How To Have A Californian Wedding – La Jolla’s Best Wedding Venues

facebook-profile-picture By Rebecca

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Have you thought about having a destination wedding? More importantly, have you thought about California being that destination? I was lucky enough to be invited by the San Diego Tourist Board to experience La Jolla’s spectacular wedding venues. La Jolla is known as the jewel of San Diego in Southern California and I truly fell in love with it {to the point that I could have lived there forever}. The wedding venues were all straight out of Pinterest too and string lights are as standard out there.

The coastal scenery is breathtaking with sparkling beaches, idyllic year round sunshine and incredible sunsets. La Jolla is certainly a postcard-perfect setting to say ‘I do’ or spend a honeymoon. You could combine it as part of a fly-drive up the coast to LA and/or Las Vegas but you could also fly to Hawaii easily from here or scoot just down the coast to beautiful Mexico. While it is a fairly long flight to get to California, around 10 hours, there are competitive deals for flights out there and once you’re there you have so much to see and do. Plus all of the sunshine and minimal stress compared to an English wedding, win win!

Ok, so let’s talk wedding venues in the first of these #sygmdoescali blog posts. And over the next couple of afternoons there will be a general San Diego and La Jolla travel/honeymoon guide.

La Valencia Hotel

We stayed at La Valencia first, the most romantic hotel in the heart of La Jolla with the ocean and gorgeous beaches just out the back gate. It had a feel of a relaxed Mediterranean resort with it’s pink exterior, palm trees and spanish tiles yet old school hollywood glamour too after having a multi million dollar refit recently. The setting was magical, especially with the sunset pink skies every evening.

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There are indoor and outdoor ceremony sites, but why would anyone choose to get married inside when you’re in California? The sunshine and blue skies out there are unbeatable {they only have rain on less than 30 days a year and even then it will usually clear up by the afternoon! How mad is that}. There are also three reception rooms with ocean views that has space to accommodate up to 175 people. You could use a combination of the spaces for the wedding day as well as for bridal showers, rehearsal dinners or a big post wedding brunch! I really loved the ceremony area above the pool overlooking the ocean.

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You can customise it as much as you want with an arch or flowers but the setting really is so gorgeous just as it is.

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You could have photos around the resort and then walk across the road, literally a thirty second walk, to the beach for sunset photos. My favourite was Shell Beach to watch the sunset on the rocks but equally La Jolla Cove was beautiful, the water is crystal clear and turquoise with seals and pelicans everywhere.

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The service was really incredible at La Valencia and all couples have the personal attention of a dedicated catering manager who overseas every detail from the ceremony location and event design to custom menus and wine pairings. They plan destination weddings from all around the world so you can liaise most of the details before you fly out. The food was a real highlight too from The Med Restaurant or Cafe La Rue.

View More: http://francephotographers.pass.us/lavalencia

You can find all the details for a La Valencia wedding here. {and check out their ultimate luxury package where you can use the whole hotel like a villa for the weekend!}

Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa

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We visited the Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa which was one of my favourite venues. The hotel itself is a nine acre resort that has been converted from old stables in a stylish Rancho Californian way with authentic charm. Think exposed beams, arches and ceramic tiles. I loved the big cactus and palm trees as we walked around the grounds, rustic barn stars and outdoor fireplaces. It felt more like a private estate than a hotel with lots of communal outdoor seating areas and I imagine it feels like home for a few days if a group of you are there for a wedding. The focus for weddings here is being outdoors with even the big ballrooms opening up to an inviting outdoor area filled with string lights!

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There are a number of places you could have your ceremony, my favourite was the Olive Lawn as shown below. It was the perfect blank canvas to set up something pretty like this display with the drapes.

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But the most popular spot is the Garden Courtyard, a manicured lawn surrounded by flowers that you step down to from a tiled sweeping staircase. You’ll get married in front of the hotel’s signature fountain which they switch on as the bride and groom have their first kiss, so romantic.

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There are also four elegant indoor venues with a newly resdesigned and expanded La Jolla Ballroom, Grande Room, Trinitas Cellars Private Dining Room and Adobe El Restaurante. We tasted food at The Estancia which was really good and they have fun options for evening buffets including a S’mores or fresh doughnut bar. Again, you can really personalise this venue as much as you like.

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The Spa was pretty incredible too with secluded tents for the bridal party to get ready and a special couples area with an outdoor bath.

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Loads more info, and real wedding photos to swoon over, here.

The Grande Colonial Hotel

Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla Exterior Photo

The Grande Colonial Hotel is in central La Jolla, just a few doors down from La Valencia Hotel and offers a picturesque seaside wedding setting overlooking the Pacific in a slightly more low key, toned down manner. It’s one of the oldest hotels and has a good mix of historic grandeur but also with modern luxury. There are both ocean and garden view ceremony locations including a top floor loft, an outdoor Grande Terrace and a Garden Courtyard accommodating up to 120 guests. There are three elegant reception rooms too. One of the real highlights though are the menus from the award winning Executive Chef Jason Knibb. We had an incredible evening at Nine Ten, the hotel’s signature restaurant and Ben and I both agreed that it was probably the best food we have ever eaten! And if anyone knows how much my husband likes food, that’s a huge accolade. The food really was spectacular so imagine being able to serve your guests that kind of wedding breakfast.

Garden Courtyard Wedding Aerial

Garden Courtyard Wedding

A typical wedding package includes tray passed hors d’oeuvres, champagne toast and valet parking for wedding guests with a one night stay for the newlywed couple in an ocean view room with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and breakfast in bed the next day.

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Grande Colonial Wedding Website here.

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club and La Jolla Shores Hotel

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If you want to get married on the sand then La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club has one of Southern California’s only private beaches and has been hosting weddings on the beach for more than eighty years now. You could have up to 200 guests here. The ceremony set ups on the sand look dreamy, especially with white drapes, flowers and candles. We saw dolphins and seals in the short time that we were there, imagine saying I Do with a dolphin swimming past! You get amazing sunsets here too.

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You could set up a bar or reception dinner on the beach like these couples did –

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La Jolla Shores hotel is next door, it’s sister property and is equally beautiful for a beach wedding. Both properties have a range of gorgeous indoor and outdoor ceremony options and reception venues.

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LJBTC_Beach 1And you also have the option of using the Marine Room restaurant with award-winning food from Bernard Guillas right on the beach. We ate amazing seafood here and watched the seals play in the surf just in front of us.

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Info about La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club here and La Jolla Shores here.

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

We left La Jolla for a few days to head up the road to Torrey Pines – a state reserve with 2,000 acres of unspoiled beaches and hiking trails. We stayed at the prestigious Lodge at Torrey Pines. It’s one of San Diego’s most luxurious hotels and the service truly was second to none.

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Situated on the coastal bluffs of La Jolla with panoramic views of the world-renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, The Lodge at Torrey Pines is a wedding setting like no other.

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The views from the Arroyo Terrace overlook the 18th Green and the Pacific. The Terrace has 10,000 square feet of space to plan your ceremony and/or reception so the options for customisation are endless.

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There are also four ballrooms to choose from with outdoor spaces that can be configured in a variety of ways depending on the size of wedding you’re planning. My favourite was a little cottage with a fire pit on the terrace outside where you could watch the sun go down.

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The Lodge itself is in a Grand Californian Craftsman style with cosy wood and open fireplaces inside, staff in kilts, a spa {I tested the treatments, they’re definitely up to scratch}, a large swimming pool and hot tub overlooking the golf course and ocean.

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The catering is provided by The Lodge’s signature restaurant A. R. Valentien which has won multiple awards and is a top ten farm to table restaurants. Again, we sampled the food here and it really is something special.

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The Lodge offers three wedding packages – Signature, Reserve and Palisade which you can read more about, amongst everything else, here.

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So, how on earth would you choose? They’re all stunning and there really is something for everyone out in La Jolla. Maybe you need a pre-wedding trip out there for ‘research’ purposes?? Part Two, the travel guide, will be up tomorrow afternoon.

I truly believe that you’d be in good hands with any of these venues, the staff are so fantastic and could help you plan everything remotely and put you in touch with trusted suppliers to make your big day as special and stress free as possible.

Just make sure you invite Phoebe and I though, deal?!

If you have any questions feel free to be in touch and in terms of what time of year, San Diego has good weather year round although the most popular time for weddings tends to be September and October.

{Thanks to True Photography for use of these images who are San Diego’s top wedding photographers, a huge huge thank you to all of the hotels who hosted me last week and to the San Diego Tourist Board – Robert in particular – for arranging this#sygmdoescali trip.}

R <3 xx

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