COCONUT GROVE – As brides, grooms, and corporate event planners continue to push the envelope on event trends, there’s only one South Florida professional who is staying ahead of the curve when it comes to unique venues, gourmet meals, and the ultimate in customer service.
Bill Hansen, CEO and founder of Bill Hansen Luxury Catering & Events Production (www.BillHansenCatering.com), strives to always stay several steps ahead of his clients. One excellent example is the growing trend toward rustic weddings set on farmlands and other country-like settings.
“Most people don’t associate these types of events with South Florida,” said Hansen. “This is an urban environment, but we have added three country/garden venues to our growing portfolio of locations that satisfy these needs. Our clients can choose from a New England farm, an English estate, or a tropical paradise.”
Set in the Redlands farming area of Southwest Dade County, these locations include the Walton House, Estancia Culinaria, and Samsara – venues that bring distinctly different ambiances to those seeking rustic weddings.
These three locations are among the more than 100 exclusive venues throughout Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, and Monroe counties that Hansen offers to clients.
Located just 20 miles southwest of downtown Miami, this area boasts farms, original clapboard homes of early settlers, and u-pick’em fields. Mango, avocado, guava, passion fruit, lychee, jackfruit, canistel, sapodilla, longan, mamey sapote, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit), miracle fruit, jaboticaba, cecropia, and coffee beans are among the exotic produce grown in this area.
“It is becoming increasingly obvious that urban society is detached from the countryside – especially in South Florida,” said Hansen. “Our clients want a sense of history and uniqueness when planning the big day. These three locations are a quick drive from Miami and literally transport visitors to the early 1900s and an Indonesian-styled tropical paradise.”
Established as an avocado farm by Mr. Walton in 1917, his home is now the site for those seeking a unique venue and a glimpse of what South Florida was like a century ago. “The Walton House transports visitors into the past. Once through the gates, visitors always seem to slow down and absorb an ambiance which is unmatched in the area,” he said.
The centerpiece of this estate is a charming, historic English-style cottage. From its soaring gabled roof to surrounding country English flower garden and the adjacent European-styled horse stable, brides, grooms, and guests experience the flavor and old world charm of England right here in South Florida. Among the features are a lush tropical setting with rare and exotic flora in a botanical garden. The Walton House boasts a coral rock swimming pool with cascading waterfall, elegant swans and Japanese koi. Macaws, parrots, flamingos, waterfowl, cranes, giant tortoises, and monkeys add to appeal. A large Indonesian-style Chickee hut overlooking the lagoon is the perfect site for a ceremony.
Samsara, an exclusive Bill Hansen Luxury Catering venue, is a spectacular Indonesian-inspired garden paradise featuring waterfalls, koi ponds, and lush foliage in this Balinese-inspired garden venue. Intimate and private sitting areas, paths meandering through tropical landscaping, and numerous open-air covered structures. It provides all of the elements for a one-of-a-kind event.
“Samsara literally takes your breath away,” said Hansen. “In my 35 years in this business, I thought I had seen everything regarding unique locations. But Samsara proved me wrong. There is no other place like this in South Florida. Period.
“This location transports visitors to the Islands of the Pacific,” added Hansen. “This peaceful, bucolic location has quickly become one of our most sought-after venues. And, we’re pleased to add it to our menu of exclusive locations.”
With the addition of Estancia Culinaria, a 10-acre organic avocado farm in Homestead, Hansen now provides brides and grooms with a country setting that comes as a surprise to those first-time visitors.
“Estancia Culinaria certainly has the ‘oh wow’ factor since people in South Florida certainly don’t expect this type of venue that is usually associated with New England,” said Hansen. “Our goal is to create events that everyone will remember for years to come. It is clear that this venue accomplishes that.”
Estancia Culinaria boasts almost 1,000 majestic trees, horse paddocks, a coral rock chapel, and meandering walking paths.
“It’s like stepping back in time,” added Hansen. “There’s no traffic, just the sounds of wildlife and breezes coming through the trees. It gives visitors a clear picture of what life was like on a farm in the late 1800s. And now, it is available for that special day.”
Hansen points out that the possibilities for weddings and other events are limitless at these unique, quaint venues.
“Brides have arrived in horse-drawn carriages,” he said. “And visitors frequently stroll the grounds during receptions. Rustic cabins and barns are spread throughout the property, providing an unmatched romantic ambiance.”
Based out of Villa Woodbine, a historic mansion in Coconut Grove, Hansen and his team of executive chefs and event producers consistently deliver on their promise of creating “one-of-a-kind” memorable experiences that eliminate the stress during the event planning phase or on the day of the event.
In addition to Villa Woodbine, Hansen offers other venues including Vizcaya, the Kampong, Fairchild Tropical Garden, Park Place, Palm Court, The Alfred I DuPont Building, The Moore Building, The Cruz Building, the Walton House, Samsara, Estancia Culinaria, The Charles Deering Estate, 1111 Lincoln Road, The Gallery of Amazing Things, The Versace Mansion, The Temple House the Rubell Family Collection, The Ice Palace, The Walton House, The Ancient Spanish Monastery, The Bonnet House, The Needham Estate, to name a few. He caters at more than 100 venues throughout South Florida.
There is no detail too small for Hansen and his staff.
“We offer all types of cuisine with a catering staff that rivals any 5-star restaurant in the area,” said Hansen. “Our chefs provide all types of ethnic cuisines and Kosher menus, to name a few. There isn’t a menu we cannot provide to our clients.”
About Bill Hansen Luxury Catering & Events Production
Bill Hansen started Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Events Production in 1980, under the name Bills’ Catering. Working out of The Miami Club, downtown Miami’s premier city club, he took Miami by storm and became a major player in the upscale catering arena. In 1983, he discovered Villa Woodbine, a historic mansion in Coconut Grove, which is today one of Miami’s most sought-after weddings venues.
For the past 35 years Bill Hansen Luxury Catering has paired with South Florida’s finest venues and vendors to cater and produce luxury events for hundreds of Fortune 500 firms, thousands of bridal couples and the who’s who of the celebrity world, offering its clients a wide variety of unique venues along with innovative catering, event planning, décor, and flawless execution.
It is the preferred or exclusive provider at over 100 South Florida venues and was recently voted “Caterer of the Year” in 2015 by Bizbash readers and colleagues. The firm was also named the 2016 Business of the Year” by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.