the house is full of whimsical bric-à-brac and pictures of Harry Houdini. It all adds a mystical vibe to the overall charming ambiance of the venue.
First Look & Couple Pictures at the Houdini Estate
The garden is without a doubt the most fascinating area of the entire property. Here you will find a maze of stairs to walk down, terraced lawns, many small waterfalls, and a beautiful wishing well (brought from France if I remember right). There are lots of hidden areas where you can get lost wandering around. The grounds are very huge yet well-shaded: it’s important if you start your First Look in the afternoon in summer.
Firstly, we tried some quick shots under the trees on the pathway. Most of the walkways are ringed by trees: you will have many shady photographic sceneries without problems.
Surely, we used the maze of stairs as a perfect backdrop for couple photos.
Walking around we found many lovely hidden tunnels and caves like the stone arch in the photo down. Some shots we made on the stone bench under the trees.
You will also discover many amazing and unexpected decorations in the garden: for example, a big vintage clock, a Mongolian yurt, or the alien from the Alien movie hidden in a small cave.
Be ready to walk if you’ll decide to go down into the garden for photography. I recommend having flat shoes, the area is really hilly. At the wedding where I worked as a photographer, the bridal party decided in favor of sneakers instead of high heels.
Wedding party & Family photos at the Houdini EState
I am sure that your guests will be amazed by the garden, with all its hidden knocks and crannies. However, because the area is multileveled and large you have to be patient while organizing your group photography. One of the best options for family photography is capturing your family members and friends right in front of the house. On the terraces and patios, you will find enough space for big groups.
If your guests are ready to walk downstairs into the garden, it’s more than perfect. Still, for elder guests or anybody who can not use stairs, there is a driveway up the side to make it possible to get up and down easily. We made many great shots right on the ceremony site without making people run up and down. We also got some nice shots around a wishing well (it’s not far from the ceremony area) and under the vintage clock tower.
Ceremony at Eden Gardens Moorpark, CA
The ceremony that I had shot was right outside the house on the mosaic terrace next to the clock tower. The capacity of this area is approximately 300 persons, so it’s more than enough for large events. You can also choose for the ceremony a lower lawn (where we had the reception). By choosing this place the idea was not to be far from the main building. Guests walk from parking lots (which are located on both sides of the mansion) directly to the ceremony site, and the bride will walk down the aisle from the house.
The vows are exchanged in front of a nice green arch which you can decorate with any floral arrangements you need. The place is surrounded by lush flowering bushes that by themselves look very flattering in the photos. Besides, you can have your ceremony shots from every angle and even from above.
One more advantage of the estate: it’s totally secluded and ringed by big trees so that only invited persons who went inside the property can see the wedding.
Reception area of Eden Gardens Moorpark, CA
The cocktail hour after the ceremony can take place at one of the numerous terraces of the house or at the pool. The pool area is well shaded for the most part of the day, it’s also a plus for an event in the hot afternoon.
The lower lawn next to the mosaic terrace is great for receptions. The venue staff will offer you some seating layouts depending on your guest count. They also can place one big tent or two small on the lawn. Your caterers can use the kitchen of the house for dinner setup.
The estate also has an outdoor fireplace and barbecue patios that you can use during the reception. However, they have some fire restrictions and smoking is allowed only in specifically designated areas.
As for lights decorations, the venue is lit at night with twinkle lights: the pool area is also strung with bistro lights and Moroccan-style lanterns.
The Houdini Estate is one of these rare venues in L.A. that offers indoor celebration until 2:00 A.M. Keep in mind to have security because tourists try to visit the property during private events as well (probably they think it’s a publicly accessible museum). As far as I know, the staff will close the main gate in the evening to avoid any unexpected visitors. After 10 P.M. due to sound constraints you have to move the party inside the Houdini estate.
Why you will remember your Houdini Estate wedding for a lifetime
The Houdini Estate is one of the venues your guests will remember forever.
- The venue is great located and very close to everything: 6 minutes from Sunset Boulevard, 7 minutes from Beverly Hills, and 13 minutes from Universal Studios.
- It can accommodate events of any size, no difference you’re looking for a small intimate wedding or a huge celebration of 500+. According to guest count, the venue has different “levels” of pricing which keep it relatively affordable. By the way, from our article here you’ll understand how many people you have to invite to your wedding.
- The Houdini estate provides you with numerous indoor & outdoor options for your wedding, you have just to choose to your liking. Besides, guests will walk freely in the gardens (not every venue allows it) and enjoy fascinating vistas: tons of great pictures guaranteed.
- It’s more than ideal for a fantasy or costume wedding because of the special magical atmosphere and amazing outdoor space.
- You have the flexibility to select your own vendors and you are not obliged to choose from a list of preferred caterers.
- The venue offers overnight stays for you and your guests as well.
- The property manager and the staff of Houdini Estate are knowledgeable and very experienced in any kind of events they permanently arrange. They will be glad to show you the grounds on the personal tour.
The Houdini Estate is a super unique venue with an unforgettable atmosphere and layout. It’s the place where even the smallest decoration has its unusual charm.
Compare this property to other venues in L.A.:
SmogShoppe in the center of Culver City,
Fig House in the historic area of Highland Park.
If you are planning your engagement photo session in L.A., this post will also be extremely useful.