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Dine in a Secret Spanish Garden : San Juan Capistrano, California
Katie David Bush
by Katie David Bush
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Franciscan Gardens

31815 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, California, United States


Michael Radford
Michael Radford
Micheal Radford Photography
Palm Springs, CA

Hi I’m Mike! I am a film loving, wedding and lifestyle photographer located in Southern California. I currently live in Palm Springs with my wife, Brittany, and our cat, Phineas. Whether it’s a wedding or fly fishing, I love to travel and always have my camera at hand. - Website

The Report

This venue has been VRV (Venue Report Verified); Venue Report Correspondent Micheal Radford Photography has personally visited and photographed weddings at this venue. "My favorite element about Franciscan Gardens is the large, open square space which allows each client to customize their venue space design and decor.  My favorite time to shoot is just before the sun sets, when there is a beautiful glow of light behind the lush green walls that enclose the venue. The San Juan Capistrano Mission and Los Rios District surrounding areas also allow the clients to step out of the venue to experience more great scenery, backgrounds and beautiful light." - Correspondent Micheal Radford Photography

A visit to Franciscan Gardens, located in the heart of southern California coastal town, San Juan Capistrano, begins in the most romantic of ways, by rail. The Pacific Surfliner train runs from San Diego, through Los Angeles and up to Santa Barbara, offering views many would never see unless on a surfboard. Which you’re welcome to bring on-board as there are racks to accommodate bikes and boards of any kind. Whatever winter you find within yourself, the Surfliner will evoke an indomitable, invincible summer.

California is known for it’s cool waves, year-round summer sun, palm trees and Hollywood glitz. But the underlying cool of it’s beach cities are those steeped in Spanish history. Disembarking from the train and meandering softly through historic downtown San Juan Capistrano brings us to one of the city’s oldest buildings, The Provincial. Spanish terra cotta architecture and majestic, reclaimed wood castle-like doors open into a stunning, outdoor rose garden and the air changes. It is alive with secrets and pungent with varietals. Living, lush 18ft garden walls not only ensure complete and utter privacy and shade from the California sun, but lend an air of mystery and magic. At night, the venue comes alive with strings of white lights which in photos, seem to resemble fireflies.

HIGH SEASON: April-October
FOOD SERVICE: provided by venue
BAR SERVICE: provided by venue
VIEWS: Blossoming secret garden
DECOR: Eclectic Secret Garden


The space is owned by 24-Carrots, a local catering company and event planner who orchestrates special events. While the property is primarily used for weddings, any special occasion for adults is welcome to inquire. There is a private area of the mansion used by the kitchen catering, and a beautiful, detailed room for the bride and her attendants to make final dress adjustments before services.

This stunning, secret outdoor Spanish garden venue is prime for a bride who’s looking to paint on a blank canvas. The brushes and paint are provided in the form of the gorgeous, garden setting. Nautical theme? Makes sense, you’re right by the ocean – add a few vintage, sourced find like driftwood and some sea glass treasures. Rustic chic? Perf. 18ft living walls coupled with a beautiful, old farm table and you’re in business. Spanish, historical romance? Look no further than the pungent roses and dramatic lighting, punctuated by the sweet strains of Spanish guitar. There is something utterly otherworldly and magical about being inside the garden walls with the castle-like doors closed, a blanket of stars above, breathing in the dusky scent of the roses and breaking bread with those who matter most to you. From the arrival by train, to the secret garden walls and historic architecture, this venue is a modern twist on historical narrative.

FIELD NOTES: Franciscan Gardens venue is ideal for weddings, birthday parties, social events, corporate events, fundraisers, etc. for up to 200 guests. The gorgeous and ornate Bridal Suite can also be utilized for smaller events such as Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, or Brunches for under 20 guests.

Perfect for:

  • baby shower
  • birthday party
  • bridal shower
  • charity event
  • corporate event
  • dinner party
  • holiday party
  • social event
  • wedding ceremony
  • wedding reception


There is a gorgeous bridal suite with vanity area, as well as Groom’s room with flat screen televisions and a pool table, man-cave style at the venue. Need more getting ready space and accommodations for guests? Not to worry, there are nearby hotels that are within walking distance and can be recommended by 24 Carrots!


With the help of the the attentive 24 Carrots event team, styling your secret Pinterest board wedding will be a breeze at Franciscan Gardens. Ask before you source as they are a treasure trove of goodies and recommendations. We love the secret garden, old Spanish romance feel with the lush, living walls and strings of white lighting with modern updates on a timeless classic.

1. Aisle Rugs: What about layering red and orange Spanish and Turkish woven rugs down the aisle in lieu of traditional rose petals? It will provide a lovely contrast to the outdoor setting with a bit of boho added to the garden setting and bring a bit of the cozy indoors, outside.. Rent these rugs by local rental company, Casa de Perrin. (Photo: Trine Bell2. Breezy Boho Bridesmaids: Creamy, white camellias and subtle Spanish lace or flowy off-the shoulder boho from the gals at Stone Cold Fox complete this bridal look. 3. Floral Menus: Floral and gold foil menus from Bliss & Bone provides stunning texture and evokes the romantic secrecy of the garden venue.


Included in your venue rental fee is a comprehensive set of items that are complimentary for your use on your wedding day – like top-of-the line honey oak Chivari chairs and 60-inch round tables for up to 200 guests, a cake table, guest book and gift tables, wrought-iron archways that can be used for your ceremony and/or incorporated into your reception décor, and much more. Discerning bride on a budget – hello! Another tip? Add up-lighting to the tall walls of greenery to create a magical atmosphere for dining and dancing under the stars.


  • Location, location, location. San Juan Capistrano is a historic cozy locale with a small town feel that your guests will love.
  • A secret garden? Haven't we all fantasized about hosting an event in a venue setting like this at one point?!
  • Chivari chairs, tables, archways, gift tables and more are included in your rental fee.
  • There is a gorgeous bridal suite with vanity area, as well as Groom’s room on the venue premises.


Brunch on the Patio:

Ramos House is a local restaurant that encompasses the small town feel of San Jaun Capistrano. The wines are kept in the cellar, the herbs are grown in the garden and the ice cream is turned out back. The menu is seasonal and pretty much changes daily. Must try the mushroom macaroni and cheese. Visit:

COFFEE so good it’s a SECRET!:

Located in the historic Los Rios District of San Juan Capistrano is where you will find the tucked away and charming Hidden House Coffee. On any given day, you will find the Hidden House Family pulling espresso shots or roasting a small batch of beans to create perfect and delicious morning brews for the most discerning coffee buffs. Visit:

The Birthplace of Orange County:

Schedule a tour for your guests OR host your rehearsal dinner at Mission San Juan Capistrano. This historic landmark and museum is the Birthplace of Orange County and was founded more than two hundred years ago. Today it is a monument to California's multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage.

VENUE: Franciscan Gardens  // PHOTOS + CORRESPONDENT: Micheal Radford Photography  //  INVITATIONS: Printed Palette Ink // Floral Design: Art with Nature

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