There’s something so appealing about a hotel wedding—most of the elements are already baked into the place, and it generally means less stressful research and decision-making. Not to mention, it comes with accommodations for your out-of-town guests! Jaw-droppingly beautiful destinations seem to be endless in Southern California, but some recent hotel and resort openings mean there are 10 more for the list.
Here, a rundown of the latest and greatest venues in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties that take the concept of romance to new heights—in some cases quite literally.
Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel, Downtown LA
LA-based foodies know there’s definite appeal to holding your wedding somewhere that James Beard Foundation Award winners Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne are in charge of the menu—with your input, of course. Beyond the edible attraction, this hotel designed by Kelly Wearstler is cool, historic, and modern. The landmarked building in the South Park District has 14,000 square feet of event space, which includes an original 2,600-square-foot ballroom dubbed the Cabrillo Club. Its arched windows, hardwood floors, and beamed ceilings are from 1926 (they’ve been cleaned up a bit) and are enhanced by custom and vintage lighting. A guest list of 120 fit for a reception, 80 for a seated wedding dinner. The hotel happens to have a couple jaw-dropping suites—one with its own indoor pool and another inside an original basketball court—that make for an epic place to spend your first night as newlyweds.
Alila Marea Beach Resort, Encinitas
If epic ocean panoramas sound like your idea of the ultimate wedding decor (and maybe even surfboards), then this new clifftop Encinitas resort specializing in barefoot luxury is one to consider. The endless Pacific Ocean backdrops all ceremonies on the Ocean Bluff site, which sits above the beach and guarantees memorable sunset photo ops for I dos in front of up to 210 (or a reception for up to 150 guests).
The sparkling coastline is also front and center from the Oceana Ballroom, which includes a terrace and foyer. Twin sets of nano doors that, when open, let in the sea breeze to the space. The resort’s ethos is very much steeped in sustainability and local sourcing, so expect customizable food and drinks to be reflective of the special environment (even the spa as well!) and its bounty. For 2022, ceremony and location fees are $8,500 on Saturdays and holidays, and $5,500 for Fridays and Sundays.
Palihouse Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara
With drool-worthy design (think pink chandeliers, spirited tile, colorful walls, and rooms that define #bedroomgoals) and charming spaces like a fountain-studded courtyard with bistro lighting and banana leaves, this bespoke 24-room and -suite boutique hotel in Santa Barbara’s Presidio neighborhood (it’s pet-friendly, too) is a warm place for a wedding that feels as though it’s in some jet-setter’s tasteful private estate. The full property buyout starts at $55,000, and would include the garden cafe, cocktail bar, private dining room, pool area, and lobby lounge, each distinctively photogenic. For seated prix-fixe dinners, the maximum is 50 guests, and for passed appetizers, 100. It’s a brilliant place for a family-style day-after brunch or rehearsal dinner as well, with crowd-pleasing menus that can be fully customized.
The Seabird, Oceanside
This seaside escape is home to plenty of mesmerizing venues for extravagant weddings or more small-scale ones. Either way, this is a location for couples who appreciate playful decor. It’s in the midst of the Oceanside Arts District and boasts artwork curated by Oceanside Museum of Art—and easy access to the Pacific Ocean and a sandy beach, of course. (Not to mention no-brainer train access from Los Angeles and San Diego.) There are 226 indulgent guest rooms plus a pool deck, a cabana called The Shelter Club, Sunny’s Spa and Beauty Lounge (the farm-to-sea treatments are a pre-ceremony must), and a library. There is also a robust “Little Seabirds” program making it extremely family friendly. The nearly 20,000 square feet of event spaces (40,000 square feet if you count sister resort Mission Pacific) are complemented by farm-to-table cuisine that defines SoCal.
Cuyama Buckhorn, New Cuyama
If it’s a cool destination you’re after, this 1950s motel–turned–boutique mini resort in Santa Barbara’s naturally stunning high desert (known as the Hidden Valley of Enchantment) could be it. There are fire pits, a pool with fountains, a barrel-shaped sauna, local farm- and ranch-to-table restaurant, garden, and greenhouse with seating that’s perfect for a wedding cocktail hour or reception. There are both indoor and outdoor spaces for ceremonies and dinner, including the Desertscape, which can host 120 guests and provides a postcard-worthy sunset setting. The whole thing, including 21 rooms with vintage-chic design, is available for buyout, and the variety of areas are convertible for things like bridal party breakfasts, rehearsal dinners, or even movie nights. Because it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, the stars twinkle like diamonds—just the kind of canopy that makes a wedding that much more dreamy.
The Westin Anaheim Resort, Anaheim
If Disneyland is your jam, why not plan your big day in Anaheim, where guests can double dip on the weekend? This newly constructed hotel is right across from the resort, with Westin Heavenly Beds for resting your tired legs—either from dancing or walking through Disney. The 16,120-square-foot grand ballroom is perfect for large celebrations of love, while the resort features plenty of more intimate-sized venues as well. Highlights such as a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the nightly Disney fireworks (not a bad way to commemorate the special occasion!). The resort’s own creative culinary team and event planners on staff help each couple customize their day in every single way.
Mission Pacific Hotel, Oceanside Beach
With 700 feet of beachfront property, this new JdV by Hyatt property (sister hotel to The Seabird) has a bohemian feel, stylish yet easygoing. The 161 guest rooms and public spaces share a palette of serene colors, soothing textures and Cali-cool furniture that feels appropriate for an environment enveloped in salty air. The courtyard wraps around the historic Top Gun house (now home to decadent seasonal high-pies), and indoor-outdoor vibe pervades the entire property. There’s a rooftop pool as well as bar and lounge that evoke Cali’s surf culture. Venues range from the intimate to more sweeping (like the ocean view Pacific Garden, which makes a spectacular ceremony spot), but all share menu options that celebrate nearby Valle de Guadalupe (Mexico’s wine region) using locally sourced fish, meat and produce, not to mention spirits and vino.
Balboa Bay Resort, Newport Beach
While this beloved Newport Beach resort is not new, they’ve just debuted a luminous venue called Lighthouse, comprising an almost 2,700-square-foot interior plus exterior patio and 300-plus-square-foot private room that doubles as a wedding suite. The space is cool coastal blue and white, with modern touches and luxurious finishes—think gray herringbone wood-look flooring, candle wall, glam lighting, grasscloth wallpaper, and a bold blue private bar. The Mediterranean-inspired venue, like the other elevated options at the resort, celebrates the beachy setting through menu options and decor and, based on a $15,000 food and beverage minimum, the couple gets a complimentary suite and menu tasting.
Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
The verdant East Lawn is a picturesque ceremony spot, as is the sunny patio overlooking the Great Stone Church at this SoCal hotel. Other options include the indoor Catalan Room and Los Olivos space, the Olive Grove, Landmark Courtyard and, just a quick drive off-property, Serra Plaza, which is a Spanish-style plaza with photo-ready arches, adobe-style walls, and a burbling fountain. Intimate or expansive (for up to 450 guests), any size celebration can be accommodated amid eye-catching hacienda-style architecture in the historic downtown of the iconic destination where Cliff Swallows come to nest.