Monterey Wedding Venue
20 Custom House Plaza
Monterey, California 93940
Stroll through Monterey’s downtown historic district, and you’ll find it studded with secret gardens. Each of them is private and within walking distance of hotels ranging from bed & breakfast to 4-star. Memory Garden, in the Monterey State Historic Park is perhaps the most intriguing of them all.
Framed on three sides by tall adobe walls with graceful arched cutouts and on the fourth by the Pacific House, an elegant 1847 Spanish-Colonial style building, it’s a grand plaza suitable for all kinds of events. Four 75-year-old magnolias shade the plaza, their branches casting an intricate web of shadows on the ground. In spring and summer the trees also provide a gorgeous floral display, along with the other flowers planted along the perimeter. A fountain burbling in the courtyard’s center soothes the ear, while sea breezes supply natural air-conditioning.
Corporate picnics, luncheons and dinners are popular here, but the Garden is especially lovely for weddings. The site can accommodate a formal dinner for 300 guests, yet it’s warm and intimate enough for a casual gathering of 50.
If you’re getting married in the Garden, you may choose as your backdrop the massive arched wooden gate at the entrance, the wisteria-covered pergola along the southwest wall or the towering cedar opposite the pergola.
Afterwards, the open configuration of the Garden lends itself to lively hors d’oeuvre stations followed by either a seated dinner or a buffet beneath the trees. And you don’t need a lot of decorations—a simple thread of color can pull together the surrounding foliage and architecture, creating a beautiful setting with little effort. Floral arrangements on the tables can be as elaborate as exotic blooms in a wrought-iron centerpiece or as understated as a terracotta pot with greenery. For evening events, permanent subtle lighting in the trees makes it easy to create a fairy-tale or Old California atmosphere.
To get just the right food for your celebration, turn to Grapes of Wrath Catering. They have lots of experience orchestrating events in the Garden, and will cook up a California Cuisine-style feast to satisfy your taste (and that of all your guests!). You might want to start off with an hors d’oeuvre griddle, featuring crab cakes, towers of layered polenta, and pesto risotto cakes, or indulge in the ultimate California treat—a sushi boat filled with assorted maki! Bright, fresh flavors are the hallmark of their main dishes, too. Choices from Monterey Bay include grilled salmon with a Mediterranean tapenade, fresh albacore with a mango salsa or maybe braised halibut in ginger and orange. These are often paired with a medium rare sirloin with rich Cabernet mushrooms, or perhaps Castroville chicken, perfectly seasoned with artichokes, wine and herbs.
After checking out the local seasonal produce, Grapes of Wrath might serve up grilled vegetables, a crunchy sugar snap pea salad, or heirloom tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil…all colorful reminders that Monterey is in California’s premium growing region.
Two more elements for a successful event are great music and good wine, and Grapes of Wrath staff can help you with both. As full-service caterers, they’ll match you up with musicians and other vendors that best fit your vision, provide excellent (and affordable) wines, and coordinate the day of your event.
We don’t know how this garden got its name, but it was an inspired choice—when your party is over, you’ll walk away with a wedding’s worth of wonderful memories.
CEREMONY, EVENT/RECEPTION & MEETING CAPACITY: The garden holds 300 seated or 250 standing guests for a cocktail reception.
A $1,000 deposit is required to reserve your date. 50% of the estimated event total is due 30 days in advance and the balance is due 3 days prior to the event. Rental fees range $500–1,500 depending on length of event.
Grapes of Wrath Catering has been hosting events at the Memory Garden for years; however, you may bring in the caterer of your choice. All menus created by Grapes of Wrath Catering are custom-designed; for menus and pricing go to www.grapesofwrath.com. There is no cake-cutting fee and beverages are provided at retail cost.
Special Events, Parties
Catering: Grapes of Wrath or BYO
Kitchen Facilities: no
Tables & Chairs: through caterer
Linens, Silver, etc.: through caterer
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: through caterer
Bride’s Dressing Area: nearby hotels, none
Meeting Equipment: through caterer
Parking: covered garage within 2 blocks
Accommodations: hotels nearby
Telephone: office phones
Outdoor Night Lighting: some provided
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: no
Other: walking distance to Wharf, downtown and hotels; event coordination available through caterer
Banquet Hall/Events Facility
Alcohol: provided, or BYO
Smoking: designated areas only
Music: amplified OK with limits
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: required, CBA through caterer or arrange your own
Other: no rice, picking flowers, etc.
Year-round, daily, 9am–10pm, weather permitting. Closed major holidays. Setup must be done within the time stated on your permit.
Alternate Info: Memory Gardens