With San Diego’s range of venues, your only problem will be picking which one to make yours. Whatever appeals to you— whether it’s an unusual backdrop, a mountaintop vista or something uniquely personal—the following venues won’t disappoint.
Photos by True Photography Weddings
Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Who wouldn’t want tide pool animals as wedding guests? At the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, you can have just that. Overlooking La Jolla Shores and the Scripps campus, the aquarium’s three locations can accommodate intimate weddings or grand affairs of more than a thousand. All provide the dramatic backdrop of the Pacific Ocean and golden Southern California sunsets. 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, 858.534.7769, www.aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Wild Animal Park
Think a wedding on a grassy plain with giraffes, gazelles and rhinos roaming in an expansive backdrop is impossible? Not if your wedding is held at the world-famous Wild Animal Park, sanctuary to more than 400 animal species and home to unmatched natural scenery. Choose the Mombasa Island Lagoon Overlook for tropical birds and rippling water that reflects the setting sun; the Samburu Terrace for a breathtaking view of San Pasqual Valley; or the Heart of Africa safari for cascading waterfalls and a wedding replete with free-roaming herds. 15500 San Pasqual Valley, Escondido, 619.685.3259, www.sandiegozoo.org.
Petco Park is more than just a ballpark—it’s a baseball lover’s wedding dream come true! Who knew you could haul your diamond to Petco’s big diamond and get hitched all-American style, followed by a reception on the playing field? The park also offers a multitude of extras for a major-league wedding, from supplying autographed baseballs and bats to organizing a fireworks display. The events staff can even arrange for current Padres players to make an appearance! 100 Park Boulevard, 619.795.5025, www.petcoparkevents.com.
When an ordinary hotel wedding just won’t do, consider a wedding at a one-of-a-kind, multimillion-dollar private estate. San Diegobased Estate Weddings and Events finds you the perfect property— whether a lakeside Rancho Santa Fe mansion complete with grand chandeliers and a ballroom, or an industrial loft with floor-to-ceiling windows. And if you don’t want to lift a finger, Estate Weddings and Events will take care of every detail for you. 858.361.6577,www.estateweddingsandevents.com.
Mount Helix Mountaintop
Dubbed the “Crown Jewel of East County,” Mount Helix draws bridal couples for its panoramic views and the feeling of being on top of the world. For the bride and groom who want to make a spiritual connection with nature or just have a unique wedding spot, Mount Helix Park provides the perfect backdrop. The couple brings in all their own vendors, making it an ideal spot for showcasing creativity. Mount Helix Park Foundation, La Mesa, 619.588.4901,www.mthelixpark.org.
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego—La Jolla
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla offers a chance to celebrate your nuptials in sophisticated style, whether you’re an art lover or an art neophyte. For dinner and dancing, the Axline Court exhibition space provides clean columns and a dramatic seven-point lantern that juts through the ceiling, offering gorgeous sky views and natural light. During the reception, your guests can peruse the galleries—a cultural bonus! 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858.454.3541,www.mcasd.org.
Getting married on the beach isn’t just for tropical-destination weddings— San Diego’s gorgeous beaches lend themselves readily to California nuptials. One such option is Cuvier Park, also famously known as The Wedding Bowl. This elegantly situated park on the corner of Coast Boulevard and Cuvier Street in La Jolla fulfills many a bride’s dream of a coastal California beach wedding, with the requisite crashing waves and ocean breezes. The City of San Diego Permit Center, 619.235.1169, www.sandiego.gov.
Choose a Temecula Valley winery for your wedding and make your guests say, “En vino nuptialis!” One option, the Thornton Winery, is a stately château winery with old-world style. Its Mediterranean Fountain Terrace offers alfresco charm with the soothing background sounds of a grand fountain and a view of wine country. Alternatively, choose an indoor setting such as the Vineyard View Room with windows that overlook the winery production area and a balcony overlooking the vineyard. An award-winning on-site restaurant and premium wines complete the perfect wedding-day picture. Another spectacular setting for a Temecula wedding is Ponte Family Estate Winery. Choose the mission-style Barrel Room for an intimate wedding surrounded by aged oak wine barrels, or the swank Vineyard Pavilion, with its café Vienna windows and French doors that lead to an expansive terrace for the perfect indoor/outdoor dreamlike reception. 32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula, 951.699.0099, thorntonwine.com; 35053 Rancho California Road, Temecula, 951.694.8855,www.pontewinery.com.