McHenry Mansion Weddings
McHenry Mansion is a beautiful and unique Victorian mansion and garden wedding venue in downtown Modesto, California.
Address: 906 15th Street, Modesto, California
Rental Coordinator: Laura Mesa
Phone: (209) 652-7190
Wheelchair Accessible: Outside yes, inside noCatering & Alcohol:
Music: Dancing and amplified music is allowed in the garden with necessary city permit.
Dog Friendly: No
Price: Starting at $2,000
Why I love it
Located in Downtown Modesto, it's a convenient location for an intimate wedding. With everything in one location, time won't be wasted driving between the getting ready, ceremony, portrait, and reception venues. The Victorian style of the mansion lends to unique and romantic photos.
Options for Getting Ready
The bride and her bridesmaids have use of the upstairs bridal suite, which is a small bedroom with one window. The suite is full of antique furniture, including chairs and a small couch, which can all be used. There is plenty of room for small bags, as well as the bride's gown, veil, shoes, and accessories.
Food is not allowed anywhere upstairs in the house, but bottled water is fine. If the girls would like privacy to change, there is a bathroom across the hall. There is nowhere for the bride and her attendants to have their hair and makeup done in the bridal suite or the upstairs bathroom, and it isn't allowed. If you'd like to have your hair and makeup artist come to the mansion, you can set up in the basement.
The groom and his groomsmen have use of the basement area. This is a large basement with several rooms, bathrooms, a few tables, and extra chairs. Suits and other clothing can be hung from hooks. Since there is plenty of room and several private spaces, this is a good option for the parents of the couple to get dressed.
Wedding Ceremony Ideas
When you rent the mansion for your wedding, you have use of the entire property. You can't just rent the garden or any other singular spot. This is a venue for an intimate wedding, so if your guest list is over 150, this isn't the location for you.
There are two options for ceremonies: The mansion's garden or McClatchy Square (pictured here).
If you have your ceremony in the garden, your guests can sit at their tables and watch. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful for photos. Alternately, you can set up the ceremony in the garden without tables, which would require a complete reception setup in between your ceremony and dinner service. If you are planning a cocktail hour, that can take place on the other side of the mansion while table setup is happening.
McClatchy Square is a convenient spot for your ceremony because the reception can be all set up and you don't have to worry about the transition. This little park is right across the street. Keep in mind that there aren't any hedges or walls around this park, so there will be cars and rundown apartment buildings behind you while you're walking down the aisle, and power lines are visible during the ceremony.
Outdoor Photo Opportunities
Although McHenry Mansion is a small wedding venue, there are many photo opportunities. The mansion has a beautiful front porch with a stairway and ornate large wooden doors. Outside, there are trees and a manicured garden.
A first look is definitely recommended so you can take full advantage of the grounds before the guests arrive. After the ceremony, we're not able to do portraits in the garden because it's set up for the reception.
With the rental of the mansion, you also have use of the historic McHenry Museum, just one block away. This gorgeous building is surrounded by trees, plants, and grass.
Indoor Photo Opportunities
Bride and groom portraits are allowed inside the mansion, in downstairs rooms that aren't roped off. We can also use the staircases inside, but they are quite narrow. Shooting inside the house takes skill and previous knowledge of the layout and restrictions. Flash photography is often needed.
Timing can be a bit tricky. Right after the ceremony, guests are ushered through a quick tour of the inside of the mansion. Once the guests are done walking through, the doors are closed and only the bride and groom along with their photographer are allowed inside.
McHenry Mansion's garden is the perfect place for an intimate wedding reception. The garden holds up to 200 people, but with a full house, it would be very cramped and there wouldn't be much room to walk around tables and party. For this venue, a guest list of 100 to 150 is recommended.
The reception space consists of a permanent, medium-sized parquet dance floor surrounded by manicured grass with four large trees. The perimeter of the garden is adorned with a wide variety of plants and flowers, as well as ivy. This means that very little decoration has to go into the reception dinner space. I love how they decorated the long rectangular tables with green garlands, which pulled everything together so the tables looked like they flowed into the garden.
Long rectangular tables or round tables and chairs are included in the price of your rental. Clean bathrooms are easily accessible in the basement of the house.
- The kitchen is available for minimum preparation only.
- No catering trailers are allowed in the garden.
- A certificate of insurance with $1million in coverage is required.
- If alcohol is being served, it must reflect so on the certificate of insurance.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the outside sidewalks or in the streets.
- Amplified music requires a $20 Sound Amplification Permit from the Modesto Police Department.
- The sound curfew for Stanislaus County is 10pm, so music must end by then.
Intimate Wedding Ideas
McHenry Mansion is the perfect local small wedding venue. See how my past brides have styled and utilized this space.
Built by: Robert and Matilda McHenry
Designed by: Jeremiah Robinson
Style: High Victorian Italianate
Construction began: 1882
Value of property in 1883: $12,000
Used as private residence: 1883 - 1919
Used as sanitarium: 1919 - 1930
Used as apartment building: 1930 - 1976
Purchased by Aileen and Julio Gallo and gifted to the city: 1976
Restoration to its original state: 1977 - 1983
Fire damage: 2011
Restoration to its original state: 2011 - 2013