welcome to my blog
Feb 7, 2024
I want to share a few of my favorite San Diego wedding venues! There are so many places in San Diego county to have a beautiful wedding! How do you choose? We had to make this same decision a year and a half ago when our daughter got married. Ultimately, it comes down to what fits best for your style, your vision, and your budget. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains, downtown, or in an iconic San Diego location like Balboa Park, only you can make the choice. Here are ten venues we have experienced and I hope this blog helps you in your quest for the perfect location for your wedding.
This is such a stunning venue that we chose it for our daughter’s wedding! Nestled in the hills of quaint Fallbrook, it boasts TWO sites for weddings. We chose the upper garden with a huge waterfall and the corresponding white tent. We loved so many features of this venue and I’ll explain why under each set of images. (pictures of this venue are by Jason Burns and Adan Caceras)
The bridal suite and the groom’s suite are adjacent to each other which makes it very convenient when trying to get everyone choreographed. Both suites are very spacious and well suited for each set of occupants. The groom’s suite even has a pool table! The bridal suite has plenty of room to get ready and a nice couch to lounge. They also brought us a tray of food and champagne!
Grand Tradition is also a botanical garden! We had just gotten back from a trip to Hawaii and it really reminded us of Kauai! There are MANY places for the Daddy-Daughter first look and the Bride and Groom first look, as well as portraits. If you want a tropical feel to your wedding, this is the place!
I made these images too small. Enlarge them to see just how beautiful this venue truly is! There is a lovely fountain when you first enter and then at the bottom of the walkway is the ceremony site. Guests have to go by a stunning waterway on their way to the ceremony location. It is also perfect for portraits!
It’s hard to see in these images but the ceremony site sits right in front of a huge waterfall. Surrounded by palm trees and other tropical plants it really is like being in the tropics.
The huge white tent is open in the back and there is another waterfall! There is also a firepit for guests to relax during the reception.
The dance floor is quite large and perfect for specialty dancing and for party dancing as well.
Balboa Park is so full of beautiful places to photograph! Even if you don’t have your wedding here in the park, I would still recommend coming here to do your portraits. We have done this a few times when the venue our couples have chosen are not as aesthetic as this beautiful San Diego icon.
Of course, the most beautiful place in the park (in my opinion) is the Organ Pavillion.
The Alcazar Garden is so beautiful and usually filled with flowers, depending on the time of year. However, this garden can get quite crowded and isn’t always ideal for portraits. If you come to shoot here during the week it isn’t as crowded. This garden can also be rented out to have ceremonies!
Usually in February the trees are aglow with white blossoms. There bloom time changes every year based on the weather, but if you hit it right, it is spectacular!
If you choose to get married at The Prado, a great location for portraits is the Timkin Museum of Art, right next to the Prado. It is perfect for getting the towers in the background and it is never crowded.
This wishing well is perfect for couples getting married at the Prado as well since it is part of that venue.
To the east of the Prado there is a lovely little walkway. This area is rarely crowded and the light is always perfect.
The Prado is so iconic to San Diego. The couryard is absolutely perfect for cocktail hour. Inside, the ballroom is very spacious.
One of the things I love most about this ballroom is the ceiling!
There is plenty of room for dancing and the new trend of large group photos in the Prado. Here is a link to my newest blog at this venue for you to see more of its features.
The Catamaran Resort is just that…a RESORT! Zack and I had a staycation here and had so much fun! Located in Mission Bay/Beach has a tropical theme. There is even a beautiful waterfall when you enter the lobby and a huge tropical fish tank in the restaurant. If you choose this location it will also be a treat for your guests since they can enjoy the beauty of the beach and the bay when wedding festivities are not happening. When people think of San Diego, they think of the beach, right? The Catamaran Resort is definitely one of the most iconic San Diego wedding venues.
The hotel suites here are quite spacious for the bride and groom to get ready with their party and family. The best part is the view though! The top of the tower gives you a spectacular view of the bay and the beach!
There are many areas around the resort to take portraits. I personally like the area by the koi pond. It really give off the tropical vibes.
One way for the bride to enter the ceremony is by coming out of the reception area and walking down the stairs. Very dramatic! The ceremony can be on the grass or in the sand. I like the sand myself. Keep in mind that whenever you take photos on short-cut green grass, that green color reflects up onto your skin and can create yellow/green color casts. Not very flattering.
How fun to have your feet in the sand during a wedding. Very San Diego!
What a treat to take portraits on the bay!
Inside the reception hall there is a beautiful mural which really adds to the ambiance. There is plenty of room to cance, throw the bouquet, etc. Here is a blog post featuring this venue!
The Cuvier Club has one of the nicest bridal suites I have seen. These pictures don’t do it any kind of justice. The bride and her party got ready in their hotel, so all I have are images of the groom getting ready from my second shooter.
This venue really doesn’t have an area for the first look since the couryard is usually getting set up for the ceremony during this time. However, there is a very large, very white church right next door! It was perfect and secluded.
Here you can see the bride and groom walking back to the Cuvier Club from the church after their first look. Below you can see the ceremony space which opens with a beautiful gate and is surrounded in bougainvilleas.
The inside of the venue, used for the reception is a really fun space! There is plenty of space and lot of room for dancing.
My favorite thing about this venue is that it is a block from the cliffs in La Jolla! Shooting here at sunset is a dream. There are more images here on the blog!
The Maderas Golf Course had the largest bridal suite that I have seen in any venue. It included several rooms with more than enough room for the bride and her party to prepare for the day.
There was no groom’s suite, but the men were given a large room in the clubhouse that was more than adequate.
If your groom loves golf, then this is the perfect San Diego wedding venue for you! While the women were still getting ready, this groom and his groomsmen had time to spare, so they enjoyed being on the green together!
There are numerous places at the Clubhouse for a first look and portraits of the bride and groom, their bridal party and their families. I love the space we chose for the first look because there was so much privacy and look at those doors!
The ceremony space is outside of the clubhouse on the grass. What made this great was the fact that the bride and groom and their party stood on cement, so the grass didn’t cast green onto their faces. The site overlooked the golf course with beautiful hills surrounding them.
After the ceremony we took a golf course around the venue and there were so many beautiful locations for portraits! I can’t decide which one I like the most!
The reception was in a banquet hall with plenty of room for dinner and dancing.
The Museum of Cultural Arts is located directly across the street from the cliffs in La Jolla, which just makes it that more phenomenal. It is so easy and time saving that the bride and groom can literally walk to their portrait session.
The cliffs are so close to the venue that my husband Zack ran up and got the bride and groom a cocktail before they entered their reception.
Guests arrive to the venue by way of a back street adjacent to the cliffs. They walk up to the back patio were the cocktail hour is held. This is the perfect San Diego wedding venue if you want amazing art, architecture and a SUNSET!
You can’t have a wedding in a museum and not take pictures with the art and the architecture within the building. Although a guard had to be with us at all times, we pretty much had the run of the building. The museum is two stories with plenty of artwork to choose from.
The reception space is very open and had a large vaulted ceiling. This was perfect for the spectacular floral arrangement that this couple chose to hang.
There is artwork in the reception area, but if you don’t want it displayed, you can always put up a backdrop. There was plenty of space for dancing and even a band! To see all of the amazing details from this wedding, check out this blog post!
The Crossings is located next to Legoland in Carlsbad. The ceremony site is on artificial turf (very nice artificial turf) and it overlooks the ocean and has a spectacular view. So beautiful for a sunset wedding! Difficult to photograph, but beautiful to experience.
The bride and groom both had very spacious getting ready rooms. On top of that, there were locations for both of the bride and groom directly outside of their spaces for portraits. These locations are also great for group shots of the bridal party.
There are numerous places for the first look. Depending on the time of year, different locations should be chosen according to where the best light can be found. We chose the side of the clubhouse and it turned out to be a great joice!
There is a lovely staircase for the bride and her party to enter the ceremony space. This leads to a longer “aisle” walk, but I actually think this is wonderful. Enjoy every moment because it all goes so fast!
Here you can see the back of the clubhouse which is really pretty! Also, after the recessional, the bridal party was treated to champagne!
One of the big draws of having a wedding at The Crossings is their beautiful waterfall! Blow this image up so you can get a better look! There is also a great bridge leading to the waterfall that makes for great portraits.
The reception area is really beautiful! With vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace, it is very majestic. Couples have the choice to add the hanging lights. The dance floor wasn’t huge but it did the trick!
Located in downtown San Diego, the Guild Hotel is an iconic part of our city.
This bride chose to rent out the suite at the hotel for herself and her party. It had two rooms and a balcony. Perfect!
The groom and his party got ready in a room downstairs, which was fine, but the best pictures were at the bar in the hotel lobby!
This beautiful courtyard can be used for either the first look or even the reception if the guest count is small enough. This was incredibly elegant!
This couple chose to have their reception on the back patio because of their guest count. It was perfect! This open air patio gave them views of the skyscrappers downtown and added to the elegance of the day.
The doors opening up to the reception were a great backdrop for their grand entrance.
There was plenty of room for dancing, dining, and the cocktail hour on the back patio. However, it was the front of the hotel where the most beautiful images were taken! There are so many more images in this blog.
If you are looking for an iconic Catholic ceremony, the Immaculata at the University of San Diego is the perfect San Diego wedding venue for you! Both inside and out, it reminds me of the beautiful cathedrals in Italy!
There isn’t really a getting ready room for the bride or the groom. The bride had a small room attached to the bathroom to get into her dress, so we did all of her images outside. That would have been my first choice anyway. This campus is full of lovely spaces to take portraits outside!
For me, my favorite part of a wedding in a cathedral is the bride and her father walking down the aisle. This reminds me of the scene with Maria von Trapp walking down through the church in “The Sound of Music.”
The Immaculata is truly stunning. From the ceiling, to the stained glass, to the dome over the alter. Amazing!
After the ceremony, the area directly in front of the church is wonderful for portraits. Also, the side of the building is great to catch a glimpse of that lovely dome. I don’t believe receptions are held here on campus, so this is mostly a ceremony venue. Here is a glimpse of this couple’s beautiful day.
The Thursday Club is perfect for a more low-key wedding day. Located in a beautiful Point Loma neighborhood, it has a lot of charm and beautiful landscaping. Not to mention, gorgeous views of the ocean!
This venue has a small getting ready room for the bride but the back door opens up to the courtyard, so it is easy to access.
The ceremony site also doubles as a perfect location for a first look. You can even choose, as this couple did, to have friends and family observe from balcony.
This courtyard is very lovely, landscaped with vine covered arches, flower beds and a fountain.
On the side of the building is a beautiful staircase! So many great places for portraits!
This venue is perfect for smaller weddings and the ceremony site is lovely, with views to the ocean.
Once again, when a venue is located in Point Loma, it is never far from the beach! In this case we were at Sunset Cliffs and they are incredible!
The reception hall has a beautiful ceiling and lighting fixtures. There was more than enough room for dining and dancing. There was also an adjacent sitting room with couches and views of the ocean.
Nicole Reyes photography is based
in san diego, Ca