The Best Wedding Venues in California

best california wedding venues auberge du soleil
Courtesy of Auberge Du Soleil

With its unique blend of beachfront cool, wine country elegance, city buzz, and mountain chill, California is home to every type of wedding venue a couple could dream of. But where you decide to get married should really depend on your priorities: If seeing and being seen is your thing, you'll want to tour swanky ballrooms in Los Angeles or Malibu. Fancy yourself more of a foodie twosome? Plan a wedding in the heart of Napa Valley or Sonoma County, where guests can wine and dine from the beginning of the celebration until the very last song. Nature-minded couples can post up at ranch-style locations up and down the state, while those who crave a destination wedding vibe may prefer to gather together all their friends and family at an insulated resort in Palm Springs or Ojai.

Whether you're a California local or planning to travel for your wedding, there are plenty of reasons why you'll want to consider making it official in the Golden State. To help make things even easier for you, we put together our picks for the most epic "I do" locations in the state, then broke it down by vibe. Here, you'll find our favorite spots broken out into the following categories: wine country venues, beach locales, properties in the heart of the city, spots in the desert, spaces that let you get in touch with nature, and those that feels like a far-flung destination. Best of all, you'll be surprised by just how different each venue is from the others in its category.

If you're ready to find the perfect spot to host your California wedding, you're in luck. One of our 18 favorites is bound to pique your interest.

01 of 18

Wine Country: Meadowood Napa Valley

wedding tent interior
Meg Smith

If your wedding goal is to host the most insane dinner party of your life, head to this storied resort in the heart of Napa Valley. The restaurant has three Michelin stars and works with Napa's premier vintners—a wedding reception here isn't just feeding your guests dinner, it's serving them a full experience. Couple that with wedding party portraits among the vines and weekend activities like a croquet tournament on the old-school croquet lawn (white attire required), and you've got the recipe for a memorable weekend.

02 of 18

Wine Country: Las Alcobas Napa Valley

best california wedding venues las alcobas napa valley
Courtesy of Las Alcobas Napa Valley

This Napa Valley newcomer fronts historic Beringer Winery (rooms literally overlook the vines), and couples who wed at Las Alcobas receive exclusive access to the Beringer Estate. Hosting cocktails among the grapes is the perfect complement to an indoor reception in the 2,200-square-foot Acacia Barn, which seats up to 120 guests. (It can also be divided into two spaces for pre- and post-wedding functions.)

03 of 18

Wine Country: Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, Malibu

aislinn eric wedding malibu reception tables view
Joel Serrato

Couples who dream of swoon-worthy ceremony shots will find their true match at this SoCal wine country venue. The Tuscan-style sandstone vineyard sits atop a 2,000-foot cliffside high among the Santa Monica Mountains. Exchange vows on a circular platform that seemingly stretches out into the Pacific Ocean, then move to the pool-adjacent patio for a banquet-style meal.

04 of 18

Wine Country: Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley

best california wedding venues auberge du soleil deck
Courtesy of Auberge Du Soleil

The setting for "I dos" at this Napa mainstay: an outdoor terrace overlooking vineyards and a 33-acre olive grove. After you exchange vows during golden hour, move to your reception indoor, where you'll serve guests Michelin-starred cuisine and perfectly paired wines sourced from the on-site cellar, which has 15,000 bottles of domestic and international vintages.

05 of 18

Beach: Hotel Casa del Mar, Santa Monica

best california wedding venues hotel cassa del mar
Courtesy of Hotel Casa del Mar

If you dream of a classic ballroom reception, but your partner would rather exchange vows on the beach, this venue offers the best of both worlds. The soaring, double-height ceilings in the ballroom channel old-world vibes, while the ceremony patio fronting the sand brings the best of SoCal to the forefront of your big day.

06 of 18

Beach: Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara

best california wedding venues four seasons biltmore santa barbara
Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara

This exclusive, 1920s-era enclave is located just 60 miles north of Los Angeles, but it feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city life (and that dreaded traffic!). Couples can say "I do" overlooking Butterfly Beach, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands in the distance. Afterward, party until the wee hours in the iconic Escala Garden, secluded away among tropical landscapes, or at the oceanfront La Pacifica Terrace and Ballroom, located inside the private Art Deco-style Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club, which once catered to Hollywood elite.

07 of 18

Beach: The Surfrider Malibu

best california wedding venues the surfrider
Courtesy of The Surfrider Malibu

Though it's located on the bustling Pacific Coast Highway, this boutique hotel—overlooking iconic Surfrider Beach, Malibu Pier, and the Pacific Ocean—is a quiet little California oasis. The 20-room hotel is like your own private bungalow when bought out for the weekend (the ideal way to host an event of up to 74 guests). Plan to wed overlooking one of the country's most iconic beaches before partying all night on the hotel's ocean-facing roof deck.

08 of 18

City: The Fig House, Los Angeles

best california wedding venues the fig house
Courtesy of The Fig House

If you want a blank canvas that's still infused with personality, try this 15,000-square-foot property in Highland Park, between Pasadena and Downtown Los Angeles. Fig House was designed by HGTV star Emily Henderson with a mid-century-modern-meets-California-cool aesthetic. Take pictures or host cocktails among the colorful indoor spaces, exchange vows in the greenery-covered outdoor patio, then host your reception and dance party in the industrial-chic main event space.

09 of 18

City: The Millwick, Los Angeles

best california wedding venues hotel the millwick
Courtesy of The Millwick

Planning a wedding at this industrial oasis in downtown L.A. may require a bit of imagination, but if you've got the skills, boy does it pay off. Between the ceremony in the outdoor courtyard, surrounded by high-growth trees, and the indoor-outdoor dining room, complete with exposed beams and just-right lighting, an event here feels like you've transported somewhere far, far away.

10 of 18

City: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

best california wedding venues asian art museum
Courtesy of Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Grandiose and historic—two words that sum up this famed museum in San Francisco's Civic Center. The Beaux-Arts building has an elegant yet modern appeal, thanks to a renovation by architect Gae Auelnti, the visionary behind Paris's Musee de Orsay. Take your pick among the five different event spaces, which suit everything from an intimate dinner for 20 guests to cocktails and dancing for 250.

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Desert: Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs

best california wedding venues korakia pensione
Courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Double down on desert vibes with a wedding at this Moroccan-meets-Mediterranean sanctuary set on one-and-a-half private acres. If you're the type of couple who prefers an adults-only affair, Korakia Pensione gives you an easy out with your guests—they have a strict no-kids policy.

12 of 18

Desert: Colony 29, Palm Springs

best california wedding venues colony 29
Courtesy of Colony 29

To get off the beaten path in popular Palm Springs, try this seven-acre estate that includes six free-standing homes for the wedding party to stay. Do like Whitney Port and marry your significant other in an outdoor ceremony with towering rocks as a backdrop. Then, head out on winding trails lined with beautiful succulents for portraits.

13 of 18

Desert: Parker Palm Springs

wedding ceremony
Lacie Hansen Photography

Color is everywhere you turn at this exclusive Palm Springs resort: host a bumping pre-party by the aqua-hued pool, say "I do" on the vibrant green lawn, then pose for portraits in front of the white-and-orange deco-style hotel facade.

14 of 18

Nature: Nestldown, Los Gatos

best california wedding venues nestldown
Courtesy of Nestldown

Gardens, ponds, waterfalls, redwoods, fruit orchards—this 180-acre property, located just minutes from Silicon Valley, looks like something out of a fairy tale. Up to 200 guests can join as you exchange vows in a gorgeous redwood grove amphitheater. Afterward, transport guests to the reception via golf carts or the boutique "Nestldown Railroad."

15 of 18

Nature: Santa Lucia Preserve, Carmel

Sylvie Gil Photography

Wide-open spaces, tranquility, and privacy—that's what you get with a wedding at this Carmel Valley stunner. Pairing a towering redwood grove for the ceremony with an elegant barn for the reception, Santa Lucia Preserve is the perfect marriage of styles for the romantic bride.

16 of 18

Nature: Ventana Big Sur, an Alila Resort

best california wedding venues ventana big sur
Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur

Fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation and rebranding, Ventana Inn has re-emerged under the luxe Alila brand, upping the ante for brides everywhere. It's hard to beat the drama of a ceremony among towering redwoods or on an outdoor patio high above the Pacific Ocean.

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Destination: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

best california wedding venues the ritz carlton lake tahoe
Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

California brides who crave the antithesis of SoCal sun should head to this year-round luxury retreat. Take your pick among ceremony sites: There's the Woods, surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains; the Meadows, a slopeside location on Northstar Resort (you can even spot the chairlift just beyond); the fireside terrace with a blazing firepit; and the exclusive Lake Club, offering direct beach and pier access to Lake Tahoe's North Shore.

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Destination: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Ojai

best california wedding venues ojai valley inn spa
Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Celebrations have been hosted at this historic resort since it opened back in 1923. It's only an hour and a half north of Los Angeles, but the bohemian enclave of Ojai feels worlds away from the rest of California—you're surrounded by mountains, landscaped golf courses, and generally meditative vibes. What better way for you to sit back and enjoy the ride as the bride?

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