15 California Wedding Venues That Bring the Wow Factor

Idyllic settings and perfect weather makes California a winning wedding location.
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
by
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Dec 04, 2023

It's always sunny in California. That's how the saying goes, right? Regardless, when you think of California you probably think of fabulous weather, gorgeous views, and endless sunshine. What could be better than a California wedding venue?

Whether you're a Californian or just want to experience all the state has to offer for your nuptials, one thing that California has a lot of is variety. From mountains, forests, ocean views, and stunning architecture, there's a California wedding venue for everyone. Knowing where to begin can feel overwhelming.

In this guide, we've compiled a list of some of the most wow-worthy wedding venues in California that we've come across. From Northern to Southern California and everywhere in between, we hope this list comes in handy. If you'd like to see more options or find other wedding vendors, don't forget to head to The Knot Vendor Marketplace. Happy venue hunting!

The Malibu Garden Estate in Malibu, California

The Malibu Garden Estate is guaranteed to take your breath away. The nine-acre estate overlooks Monte Nido's Malibu Canyon, making it one of the most beautiful outdoor wedding venues in California. The cobblestone-surrounded pool and covered patio is the perfect spot for cocktail hour. The spacious living room with high ceilings and a fireplace makes for a dreamy reception. The venue can accommodate 300+ guests and you have access to an event planner and accommodations onsite.

Exploratorium in San Francisco, California

If you're looking for wedding venues in Northern California, the Exploratorium is a fantastic option. This modern museum venue is located in Embarcadero and boasts views of the city skyline and the bay. It features a number of galleries that can be rented out for your special day. The Fisher Bay Observatory and Terrace is a waterfront terrace with views of the skyline and Bay Bridge. It can accommodate 200 people for a ceremony and 150 for a banquet reception. Next up is the industrial East Gallery with large windows and allows 150 for a banquet reception, or 450 standing. Then there's the Bechtel Central Gallery and Outdoor Gallery which holds 500 guests for a banquet reception and offers stunning views of Coit Tower and downtown. Lastly, the Osher West Gallery houses the museum's iconic Tactile Dome and seats 200 people for a banquet style reception.

Hans Fahden Vineyards in Calistoga, California

This scenic vineyard in Northern California is the perfect spot for a celebration with a guest list of 100 people or less. Hans Fahden Vineyard was founded in 1912 and offers award-winning wines and Monet-style gardens. Walk down the aisle under a vine-covered walkway, capture photos on a tranquil pond, and dine in a rustic wine cave. Following your intimate feast, the elegant Great Room is just the place to dance the night away.

Vibiana in Los Angeles, California

This former-Cathedral-turned-event venue is a one-of-a-kind location in Los Angeles. Vibiana offers five private dining spaces, a main hall, and a courtyard. The Main Hall was carefully restored, keeping the original historic details while adding in modern elements like a state-of-the-art sound system, lighting, and rental equipment. As a chef-driven venue, this location is a foodie's dream. The team provides restaurant level service and can curate both classic and modern food and drink menus.

Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California

This Swedenborgian church is an architectural marvel. One of the most unique wedding venues in Southern California, the Wayfarers Chapel is one of the most beautiful wedding chapels in California. It's set in a grove of towering redwood trees with views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. The 3.5 acres of Chapel grounds feature arbored walkways, a reflection pool, a rose garden, and landscaped gardens. For guest lists of 100 or less, this wedding venue is a one you'll never forget.

Sparrow Valley Resort in Aptos, California

At Sparrow Valley Resort, a gorgeous outdoor wedding venue in California you'll be surrounded by redwood trees, Valencia Creek, and the Santa Cruz mountains. This nature trifecta creates an enchanting venue to celebrate one of life's biggest moments. It's just an hour from San Jose, so you won't have to travel too far to enjoy the beauty of nature. Get ready in rustic cabins, exchange vows in the Redwood Cathedral, enjoy drinks on the wrap-around deck, dine around a 52-foot handcrafted table, and finish the night dancing under the stars.

Villa Montalvo at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California

This Mediterranean-style mansion transports you from Northern California to a European castle the moment you enter. The Montalvo Arts Center is set on 150+ acres of greenery, romantic gardens, hundred year old fountains, and one-of-a-kind artwork. With a capacity up to 250 guests, you have access to the Great Lawn, Villa, Spanish Courtyard, Oval Garden, and Love Temple for your special day.

The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California

Beverly Hills' most legendary hotel is just the place for a romantic, elegant wedding. Dubbed the "Pink Palace", the Beverly Hills Hotel offers multiple gorgeous event spaces and can accommodate a guest list of 300+. There's the crystal ballroom which features a sweeping staircase and rose chandeliers, the Sunset Ballroom which looks over Sunset Boulevard and features a black-and-white checkered dance floor, and the Crystal Garden boasting a variety of stunning flowers and a gazebo.

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in Mammoth Lakes, California

Looking for something truly spectacular? How about getting hitched on a mountaintop? The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area's summit is 11,000 feet above sea level and has a capacity of up to 300 guests. Plus, there are 15 event spaces to choose from including a large outdoor sundeck and rooftop area, the Forest Chapel, the Eleven53 Interpretive Center which boasts panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and much more. Prepare to be floored.

Swallow Creek Ranch in Cayucos, California

Coastal chic meets rustic ranch at Swallow Creek Ranch. There are two ocean-view ceremony sites: the Hillside Amphitheater, which offers breathtaking views of the coastal terraces of Estero Bluffs State Park, and the Sea View Meadow, which is a magical creekside location. Dance the night away in the historic blue barn that can accommodate up to 250 guests.

Alila Ventana Big Sur in Big Sur, California

Whether you want views of the Pacific Coast or to be surrounded by Redwood trees, Alila Ventana Big Sur is one of the best outdoor wedding venues in California. Exchange vows at the Sur Vista, a secluded outdoor terrace overlooking the ocean and accommodates 70 guests. Or tie the knot in the Redwood Cathedral, where guests sit on wooden benches surrounded by the awe-inspiring forest. The Loft is an rustic, elegant indoor space for your reception of up to 70 guests or if you prefer to stay outside the Ocean Meadow Lawn offers views of the forest and the ocean, while holding up to 200 guests.

Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, California

If you're on the hunt for romantic wedding venues in California, this one's definitely worth a look. The Rosewood Sand Hill hotel offers a resort-style vibe set on 16 landscaped acres with gorgeous views of the Santa Cruz mountains. Whether you want to get married inside or out, or have a taste of each, they've got you covered. Tie the knot on the Sunset Lawn with a mountain vista backdrop and celebrate on the perfectly manicured Vista Lawn or Portico outdoor living room. Prefer something inside? The Rosewood Ballroom is perfect for an elegant reception and can seat up to 350 guests.

San Francisco City Hall in San Francisco, California

If you want a glamorous and elegant wedding, the San Francisco City Hall can make your dreams come true. Choose from a one-hour wedding, a two-hour wedding, or an evening wedding. Tie the knot on the Mayor's Balcony (which seats up to 40 guests and offers stunning views of the grand staircase), the Fourth Floor Gallery, the Grand Staircase, or the North Light Court (which seats over 400 guests).

Morada in Joshua Tree, California

For a unique wedding venue, look no further than the Morada Estate in Joshua Tree. Originally built as a musician's retreat, the venue is surrounded by the Mojave Desert. Bonus: the main house on the property can be used as a getting ready location or for overnight stays. The 1950s-pueblo style house has three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, pool, jacuzzi and fireplace. There's also a guesthouse on site that sleeps four people, so you can make it a weekend-long affair. The spacious outdoor grounds can accommodate up to 150 guests.

La Jolla Cove Rooftop by Wedgewood Weddings in San Diego, California

La Jolla Cove Rooftop is an elevated beach wedding venue in San Diego. The newly remodeled open-air rooftop offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and can accommodate up to 200 guests. Your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception can all take place on the private rooftop. Plus, the onsite hotel makes it easy to get ready and have everyone you love in one place. They can also enjoy the seaside town of La Jolla before and after your nuptials.

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