10 Classic California Venues

Wed in a spot that says "West Coast," from sweeping vineyards to Mediterranean-style estates.
by Carolyn Meers
Auberge du Soleil wedding venue
Trinette Reed Photography

HammerSky Vineyards

7725 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles; (805) 239-0930; HammerSky Vineyards

This charming winery and vineyard tucked in the hills of the Central Coast hosts intimate weddings for up to 50 guests. After an outdoor ceremony near HammerSky's tasting room, toast with the winery's popular estate merlot during a reception in its picturesque barn. Bonus: Book the three-bedroom, 112-year-old farmhouse inn for day-of preparations. It has plenty of indoor space to set up hair and makeup stations for your bridal party, and its outdoor patio is the perfect place for preceremony portraits with your spouse-to-be.

Silverado Resort and Spa

1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa Valley; (707) 257-0200; Silverado Resort and Spa

Smack in the center of Napa Valley along the Silverado Trail, The Grove at Silverado Resort provides a stunning outdoor venue for wine country–loving couples, complete with sparkling wine. Dozens of oak trees shade up to 250 guests from the Golden State sun and create an enchanting atmosphere at night with the addition of twinkling string lights. The property, available between May and October, overlooks a meticulously manicured PGA championship golf course as well as the foothills of Atlas Peak. And the resort can house your out-of-town guests on-site.

The Last Bookstore

453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; (213) 488-0599; The Last Bookstore

Literature lovers, take note: The state's largest bookstore can host fetes for up to 150 people in its two levels. After a ceremony amid the six central pillars on the 10,000-square-foot ground floor, guests can wander through the tunnel of books (literally!) with a cocktail in hand while the cozy main space transforms into a dinner party with long feasting tables. Bars can be set up behind the register counters, which are fashioned from a mountain of colorful paperback and hardback tomes, to serve your signature drinks—literary references welcome.

Auberge du Soleil

180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford; (707) 963-1211; Auberge du Soleil

Postcard-esque views from this luxury resort's terrace will wow both your guests and your photography team. The elevated space provides sweeping panoramas of Napa Valley's oak trees and olive groves, a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your afternoon ceremony. When paired with an indoor dining room, you can seat 120 guests for dinner served from the Auberge's Michelin-starred restaurant—think: local lamb marinated in Moroccan spices, house-baked breads and local artisan cheese paired with wine.

Ocean Heights Estate

35 Via Lucca, Irvine; (949) 870-5910; The Event Loft

This 8,800-square-foot Spanish-style private estate exudes casual romance for a backyard ceremony and reception. The garden and stone patio boast cypress and olive trees, fragrant lavender bushes and bountiful succulents for your "I dos." Then, seat 70 guests under bistro lighting on the lawn, or host 125 for a casual, standing, cocktail party–style reception with California-inspired bites from the estate's catering kitchen.

Lafayette Hotel

2223 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego; (619) 296-2101; Lafayette Hotel

For a sophisticated event with whimsical vibes, check out the Lafayette Hotel's canvas-topped conservatory, built in 1946. The indoor venue, which accommodates up to 200, has a wall of French doors leading to the pool and a fabric roof that allows in natural light for a gardenlike ceremony and reception. Newlyweds even get a special perk: a complimentary night in the historic hotel's Presidential Suite.

Falkner Winery

40620 Calle Contento, Temecula; (951) 676-8231; Falkner Winery

SoCal-based couples don't need to travel far for a wine country wedding: Note this family-owned spot in the Temecula Valley. With room for 200, it includes wine barrel tables, romantic lights strung over the dance floor, a fully customized menu with the likes of chipotle chicken tostadas and local mahi-mahi, plus an unlimited consumption of Falkner wines.

The Box SF

1069 Howard St., San Francisco; (415) 934-6900; The Box SF

Housed in a Hearst former printing plant in SF's SOMA neighborhood, this industrial loft (fits 80 in the main room) offers more than many urban event spaces. In addition to hardwood accents and original 1920s windows, the Gate Room has a 335-year-old table handcrafted from an antique Chinese village gate, perfect for serving fun cocktails.

Carondelet House

627 S. Carondelet St., Los Angeles; (323) 466-1835; Carondelet House

Your 150 guests can have full run of this expansive two-story Italianate villa and its pair of cobblestone courtyards. Built in 1928, the house features a brick-walled ballroom for your ceremony and indoor or outdoor settings for a seated dinner.

Brice Station Vineyards

3353 E. Hwy. 4, Murphys; (209) 768-7262; Brice Station Vineyards

With a motto of "altitude not attitude," this vineyard—one of the state's highest in elevation—offers a relaxed atmosphere for a laid-back celebration with up to 200 guests. Guests can sip handcrafted wines and take photos with the on-site collection of antique cars and carriages.

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