The Bowers Museum 2002 N Main St • Santa Ana • CA 92706


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Why You'll Love This Place

A Here Comes The Guide Wedding Venue Review

As you walk through the entrance arch of the museum’s Mission-style bell tower, you leave the city streets behind and enter a far more satisfying world. Suddenly you’re in a quiet courtyard, so serene and lovely you can’t believe it exists in the middle of town.

Looking around, you quickly realize that the reason this haven feels so secluded is because it’s completely enclosed by the museum buildings. To your left is a 1930s hacienda, with a second-floor balcony and a sun-dappled garden. Forming an L-shape to your right and behind you is an inviting arcade, whose shady interior offers a cool contrast to the buildings’ bright white walls and red-tile roofs. At the far end of the courtyard is a sunny terrace backed by the museum’s newest wing, which houses some striking event spaces including Tangata, a gourmet restaurant. And linking them all is a broad, tree-shaded lawn in the center, bordered by flowers, palms and cacti.

The courtyard is custom-made for weddings. A wide staircase descending from the hacienda’s second story provides a graceful entrance for the bride. Vows are exchanged wherever you like—beneath the bell tower or under the hacienda’s balcony, for example. Afterwards, the reception is usually held here, too, with tables set up on the lawn and patios. You can also turn the surrounding arcade into an open-air dining room; softly lit at night, it makes a very romantic setting.

Another option is hosting your reception in Tangata. Opened in 2000 by famed restaurateur and chef Joachim Splichal, the restaurant serves a diverse menu of California cuisine, “colored” with Splichal’s signature French style. In the main dining room natural light flows in through large picture windows, illuminating the Mediterranean décor. Al fresco dining takes place outside on Tangata’s two-tiered patio, which overlooks the courtyard.

The museum’s interior spaces also lend themselves to a variety of events. The Fluor & Family Gallery, located on the second floor of the hacienda building, accommodates upscale dinners, cocktail receptions and small ceremonies. The ambiance here is Old World, thanks to the stunning beamed ceiling inset with vibrant murals. A stained-glass window at one end also makes the space feel a little like a chapel. The gallery opens out onto a balcony, giving you the option of having cocktails outside and a sophisticated sit-down dinner inside. However, one corporation actually hosted a medieval banquet on the balcony itself, seating 40 people around a long table set with candelabras. In the east wing, the 5,800-square-foot John M. Lee Court was designed to accommodate large gatherings. A series of undulating lights “float” overhead, while a wall of glass frames an elegant sculpture garden. The adjacent Huang Courtyard is perfect for an intimate outdoor ceremony or cocktail reception.

Other conference and meeting rooms are available, and for corporate parties you can arrange to have specific exhibits, and even the gift store, kept open for your event. It’s a rare facility that has everything—drama, beauty, excitement and good food—but the Bowers Museum delivers on all counts. So take that walk through the bellower entrance and be enchanted. You won’t believe you’re in a museum, and you’ll be ever so grateful you stopped by.


Video by Boffo Video

PRICES: What's this going to cost?

Rental Fee
  • $1,800–4,500/event
  • Rental fee varies depending on:
    • Space reserved
    • Guest count
  • You must become a museum member in order to rent the facility. The rental fee includes security, parking, and rehearsal time.

Package Prices
  • $110–175/person
  • Package prices vary depending on:
    • Package chosen
    • Catering packages include both buffet and plated options.
    • The lowest priced package includes a cheese and charcuterie display for cocktail hour and all non-alcoholic beverages; or opt for the most deluxe package and select 3 tray-passed hors d'oeuvres and a hosted full bar. 
    • Sales tax and 22% service charge are additional.
Service Charge or Gratuity
  • 22%


Indoors Outdoors
Ceremony Seated 350 400
Cocktails, etc. Standing 1200 1200
Reception Seated 350 350
Meetings Total meeting capacity for this venue is 300.

CEREMONY CAPACITY: The Cleo Key Courtyard holds up to 350 seated guests and Huang Courtyard holds 175 seated.

EVENT/RECEPTION CAPACITY: Indoors, the museum accommodates 50–450 seated or 100–1,200 standing. Outdoor areas hold 60–450 seated or 100–1,200 standing. The John M. Lee Court holds up to 350 seated guests.

MEETING CAPACITY: The Auditorium accommodates 300 theater-style. The Fluor & Family Gallery holds 50 guests seated theater or classroom-style. The Kidseum holds 40–150 guests seated theater-style.

Venue Details

Site Uses

  • Ceremony
  • Outdoor Ceremony
  • Wedding Receptions
  • Outdoor Reception
  • All-Inclusive
  • Rehearsal Dinner
  • Special Events / Parties
  • Business Functions / Meetings
  • Late Night

Essential Info


$ • $$





Amplified Music

Some restrictions

Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair accessible


Year-round, daily, 7am–midnight.

Venue Type

Buildings & other settings available:

  • Banquet Hall / Events Facility
  • Garden
  • Historic / Landmark Building
  • Museum
  • Restaurant
  • Patio / Deck / Terrace
  • Unique

Venue Views

Peep the views you’ll enjoy from this venue!

  • Cityscape
  • Fountain / Water Feature
  • Garden
  • Landscaped Grounds
  • Other View

Services & Amenities

Feel like a VIP with these services and amenities:

Catering: provided, no BYO
Kitchen Facilities: n/a
Tables & Chairs: provided
Linens, Silver, etc.: provided
Restrooms: wheelchair accessible
Dance Floor: provided
Bride’s Dressing Area: provided
Meeting Equipment: CBA, extra charge
Parking: large lots; inlcuded
Accommodations: no guestrooms
Outdoor Night Lighting: yes
Outdoor Cooking Facilities: CBA, extra charge
Cleanup: through caterer
View: garden and Museum exhibits


But take note of the following limitations!

Alcohol: provided
Smoking: not allowed
Music: amplified OK with restrictions
Wheelchair Access: yes
Insurance: not required
Other: no rice, birdseed or confetti; no tacks, tape or nails


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