The Place Where Dreams Come True: Design the picture-perfect wedding at River Ridge Golf Club

GO GREEN Immaculately groomed grounds make a beautiful setting for any wedding.

By Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

In Ventura County, picturesque locations for the most memorable wedding abound. Beautiful beaches offer seaside romance, sprawling ranches provide rustic elegance. For something chic, consider a winery or elegant property with sweeping views. We are blessed with a seemingly endless list.

Looming high on that list for couples in search of a lovely and all-inclusive destination is River Ridge Golf Club.

“We’re like a one-stop shop where you can get everything in one,” explains General Manager Dee Fairbanks.

Attractive indoor and outdoor spaces? Yes. Fine food, wine and bar service available? Definitely. The expertise and staffing to design a wedding to each couple’s specific needs and desires? Absolutely! Add into all of this a variety of packages, mouthwatering menus, convenient location and proximity to top-notch accommodations, and you have the recipe for a flawless occasion that can be enjoyed by guests and hosts alike.

Step By Step

A River Ridge wedding starts with a consultation, where Director of Event Sales Steven Enders is ready to walk his couples through every step of the day — whether that includes a soup-to-nuts event with ceremony, banquet and evening entertainment, or something simple yet sophisticated, such as a small reception with passed appetizers. The options are endless (almost), and Enders will be both a knowledgeable guide in the weeks and months before, and a supportive presence the day of.

“I haven’t missed a wedding in four years!” he says with both pride and good cheer.
Enders works closely with his couples to determine the design, layout, colors, even flowers, if clients choose one of the packages that include floral services. River Ridge does not offer DJs, photography or the unforgettable wedding cake…but Enders is well connected, and can make plenty of recommendations.

HAVING A BALL River Ridge’s light-filled ballroom can accommodate up to 150 guests and makes an elegant location for a reception.

With more than a decade in the hospitality industry, he brings an expert eye and close attention to detail to every event. “I know what’s happening during every fifteen minutes of the wedding,” he states.

And he makes sure his brides and grooms have a diagram of the layout, so they can fully visualize the location of the receiving line, tables, gift area, etc. Ceremony rehearsals (if required) prior to the big day are included.

Indoors and Out

Beautiful grounds and event spaces allow River Ridge to offer dreamy options for saying “I do” both indoors and out.

The expansive ballroom is one of the property’s most popular options, due partly to its glorious views of the 18th hole.

“More than half the room is windows,” Enders confirms.

With over 2,000 square feet of elbow room and a wooden dance floor, up to 150 individuals will enjoy wining, dining and kicking up their heels in this elegant venue.

Craving something small and charming? No problem — Enders has put together beautiful weddings for as few as 25-50. For these, he recommends the Sunset Room. What makes this second-floor space so special is its golf course views and double French doors that look out onto a terrace.

PICTURE PERFECT A lovely balcony overlooking the terrace.

“It’s a very nice, intimate room,” Enders says, noting that at 700 square feet, it’s perfect for up to 50 people. And, when not being used for an event, it is available as a dressing room where brides, grooms and their attendants can get ready.

For larger parties, consider the outdoor pavilion, which can accommodate up to 200 people. Enders and his staff will make sure it is decorated to specification. While at this time there is insufficient lighting for evening events, it’s a wonderful option for a daytime soiree.

Exceptional Taste

Unlike similar venues, River Ridge does give event clients the option to bring in their own caterer, if desired…and for an additional fee. With Executive Chef Ruben Flores and his staff at your disposal, however, there’s no need to look elsewhere. And yes, the menu is both temping and varied.

“We have a chef and cafe where we provide food for our golfers, so we can provide food for any banquet,” Enders says. “Things we offer include California tri tip, seared cod in scampi sauce, trays of passed hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, reception displays…We also offer late-night snacks, sweet and savory. On the savory side, we have options such as carnitas tacos and grilled cheese with tomato soup shots. For sweets, you could have an ice cream sundae bar or churros with dipping sauces.”

PICTURE PERFECT A splendid fountain, a charming gazebo … there are many options for the perfect ceremony at River Ridge. Dress courtesy of Bella Mucci’s Bridal Couture.

Like every other wedding aspect, Enders works closely with his brides and grooms to make sure they have the perfect menu for their perfect day.

Beverages available include water, soda, coffee and tea, as well as beer, wine and cocktails. And yes, serious oenophiles: You can bring in your own wine if you prefer. Just know that it will be subject to a corkage fee.

“And we’d need to pour it,” Fairbanks adds, noting that any alcohol served on the premises would fall under the venue’s liquor license.

If customers choose to handle their own libations, a one-day liquor license issued by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control — with all associated fees and paperwork — would be required.

The convenience of relying on River Ridge…and the club’s expansive selection…might make that decision easier.

“We work with a local distributor, and they have Italian wines, French wines, California wines . . . everything from inexpensive to high end,” says Enders. “It’s a wide variety.”

Built-In Convenience

Let’s be honest: Even the most fabulous wedding venue has its drawbacks. An out-of-the-way location, terrible parking, limited food and beverage options, restrictions on head count or availability. Unless they’re among the privileged few who can claim “no expense spared,” anyone planning a wedding will have to contend with compromise.

River Ridge Golf Club has minimized that aspect.

The location is easy to find and access — not far from the 101 Freeway, with plenty of parking. And while there are no on-site accommodations, the Residence Inn by Marriott is just steps away — literally.

“The hotel is almost on property,” Fairbanks says. “It’s a short walk from the hotel to the golf course. It sits right near the No. 13 Fairway.”

According to Enders, “As long as it’s not ‘Cowboy Season’” — when the Dallas Cowboys NFL team comes to Oxnard to train — “we can usually get rooms.”

Guests, of course, will enjoy proximity to River Ridge’s award-winning golf course, as well as Oxnard’s many amenities: fantastic dining, bustling downtown and expansive beaches. It’s like having a destination wedding in a location that’s within easy driving distance from most parts of Southern California, or a short flight from most cities on the West Coast.

LIKE A DREAM Model Denielle Mucciacito Morrison strolls the River Ridge grounds in a gown from Bella Mucci’s Bridal Couture.

After working out all the details with Enders and his staff, couples can relax: “We do linens, napkins, tables, as well as set up and tear down.”

Interested in adding personal touches? No problem. Enders and Fairbanks both note that couples are free to add their own decorations — such as wedding favors and place cards. And in some cases, if there’s no event taking place, they can even start customizing the day before.

In short: If it makes the customer’s life easier, Enders and Fairbanks try to make sure it happens.

Dedicated to YOUR Dream

When asked what sets River Ridge Golf Club apart from other venues, Fairbanks doesn’t hesitate.

“We work with our customers from the beginning through the entire event.”

Regardless of the package selected, the goal of River Ridge staff is to provide couples and their guests with an exceptional, and memorable, wedding experience.

“One of the things I tell customers,” Enders says, “is that I make their dreams a reality.”

River Ridge Golf Club
2401 West Vineyard Avenue, Oxnard

River Ridge is available for all your event and
entertainment needs, including anniversaries, birthdays, celebrations of life, conferences, quinceañeras, seminars, trainings, weddings and other occasions.
For more information, email Steven Enders, Director of Event Sales, at