Secluded, serene, historic, and spectacular are just a few adjectives we can think of to describe these gorgeous garden grounds. Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park is a fifty-acre public garden sanctuary found in Canandaigua, New York, and has been standing tall since the early nineteenth century. The property as a whole blends a variety of floral themes, ranging from Medieval walled and Italian Renaissance to English vistas and Japanese rock gardens. In the middle of these lush and vibrant gardens, rests a dreamy Victorian/Queen-Anne-styled estate, perfect for a stylish and elegant wedding.
Lucky us, we were given the opportunity to chat with wedding and adventure photographer, Jess Craven of the Daring Wanderer and she filled us in on everything we needed to know about this bride and groom's dreamy nuptials. Here’s a sneak peak of what we were told. Aside from the gorgeous property, a multitude of stunning features and picturesque backdrops, we learned the bride and groom are designers and worked together, along with a team of uber-talented specialists to create a spectacular, memorable, and personalized wedding fit specifically to their desires! Check out the interview we snagged along with some beyond-dreamy pics to get the full scoop on this perfect day and this perfect property!
Words + Images: Jess Craven ofThe Daring Wanderer
Tell us some of the highlights of your experience at the venue?
The staff at Sonnenberg gardens were wonderful to work with. They accommodated our requests to shoot in specific locations and to roam within the greenhouse for their portraits prior to the ceremony. They made every effort to make sure that vendors were taken care of which was refreshing!
Tell us about the venue setting.
The venue is located near Rochester, New York and a short drive from 5 fingers lakes. It's a beautiful area.
Tell us a little bit about this beautiful wedding you photographed.
The bride and groom are designers; the groom designed all the branding and stationary for their day while the bride sources many of the elements for their wedding from their own home collection. They opted for a creative bohemian wedding with many botanical elements since they both love plants, gardening and well designed spaces. Sonnenberg Gardens was the perfect venue to host their guests for their wedding.
What made this venue an ideal location for the event? Why did the couple choose it?
Sonnenberg Gardens is located on a beautiful private and secluded property that is tucked away among century homes. There are many large greenhouses on the property as well as vast grassed areas surrounded by trees that is perfect for hosting a grand wedding or something on the more intimate side with plenty of room for canvas tents for added cover.
What do you think makes Sonnenberg Gardens a great event venue?
The location. It's close to town to accommodate out of town guests yet it seems far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also, the backdrop is beautiful and it was the topic of conversation among all of their guests who enjoyed roaming the grounds and exploring the greenhouses.
Were there any areas you thought lighting was the best?
Midday within the greenhouses was beautiful. The light was filtered through the leaves and plants and created a pretty soft light on the bride and groom. Later in the evening we trekked into a treed area for some sunset portraits that were pretty dreamy!
What made the venue a great backdrop and setting for photos?
The lighting and pretty plants and flowers made for an easy and beautiful backdrop for photographs. With so much packed into each greenhouse, it was easy to move from location to location and get a wide variety of photographs and then venue onto the grounds and until a 100 year old willow tree for some more intimate photographs without guests watching.
Favorite existing design elements of the venue?
The large glass dome ceiling in the main tropical greenhouse is beautiful!
Did you meet anyone at the venue that you connected with or made a lasting impression?
I connected with other vendors from Brooklyn, New York who were hired for the event.
What additional types of events do you think this venue is ideal for?
Everything! Outdoors the venue can accommodate over 200 guests, but there are indoor locations where you can also host a smaller more private party like a rehearsal dinner, brunch or bridal shower.
Any inside tips??
The greenhouse adjacent to the main tropical room is my favourite. Lots of spanish moss and succulents hanging from the ceiling. Also ask about the 100 year old willow tree!
We told you it was gorgeous! What’s even more amazing is that if you’re not quite at that wedding phase yet, this spectacular and versatile property is perfect for a multitude of other occasions! Offering an indoor facility and a beautiful wine center, you can grab your best group of friends and book this spot for a birthday celebration! If that’s too big, don’t forget this spot is a public garden, so why not just play hooky for the day with your best bud and pack a picnic and veg with gorgeous garden views?
Photography: The Daring Wanderer | Florals: Rockcastle Florist| Invitations:Designed by Matthew McKeveny (groom) & Printed by French Press | Catering: Sapori Cafe + Catering | Videographer: Maia Stern | Dessert: Scratch Bakeshop
MEET THE CORRESPONDENT
Daring Wanderer serves to capture things a little differently: the organic, fleeting, intangible moments. Straying from tradition, I’m not about heavily posed photographs or long-winded shot lists. Best suited for nontraditional & creative individuals who share an appreciation for interesting surroundings, beautiful landscapes and quiet moments. - Website