Jonathan Goodrich, Director of Visitor Services
If you look for UCBG on Yelp, you will find that many of the comments come from people who came to the Garden for a wedding or other event. While the primary purpose of the Garden isn’t to generate revenue, weddings and rentals are an important way to support our core mission of education, conservation, and research. As the University reduces funding to the Garden, we have had to be more entrepreneurial to bring in badly needed revenue. Currently, revenue we earn from events, admissions, plant sales, the shop, and programs amounts to about 1/3 of our total budget.
The fastest growing category of earned revenue is rentals. Our team of two, Christine Jegan (Rental Coordinator) and Sara Robertson (Assistant Rental Coordinator) are deft at managing the rentals with support from horticulture, maintenance, and marketing staff. We host many different events, from meetings and retreats, to anniversary and baby shower parties. However, the primary rentals we manage are weddings. It really helps make the Garden an even a more special place when two people come to express their love and union together. Through any rental discussion with any of the people who come here, the primary goal is to protect the Garden. We work hard to make sure that our clients are respectful of our collection and that they have a memorable experience here.
Here is a review from a happy bride:
“The ceremony in the Redwood Grove was amazing. We couldn’t have asked for anything better than the way it turned out and our reception was in the Julia Morgan Hall which was just an amazing experience as well. I don’t think we could have ever picked a better place to get married even if we have 50 more years to think about it. To anyone considering the UCBG as a wedding venue, it’s really as awesome as you could ever think it could be!”
So not only are rentals essential for our financial future, they also help to build lifelong friends of the Garden. We love our collection and we love that people come to the Garden for their special day.