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Local Venues: Historic Gems

From historic homes to hotels with history, these San Diego wedding venues offer up much more than just old world charm. 

Darlington House

Why: A charming La Jolla private estate with diverse cultural styles and tasteful ambiances built from 1925 to 1940
We love… the Egyptian Patio with its beautiful fountain and pool, lined with colorful Egyptian tiles
What every couple should know:The bride and groom dressing rooms are outstanding and quite spacious
Guests: 200 max
Budget range: Starting at $3,000
Inside scoop: Visit in person as the website doesn’t do it justice
All in the details: French doors, Italianate chandelier, sweeping staircase, Moorish-style library with fireplace, rose garden, tiled floors, Roman arches, and more
Only here… can you get married and do a good deed as fees contribute to the Social Service League of La Jolla that provides support to seniors in the San Diego area | 858.454.7625

Photo by Emilie Jacquet

Saint Francis Chapel at the Museum of Man

Why: This ornate beauty, part of the Museum of Man, is the only on-site chapel in Balboa Park
We love… the hand-carved blue doors, high-ceiling beams, chocolate-tiled interior, and marble and wood candlelit altar
What every couple should know: Active membership at the San Diego Museum of Man is required for the usage of chapel; no rice, birdseed, bubbles, or balloons
Guests: 100 max
Budget range: $750-$1,250; $4,000 with Grand Rotunda reception
Inside scoop: The non-denominational chapel, built in 1915 in Spanish Colonial style, has dressing area for the bridal party and easy public parking
All in the details: Lovely one-of-a-kind gold-leaf altar
Only here… can you have a church wedding in Balboa Park then drift over to the museum’s majestic tiled-dome rotunda or Spanish courtyard for your reception | 619.239.2001

Photo by Sutography

Hotel Del Coronado

Why: One hundred and twenty-five years later, The Grand Dame still enchants with its ocean setting, Victorian architecture, and lush gardens
We love… its turn-of-the-century elegance, rich romantic history, and celebrity guest list
What every couple should know: You can have your ceremony and reception on the beach, culminating with fireworks
Guests: 600 max
Budget range: $100-$200 per person
Inside scoop: The Windsor Lawn just may be the best spot in San Diego for a beachfront wedding
All in the details: Ornate ceiling moldings, crystal chandeliers, and an elevated stage in The Ballroom; crown-shaped chandeliers and a wooden vaulted ceiling in The Crown Room
Only here… can you tie the knot knowing Marilyn, Desi, Lucy, the Prince of Wales, and Bogie and Bacall all carried a love for The Del in their hearts, just like you | 800.468.3533

Photo by Pam Scott


El Cortez

Why: A classic landmark of Spanish Renaissance Revival architecture that speaks of days gone by
We love… the Don Room’s beautiful ceiling of carved sandalwood that’s gilded with 24k gold
What every couple should know: The octagonal shape of the Don Room truly lends itself to all eyes being on you and your new husband
Guests: Don Room, 230 max; with terrace, 400 max
Budget range: Starts at $75 per person
Inside scoop: It’s the first San Diego high-rise built in 1927 by the same architects of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel
All in the details: Images of Cupid, Cortez, and Father Junipero Serra hand-carved into the ceiling; one of San Diego’s “Mother” chandeliers—the mica glass, gilded-in-gold beauty has never come down since 1927
Only here… can you dance on the same floor as Elvis and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers | 619.338.8338


Why: A palatial icon, built in 1910 and renovated over the years, that embodies Old-World romance with modern luxury; it boasts three opulent ballrooms, a rich heritage, and a touch of class
We love… the splendor of the Crystal Ballroom, with its travertine floor, embellished European plasterwork, hand-painted ceiling, four Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers, and romantic fireplace
What every couple should know: The Chafee Court, draped in pearl white, was the hotel’s original ladies’ lounge and now serves as a perfect bride readying room; while the masculine, mahogany-wood-filled Chairman’s Court, the former men’s smoking room, is a handsome finishing room for the groom
Guests: 600 max
Budget range: $95-$165+ per person
Inside scoop: The hotel was named for Ulysses S. Grant to honor his memory, his kindness to the indigenous Native Americans, and his connection to San Diego
All in the details: Bronze doors, Italian chandeliers, decorative columns, and Spanish Colonial-style carved ceilings
Only here… will you be invited to spend complimentary one-year, five-year, and 10-year anniversaries at the hotel as a “legacy” bride | 619.232.3121

By Ann Wycoff

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