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Compass Rose Gardens

Bodega Bay , CA

LOCATION

0 Bay Flat Road
Bodega Bay, CA 94923 US

PHONE

707-478-0486

WEBSITE

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ABOUT US

Compass Rose Gardens has been enchanting couples for over 25 years. Coaxed from nature by Donna Cook Freeman, the Gardens are secreted away in the heart of Bodega Bay on the lovely... Read more
Compass Rose Gardens has been enchanting couples for over 25 years. Coaxed from nature by Donna Cook Freeman, the Gardens are secreted away in the heart of Bodega Bay on the lovely Sonoma Coast, adjacent to picturesque Northern California beaches and neighboring the famous Wine Country.

Couples have the wedding of their dreams come to life beneath a towering willow tree and surrounded by a lush collection of ferns and fuchsias, framing the heavenly ceremony site. The garden paths wind around a creek fed pond and run through a serene redwood grove. The patio is ideal for cocktails and hors d'oeurves, while the fabulous pavilion accommodates dining and dancing into the night.

The Gardens provide an escape from everyday life, perfect for creating a truly magical wedding. By appointment only, Melinda Freeman McLees at (707)-478-0486 or emailing melinda@compassrosegardens.com for a private tour. Read less
Wedding Venue

REVIEWS

4.7
out of 5.0
4.9/5.0
4.6/5.0
4.8/5.0
4.6/5.0
4.9/5.0
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Mandy
Wedding:
5/7/2016
5.0/5.0
This review is for the updated, re-named venue: The Secret Gardens.

Wow. Seriously. It's hard to even put this into words. As long as your dates and budgets match up, I honestly have trouble imagining anyone declining The Secret Gardens. You can't enter this space and not have your breath taken away. It's just drop-dead gorgeous. I'm sure every guest commented on what a find this place was - as did all of our vendors!

It's also just so relaxing to have all of these different little spaces people can wander through. Anyone who feels like taking a break from the crowd can find places to just stroll or sit and relax. It's everything I could have ever wanted and so, so much more.

We were the first couple to be married under the new management and everything was just a breeze. The new owners are experienced professionals (they own other venues) and they made everything just so easy and pleasant. They're the kind of laid back you can only be once you've seen it all.

And on that note - the pricing is pretty good. It's not exactly a budget option but the amount of flexibility you get for the price is insane. BYO catering / alcohol / etc. - no "preferred lists" you have to pay for deviating from. Of course, they'll give you a list of suggested vendors in the area to help get you started but this place is really hands-off and just wants to let you enjoy your day however you see fit. For every "can we...?" question we asked them, we got an enthusiastic "Yes!" as a response. And no naggy coordinators trying to run your show and stick you to a script - just questions to make sure you've thought of all of the basic stuff you want to do with the space, a breakdown of what you get and what you need to provide, and lists and reminders of everything they need from you.

Honestly my favorite thing about the entire day was this place. I already miss it, and as soon as the day was over my husband and I started dreaming up ways to come back. Absolutely the best.
This review is for the updated, re-named venue: The Secret Gardens.

Wow. Seriously. It's hard to even put this Read more...
This review is for the updated, re-named venue: The Secret Gardens.

Wow. Seriously. It's hard to even put this into words. As long as your dates and budgets match up, I honestly have trouble imagining anyone declining The Secret Gardens. You can't enter this space and not have your breath taken away. It's just drop-dead gorgeous. I'm sure every guest commented on what a find this place was - as did all of our vendors!

It's also just so relaxing to have all of these different little spaces people can wander through. Anyone who feels like taking a break from the crowd can find places to just stroll or sit and relax. It's everything I could have ever wanted and so, so much more.

We were the first couple to be married under the new management and everything was just a breeze. The new owners are experienced professionals (they own other venues) and they made everything just so easy and pleasant. They're the kind of laid back you can only be once you've seen it all.

And on that note - the pricing is pretty good. It's not exactly a budget option but the amount of flexibility you get for the price is insane. BYO catering / alcohol / etc. - no "preferred lists" you have to pay for deviating from. Of course, they'll give you a list of suggested vendors in the area to help get you started but this place is really hands-off and just wants to let you enjoy your day however you see fit. For every "can we...?" question we asked them, we got an enthusiastic "Yes!" as a response. And no naggy coordinators trying to run your show and stick you to a script - just questions to make sure you've thought of all of the basic stuff you want to do with the space, a breakdown of what you get and what you need to provide, and lists and reminders of everything they need from you.

Honestly my favorite thing about the entire day was this place. I already miss it, and as soon as the day was over my husband and I started dreaming up ways to come back. Absolutely the best. Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Jennifer
Wedding:
10/21/2015
4.4/5.0
I went to tour this place and WOW! What a fairy tale! This is definitely my top runner for a venue. I really hope it works out with our date :)
I went to tour this place and WOW! What a fairy tale! This is definitely my top runner for a venue. I really hope it works Read more...
I went to tour this place and WOW! What a fairy tale! This is definitely my top runner for a venue. I really hope it works out with our date :) Read less
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Anonymous
Wedding:
Recently Married
5.0/5.0
This place was worth every reasonable penny we spent on it. Phrases I heard all night included "Magical", "Fairytale", and "Amazing". It truly is the perfect venue. The last thing I wanted was to have my wedding reception in a banquet hall, but I still wanted it to have an air of elegance to it. This place is absolutely stunning. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be repeatedly told throughout the evening "THIS IS THE BEST WEDDING I'VE EVER BEEN TO!!!".
This place was worth every reasonable penny we spent on it. Phrases I heard all night included "Magical", "Fairytale", and Read more...
This place was worth every reasonable penny we spent on it. Phrases I heard all night included "Magical", "Fairytale", and "Amazing". It truly is the perfect venue. The last thing I wanted was to have my wedding reception in a banquet hall, but I still wanted it to have an air of elegance to it. This place is absolutely stunning. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be repeatedly told throughout the evening "THIS IS THE BEST WEDDING I'VE EVER BEEN TO!!!". Read less
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
4.6/5.0
This place is like a fairyland and the owners are amazing. Fabulous place to hold a wedding
This place is like a fairyland and the owners are amazing. Fabulous place to hold a wedding
This place is like a fairyland and the owners are amazing. Fabulous place to hold a wedding Read less
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Anne
Wedding:
8/23/2014
4.9/5.0
Our guests had one consistent comment about Compass Rose Gardens, "magical". Also, "Who would guess this beautiful garden would be tucked away in here?" One of our daughter's favorite books growing up was "The Secret Garden" and that's exactly what Compass Rose Gardens captures when you walk through the gate. Just beautiful.

Compass Rose Gardens is a family owned business and all "the kids" (40 years on up) play a part in running the venue. Easiest way to communicate with Melinda is via text. She responds right away, versus email, which was not as effective. Melinda and her siblings either met us on site, or found another way to get us access to the gardens every time we requested it. They are very down to earth and warm people.

Our daughter's wedding was in late August 2014, so by that time the creek was dry, but it did not take away from the beauty of the setting. Laine and James loved being across the creek area beneath the willow tree for the ceremony. It was very intimate and just lovely from the guests' view as well.

Not only is the Garden area beautiful for photos, but you are also just steps away from the harbor as well. Our photographer took Laine and James to the harbor area for sunset pictures, the sky was gorgeous and the old pier in the background added character to the scene.

Our family can't wait for an excuse to return to Compass Rose Gardens :)
Our guests had one consistent comment about Compass Rose Gardens, "magical". Also, "Who would guess this beautiful garden Read more...
Our guests had one consistent comment about Compass Rose Gardens, "magical". Also, "Who would guess this beautiful garden would be tucked away in here?" One of our daughter's favorite books growing up was "The Secret Garden" and that's exactly what Compass Rose Gardens captures when you walk through the gate. Just beautiful.

Compass Rose Gardens is a family owned business and all "the kids" (40 years on up) play a part in running the venue. Easiest way to communicate with Melinda is via text. She responds right away, versus email, which was not as effective. Melinda and her siblings either met us on site, or found another way to get us access to the gardens every time we requested it. They are very down to earth and warm people.

Our daughter's wedding was in late August 2014, so by that time the creek was dry, but it did not take away from the beauty of the setting. Laine and James loved being across the creek area beneath the willow tree for the ceremony. It was very intimate and just lovely from the guests' view as well.

Not only is the Garden area beautiful for photos, but you are also just steps away from the harbor as well. Our photographer took Laine and James to the harbor area for sunset pictures, the sky was gorgeous and the old pier in the background added character to the scene.

Our family can't wait for an excuse to return to Compass Rose Gardens :) Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Molly
Wedding:
8/16/2014
4.2/5.0
Aesthetic: 5/5. Compass Rose Gardens is stunningly beautiful. Tolkien-esque, Secret Garden-like, there are redwoods and roses and vines everywhere. There's also a creek they fill up for events, although they didn't for ours (I think because of the drought -- but we weren't using that part of the venue for the most part so it was fine). There's also a huge covered deck/pavilion that fit our 115 guests in two long tables as well as a buffet (rounds work too), a stone area that works great as a dance floor, and a gazebo that the guys escaped into to smoke cigars. It was simply the perfect aesthetic for my vision for the wedding. There's also parking. There's some weird boats and stuff outside and no view of the ocean, but visit - you'll see why it's great.

Value: 4/5. The place comes with zero rentals or service -- which means a big rental bill, but a small liquor bill (BYOB and just get a bartender!). It's cheaper than almost all vineyards, but not as cheap as a golf club -- it was $4900 for use of the space for 8 hours. You'll also need insurance (around $150, we found) and there's a deposit they return to you.

Professionalism / responsiveness: 3/5. Melinda and family are very responsive via text, but not so much via e-mail. On our appointment to view the space, they forgot about it, and we had to track down their cell number after driving out to Bodega. The rest of the process sort of followed suit with taking forever to respond to us or our vendors. But ultimately they always got back to us and were very sweet and nice about everything, and willing to work with us. Since they don't have to do a lot besides give you access and sign paperwork, it works out. And they really are sweet.

We really scored with this location - it really "made" our wedding. In addition, it's just a ten minute drive from St. Teresa of Avila - the iconic little white church in Bodega. (Or you can have the service at the venue itself!)
Aesthetic: 5/5. Compass Rose Gardens is stunningly beautiful. Tolkien-esque, Secret Garden-like, there are redwoods and Read more...
Aesthetic: 5/5. Compass Rose Gardens is stunningly beautiful. Tolkien-esque, Secret Garden-like, there are redwoods and roses and vines everywhere. There's also a creek they fill up for events, although they didn't for ours (I think because of the drought -- but we weren't using that part of the venue for the most part so it was fine). There's also a huge covered deck/pavilion that fit our 115 guests in two long tables as well as a buffet (rounds work too), a stone area that works great as a dance floor, and a gazebo that the guys escaped into to smoke cigars. It was simply the perfect aesthetic for my vision for the wedding. There's also parking. There's some weird boats and stuff outside and no view of the ocean, but visit - you'll see why it's great.

Value: 4/5. The place comes with zero rentals or service -- which means a big rental bill, but a small liquor bill (BYOB and just get a bartender!). It's cheaper than almost all vineyards, but not as cheap as a golf club -- it was $4900 for use of the space for 8 hours. You'll also need insurance (around $150, we found) and there's a deposit they return to you.

Professionalism / responsiveness: 3/5. Melinda and family are very responsive via text, but not so much via e-mail. On our appointment to view the space, they forgot about it, and we had to track down their cell number after driving out to Bodega. The rest of the process sort of followed suit with taking forever to respond to us or our vendors. But ultimately they always got back to us and were very sweet and nice about everything, and willing to work with us. Since they don't have to do a lot besides give you access and sign paperwork, it works out. And they really are sweet.

We really scored with this location - it really "made" our wedding. In addition, it's just a ten minute drive from St. Teresa of Avila - the iconic little white church in Bodega. (Or you can have the service at the venue itself!) Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Pam
Wedding:
9/15/2013
4.9/5.0
The Gardens are amazing! They made the mood of my entire day...and it was fantastic!
With 100 guests plus however many vendors and staff, the space never felt crowded. With so many paths and sitting areas for guests to choose... It's beautiful. I'm so happy I found this tucked away spot for my day!
The Gardens are amazing! They made the mood of my entire day...and it was fantastic!
With 100 guests plus however Read more...
The Gardens are amazing! They made the mood of my entire day...and it was fantastic!
With 100 guests plus however many vendors and staff, the space never felt crowded. With so many paths and sitting areas for guests to choose... It's beautiful. I'm so happy I found this tucked away spot for my day! Read less
Services Used: Wedding Venue
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Brook
Wedding:
10/1/2011
5.0/5.0
The most beautiful place for a wedding!! Mindy is amazing and I couldnt have been happier with the location!
The most beautiful place for a wedding!! Mindy is amazing and I couldnt have been happier with the location!
The most beautiful place for a wedding!! Mindy is amazing and I couldnt have been happier with the location! Read less
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PATTYWAIT
Wedding:
7/11/2009
4.7/5.0
The compass rose is a magical place. It must be seen to be appreciated. Donna (the owner) is a sweetheart, and made the day extra special
The compass rose is a magical place. It must be seen to be appreciated. Donna (the owner) is a sweetheart, and made the Read more...
The compass rose is a magical place. It must be seen to be appreciated. Donna (the owner) is a sweetheart, and made the day extra special Read less
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