Without a doubt, Hummingbird Nest Ranch is a very special wedding venue. Choosing it you making a big financial and emotional desition. I did my best to collect very valuable information in this article to make your choice easier. Enjoy!
Choosing a wedding venue, especially the one like Hummingbird Nest Ranch is a very personal thing. A lot of recommendations can make anybody confused. I have been shooting more than 400 weddings over the past 7 years. One of the ways to understand if a place is right for you is to follow your intuition. But sure it’s not about a gut feeling only. Judging from my professional experience several key points should be taken into account when you choose a special place for your special day.
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Advantages of the Hummingbird Nest Venue
My heart fluttered like a hummingbird the day I saw a stunning property of Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley :). Honestly, when I got there, I was astonished by the huge estate landscape. My eyes were enjoying the bright colors of the surroundings and my mind could not help but imagine which gorgeous shots I would take there. After I found out that Hummingbird Nest Ranch is famous in the Los Angeles Film Industry thanks to its picturesque beauty.
This place is really film-friendly (and as I’ve already found out — «camera-friendly»). For example, some episodes of The Mentalist were done here, also ” “NCIS” and “Little House on the Prairie”. The 2015 film “Entourage” was partly filmed on the property as well. In one of the funniest episodes of Sex and the City when Carrie and the girls visited the hotel restaurant and the waiter spoke to Carrie by referring to her as “Mrs. Preston” the role of the restaurant “played” a ballroom of the Hummingbird Nest Ranch. Such a big film experience inspires respect and wakes imagination.
No surprise that many celebs organized their wedding parties at Hummingbird Nest — starting with Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting to Nazanin Mandi and Miguel Pimentel. Landscapes here are amazingly varied — perfect frames for any creative ideas. From rural looks at the fields and lawns, roads and trails to luxurious guest houses and the Villa in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style — this place can challenge anybody’s imagination.
Down are some of my personal visual impressions:
How to Get to Hummingbird Nest Ranch
The property of Hummingbird Nest Ranch is located in the Santa Susana Mountains in Southern California. It’s less than a half-hour from L.A. The closest hotel would be in Chatsworth — if some of your guests will need this option — 7 miles away from the place.
Parking and security
Hummingbird Nest Ranch service provides a valet parking. There is no need to search for the parking space on your own. Three parking lots can accommodate about 400 vehicles. Some of the remote venues suggest for the guests the option of shuttle service. Here it’s much easier — the guests can park within a short walking distance of the place. No need to pay for additional service.
Security standards are the following: one guard per 100 guests with a minimum of two guards for all events. The service ends only when the last vendor leaves the property. For children groups, it’s better to take at least one additional guard.
Hummingbird Nest Ranch Facilities
The property suggests several beautiful locations. The options that you will choose depend on your guest count. This venue has a space to host a really large number of guests. It’s possible to combine some locations. I would like to describe it shortly just to highlight some important points:
The Villa and its Exteriors with Capacity 300
A famous architect Richard Roberson built a Spanish-style residence at the top of the hills of Simi Valley on the 123-acre plot of picturesque land. He combined the white façade of the villa with tiled staircases and dark ironwork in a considered and balanced way. It opens an ideal possibility for first look shots and flamboyant individual portraits.
Sitting Bull Exteriors with Capacity 300
The gorgeous 1920s home known as Sitting Bull and the space around the pool deck with its inviting atmosphere is excellent for the reception.
Lawn by the Lake with Capacity 500
The huge green lawn borders a quiet lake that casts beautiful reflections of the surroundings. It’s a magnetic area for celebrations and a natural backdrop of newlyweds photos.
Main Barn with Capacity 200
The restaurant of the Main Barn, classy and carefully decorated, is elegant and evokes a unique rustic charm. Properly lighted, it’s even more impressive in the evening.
Grand Prix Lawn with Capacity 1000
A big open-air celebration is possible on the green grass of Grand Prix Lawn which seats a big amount of guests comfortably.
Getting Ready Shots for the Bride and The Groom
At the Hummingbird Nest, you will find Bride and Groom suite and overnight accommodations. The Bridal Ready Room is perfect for making the preparations easier. It’s an intimate space to connect to bridesmaids and share wedding hacks 🙂 — Hummingbird Nest Bride Room provides all the necessities. There is a small lounge for bridesmaids, a place for make-up, a fully equipped bathroom, and plenty of light for unforgettable shots.
The Room is perfectly suitable for a small photo shooting — bright windows add daylight to the room, rich textured walls, and furniture interact with this light creating a vivid expressive picture. Good natural light is very important for shots to catch the most flattering in images. In the room, you will find a lot of hangers and a comfortable space to keep your clothes wrinkle-free. That’s enough space also for bridesmaids to change into their dresses on-site quickly. The Bride Room is well-organized to make a mini-styled shot with a wedding dress and shoes. The soft color palette of the dress together with a dense warm texture of the walls helps to create an expressive dynamic look on the photos.
Groom Getting Room is also a separate villa on the territory. It gives the perfect opportunity to make a lot of quick shots of the groom alone or in the company of his friends in a decent rustic interior.
First Look Photos at Hummingbird Nest Ranch
An intimate or remote location gives the best possibility for the first look. At The Hummingbird Nest there are a lot of intimate places for the wedding portraits: in the olive grove or front of mountainous vistas — in the right light, that is about as close to perfect as you’re ever going to get. I would suggest starting off with the signature photo, trying to catch the right balance of shadow and lights. It will never be the same by changing the poses and facial expressions, but with the same atmosphere of intimacy. After this shot, it will be time for a quick couple’s session.
The Best Photo Ops of the Venue
I mentioned already that this place itself is very diverse and picturesque.
Best Outdoor Photo Spots Of Hummingbird Nest Ranch I Discovered:
- in the arched entryways between the trees of the garden;
- on the Main Court with its Central Fountain, at the front of the Villa;
- on the backdrop of the wrought-iron gate leading to the garden;
- in the gazebo, hidden from view;
- on the large refreshingly green Grand Prix Lawn;
- at the area of Sitting Bull near to century-old eucalyptus and olive trees;
- by the Lake or at the pool area;
- on the background of spectacular mountain vistas;
The stunning views of Humming bird Nest Ranch guarantee memorable photo ops. Trust your gut feeling and listen to the tips of the experienced photographer as well 🙂
Usually I recommend couples to pose naturally by making simple movements — just to walk together or dance a bit — and during this moment I make shots in motion. It makes the couple look more natural and gives the image a sense of dynamics. I also think that a feeling of deep intimacy of newlyweds creates a special charm that can be captured on camera. Such pictures look vibrant and natural, emotions are high, their eyes sparkle. This atmosphere together with breathtaking views of this venue can turn a photo into a masterpiece.
For the family portraits I recommend to choose the period after the First Look Shots or after the Wedding Ceremony. The early morning or the afternoon is not a good time for it. The key point is that there should be enough space in the shade, not in direct light because we need the whole group to look harmoniously on the photos. Don’t forget the spot has to be within a walking distance for elderly people.
The family photo session doesn’t have to be too serious, it can make a lot of fun and won’t take long. Some of the most expressive and joyful family photos I took in the garden of Hummingbird Nest. The facade of the Villa also can be a perfect backdrop for such photos. The architectural luxury of it harmonically communicates with the freshness and beauty of the surroundings.
Usually, the wedding ceremony takes place between 17:00 and 18:00. One of the best spots for the ceremony is the main circular court with its central fountain in front of the building. From the tiled stairs, it gives an overview of the whole area. Besides, it’s a perfect set place for the bride to make her fascinating Grand Entrance down the front steps of the villa. The main building of the Villa gives a great opportunity to make a top-down view of the court from the balcony. Another popular ceremony backdrop is a wrought-iron gate on the left side of the main entrance.
Wedding Party Shots
The best spots for a variety of shots are:
- in the multi-level patio with sparkling fountains and iron lanterns;
- in the garden, complete with bright bougainvillea and green olive trees and palms;
- on the large Grand Prix Lawn;
- in the area of Sitting Bull.
First I started off with the basic shots focused on lighting and classic poses. Finally, we came to funny cheerful sets and individual portraits.
A great view from the main court and the central fountain is breathtaking and often used during the reception. The multi-level patio I’ve mentioned will also be a great choice. The Sitting Bull Ranch with its lit chandeliers used as a reception area is ideal for nighttime photo shooting. Space there allows a couple to make their first dance.
Hummingbird Nest is one of the few venues in Southern California which offers not only to bring your caterer and alcohol but allows a late curfew. The wedding events are supposed to last until 2 a.m. Amplified music is allowed. You can easily plan a long dynamic party — no neighbors will complain about disturbances. The venue has also a few casitas for the guests to stay the night. Check out will be by 10 a.m the next morning
I believe that places such as Hummingbird Nest keep their secrets but I dare to hope I was able to capture some of them on my camera. The wedding ceremony in itself is a big mystery and this place is perfect for special events like this.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this visual walking, I would be glad if this guide to the most important information about the Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Southern California will help you to make your choice.