This article contains all of my thoughts on Ravenswood Historic Site weddings in Livermore, CA! Ravenswood is one of the best budget venues that I have photographed since I started shooting weddings. I love that it’s outdoors, and it’s got a sort of low-key and easygoing vibe to the site. It is part of the Livermore Area Parks and Recreation Department, and it’s perfect for the DIY bride who wants a beautiful setting with all the right amenities. The LARPD website calls it a “signature location” for your wedding day.
Table of Contents (click to jump to a section!)
– Weddings at Ravenswood Historic Site (General Info)
– Getting Ready
– Ceremony at Ravenswood
– Portrait Time
– Reception and Party
As a Livermore photographer, I looked forward to receiving my first inquiry from a bride and groom getting married at Ravenswood. I didn’t have to wait too long…my first experience at Ravenswood was on May 11, 2019. The wedding day finally arrived, and I had no disappointment!
What can you expect from a wedding at Ravenswood? The Historic Site is located on forty acres of lawns, trees, vineyards, and a historic house. You can use all of it for outdoor/indoor ceremony and reception space.
I think one of the important things to remember about weddings at Ravenswood Historic Site is that it’s going to be more DIY and laid-back than you’d get at a super upscale venue. That’s not to say it can’t be beautiful! But keep this in mind if this is not the vibe you’re going for on your wedding day. On the other hand, this is the perfect venue if you’re looking for a chill/relaxed celebration with your favorite people! Ravenswood makes a lot of sense if you’re not so much about the fancy frills. It’s great for the bride and groom who care more about the meaning of the day and the visiting with close friends and family.
I will be the first to admit…the bridal getting ready room at Ravenswood is not the best. But it’s also not the worst! The one problem is that it’s underneath the main house, sort of in a basement-like room. It has a lot of yellowy lights with not a lot of natural window light. Not ideal for a photographer. 🙂 Aside from that, it’s a great room. LOTS of space, lots of seating, lots of outlets and tables. This is one of those instances where black and white photos may be better.
The good news is that you don’t have to do ALL of your getting ready in this room. In circumstances like this, I like to take the bride and bridesmaids outside to get some of the final detail shots. And there are plenty of areas for this around the Ravenswood Historic house!
While the girls are getting their hair and makeup done in the bridal room, the groom can have his portraits done in a completely separate part of the park. Personally I like one of two options – the lawn area around the walkway, or the other side of the house where there is a neutral backdrop and natural light.
All of the Ravenswood Historic Site weddings that I have shot (so far!) have used the gazebo area for the ceremony. The gazebo is nice because it’s a built-in backdrop for the ceremony. It’s pretty easy to decorate with flowers, drapery, or garlands.
One thing to keep in mind is the position of the sun at the time of your ceremony. Where the light comes from is important to photographers. Make sure you consider this when choosing the gazebo, or when deciding which way to face (each other or the pastor) during the ceremony.
Some couples opt to get married on the pathway instead of at the gazebo. I have seen beautiful photos of ceremonies on this path. I imagine it would be really nice for a summertime wedding with a breeze!
The top thing I love about this venue: the iconic tree-lined drive/walkway. You can’t get married at Ravenswood without taking photos under the trees. Whether they are bare because of winter or full in summertime, it’s the way they line the path and create a tunnel of perfect composition.
Aside from the “tree tunnel”, couples that choose a wedding at Ravenswood Historic Site will have plenty of options for “just married” portraits. Here are just a few examples. The grounds have some cool wall structures, lots of trees, hidden pathways, vineyards, and of course the gazebo.
The Ravenswood site has plenty of options for the reception as well. I have personally seen two different options: inside the house, and on the front lawn of the house. There are also a lot of other areas that I could see working well for a dinner or lunchtime reception. You could set up tables on the lawn between the path and the gazebo, tables on the path itself, or perhaps even in front of the gazebo if it’s not being used for a ceremony site.
If you’re looking for a photographer for your Ravenswood Historic Site wedding, I would love to give you my info. See if Amber Rivas Photography is a good fit for your wedding day. Contact me with any questions you might have about the hiring process!