One of the nicer things about writing wedding venue reviews is having the opportunity to turn the spotlight on places that could really use it. Edward's Mansion is a historic Victorian home that was built as a boarding house by Citrus grower and original Redland's founder James S. Edwards. It was moved a couple of times before it finally was placed at its current location in 1973 as a wedding venue. It's one of the few wedding venues that's still active that dates back further than your parent's wedding.
My first exposure to it was back in the late 1990s. It was a super-popular venue at the time. One of the DJ's told me that he did something like 120 weddings there that year and he was one of four. From that time the venue grew nicer. They massively improved the yards next to the house. Though it was popular they seemed to invest back into the property. And though it could hold multiple weddings at the same time I never seemed to have any issues with the venue fighting for good spots to take photos. There seemed to be plenty.
The worst enemy to Edward's Mansion has been change. As the city of Redlands grew the venue which stood out among the 10 freeway seemed to get hidden behind new development that went into the area. As it fell from visibility on the freeway it was also suffering from visibility on the internet. The ads in magazines seemed to just lose effectiveness around eight years ago. Of course, a worldwide recession didn't help much either. It like many other venues struggled through the lean years.
Locally there was a sense of 'been there' and 'done that' when it came to Edward's Mansion. There was a time around 2004-2008 when brides were looking for more offbeat venues and the old favorites seemed to lose popularity. They wanted wedding receptions in barrel rooms of wineries. The barefoot beach ceremony was the gold standard of wedding dreams and anything with a view of the water was held in high regard. These were hands on brides who wanted large and increasingly more spectacular weddings. Today the trend seems to be going back to the laid back bride who isn't as picky or demanding. They aren't seeking out perfection nor an event that defines them as an individual. They simply want a nice wedding venue run by folks who know what they are doing. The time is right once again for Edward's Mansion.
This seems to be a favorite of middle-class brides who want nice weddings, but don't want to leave large amounts of their family wealth off at their wedding venue. There's a fair amount of choice with this venue when it comes to places to hold your ceremony and rooms for your reception. There's even a very nice chapel. I've been to receptions in every major room on the property including the two tents in the back.
For a lot of people, this venue isn't very close. So before spending $4 a gallon on gas, you need to get the low down. Well, there are a couple of things I can tell you. This place is a mega-venue. I've been to it when it's had five weddings on a rainy day. It has the potential to hold large weddings. The grounds are nice, but they aren't the Ritz Carlton. Just the same, this place isn't a dump by any stretch of the imagination. It's about on par with many of the golf courses I've been to. And I've been to high end Temecula winery venus that charge a lot more and you have your reception in a similar tend like the ones they have in the back.
I'd say that the photographic potential of this property is better than your average golf course. The property has a lot of different looks, from the mansion up front to the trees along the side to the nice set of gardens located all over the property. The one thing I'll say is that some of these trees are so dark green that they easily shift black if you're not careful with the photography. If a photographer uses too much flash your pictures will look like they were taken outside at night in certain spots of the property. I hate to be this picky, but I'm being honest, some of the bushes need to go. There is grass all over the property and being Redlands it does better in certain times of the year.
For what Edward's Mansion has right now for photographic potential, it's very good. I've been coming here for years and watched it improve over the last decade. I have a feeling that if this place has an upswing in business it will put in some really nice landscape features. A waterfall would make this venue so much more desirable.
This place is located in Redlands which gets nice and toasty in the summertime. There's actually a large water park nearby Edward's Mansion which is a favorite of locals. And there is the San Bernardino Archaeological Center which is located in front of Edward's that hides it's view from the freeway. So, it's easier to miss now than ever before. Still you're only a five minute walk from local farm fields. So, Edward's is on a busy oasis in the middle of nowhere. The good news, for now, there are no residential neighborhoods behind Edwards, so turn up the music! it's looking like the farm fields are being replaced by enormous distribution warehouses, so hopefully this will be a place where noise ordinances won't be an issue. This tends to be a problem with venues that have tent receptions. The noise can be heard for miles.
I have to also say that the food is just okay at this facility. Not bad, but could be better. I did like the Mexican food bar at the last wedding I was at during the cocktail hour.
The reason I wrote this review is that I am rooting for Edward's Mansion. The last few times I've been to it I was a bit concerned that they weren't as busy as they used to be. The reason I write these reviews is to shine a light on some places that are worthy of consideration. What I can tell you is that the people who work at this place have been super nice to me. That's important because I don't like venues that are nice to guest but rotten to vendors.
Since Edward's is a mega-venue they probably have the ability to cut deals and give a bride an groom a bigger bang for their buck. If one of my daughter's selected this venue for their wedding I wouldn't object.
This place is a 'bang for your buck' type of venue. It's not close if you live in Los Angeles or Orange County. I do think that is has enough charm and qualities about it that it's worthy of checking out. It's a bit of a drive but it's worth the trip!