The Best Wedding Venues in San Diego

The Westin Carlsbad Resort Hotel & Spa takes the cake for our top San Diego venue

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Whitney Darling Photography

Boasting more than 300 days of sunshine a year, San Diego is a go-to for outdoor weddings. However, the southern California city’s wedding venues options aren’t limited to its beachfront hotels and resorts. Across the county, San Diego is host to myriad wedding venues in unexpected locations (a winery or a former 1920’s YMCA building, perhaps?) for every budget. Here are our recommendations for the best wedding venues in San Diego, whether you’re planning a small wedding, jonesing for a wedding with an ocean view, or are looking for something all-inclusive.

Best Overall: The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa

The Westin Carlsbad Resort Hotel & Spa

The Westin Carlsbad Resort Hotel & Spa

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $$-$$$ 
  • All-inclusive: Yes
  • Max Guests: 1,200 

Why We Chose It

Experts and guests rave about consistent, impeccable service and stunning grounds. 

Pros

  • Custom menus
  • Multiple outdoor and indoor venues
  • Panoramic views of Carlsbad

Cons

  • Outdoor receptions subject to city noise ordinance 
  • BYOB not allowed
  • Located within San Diego County, yet further away from attractions in or near San Diego

According to clients and wedding planners, The Westin Carlsbad Resort Hotel & Spa hits the mark every time with seamless service, customized menus (with accommodations for a range of dietary restrictions and preferences), and onsite guest accommodations. “The service has always been impeccable,” says Diana Romero of At Your Side Planning. “The outdoor ceremony location is exquisite and the day of is always very smooth.” Plus the coastal views can’t be beat. 

The resort—part of Marriott International—hosts upwards of 1,000 people and its staff can help bring to life a custom event, from large signage to a sparkler sendoff. Its location in northern San Diego County means proximity to attractions like Legoland, The Flower Fields, The Crossings at Carlsbad (an 18-hole golf course), Carlsbad Village’s restaurants and bars, and the city’s beaches are easily accessible.

Notable Amenities

  • Valet guest parking
  • Bridal suite
  • Sparkler send-off

Best Budget: Sheraton La Jolla Hotel

Sheraton La Jolla Hotel

Sheraton La Jolla Hotel

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $$
  • All-inclusive: No
  • Max Guests: 250

Why We Chose It

A wedding at Sheraton La Jolla places guests minutes from beaches and major attractions without the La Jolla beachfront sticker shock. 

Pros

  • Dedicated wedding specialist
  • Proximity to the beach without the price tag
  • Outdoor and indoor spaces

Cons

  • Those interested in a private event should know other events may occur simultaneously the day of your event
  • Not ideal for bespoke weddings 
  • Not ideal for large weddings

For a wedding in chic La Jolla with indoor and outdoor space, a dedicated coordinator, and guest accommodations onsite without completely breaking the bank consider Sheraton La Jolla, now part of Marriott International. While the property is located outside of downtown La Jolla and further from the ocean, previous wedding guests point to highlights like the tropical garden ceremony space with a koi pond, elegant ballrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a responsive coordination team. 

Its spaces hold up to 250 people. The hotel includes two fine-dining restaurants, a fitness center, a heated outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees, and a waterfall feature.

Notable Amenities

  • Intimate, tropical garden with koi pond
  • Elegant ballrooms feature neutral decor and floor-to-ceiling windows

Best for Outdoors: Milagro Winery

Milagro Winery

Milagro Winery

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $
  • All-inclusive: No
  • Max Guests: 200

Why We Chose It

Sweeping meadows, vineyard, expressive oak trees and more make Milagro Winery in Ramona a top choice for an outdoor wedding.

Pros

  • Attentive event planning staff
  • Expansive, natural settings 
  • Unique spaces 

Cons

  • Live music permitted during ceremony, cocktail hour, and first dance only 
  • Far from San Diego proper 
  • No onsite accommodations

Milagro Winery makes for a romantic, outdoor wedding venue. Couples typically say their vows beneath expressive oak trees before moving to the stone patio for the reception. Depending on guest count and in the event of rain, the wine cave and crush house may serve as an alternative, or tents can be rented. Among its visually interesting elements are sweeping views of vineyards and meadows, as well as unique spaces including a wine cave, a Tuscan-style crush house, and a stone patio that gives off intimate vibes when lit up with market lights. 

Reviews consistently give the venue’s wedding planning staff top marks for organization and communication. Rentals range from $5,700-$9,500. While there is a minimum wine buyout, clients are welcome to bring in outside wine for a per bottle corkage fee.

While its rural, natural setting transports guests out of the hustle and bustle of city life, note that unless guests book an Airbnb or vacation rental in Ramona or the neighboring mountain town of Julian, they’ll need to travel nearly an hour back to San Diego to bed down.

Milagro Winery’s 110-acre property is also host to fruit and nut orchards, an organic farm, hiking, and equestrian trails.

Notable Amenities

  • Stunning natural landscapes
  • Estate-grown, award-winning wine
  • Dynamic spaces include a wine cave, crush house, and stone patio

Best Garden Wedding Venue: Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden

Japanese Friendship Garden

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $-$$  
  • All-inclusive: No
  • Max Guests: 200

Why We Chose It

Meticulous landscaping, traditional Japanese garden features, and its location in the world-famous Balboa Park make for a unique garden wedding in this park within a park.

Pros

  • BYOB allowed
  • Midnight curfew
  • Complimentary parking

Cons

  • No outside catering 
  • Sparklers not allowed 
  • Parking, though complimentary, may be difficult 

Among the Garden’s Japanese-inspired features are koi ponds, waterfalls, bonsai, bamboo, and cherry trees. An upper-level garden includes a moon-viewing deck and outdoor reception area, while the lower garden features an indoor pavilion with wraparound deck and sliding shōji partitions that bridge the indoors with the out. 

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located within Balboa Park. As one of San Diego’s most historic (host of 1915’s Panama-California exposition) and top attractions, it counts 17 museums and cultural institutions, more than 15 gardens, and it's home to the San Diego Zoo.

Note that since the Garden is also a museum, private events are restricted to just several each year, so plan to book far in advance to secure this venue. Discounts off hourly rental rates are available for active or retired military members. This venue accommodates up to 200 guests, and minimonies for up to 30 guests happen Monday through Thursday. Rentals begin at $700 per hour.

Notable Amenities

  • Interesting garden features including a koi pond, bamboo, bonzai, footbridges
  • Located within Balboa Park
  • Free guest parking

Best for Small Weddings: FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery

FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery

FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $-$$
  • All-inclusive: Yes
  • Max Guests: 150

Why We Chose It

This plant-filled urban distillery transforms into an intimate wedding venue within one of San Diego’s most lively neighborhoods. Its range of services and photogenic spaces mean you can practically just show up.

Pros

  • All-inclusive packages available
  • Understated indoor/outdoor venue space
  • Plant- and natural-light filled space in an urban setting

Cons

  • Note ideal for lavish, over-the-top décor 
  • Not ideal for large weddings 
  • Street parking can be difficult

Weddings of less than 100 guests are frequently booked at FruitCraft Fermentery and Distillery, which is located in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood—meaning easy access to the airport, and major attractions like Balboa Park, as well as a number of hotel options downtown for all budget levels.

Couples appreciate that the dynamic, plant-filled space (which includes live-edge wooden tables, artsy lighting made from upcycled wine bottles) don't need much decor. They also give props for inclusive catering options and delicious drinks from the distillery itself. Audio equipment, linens, and china are available, too.

Spaces include a private outdoor patio surrounded by tropical greenery, and its indoor tasting room features high ceilings and exposed beams.

Notable Amenities

  • All-inclusive
  • Intimate, industrial-chic interiors
  • Proximity to airport, accommodations, major attractions

Best for Beach Wedding: Scripps Seaside Forum

Scripps Seaside Forum

Scripps Seaside Forum

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $$
  • All-inclusive: No
  • Max Guests: 200

Why We Chose It

For "so close you can almost touch it" beachfront vibes, LEED-certified Scripps Seaside Forum is a breathtaking beach wedding venue in San Diego.

Pros

  • Unobstructed beachfront 
  • Host both ceremony and reception outdoors, with indoor option
  • High-tech equipment including surround sound and high definition projector

Cons

  • Blank canvas venue means no furniture or decorations are included
  • Parking permits required
  • If the entire complex is not rented, your wedding may coincide with another event

From ceremony to reception, the Pacific Ocean serves as both an intimate and expansive backdrop at Scripps Seaside Forum for a wedding of up to 200 guests. The versatile venue garnered an architectural award in 2009 from the San Diego Architectural Foundation. It is also LEED-certified, recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly building. 

The modern building—a mix of wood, concrete, and steel—belies its warm interiors, which include enough space for a dance floor, a small band, and a photo booth area. Its location in La Jolla means guests are near a number of hotels like La Valencia, Estancia, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Beyond the beach, Scripps Seaside Forum is located close to the restaurant scene in La Jolla Village and Torrey Pines State Reserve’s hiking and walking trails.

Note that Scripps Seaside Forum schedules weddings on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. Rentals begin at $7,500 for the entire space.

Notable Amenities

  • AV/sound system
  • Day-of coordinator
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows open up for indoor/outdoor access

Best With an Ocean View: The Thursday Club

The Thursday Club

The Thursday Club

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $
  • All-inclusive: No
  • Max Guests: 150

Why We Chose It

Historic building meets indoor and outdoor space and ocean views in Point Loma.

Pros

  • Rental times can begin as early as 9 am
  • Entire use of property
  • Garden and ocean view settings

Cons

  • Reception activities must be held indoors
  • Street parking only, though hiring a valet service is allowed
  • Event hard stop at 9 pm

The Thursday Club offers private, intimate weddings with ocean views, a garden ceremony setting, and an indoor clubhouse to hold a reception. Rates range from $3,500 for weekday venue rental to $5,300 for a weekend and include use of the entire property, tables, and chairs. Its location in Point Loma near downtown San Diego is close enough to the city without being in the middle of it.

What The Thursday Club lacks in dedicated guest parking and extended hours it makes up for in an intimate venue that includes a private, landscaped ceremony garden (think water features, trellises, winding paths), a balcony with ocean views, and a clubhouse featuring original wood floors, French doors, chandeliers, stained-glass windows, and Spanish architectural touches and finishes.  

This venue accommodates 150 people (175 without a dance floor) and is available for booking up to two years in advance. Lighting packages are also available.

Notable Amenities

  • Main ballroom features a 300 square foot stage
  • Three outdoor patios, two include ocean views
  • Dressing room

Best for Uniqueness: The Guild Hotel

The Guild Hotel

The Guild Hotel

Key Specs

  • Price (venue range): $$
  • All-inclusive: Yes, with food and beverage minimums and room rentals
  • Max Guests: 200

Why We Chose It

A former YMCA from the 1920s is now a modern boutique hotel that has spruced up the original building’s inimitable features, like a basketball court turned main ballroom. 

Pros

  • Diverse ceremony and reception settings
  • Alternative dinner options available, from family style to buffet, heavy reception and action stations
  • Located in downtown San Diego

Cons

  • For overnight guests, may not be the quietest location 
  • Paid parking

What was once a YMCA for the Armed Services was reintroduced to San Diego in 2019 as The Guild Hotel, a member of Marriott’s Tribute portfolio. There are several spaces to choose from, including an urban garden ideal for ceremonies and cocktail hour for around 500, and the YMCA’s former basketball court-turned Grace Ballroom for up to 200.

The Guild offers wedding packages may include cocktail reception appetizers, three-course dinner, and a Champagne toast. 

The hotel is located in Downtown San Diego, with San Diego Bay, Petco Park, and Coronado Island nearby.

Notable Amenities

  • Historic spaces with original architectural details, modern furnishings
  • Dedicated event coordinators
  • Restaurant-style banquet menus

Guide for Choosing the Best Wedding Venues in San Diego

Is a Wedding Venue in San Diego Right for You?

If you’re looking for a wedding venue with outdoor elements, vineyard to ocean views, proximity to a range of cultural and natural attractions, and an underrated yet top-notch food scene (to name a few), a San Diego wedding is for you. Looking for beaches? Mountains? Desert? San Diego says check, check, check.

A pro tip: “The summer is very busy in San Diego, so for couples seeking a private, personal event, I would recommend staying out of the touristy areas,” Romero advises. Beaches and major attractions typically hit peak visitation numbers during summer.

Comparing Wedding Venues in San Diego

According to Romero, be sure to compare the following when booking a wedding venue in San Diego:

  • Does the venue offer parking, and if not, what are the fees?
  • If accommodations aren’t available for the wedding party to get ready, where will this happen?
  • What does transportation look like? Though the city proper itself is manageable, San Diego County is large. Note that unless a wedding is located within the city, individual transport will be most efficient.

Book Your San Diego Wedding Venue Today

To get started, most venues have a weddings section on their website with a FAQ for preliminary questions as well as a contact form to fill out. For example, some venues will list and include photos of their rentable spaces, preferred list of vendors, as well as direct contact information for the event specialist as applicable. Some venues also include an availability calendar.

FAQ
  • How much do wedding venues in San Diego cost?

    Like most cities, the cost of a wedding in San Diego will depend on several factors, including how large your guest list is, seasonality, which elements are inclusive of your venue rental, and what you’ll need to budget for separately. Roughly speaking, wedding venues in San Diego can start at $700 an hour or $3,000 for a blank canvas venue.

  • What types of wedding venues are available in San Diego?

    San Diego’s beautiful weather affords a number of outdoor wedding venues, from wineries, gardens and waterfront resorts to craft breweries, distilleries, and more.

  • Are wedding Venues in San Diego all-inclusive?

    All-inclusive wedding venues are available in San Diego. The best way to determine whether a venue is all-inclusive is to contact the venue directly to confirm.

  • What do wedding venues in San Diego offer?

    Wedding venues in San Diego boast ideal weather and range from historic to modern venues in locations around the county.

Methodology

Brides considered a number of venues to determine its top wedding location picks in San Diego, and deliberated over factors including price, service, location, amenities, and unique features and touches.

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