The most complete guide to Twin Oaks House and Garden wedding venue!
If you like to have a vintage outdoor wedding event, definitely consider Twin Oaks House and Garden as your venue.
This beautiful place in San Marcos has numerous all-inclusive options for your best day. From the article, you will learn how to turn out your Twin Oaks wedding into one of your best life experiences.
Table of Contents
Location & History of Twin Oaks San Marcos
Twin Oaks House and Garden is a vintage wedding venue along Deer Springs Road in San Marcos, California. It’s located between L.A. and San Diego, approximately a 40-minute drive from Orange County. The venue is very close to one of the busiest roads, but entering the place you will not hear any noise, it’s very secluded and calm.
The first settler of the area was a Civil War veteran who homesteaded here 160 acres in 1875. He named the place Twin Oaks in honor of the huge, unique double oak trees on his property, presumed to have grown from a dual acorn. After other inhabitants joined him in the valley they decided to organize a school for their children. So, the vintage building of the Twin Oak was in the past the Old San Marcos School. The community opened it in August 1891, on 2.7 acres of land on Deer Springs Road and also served as a community center. In 1943 the school was closed and later used as a private home surrounded by forest trees and agricultural grounds. A couple who purchased it in March of 2000 offered to allow community groups, and after, thу owners restored Twin Oak estate and transformed it into a wedding venue.
Nowadays, Twin Oaks estate is a very secluded vintage venue with a house and English gardens around, completely redesigned to host weddings: one wedding per day, to be exact. Twin Oaks House and Garden is one of the historiс landmarks of San Marcos and has retained its old Victorian charm until now.
Amenities of Twin Oaks House and Garden Estate
For this price, you will have 10.5 hours for your wedding celebration: 4 hours for bridal preparations, 5.5 hours for the ceremony and reception party, and 1 hour for your grand exit. Additional hours you can arrange for a fee.
Usually, the couple arrives at 12:30 P.M. for preparations and photography and stays until 11 P.M., though the music has to be off at 10 P.M.
You will also have such included services as:
- large complementary parking lot;
- indoor & outdoor areas for ceremony and reception;
- bridal & groom indoor areas for preparation;
- wedding planning service included;
- tables, chairs, linens, silverware, glassware, etc.
- full-service catering, setup, and cleanup;
- reception dinner & hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour;
- complimentary cake cutting;
- non-alcoholic refreshment bar;
- decor from the venue including ceremony arch, bistro lights, plus additional items you can rent for an extra fee.
The venue will offer you a list of preferred vendors to choose from, for example, you will need a DJ or alcohol vendor.
But as you see, for the most part, it’s an all-inclusive venue: it provides set up and clean up, they cook the food on-site, you get a wedding planner, they have a list of DJs, florists, etc. they recommend. You also will have a day-of coordinator from Twin Oaks. This can help you to save money for a wedding planner. Plus the venue will provide you with lots of antique furniture and accent pieces that you can use for your setting. Compared to offers of other venues with fewer hours, Twin Oaks House and Garden is a great option.
Wedding event areas of Twin Oaks House and Garden estate
The venue provides these outdoor spots from which you can freely choose where to organize your ceremony:
- an open space among the trees under the forest canopy;
- a place in front of a white classic gazebo;
- an ivy archway near the fountain.
All these outdoor spots are ringed by trees and very private. The guests entering the venue won’t see the ceremony sites. While seated in front of the wedding arch, they also won’t see the bride until she enters the ceremony spot by walking down an ivy tunnel. This all adds to a really private intimate atmosphere of the place.
The reception party will take place in the grand tented pavilion just some step from the ceremony spots.
You will see in the pictures down that couples with whom I worked had chosen different locations for their ceremonies. Let us have a closer look at their weddings.
Bridal & Groom Preparation at Twin Oaks Estate
The owners fully restored The ground floor of the old school building redesigned it for a special place for a bride. Now it is a Bridal Parlor — a huge vintage-styled room full of light and space.
You will be amazed how thoughtfully this room is designed and furnished. Here you will have 10-foot framed glass windows, authentic European furniture, and rich antiques. The highlight of the room is a full-length mirror on the platform. The bridal party will find enough space for relaxation and toasting, too. As meals are included in the rental fee, they will have water and snacks during the preparation.
This bridal room is in deep contrast with the small dark and inexpressive rooms I have seen at some venues (and believe me I have seen many). Still, I can think of other venues where bridal rooms have equally beautiful furnishing, for example, this venue or this one.
Soft colors of walls, high ceilings, and all this space allowed us to capture nice the-father-meets-the-daughter moments. Yes, this beautiful parlor can be a great backdrop for an alternative First Look about which you can read here.
At the Twin Oaks, a groom’s room is called gentlemen’s clubhouse and it’s at a sufficient distance from the bridal area, in the garden near the north lawn. It’s also vintage furnished and comfortable, although not so spacious and light as a bridal room. However, the groom will find there enough place to relax and have a drink. To make the groom’s preparation pictures more interesting, I usually suggest going out of the house: in the daylight, the pictures turn out brighter and more natural.
First Look at the Twin Oaks House and Garden
Since you decided to make your ceremony at a certain spot, your First Look you can organize at any of the other spots offered for a ceremony.
Great pictures we’ve got under the ivy arch, maybe the most romantic area of the entire venue. Don’t forget this place when you will make late evening shots: after the sunset, the arch is enchantingly lit with twinkle lights.
Another option is a white gazebo on the lawn surrounded by flowering bushes. It’s a great place for a ceremony as well as for a First Look. The serenity and tranquillity of this spot will remind you of a vintage English garden.
It’s also a good idea to make a First Look & Couple shots in front of a classic fountain on a small lawn ringed by trees. There are also small cascading streams nearby which can be a nice backdrop, as well.
And lastly, even if you will not use it for a First Look, a greenhouse of Twin Oak with all its lush greenery and flowers inside is a beloved place to make couple pictures.
Wedding party & Family Shots at Twin Oaks House and Garden
The first (and easily reachable) spot you can use for your group photography is the bridal parlor. There you can place as many friends as possible :), it’s an especially good solution to take photos here with elder relatives who are not able to take a long stroll outside. Comfortable sofas and vintage details are a great backdrop for emotional family shots.
Also, we didn’t go far from the house for group photos, we took them right on the lawn in front of the building. On that afternoon time, the light under the trees was perfect.
You will find in the garden also a swing and a French-styled sofa: two beautiful sceneries for small group & couple shots. As you see, Twin Oak is a well-thought venue according to wedding photography, everything is arranged and designed to make great pictures.
And one more option I would recommend as an interesting and memorable background. It’s an open vintage bar near the reception spot. During the cocktail hour or reception, the bar will probably be crowded, so it’s better to catch the right moment before the ceremony to take lots of interesting group pictures.
Ceremony spots of Twin Oak Estate
The ceremony begins on the lawn under the forest trees and the wedding arch can be located differently. One couple in the pictures down had chosen an ivy tunnel as the wedding arch, another couple used a tented wooden frame. Both of these arbors were adorned with florals. Though it’s not obligatory because the venue will provide you with some complementary decor. Still, the best way to customize your wedding and add your ceremony with a personal touch is to hire a florist. In the photos, you see how different the ceremony can look depending on wedding decor.
While guests are taking their seats on the lawn surrounded by trees, the bride enters the spot by walking down the ivy tunnel. The light coming from behind the trees makes the place well lit yet without harsh contrasts. Big eucalyptus trees actually shade the whole venue so there was no sun beating down. In summer some couples prefer to start the ceremony at about 4 P.M. to avoid the heat.
After the ceremony, the guests will be invited for hors d’oeuvres in the patio next to the vintage bar. They will listen to the music played by musicians during cocktail hour and dinner, as well. At this moment, the couple can make some portraits or group shots, as we made: nice bright group pictures in front of the gazebo under the trees. You will find plenty of intimate spots around the ceremony spot, so, if you didn’t get enough couples shots, enjoy the scenery and take your pictures.
Reception site of Twin Oaks estate
The reception will be set under the big tented pavilion next to the lawn. The great feature of this tent is that it’s made of cotton and it’s nicely airy inside.
The staff will place round or banquet-style seatings with elegant Chiavari chairs. You can also choose between various rustic candelabras, candles, etc., as table decorations. Surely, you can add your customized arrangements and décors. But it’s a great option that many pieces you will get from the venue. The venue will also provide you with heaters so your guests will not get cold.
As for the food at Twin Oaks, as I know, almost everybody finds it delicious and your dinner will receive many compliments. Some couples added a milk & cookies bar at the end of the night or some late-night snacks.
In the evening, the staff will light chandeliers inside the pavilion and outside up in the trees. Besides, the ivy arch, as I’ve already mentioned, will be also lit with star-like twinkle lights. When the sun goes down, all this turns into a fairytale-like wonderland of lights. The best memories which guests usually have after the wedding are these twinkling lights all over the venue so don’t forget to capture all this beauty in the photos.
Reasons why your Twin Oak Wedding will be great
If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a green area (not a hotel, beach, etc.) or wanted to have an intimate garden wedding that was beautiful on its own, Twin Oaks has more of this private natural feel than you imagine. Moreover, at night your garden wedding will look very special, like a twinkle light paradise with lots of lights.
The next best thing is Twin Oaks San Marcos is for weddings only, year-round. You will find every corner inside and outside perfect for photography and for creating the most relaxing atmosphere for guests. You will not see here either any visitors or any details not relating to your celebration.
Your Twin Oaks wedding will be all-inclusive. The venue comes with a day of coordinator and numerous built-in services so the planning process will be easy. In comparison to others, the price of this venue is quite affordable considering how much you will get.
If you are not a fan of long wedding event preparation, not having to bring on outside vendors for catering, bartending, decor rentals, and a day-of coordinator will be a great relief for you. The Twin Oaks House and Garden will just present you with options, and you simply pick up what you like. The only vendors you have to bring on yourself are a florist, DJ, photographer, and desserts.
If you like an idea of an all-inclusive wedding, check other venues which provide nearly everything for your celebration, such as Calamigos Ranch of Santa Monica, Ponte Winery & Vineyard Inn of Temecula Wine Country, and Serendipity Garden in Oak Glen.