What is it about the McKinley Park and Capitol Park rose gardens that draws wedding parties every year? Is it the beautiful red, pink and white roses that fill the garden, the luster of their color blooming as far as the eye can see? Is it the affordable pricing albeit the requirement of a permit?
The beauty of the gardens makes them a desirable ceremony site for brides. But how does one go about having a wedding at one of the central city’s rose gardens?
In order to say “I do” at one of the parks, future couples must follow strict, but relatively easy processes.
McKinley Park Rose Garden
“On average, there are about 60 weddings held (at the McKinley Park Rose Garden) a year,” said Reservations Customer Service Specialist Amanda Roldan. “June through August is the wedding season and the busiest time of year.”
Roldan said this is because of the nice weather, and the roses are in bloom April through October.
The three-page permit application, set up by the Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation, can be picked up or downloaded and submitted through fax or by email. The applicant must have the permit on-hand at the event.
“For weddings, (the wedding party) has to fill out a park application to secure their date and time slot,” Roldan said, “as well as pay a refundable $100 security deposit.”
Along with the permit application, there is a later $140 rental fee and $5 application fee per three hour time slot that includes setting up and tearing down for the next event, Roldan added.
“Guests must provide their own equipment, such as chairs and tables,” Roldan said. “They may also bring some decorations, but they are responsible for setup and cleanup (of all decorations and equipment).”
Reservations can be made up to a year in advance, and Roldan advised couples to apply for the permit at least six months in advance because of the demand of the season. The minimum is 45 business days.
“The (McKinley Park) Rose Garden is unique in that you get the whole garden,” Roldan added. “It is pretty and peaceful.”
Roldan said that within the whole rose garden, wedding parties can have up to 200 people, and all guests must abide by the rose garden guidelines.
Such guidelines state that there can be no amplified sound, including drums and loud radios, but acoustic and vocal performances are allowed.
Cars cannot park in the park or gardens, but parking on the street is available around the park with easy access to the garden from 33rd street.
Roldan said that the McKinley Park Rose Garden is beautiful, and guests can see the arch and surrounding rose beds as soon as they walk in.
“It is the perfect backdrop for a wedding,” Roldan added.
The McKinley Park Rose Garden will be closed from Sep. 1, 2011 – Feb. 15, 2012 for improvements that will include an accessible walkway, a new automatic irrigation system, accessible parking spaces and bench improvements.
“There is new maintenance being done this year,” Roldan said, “but the rose garden will be even more beautiful than it is now.”
McKinley Park Rose Garden is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd.
Capitol Park Rose Garden
Also known as the World Peace Rose Garden, or New Rose Garden, this venue follows a different process than that of McKinley Park, and permits must be obtained through the Sacramento California Highway Patrol (CHP) permit office.
Held in the area outside of the Capitol the World Peace Rose Garden is a popular venue.
“There are too many weddings held (at the World Peace Rose Garden) to count,” said CHP Sgt. Steven Stone. With over 1,000 events held at the World Peace Rose Garden, the venue is a popular site.
There is no charge to have a wedding there, but a permit is required, Stone said.
The one-page permit is free and can be picked up or downloaded and must be emailed or faxed to the permit office. The applicant must have the permit on-hand at the event.
Applicants must also specify which section of the rose garden they wish to secure. There are three sections to choose from with each containing its own arch and rose beds.
“May through September is our busy time,” Stone said. “The weather’s good, and the garden is beautiful.”
Reservations can be made up to one year in advance, with a 10 business day minimum, Stone added.
“The permits are on a first-come, first-served basis,” Stone said. “We recommend that people allow a few months (to reserve their date and time), because sometimes certain dates trigger an increase in weddings.”
Stone said that there can be days where there are four back-to-back weddings.
He added that guests can reserve as much time as they want, but reiterated that permits are on a first-come, first-served basis.
“People can reserve the garden for two days if they want,” Stone said, “but if someone wants time on one of those days, their permit has to come in first.”
In the event of a scheduling conflict, Stone said that the permit office tries to accommodate people.
“Applicants won’t have to submit another permit application,” Stone said. “We will try and come up with another day. If the applicant is adamant about the date and time, we will suggest the Old Rose Garden.”
The Old Rose Garden, also located in Capitol Park, is the one that was there before the World Peace Rose Garden (New Rose Garden), Stone said.
“The World Peace Rose Garden is the No. 1 choice because of its bigger size and beautiful design,” Stone added.
Stone listed the rules that guests have to follow in order to preserve the World Peace Rose Garden.
Guests must bring their own equipment, set up and clean up. Minimal decorations, such as garlands, are allowed but may not be hung on the shrubbery or arch.
Since this rose garden is located outside of the Capitol, applicants must have a security person present for every 50 people. If there is alcohol, an applicant must indicate so and a CHP security officer will be provided.
Stone said there is a downside, however, to this particular rose garden, in that the rest of the garden not involved in the wedding is open to the public.
“Pedestrians become spectators,” Stone said. “They will see a wedding and go, ‘How romantic,’ and stop to watch.”
For those OK with spectators ogling their special day, the World Peace Rose Garden can provide a wonderful setting.
“On average, there are about 75 people per wedding,” Stone said. “One hundred people are allowed, but a lot of people like small weddings at the rose garden.”
“The World Peace Rose Garden is a great place for a photo op,” Stone added. “The roses are beautiful, and anyone can enjoy them.”
World Peace rose garden is located at Capitol Ave. and 15th St.
For more information on weddings at the McKinley Park and World Peace rose gardens click here.