Why should you choose a wedding venue in Southern California?
Southern California is a treasure trove of wedding venue gems. From lush farmlands and rustic gardens to aromatic vineyards and spacious industrial buildings, the Golden State has it all.
Having to search through so many fabulous choices can feel overwhelming. Where do you even start?
Fortunately, I’ve been able to visit and work at many of these locations. I’ve explored the grounds, strolled through the gardens, carried my camera around bridal suites and barns. Each is unique and offers gorgeous photo opportunities for couples on their wedding day.
Today I’m introducing you to 7 of these Southern California wedding venues. All of them have a special place in my heart. And once you see them, maybe they will for you too.
1. Forever and Always Farm
Flowers, alpacas, and peacocks, oh my! Farm life has never been so beautiful. And it can all be yours (well, at least on your wedding day.) We photographed a beautiful wedding here last year!
Tucked into the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Preserve and surrounded by rolling hills and lush scenery, Forever and Always Farm is a beyond beautiful location for both your ceremony and reception. With a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces and places for photos.
4,000 white roses, lavender, star jasmine, and a wisteria-covered pathway welcome you to the ceremony venue – A quaint gazebo surrounded by stunning valley views provides the perfect backdrop for a vow exchange.
After your ceremony, cocktail hour commences under a covered arbor that sits next to a three-tier fountain. As you listen to the peaceful sound of the fountain and clink champagne glasses with family and friends, peacocks, sheep, cats, chickens, and alpacas may stop by for a visit. Which I’ll get pictures of!
The reception location at this wedding venue is equally as amazing. A canopied outdoor garden room easily fits up to 150 guests. This space is like a secret garden with twinkling chandeliers, mirrors, artwork, and walls dressed in greenery.
Another treasure you’ll find on the farm is the 1957 Porsche Speedster Convertible. This sleek, silver beauty is the perfect prop for a “getaway” car photograph
2. Franciscan Gardens
Rustic old-world charm meets garden romance at Franciscan Gardens. This cozy and quaint wedding venue is located in historic San Juan Capistrano and is owned and operated by top catering and event company, 24 Carrots.
Venue and caterer?! Awesome! You just checked off two birds with one stone.
Whether you want an all indoor wedding, all outdoor, or a mix of both, the Gardens deliver.
The outdoor courtyard is decorated with overhead cafe lights and white paper lanterns. Strings of twinkling fairy lights light up the surrounding trees. And in case you have a larger wedding, the space can hold 230-350 guests for a seated dinner.
The main indoor space can accommodate 180-250 guests and features polished wood floors, crystal chandeliers, and exposed brick walls. The combination of industrial and romantic details is truly on point.
There are also two spacious suites on-site where you and your wedding party can prepare for the day in style. Makeup lights, leather seating, full-length mirrors, and much more await you. A major convenience, for sure!
3. Ethereal Gardens
If you’re looking for a versatile wedding venue reminiscent of the Garden of Eden…Or you have a massive green thumb…Look no further than the Ethereal Gardens.
The Ethereal Gardens in Escondido sits on 40 acres of edible gardens. Yes, you heard that right! Fruit orchards, organic herbs, and vegetable gardens encompass this one-of-a-kind venue.
There are a host of different ceremony and reception sites to choose from. And the names are just as unique as the locations.
The Starry Night Meadow is 100 acres of organic farmland, birds, butterflies, and edible flowers. It’s like something out of a Disney movie! The meadow is the perfect place for a ceremony and alfresco reception.
The Orchard Barn is a redwood seed barn that crowns the hillside and smells of fruit blossoms.
The Passion Vine Greenhouse is a dreamy mix of passionfruit canopies and fragrant lilacs.
Stroll down the jasmine pathway and you’ll discover the Brick and Timber Chapel peeking out from giant pine trees. The chapel is a sanctuary of fir beam trusses and opaque glass windows.
The Ethereal Gardens also features a garden pergola and open-air pavilion surrounded by lush greenery and herb gardens.
But the goodies don’t stop there. A cute bridal suite, Smoked Cedar Lounge and Bar, handcrafted menus, and unique props and furniture make this venue a prime spot for saying, “I do.” And taking gorgeous photos, of course!
4. Hangar 21
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s Hangar 21.
While the hanger doesn’t house any planes, they do have a helicopter that you can make a grand entrance in. And afterward, guests can take a flight of their own. Fun, right?!
First of all, this is a huge property and can accommodate up to 1200 guests. Second, it’s a blank canvas that’s just waiting for you to paint your unique wedding style onto. Seriously, you can decorate it however you like. From the 20-foot ceilings to the exposed brick walls to the outdoor terrace, each space becomes uniquely yours.
Tables and chairs are included in the facility fee and Jay’s Catering provides delicious food options and party rentals.
The possibilities are endless at Hangar 21. If you fancy yourself a creative type, have specific ideas you want to implement, or want to stick with a minimalist theme, this Orange County venue gives you exactly what you need.
5. Ponte Winery
Nothing says Southern California like a winery!
Escape to the countryside and experience the allure of the vineyards at Ponte Winery for your wedding. With both indoor and outdoor venue sites, each delivering showstopping views and architectural delights, the Ponte Vineyard is amazing.
For your ceremony, there’s the Vineyard Garden, the Pond at Ponte Vineyard Inn, and the Barrel Room for you to choose from.
In the Garden, you and up to 400 guests will enjoy vineyard views and a manicured lawn complete with mature, towering trees. You’ll say “I do” under a charming pergola decorated however you envision.
Or you could get married in the courtyard overlooking the Vineyard Inn pond. This space accommodates 100 guests and features a 180-degree vineyard and mountain backdrop.
The Barrel Room seats 150 guests and has an old-world sophistication about it. Barrels of aging wine surround the space, while chandeliers hanging from wooden beams create an atmosphere of elegance.
You can also host your reception in the Barrel Room. Additionally, there’s the modern, ranch-style Vineyard Pavilion and the cozy mahogany Reserve Room where you can have a seated dinner prepared by the vineyard’s executive chef.
6. Sam Clemente Historic Cottage
Beach weddings are a blast and extremely beautiful, but not everyone wants an ocean-front ceremony where they have to worry about the sand (or your hair, your veil, your makeup, and your floral arch…). This is where the Historic Cottage saves the day. It’s everything you could want in a beach wedding venue without the sandy mess.
This 1930’s whitewashed cottage pops against the SoCal blue skies. Colorful blooms and rows of green gardens add to the cottage’s charm. And make divine backdrops for wedding photos.
All events are held outside in the cottage courtyard. The ocean sits just over the horizon and on clear days you can see Catalina Island and San Clemente Island. And maybe even a pod of whales passing by. How rad!
At the Historic Cottage, you’ll have access to a catering kitchen, private restroom, dressing room, and an outdoor gas fireplace.
BRICK is a whole lot more than an industrial building made of red brick walls and high ceilings. In fact, it’s a dream space for couples wanting a spacious venue they can dress up or down as much as they like.
Drape the ceilings with fabrics, lights, disco balls, greenery. Add fun decor like patterned linens, photo booths, or room dividers… whatever suits your mood!
Need help designing the space? BRICK offers full-service coordination, layout design, and setup. Like your own personal design concierge from the people who know the space best.
Invite up to 220 guests and bring in your preferred vendors. BRICK is all about fun and flexibility!
So many amazing options, so little time! If one of these amazing venues jumps out at you, let me know! Or, reach out directly, and let them know I sent you!
And in case there is a venue you have in mind that’s not on this list – Sounds great! There are so many beautiful venues in Southern California, it’s impossible to include them all. And if I haven’t worked at the venue before, there’s no need to worry. There are actually a lot of perks working at a new venue. You can read all about it in an upcoming blog post.