It’s impossible to fit everything unique about the Nestldown wedding venue — a sprawling oasis with 36-acres of Redwoods and lush gardens tucked away in California’s Santa Cruz mountains — into one short write-up. But given its magic and whimsy; its elevated and elegant balance; and its implicit promise of a wedding day never forgotten, we here at Cora Bella Events- Bay Area Wedding Planners absolutely had to try.
Read on for a bit more about what’s to love about weddings at Nestldown.
Nestldown Wedding Venue Overview
Nestldown is all about extraordinary experiences for extraordinary people. For starters, while the venue is (fittingly) nestled up in the Santa Cruz mountains, it’s just 10 miles from downtown Los Gatos and 16 miles from downtown Santa Cruz — meaning guest lodging is easy to find and close by!
Consider no detail spared — there’s a miniature cottage (perfect for first looks!), a giant lion statue, a forest full of sleeping dragons, and a sprawling koi pond. There’s two lawns, one outside a timeless barn space (more on this in a minute), and the other featuring lawn games like bocce ball — a perfect cocktail hour interlude!
Talk about unique— There is an adorable 20-passenger train that runs through the property, allowing guests to take a ride during cocktail hour. Or, consider climbing aboard yourself to make a grand entrance. Later, ring the bell, announcing both your arrival and the start of your fabulous marriage. Such a special touch to an already special day.
If that weren’t enough, Nestldown even offers an old English taxi cab as a getaway car option, so you and your boo can ride away at the end of the night in timeless, European style.
A wedding at Nestldown means you have access to all seven different spaces on the property. That being said, just note that each space might not be set up for use at your event — you would work with your Special Events Manager to determine which spaces will be prepared and set-up, although guests are still allowed to explore the property in full.
Find out more about each below.
Wedding Locations at Nestldown
Ceremony Space — “The Chapel”
The ceremony space is underneath a massive cathedral of Redwood trees called “The Chapel” — a natural amphitheater overlooking a large pond, home to different kinds of birds and animals. A/V equipment is housed in the trees, making for a very special surround sound experience.
This large meadow surrounded by — you guessed it — foxgloves is perfect for a cocktail hour lawn-game-extravaganza. It is here that guests can hop on the 20-passenger train and enjoy their ride around the upper Apple Orchard, and past the Koi Pond and Therapeutic Riding Center.
The Main Lawn is a large, open cocktail hour or reception space surrounded by flowers and nestled just next to the illustrious Koi Pond. The Barn sits right at the entrance, allowing for an easy transition from long-table dinner to celebratory dancing (note: all dancing must be indoors).
Nestldown’s newest space, The Apple Knoll sits just beyond Nestldown’s upper orchard of apple, stone fruit, and peach trees. Host a cocktail hour underneath its 88-foot-long pergola, complete with fire pits, chandeliers, and seating built from the property’s Redwoods.
The cozy-yet-spacious Barn, a glass building built from Redwood and Fir trees, is perfect for receptions, dancing, and even sometimes ceremonies! Have you first dance underneath the new crystal chandelier, or share a calm moment with your guests next to the building’s huge fireplace.
Ideal for a cocktail hour or even just a respite underneath the lush willow trees, the Koi Pond is a tranquil break from an otherwise crazy evening.
Nestldown Q&A with Cora Bella Events
What kind of couple is right for a Nestldown wedding?
Nestldown is the perfect wedding venue for couples who love the outdoors and magical, unique, natural spaces.
We recommend couples carefully consider their budget before choosing Nestldown, as this is one of the area’s more expensive venues. For a 100-person guest list, we’d estimate a $90,000-120,000 starting budget for venue and vendors — for example, just transportation up and down the mountain typically runs between $5,000 and $6,000.
You are able to bring in some outside vendors, but given the space and the importance of preserving its wildlife, Nestldown requires you work with businesses of their choosing for certain services (detailed in the “At A Glance” section below).
Why do you love working at this venue?
We love Nestldown because no two weddings are the same! Venue managers are constantly updating and changing the property’s multiple spaces, adding and removing touches here and there to keep guests on their toes.
Even if you have your ceremony in the same space as everyone else, you have options. Different couples inspire different ideas from vendors, meaning you can always take hold of the space to curate something totally unique to YOU!
What’s the rain plan?
The Barn would serve as a rain backup in the event of inclement weather. It cannot, however, hold more than 100 guests.
Cora Bella Events makes sure to discuss with couples their guest count and the temperament of the season they’re up against at the beginning of the planning process. If rain on your wedding day is likely, and you have a guest list on the larger side, we would recommend you either cut down or consider a different venue. Nestldown is primarily an outdoor venue, so the Barn’s capacity limits really do make or break this decision.
When should we book at Nestldown?
We recommend couples book 18 to 24 months in advance.
Do you have any insider tips for Nestldown weddings?
Because the venue is so spread out, you will need multiple sets of certain decor and rentals. Your planner will be the best asset in determining what these things are as it pertains to your specific Nestldown wedding (we, for one, have plenty of experience deciphering such Nestldown code!).
For example, should your ceremony be held in the Redwood Chapel, you are unable to repurpose ceremony flowers for your cocktail hour or reception. The only way to access the chapel is via a long, steep road on which guests walk, followed by a big set of stairs. You can drive a golf cart down, but that’s it! No florist vans.
Any couple considering a Nestldown wedding must be committed to setting up each location as required.
Another tip — to make day-of preparation easier, consider renting the on-site bridal suite for hair and makeup.
Finally, please note you are unable to host your rehearsal dinner on property.
Hire a wedding planner for your Nestldown wedding
If you’re interested in a wedding at Nestldown, Cora Bella Weddings & Events would be honored to join your planning journey. Contact us today for more on our planning services and storied history at this magical venue (select “Rachel & Josh”).
Nestldown Wedding Venue At A Glance
- Location: Los Gatos, California
- Address: 22420 Old Santa Cruz Highway
- Phone: 408.353.5311
- Email: Website Form
- Website: https://www.nestldown.com
- Capacity: Varies by season
- November — Mid-May: 125 guest base, 150 guest maximum
- Mid-May — October: 150 guest base, 200 guest maximum
- Pricing: $9,500-$28,000
- Exclusive vendors: caterer, lighting expert, shuttle, furniture rentals, band/DJs
- Events: weddings (ceremony/reception), parties, corporate events, nonprofit retreats.
- Amenities Available: Special events manager, day-of event team, customized timeline and layout, nine-hour site rental, 20-passenger train, vintage English taxi, ceremony and reception tables and chairs, ceremony sound system, life-size chess set, two bocce ball courts, 30-minute changing room.