Hartley Botanica | website | 4465 Balcom Canyon Rd, Somis, CA 93066
We had a chance to interview Barbara Hartley! I hope you enjoy learning more about the venue from a expert!
Q: What would you love couples to know about Hartley Botanica?
A: Hartley’s is such a special place, not only to me and my family, but as you enter, you can just feel the love that it took to create it. Every wedding we do is special. Brides and Grooms don’t just book the location, they really become a part of our family and our family history. Even the vendors who work events have become family, it makes the event run so smoothly, and looks so effortless, people often comment that we have the best job. I always tell them, “it’s a lot of work!”, and it is! But it’s fun.
Q: Could you tell us the story about how Hartley Botanica was started?
A: We started as a retail plant nursery. During slow times, my Mom started planting a little rose garden. Then, my Dad started planting trees that nobody wanted to buy (with broken branches, or too old in the container). People would comment “This place is so pretty! Do you rent it for weddings?” … No, we thought…. but we could… My Mom got busy on a design for a 1.5 acre garden area, designed just for weddings and receptions. It was just a far off dream until I got engaged. They finally had a deadline! Dad got busy and cleared out the container plants. Talk about wedding stress! I never thought they would get it done. But true to form, the morning of my wedding, it was done. My Dad walked me down the aisle with cement still under his fingernails.
Q: Tell me about some details that you just love?
A: At first I teased my Dad about all the hearts he kept putting in the concrete, and throughout the gardens. I thought it was so cheesey! But it’s subtle, everyone loves it, and… it’s “Heart”-ley’s! It’s one of my favorite details now. So much so, that we have incorporated it into our new location in the Central Coast: Hartley Farms.
Q: What’s your favorite Command Performance menu item?
A: Do I have to pick just one?! I have been having Command Performance food at events for the past 15 years, and I can say, I still LOVE their food. But my favorites probably include: Bacon Wrapped Dates, Carrot Soufflé, Jalapeno Mac and Cheese, Ahi Tuna Tartar on a Wonton, and the melt-in-your-mouth Tri Tip!
Q: Do you prefer sit down or buffet dinners?
A: I think both are special in their own way. Buffets are nice because they are less expensive, your guests get more variety within the menus once they get there, and it is an outdoor venue, so it’s kind of nice to get up and walk around. The seated menus are nice because all the service is to the table, guests are generally all served at the same time, and it looks so pretty plated. Either way, Command Performance does such an excellent job of presentation, and makes it so easy, you can’t really go wrong!
Q: What’s the most original thing you’ve seen at a wedding?
A: We had a couple do dinner BEFORE the ceremony. It was a test of our logistic skills, but it all worked well and went off without a hitch!
Q: If you could give a bride one tip what would it be?
A: Hire professional vendors! Maybe your cousin is a great photographer, and your aunt can bake a mean cake, but PLEASE, if you are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding, hire professionals to make the day great. There IS a difference between a DJ and an iPod! Professional vendors will make your day, and are worth every penny. I can’t tell you how many times a client will cut corners, hire a vendor who does [insert Service here] as a side job, has no insurance, and that vendor has disappointed them, or worse yet, not even showed up!
Q: If you could give a groom one tip what would it be?
A: Offer your opinion, IF she asks for it. Be supportive of whatever she needs. Wear what she want you to wear, show up on time, and stay sober until after the ceremony. Happy wife, happy life.
Q: What new trends do you see for next year?
A: I keep an eye on Pinterest and see what Brides are looking at and pinning. I see a lot of bold, fun colors, and still a trend with the rustic stuff.
Q: What is your must have gear that you take to every wedding?
A: An extra shirt, cell phone (on vibrate), protein bar, and COFFEE.