Refresh Your Guests with a Soothing Urban Spa Dinner

Stress melts away with a rehearsal dinner focused on self care at Vibiana in Los Angeles.
Written by
Ericka Franklin


Spring/Summer 2020

Located in the heart of historic downtown Los Angeles is Vibiana (, which once served as the city’s first Catholic cathedral. While the storied doors were originally opened for worship in 1876, the veneration continues today with a focus on romantic love as couples routinely choose to host their nuptials at the venue. Its current owners, chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser, have so delicately transformed the structure that they received the Chair’s Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy in 2019. And while the venue has lured many lovebirds to wed under its high ceilings, those couples are now flocking to the property’s newest venue offering, The Garden at Redbird. The intimate garden is perfect for rehearsal dinners, small weddings and receptions. Set against the backdrop of the cathedral on land shared with the Little Toyko Library, and lined with majestic Manzanillo olive trees, the 6,000-square-foot garden includes an outdoor brick oven for pizza and roasting meats, and a splendid seasonal garden bursting with vegetables, fruits and herbs. The garden’s bounty provides many of the ingredients for bar director Tobin Shea’s artisanal cocktails and Fraser’s five-star dinner menus.

Wedding planner Jenny Goodman of At Your Door Events ( notes that the space is also perfect for creating experiences for guests at rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and even weddings. “I love exploring self-care elements that can be offered at different wedding events,” she explains. For this event, guests were invited to experience the gratitude altar, where Goodman used pictures and candles to demonstrate the gratitude of friendship as well as affirmation cards. Guests were also treated to a beauty-bar station by BreLuxe ( complete with hair adornments such as rose quartz crystal hair clips by LouLee and Me for women and crystal boutonnieres for men. In addition, guests were treated to head and shoulder massages by the Spa Fairies, created photographic memories in the Oh! Snaptastic! Photo Booth—all before dining on a beautifully curated menu by Chef Neal Fraser that included hamachi crudo with hijiki, ponzu, ginger and nashi pear and rack of red wattle pork with fruit mostarda. And because The Garden is so peaceful, Goodman installed gentle reminders of the surrounding urban environment. “I used vibrant colors for the lounge area, a neon sign and hip-hop lyrics to remind the guest that we were in an urban garden.”

When it comes to your own affair, Goodman suggests including spa-type treatments for a memorable guest experience

Welcome guests and the bridal parties with a morning “sound bath” from Soundbath Haven on the day of the ceremony to help ground everyone for the busy day that ahead.

Include mini chair massages. After traveling to the wedding destination, which may involve a flight or a long commute in traffic, guests are sure to appreciate the treat of a shoulder massage.

An essential oil mixing station offers customized scents that guests can take home as a favor.

A wellness station, complete with elixirs and vitamin bags, keeps guests hydrated and energized, such as this one from WLNSS

Add in different food stations, such as a custom artisan ice cream cart from Mr. & Mrs. Creamery

Breluxe Beauty’s Pop-Up Beauty Bar gives guests the chance to be pampered with hair and makeup touch-ups


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