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Publisher’s Picks 2020

Best ALL AROUND Pick: 

 

ETHEREAL GARDENS- TRADEMARK VENUES 

bride

Set on 40 acres of edible gardens, surrounded by old growth orchards and 100 acres of organic herb and vegetable farms. Ethereal Gardens is an “out of the box” venue that is completely private and not just another golf course, winery, banquet hall or hotel. They are completely open to creative ideas and outside vendors such as florists, photographers, photo booths, food trucks and so much more. They do have a wonderful list of preferred pros to make the planning a breeze.

Dena’s input: “Such a fun wedding venue– Please add it to your must see wedding sites, I promise you will thank me later, that is if they are not already booked.”

Click here to see the entire list of our Publisher’s Picks for 2020 

wedding ceremony site

Our Favorite Wedding Venues Around San Diego

Written by: Publisher, Dena Malasek & Nicole Little

“The abundance of stunning venues, beautiful beaches, and pleasant climate make every day a fine day for a wedding in America’s Finest City. San Diego is home to extensive wedding venue options, and San Diego Style Weddings is the perfect place to initiate your search for the ideal venue for your special day. Whether you’re hoping for a classic formal wedding, or are opting for a more casual Southern California vibe, San Diego has amazing wedding venue options that can suit every taste. The popularity and demand to be married here means that you should jump right into your venue search and get a deposit down quickly, as sometimes places can be booked as far as two years out. This year’s venues especially impressed me with some new standout locations, alongside the consistent classics, so I have compiled my top picks to encompass all aspects of venues San Diego has to offer.”

 

Best New Venue

THE GUILD HOTEL  

The Guild Hotel is a re- imagination of the iconic historic Armed Services YMCA building, in the heart of Downtown San Diego. The Hotel draws in a collective of curious, creative people who seek the most from life. The hospitality experience, rooted in nostalgia, is invigorated by combined elements of modernism and chic luxury design. Whether it’s the iconic character of the Grace Ballroom, the elegance of the Society Ballroom, or their garden’s urban oasis, your ideal venue awaits.

Dena’s input: “I absolutely love this new gem of a wedding venue, light and airy and everything a couple could ask for in a posh hotel”.

 

New Name and Reinvented

SAN DIEGO MISSION BAY RESORT formerly San Diego Hilton Mission Bay

The quintessential California resort & retreat has just got a new name. White sand beaches, lush greens and arching tropical palms provide a number of gorgeous and unique backdrops for the special day of your dreams. Sunset cocktail hours are a must before your elegant reception on a bayside garden lawn under large arching palms, don’t miss the night viewing of the elaborate Sea World fireworks display as it sparkles in the water of Mission Bay. Choose from more than seven exceptional locations for your wedding day on the grounds. Whether your style is intimate or a lavish affair, this great venue showcasing their new name San Diego Mission Bay Resort is sure to please.

Dena’s input: “So excited for this wonderful venue which has recently announced that they are reinventing themselves without the Hilton brand. This venue is a San Diego landmark right off the 5 highway. We expect great things from then when it continues to be strong in the wedding market”.

 

Best Ethnic Venue and Large Celebrations

DOUBLETREE PALM SPRINGS 

The DoubleTree is a versatile Palm Springs wedding venue offering gorgeous views, an attractive location, and expert planning services. Located near downtown Palm Springs, Double Tree provides a very large and flexible event space featuring several indoor and outdoor spaces. With lush green grounds and sky-high palm trees, their outdoor wedding venues provide a beautiful, romantic backdrop for your vows. Host your ceremony on the outdoor sundeck overlooking the panoramic golf course and San Jacinto Mountains. From intimate gatherings to extravagant affairs, DoubleTree Golf Resort Palm Springs Area can accommodate a wedding or reception of nearly any size.

Dena’s input: “With our launch into the Palm Springs and Desert Cities market, we love this venue. It truly has so much beautiful space to work with for your wedding”

 

MANCHESTER GRAND HYATT

Honor your love with the grandeur it so richly deserves at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. The spectacular waterfront hotel creates the perfect ambiance for your once-in-a-lifetime celebration, with elegant ballrooms, delectable cuisine, and personalized attention to detail that is surpassed by none. Imagine a perfect California sunset as your wedding backdrop. The Manchester Grand Hyatt offers a bouquet of venues to make that dream a reality.

Dena’s input: “Another beauty of the San Diego skyline. This property has kept its highly acclaimed reputation for grand events for quite some time”

 

ESTANCIA LA JOLLA HOTEL & SPA

With award-winning gardens and hacienda-style architecture, this venue is celebrated for its personalized service and unparalleled beauty. Beautiful garden areas for weddings of all sizes, they are a favorite for the ethnic and diverse weddings.

Dena’s input: “Really appreciate that Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is so unique to others in San Diego, more with their desert style and amazing luxe service.”

 

MARRIOTT MISSION VALLEY

Featuring stylish décor and a warm and welcoming ambiance, plus large flexible event
space, including a spectacular ballroom and tent. This venue is tucked away in Mission Valley and conveniently located just minutes from downtown. From award-winning catering, elegant venues, comfortable accommodations, and Marriott Certified Wedding Planners, the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley takes the cake when it comes to planning ethnic weddings and weddings of all kind in San Diego.

Dena’s input: “Truly a gem of Mission Valley with more space than imaginable and are flexible with Ethnic cuisine catering needs.”

 

Destination Wedding Look – Feel Fun- Make it a Weekend Celebration

PARADISE POINT

For weddings and every other momentous occasion, choose from over 80,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space featuring impeccably-designed ballrooms, verdant gardens, soothing lagoons, bayfront lawns and sandy beaches, all designed to set your San Diego wedding or celebration miles away from ordinary. Paradise Point is your destination for all things “I do.” Say your vows in an unforgettable wedding location that embodies the quintessential San Diego wedding experience, like a beach wedding venue, picturesque waterfront terrace or emerald garden dotted with palm trees.
Dena’s input: “Every time I am at this gorgeous venue I feel like I am in Hawaii- such a great San Diego wedding hot spot.”

 

Dragon Point Villa is a family owned modern luxury villa and boutique event venue. The 5 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, modern style villa is situated atop one of the highest elevations of Fallbrook, CA, and is set on 8-acres of dragon fruit groves and vineyards. The property features epic views of San Diego’s North County agricultural and coastal landscapes.

Dena’s input: “A must see newer North County venue, offering VRBO with sleep overs- views are spectacular and a very modern house. Great pricing for a weekend celebration!”

 

HUMPHREYS HALF MOON INN

bride & groom, marine, boats

Set amidst tropical palms and the sparkling waters of San Diego Bay, Humphreys Half Moon Inn offers a majestic setting perfect for garden ceremonies and outdoor receptions and beautiful destination weddings! Waterfront ballrooms offer breathtaking views of the yacht marina. Beautifully appointed guest rooms offer accommodations for out-of town wedding guests.

Dena’s input: “Overlooking some of San Diego’s most beautiful yachts, a water wedding experience for sure!

 

Urban Appeal

LUCE LOFT

Just a few blocks east of the Gaslamp Quarter, a historic converted Carnation Dairy Factory, specializes in hosting events looking for that Urban Vibe. No need for stuffy here, open or cocktail style receptions seems to fit well with the high arching barrel ceiling, stained concrete floors, large windows, and poured concrete walls all make for a modern picture perfect venue.

Dena’s input: “Wow this space is wonderful and the sky’s the limit of what you can do with this venue. We are excited for the owner to open another great venue in Little Italy, opening at the beginning of 2020 ”

 

HARBOR VIEW LOFT 

Expansive views of the San Diego Harbor, Marina, Coronado Bridge, and twinkling city lights, this is perfect if a view is what you are looking for. It features a wraparound balcony, rooftop ceremony & cocktail hour area and panoramic windows, so as the sun sets you can take in the beauty of America’s finest city. Offering all-inclusive menus and bar packages, Harbor View Loft makes your urban wedding planning easy.

Dena’s input: “Nice bright and light wonderful venue with spectacular views from every side”

 

Make it a Package Deal

GALWAY DOWNS- WEDGEWOOD WEDDINGS

wedding party

Located in Temecula Wine Country, this venue will amaze you with its stunning blend of lush green meadows, modern amenities, and a dressing suite you’ll want to sign a lease on. Enjoy a rustic-yet-sleek reception in the modernized barn called “The Carriage House,” featuring a stately built-in bar, a two-way fireplace, and generous room for dancing. A dreamland that combines sophisticated flare with epic photo opportunities, Galway Downs will spark your love affair with equestrian culture.

Dena’s input: “Hands down one of my favorite venues in Temecula and they made it easier now that they are a Wedgewood Wedding Venue- which means great packages and many things are included to make it easier on your day!”

 

INN AT CHURON WINERY

Nestled atop 11 acres of estate vineyards, the Inn at Churon Winery offers you more than just a ceremony and reception site. If you imagined a romantic wedding filled with the rustic countryside, rolling mountains, tiered lawns, and a dramatic entrance through their vineyard arches then you are ready to embark on an experience of timeless elegance. Only one ceremony/reception per day is held at their estate to ensure that your wedding receives all the attention it deserves. The All-Inclusive Package is designed to take the stress out of planning. This distinctive wedding and reception will be cherished and remembered for a lifetime.

Dena’s input: “Charming Inn midway down Rancho California Rd, the grounds are stunning and your can stay on property.”

 

Open Palette for Design

THE CROSSINGS AT CARLSBAD 

Built with inspiration for your special event this great venue gives you so much opportunity to design the perfect day! Their Event Coordinator, service staff, and food presentation will impress your guests. Experience dramatic ocean views and rolling vistas, perfect for beautiful pictures. Give your guests an experience they will talk about for years to come.

Dena’s input: “North County with a view is hard to find and the lush greens of the golf course definitely are a plus their packages makes planning a bit more affordable!”

 

CARMEL MOUNTAIN RANCH ESTATE

bride and groom

Like a timeless love story a classic wedding setting never goes out of style. Set amidst panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, Carmel Mountain Ranch is the picture perfect setting for your much anticipated day. From an intimate ceremony to a gala event, their talented experts will help you plan an affair to remember. Their magnificent clubhouse features an elegant main dining room on the second level with breathtaking views, along with their white gazebo offers an idyllic setting for wedding ceremonies, and only steps away from your reception.

Dena’s input: “I always love when we get to shoot here the lighting is magical. Truly their ballroom allows you to design whatever you dream!”

 

MADERAS GOLF COURSE

This scenic mountain setting in North County San Diego has acres of lush green fairways, lakes, and waterfalls, creating a memorable backdrop for your most important day. The Tuscan inspired ballroom and panoramic views are the ideal stage for creating the ideal San Diego wedding experience. You will find Maderas wedding location to be an extraordinary place in an out-of-the-ordinary atmosphere.

Dena’s input: “Who doesn’t love a wedding with golf course greens, lakes and waterfalls?”

 

Estate or Unique Venue

DRAGON POINT VILLA

Dragon Point Villa is a family owned modern luxury villa and boutique event venue. The 5 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, modern style villa is situated atop one of the highest elevations of Fallbrook, and is set on 8-acres of dragon fruit groves and vineyards. The property features epic views of San Diego’s North County agricultural and coastal landscapes.

Dena’s input: “Such a great venue and excited to share them with all of our readers! I may need a little staycation at this unique wedding venue”

 

LORIMAR COACH HOUSE 

The Coach House is a vineyard influenced, rustic cottage, and event venue located in the heart of Temecula Wine Country adjacent to Lorimar Winery. Known for unique fairy tale-style weddings, this indoor/outdoor venue boasts an intimate ceremony and reception site, overlooking a quaint, private lake. Customizable packages to fit the budget, style, and vision of your wedding or private events up to 100 guests.

Dena’s input: “We love that they are using this venue as a great option for smaller weddings, showers, engagement celebrations and even a few guests can stay!”

Instagram Worthy Venue Picks

 

GREEN GABLES GARDEN ESTATE- TRADEMARK VENUES 

Earthy, light, airy and feathery describe this venue. In the shade of a lush, landmark forest, this historic garden estate is surrounded by ivy-covered arbors, blooming rose gardens, trickling fountains, picturesque statuary, and thousands of bright twinkling lights. Everything that sounds perfect for not only a spectacular wedding but great selfies and Instagram posts!
Dena’s input: “Love-Love this venue the charming schoolhouse and just the wonderful grounds make it one of my all time favorites!”

 

TWIN OAKS GARDENS- TRADEMARK VENUE


Allow yourself to be transported back in time with lush gardens, twinkling rose arbors, tranquil waterfalls, and romantic statuary surround a historic estate nestled among the towering trees of a private, intimate forest. Dine and dance the night away with your guests in a grand tented pavilion adorned with elegant peaks of chiffon, glimmering crystal chandeliers, and your own customized arrangements and décor. Lots of twinkling lights for sharing the magical night through Instagram posts.

Dena’s input: “Always one of my favorites with hundreds of Real Wedding submissions, this sweet historic landmark is a wedding palace.”

 

Historic Charm

THE US GRANT

wedding ceremony site

The US Grant has hosted the city’s finest events since 1910. The four distinctive ballrooms rival Hollywood’s grandest sets capturing the essence of romance in unique architectural details and crystal chandeliers sparkling from above. The high level of service paired with the attention to every last detail serves to set the US Grant a world apart.

Dena’s input: “I feel like royalty when visiting this venue, something about the old world charm and such historic credits. A gorgeous hotel for the more formal and traditional couples.”

 

THE LAFAYETTE HOTEL

With abiding charisma and a touch of glam that every bride deserves, not only does The Lafayette Hotel offer an affordable wedding venue in San Diego, it is quite romantic. The vintage Mississippi Ballroom has played host to legendary San Diego parties, featuring the famous clam shell from 1946. A great backdrop for bands, toasts, or your head table. This event space adds old Hollywood glam to your special day.

Dena’s input: “Charm to no end this venue to be checked and added to your short-list if you want a little Old Hollywood Glam”

 

MT WOODSON CASTLE- PERSONAL TOUCH DINING

Mt. Woodson Castle is a San Diego historical site established in 1909. As a wedding venue, The Castle has eight and a half acres of landscaped grounds, both a Bride’s and Groom’s Dressing room, Children’s Play Room and much more. This fairytale venue is the perfect willow tree lined location for your special day.

Dena’s input: “Perfect for the fairytale wedding very charming.”

 

LEO CARRILLO RANCH- PERSONAL TOUCH DINING

The Leo Carrillo Ranch builtin the early 1900’s, the property boasts gorgeous agave plants, bougainvillea, birds of paradise, an abundance of trees, numerous varieties of colorful flowers, and brilliant peacocks, sure to get in your photos. This is the perfect venue to really “wow” your guests with a rustic style wedding or shabby chic event. Allow your creativity to come alive on the ranch and mix rustic chic with bohemian style for a cozy homey feeling or go for rustic elegance for a more extravagant affair!

Dena’s input: “Maybe partial as I hear every wedding from my house in Rancho Carrillo, but it really is such a historic wedding venue and managed by Personal Touch Dining where all your wedding planning needs are met!”

 

Iconic SoCal Vibe

HORNBLOWER DINING YACHTS

Why not take in America’s Finest City for your wedding aboard a Hornblower Yacht. Your guests will dine on sumptuous cuisine, see the city like never before, your out of town guests will cancel their return flights home! Their motto is “ Your wedding, Your way” they are all about customizing all the details.

Dena’s input: “You can’t go wrong with a wedding aboard a yacht as simple as that. Also a great option for an engagement party or activity while family is in town!”

 

COASTERRA- COHN RESTAURANT GROUP 

Tablescape, table design, tall centerpieces, dusk
This modern wedding venue overlooking the scenic San Diego Bay last year 2018-2019 Top Wedding Venue, could easily take that award again! The waterfront event space features unique wedding venues for your special ceremony and reception that offer breathtaking views of the bay and downtown skyline. As the Cohn Restaurant Group is renowned for personalized service and fantastic cuisine, they will certainly add special touches to your celebration.

Dena’s input: “Breathtaking views is an understatement”

 

Offering the perfect backdrop for parties, weddings and special events, The Prado features large space indoors and out to accommodate groups up to 2,500 guests. An on-site professional staff blends the expertise of special event planning with a flair for the unusual, which makes for a unique wedding experience. You know the food and service will be top notch as they are a part of the Cohn Restaurant Group events.

Dena’s input: “The Prado is so iconic San Diego with the luxury backdrops and the best location for pictures in all of San Diego”

 

Best Beach or Water Wedding Options

WATERBAR- OMG HOSPITALITY 

Located alongside the vibrant oceanfront boardwalk in Pacific Beach, Waterbar offers only the best in tantalizing menus, comfortable seating, panoramic views, and lively entertainment. With a “social seafood” menu, flavor-forward craft cocktails, local micro-brews, national brand favorites, and a diverse wine list, Waterbar’s thriving, energetic environment captures the passion of San Diego’s iconic coastline for an unforgettably satisfying experience. Looking for a beach or water wedding in a unique space check out Waterbar, it’s available for fully private receptions of up to 700 guests.

Dena’s input: “I am loving that fun restaurants are embracing the wedding market OMG Hospitality has some great options and Waterbar is just one of them.”

 

THE DANA ON MISSION BAY

beachfront wedding ceremony

The Dana on Mission Bay inspires weddings that reflect your personality. From ceremonies on the waterfront and intimate tropical courtyard, to receptions in the outdoor rose garden and marina views from the ballroom, let The Dana set the stage for romance in your perfect setting.

Dena’s input: “Vows in the sand and coastal California weddings is there anything more romantic?”

CATAMARAN RESORT

Secluded along sun-drenched shores of Mission Bay, the Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa offers a romantic paradise set amidst tropical gardens filled with a koi pond that serpentines the walkways. Exchange vows overlooking Mission Bay with your toes in the sand or in a private gazebo surrounded by lush greenery and tropical gardens.

Dena’s input: “The Cat is always one of my favorites with many fond memories.”

 

BALI HAI RESTAURANT

bride, groom, wedding dress, tux

The Bali Hai Restaurant continues to be a favorite San Diego venue. The spectacular view of San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline make it the perfect location for any special event. The Bali Hai provides an incredible canvas for moments that will last a lifetime.

Dena’s input: “You have to have Mai Tai’s at your wedding if this is your favorite choice!”

 

Hot Winery Wedding Picks

MT. PALOMAR WINERY

From the first steps up the grand staircase, to walking through the Italian-inspired terraces and gardens, you will be transported to an “old world” destination of true romance at Mt. Palomar. As you continue your journey to the hill-top wedding venues, you will find yourself surrounded by Temecula Valley’s picturesque mountains and lush vineyards, infusing every moment with beauty, charm, and elegance.

Dena’s input: “Very well executed and organized venue for your winery wedding.”

 

FALKNER WINERY

Falkner Winery is a family- owned winery in Temecula Valley Wine Country. Nestled on a hilltop overlooking acres of magnificent vineyards, the winery features panoramic views, painted sunsets and a private location surrounded by white roses, star jasmine arbors, tall cypress trees, olive trees, trickling Tuscan stone fountain, and wine vines. This is a premier wedding venue with an emphasis on fine wines, excellent food, and amazing customer service.

Dena’s input: “Loretta the owner is the best host, as she loves to make sure your day runs perfectly as expected!”

 

LORIMAR VINEYARD WINERY

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery blends rustic-charm and classic- elegance. With spectacular vineyard views and flexibility with event spaces, this venue creates intimate settings for any guest count. In the heart of the Temecula Wine Country, the Tuscan style winery is nestled amongst grape vines and citrus groves. Experience the sunset over the mountains to the west and a breathtaking view of Mount Palomar, with the sweeping valley vineyards to the east.

Dena’s input: “The mountains are so beautiful at sunset they too have a great team!”

 

WIENS FAMILY CELLARS

winery wedding

If you appreciate a beautiful vineyard setting, a warm atmosphere, handcrafted award-winning wine and carefully prepared cuisine sourced from local ingredients, Wiens Family Cellars is the perfect place for your romantic vineyard wedding. Located just 45 minutes north of San Diego, yet it feels like a world away. You will enjoy your ceremony surrounded by lush vineyards and the rich textures of a winery setting.

Dena’s input: “You gotta try their Amour de L’Orange sparkling wine, it totally gives Veuve Clicquot a run for the money, makes me thirsty thinking about it!”

 

Best ALL AROUND Pick for 2020

ETHEREAL GARDENS- TRADEMARK VENUES 

wedding ceremony site
Set on 40 acres of edible gardens, surrounded by old growth orchards and 100 acres of organic herb and vegetable farms. Ethereal Gardens is an “out of the box” venue that is completely private and not just another golf course, winery, banquet hall or hotel. They are completely open to creative ideas and outside vendors such as florists, photographers, photo booths, food trucks and so much more. They do have a wonderful list of preferred pros to make the planning a breeze.

Dena’s input: “Such a fun wedding venue– Please add it to your must see wedding sites, I promise you will thank me later, that is if they are not already booked.”