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Local Venues: Natural Splendor

San Diego is home to plenty of retreats perfect for outdoor ceremonies and reception. Peruse these to see which suits your style.

The Condor’s Nest Ranch

Why: This peaceful, high-elevation ranch is a dreamy outdoor location for a wedding, with epic mountain and ocean views, incredible vintage and rustic décor, and animals galore
We love… that 20 family members can stay on-site, and a private shuttle to the Pala Casino takes care of your guests
What every couple should know: Only one wedding per weekend March through November
Guests: 300 max
Budget range: Starting at $23,500 (all inclusive—food, open bar, lodging for 20)
Inside scoop: They specialize in the oh-so-tasty Santa Maria BBQ, cooked right in front of the guests
All in the details: Vintage cars and trucks, cowboy-and-Indian-style, 6,000 square-foot glass and adobe Ranch House, designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright Sr. apprentice that’s in the shape of a cross
Only here… can your photos have llamas, alpacas, baby goats, donkeys, horses, and ranch dogs in the background | 949.290.6088

Photo by Studio Castillero

Monte De Oro Winery

Why: A Temecula winery with Tuscan-inspired architecture, Old-World charm, and award-winning wines
We Love… the 10,000-square-foot patio with panoramic views
What every couple should know: They offer full-service wedding coordination
Guests: 500 max
Budget range: $85-$125 per person
Inside scoop: Outdoor weddings can go until 10 p.m.; indoor until midnight
All in details: Vaulted ceilings, French doors, wine barrel tables, ceremony arch with twisting vines, and a glass floor in the tasting room overlooking the barrel room
Only here… can you have your photo taken in the rose petal-strewn fountain | 951.491.6551

Photo by Denise Kramer Photography

Fallbrook Treehouse

Why: A true sense of tranquility on a 7-acre, manicured, quaint country property with a pond and horses
We love… that it hosts San Diego’s only livable treehouse built in the 1920s that can be used as an overnight bridal suite or dressing room for the wedding
What every couple should know: There’s only one wedding per weekend, so you have time to transform it into your own
Guests: 200
Budget range: $10,000-$20,000
Inside scoop: No caterer restrictions—you can bring in your own; curfew is 10 p.m.
All in the details: The pond has a canoe for romantic photos
Only here… will you find a true natural sanctuary with birdsong and croaking frogs as your soundtrack | 619.571.4548

Photo by Connie Lyu

Ponte Winery

Why: A family-owned estate with three outdoor ceremony sites, meticulously groomed gardens, 300 acres of lush vineyards, and magnificent mountain views
We love… the romantic Barrel Room for intimate receptions with oak barrels lining the walls of the stone Mission-style building
What every couple should know: Your reception can go until 10 p.m. at the winery, but your after-party can rage on until 2 a.m. at the Cellar Lounge at the new inn
Guests: 280 with an indoor dance floor, 500 in an outdoor tent
Budget range: Starting at $100 per person
Inside scoop: Make a grand exit in a horse-drawn carriage, or take your bridal party horseback riding through the vineyard
All in the details: Vienna windows, French doors, flagstone walkways, farm-to-table cuisine, and glorious gardens
Only here… can you have a destination wedding that feels like Napa but is only a stone’s throw away from San Diego—their new 60-room inn opens in spring 2012 | 951.694.9444

Photo by Melissa McClure

By Ann Wycoff

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