Maxwell House Pasadena weddings may be great DIY or art-inspired celebrations for creative couples. With its stunning vintage beauty, this venue is a special place for special people.
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Location & History of the Maxwell House
The Maxwell House is located at 55 South Grand Avenue in the Arroyo neighborhood of the City of Pasadena. It’s just a few minutes walk from Old Town Pasadena, next to the Colorado Street Bridge, and convenient to the 210, 110, and 134 Freeways.
The Maxwell property is a historic building with small green grounds surrounded by residential houses, beloved for its vintage classic ambiance and unique event spaces.
The house was built In 1929 at the behest of George H. Maxwell, a wealthy East Coast litigator and philanthropist. It was a 13,000 square foot “bungalow” on the Vista del Arroyo hotel grounds. The architects designed a building in the Mediterranean style with tile roofing, stucco walls, a Palladian entrance, and elaborate detailing. The house hosted private parties and receptions until the Depression and then WWII. During the war, the buildings were used as an army hospital. For many years, the building remained neglected. Only in the 1980s, extensive renovations were made and the Maxwell House was put onto the National Register of Historic Places.
Nowadays, it’s operated by a non-profit organization, the Western Justice Center that works with youth and educators. Their educational programs help to fight bullying, racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of hate among young people. So, by booking the Maxwell House you support these good deeds.
The property is open for any kind of meetings and private events including Maxwell House Pasadena weddings. Their usual working hours are only from 09:30 am to 5:00 pm. Also, the Maxwell House books only 1 event a weekend.
Visitors & guests will find lots of parking spots: there is free courthouse parking on the weekend as well as street parking.
Facilities & Capacity of the Maxwell House Pasadena
The Maxwell House offers couples multiple indoor and outdoor settings for both their ceremony and reception. The capacity listed on their website is 120 for each of the event spaces. Still, according to the reviews, the optimal guest count would be 90-100.
Your traditional wedding package is the fixed amount of $7000 with no added tax because of non-profit.
What is included in this rental fee:
- 4 hours for a rehearsal on Friday,
- 12 hours on your wedding day,
- an upstairs dressing area,
- tables, chairs, plus post-event table/chair tear down,
- caterer’s kitchen facilities,
- lots of parking spots on a nearby lot and street parking,
- a venue representative onsite.
What is not included — you have to bring it in or book additionally:
- catering & bar,
- linen, china, glassware, etc.
- cleaning service,
- a day of coordinator and other vendors.
A big plus at the Maxwell is the possibility to bring in your own alcohol. If you need a list of preferred vendors as well, the venue will provide it. L.A.Roots catering, for example, is a safe and reputable company with whom they cooperate.
Event rental insurance is also required. So, your Maxwell House Pasadena weddings cost will be not less than $7000 depending on the options you choose from. The Maxwell House also offers micro wedding options with a maximum capacity of 30 guests on the property (plus vendors) and elopements.
Due to the city sound ordinance, there are some restrictions. Amplified music after 7 pm outdoors is not allowed. As for the curfew, they close at 10 pm for guests, hard close at 11 pm for vendors. No open flame or sparklers are allowed, as well as smoking inside and outside. No glitter, rice, confetti, or flower petals may be used on the ground indoors or outdoors.
Events Sites of the Maxwell House
By booking the venue for the 12 hours, you can use it starting from 11 am to 11 pm (hard close). This time can not be changed.
You will have these outdoor & indoor areas:
- the house itself with almost all rooms: a living room, dining room, library, foyer, mezzanine, kitchen, plus upstairs dressing areas;
- two garden patios on the property.
You can choose any of these sites for your ceremony & reception. Some couples choose the backyard/ patio for the ceremony, some make it in the foyer. The biggest room is traditionally used for dinners/ receptions. The guests can move freely from one room to another and enjoy cocktails & conversations
Don’t forget that you have 4 hours on Friday before the weekend event, from 1 pm to 5 pm. You can use it for your rehearsal or your pre-wedding preparations: decorating, setup, etc.
Dressing Areas of the Maxwell House Pasadena
You and your wedding party can get prepared upstairs. The Maxwell house has a very large upper floor area featuring a classic elegant vibe with wood panels and beautiful fresco ceilings. You’ll see some office desks there because it’s also the workplace for Western Justice Center employees. Still, most of the area you can use easily: it is spacious and comfortable for preparations and relaxing. There are two bathrooms, some tables/ desks to put on makeup and hair accessories, a full-length mirror.
However, we wanted to take some non-trivial shots with a unique touch. So, we took some pictures in front of big French windows next to the stairs. This space is great for photography with plenty of light and a fresco ceiling. Some shots were taken right on the stairs.
First Look & Couple Pictures at the Maxwell House
One of the most beautiful and easily accessible spots for a First Look is the entrance door of the building and the adjacent courtyard area. Our First Look was made on a sidepath ringed by grees.
The entrance door features a Palladian design that is typical for the classic Italian style. It’s a beautiful backdrop not only for a First Look but also for couple portraits. In general, you can pose in front of any of the house’s giant windows: they all look impressive and serve a nice background framing the couple perfectly.
After the First Look, we walked around and found many nice photo spots on the property grounds and adjacent areas. This beautiful alley with the pergola and columns you see in the photos, the bench where the bride is sitting: all of these shots were taken near the Maxwell House.
The Colorado Street Bridge can also be an interesting spot for newlyweds’ pictures. Many couples like its architecture and overall ambiance at sunset. It’s just a few minutes walk from the Maxwell house.
Wedding Party & Family Photos at the Maxwell House
We didn’t have time to snap lots of group shots before the ceremony. But after the vows were exchanged, we took many pictures with relatives and friends. Most of them were taken on the courtyard in front of the building.
The favored backdrop of most couples is the area under the balcony. The green lawn can place big and small groups easily and all this looks attractive in the pictures.
Also, you can stay on the balcony up and ask friends to pose on the lawn down. By this way we also took some interesting shots.
Don’t forget about the house interiors: they are worth photographing. It is a great space with a vintage atmosphere. There is a library which is usually used for cocktails, for a bar, or a photo station. There is a main hall and dining room with fireplaces and beautiful ceilings. The upstairs area that I already mentioned is also a great spot for wedding party pictures.
Ceremony sites of the Maxwell House
Actually, the venue gives you choices about which space you like to use. Some couples decide on the ceremony in the foyer. Thanks to this, they can have an amazing grand entrance. Some make it in the living room because it has a big window that serves as a nice focal point. Another plus of this room is a balcony next to the Colorado Street Bridge. But the living room is probably 100+ if used for ceremonies.
In the pictures below, you see the ceremony on the side patio. It holds about 120 guests. The patio with lots of palm trees is nicely shaded, not under direct sunlight. It provides a nice garden feel, together with a vintage Los Angeles look.
Your bridal entrance will be stunning because there is a long staircase leading from the upstairs down to the patio. The Maxwell house offers a wedding arch rental and string lights. In case of rain, the venue will provide you with a pop-up tent as well.
Reception sites of the Maxwell House Pasadena
The largest room is the main ballroom with windows facing a rose garden, and a big staircase. The entryway is great for making a grand entrance. There is a small dance floor at the back of the foyer but it’s totally ok for guests up to 100. You can remove or relocate it for an additional fee.
This room as well as others is a paradise for vintage art lovers. You won’t need any additional décor besides maybe some floral arrangements. Still, I would recommend renting some additional uplights for the reception/ dancing area because it may be dim, especially if you marry in the winter months. From our side, we as photographers know how to deal with low lighting so we got nice expressive pictures.
What is great about the Maxwell house is that all rooms are filled with beautiful vintage furniture and guests can move freely from one room to another, have their seats, and socialize.
Keep in mind that there’s a noise curfew for amplified sound outside so it’s better to do a DJ/band/sound indoors right from the beginning.
There is one more organizational aspect that you have to keep in mind: the hard close of the venue is exactly at 11 pm. So, vendors/ rentals that cannot pick up their stuff before this time can pick it up on Monday. But if you brought in your own decor, etc, you have to make it out by 11 pm.
Advantages of the Maxwell House venue
The Maxwell House is an out-of-the-kind venue with classic art aesthetics and its own vintage character. Maxwell House Pasadena weddings are a great and memorable experience both for the couple and guests.
There are multiple parts of the house that you can use and have your ceremony/reception indoors or outdoors, it’s up to your vision.
The venue is very flexible as well and gives you the freedom to bring in and choose whichever vendors you like including alcohol. It becomes especially important if you have a multicultural wedding with some specific requirements about food, etc.
The Maxwell House is an affordable venue: the rental fee includes most of the things you need for a wedding (tables, chairs, cake stand, speakers). If you are in search of a venue with an 80-100 capacity, this place will be a good deal.
In addition, all the proceeds go to a non-profit organization and couples know their money is going to a good cause.
So, if you dream about something beautiful, intimate & affordable, the Maxwell house is one of the greatest options among other wedding venues in Pasadena CA.
Still, if you need to have a look at other venues in CA with a special vibe, here there are:
Houdini Estate in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, on the Laurel Canyon Blvd
SmogShoppe in the center of Culver City, L.A.,
Fig House in the historic area of Highland Park, L.A.,
and BRICK located right in the downtown of San Diego.