Where to get married in Southern California if you care more about the cultural aspects of the venue rather than the traditional wedding things???
December 22, 2009 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Need help finding a really unique wedding/reception venue in Southern California that melds cultures! Although my fiancee and I are very similar culturally, we are also very different. Neither of us are religious, but she comes from a Muslim background, and I Hindu. She is of Pakistani origin, and I Indian. And of course, in the end we are both American. So we are trying to find a unique California venue that captures all of that.

My fiancee and I are from Chicago, but we are getting married in Southern California. As far as which part of Southern California, we are very open- basically anything from San Diego all the way up to Santa Barbara.

The exact location is less important than the theme of the venue. We chose California because of its deep Spanish history and architecture. California, to us, serves as almost a proxy to Spain in that it melds some of the Moorish, Mediterranean, Eastern/Western cultures that we are trying to incorporate in our wedding.

Our ideal location would be a Mission, but unfortunately neither of us are catholic, so that is out. What we love about the Missions is the history, the architecture, and the story.

So, we are trying to target hirtorical buildings, locations, venues, villas, ranches, anything that has a story and would serve as a unique wedding venue.

Hive mind, what you got???
posted by copernicus to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara is a great place to get married. Here are some weddings there.

How many people are you inviting?
posted by k8t at 4:49 PM on December 22, 2009

Rancho Las Lomas in the Orange County foothills is a pretty Spanish-style venue.
posted by cecic at 5:04 PM on December 22, 2009

How far south?
Balboa Park in San Diego has some great historical buildings and gardens that would be beautiful for this.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:15 PM on December 22, 2009

oh, a link: Balboa Park Weddings.com
posted by SLC Mom at 5:18 PM on December 22, 2009

The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana is absolutely beautiful. Weddings there (I've been to two) take place in the large courtyard in front of the museum. It's Spanish style and looks like it could be one of the missions. Lots of good spots for photos, and it's large enough for a big wedding (maybe 200?). Ample parking just across the street, and good restroom facilities, too. Here are two photos from one wedding - check the background for an idea of what the place looks like.
posted by killy willy at 5:26 PM on December 22, 2009

here's one more photo from the Bowers.
posted by killy willy at 5:31 PM on December 22, 2009

San Diego has a lot of these! What I've listed are locations that are all historic, and some are quite meaningful to the history of California and Californios. Every link I've listed is to the wedding information page for each site.

There's Old Town, of course; "Old Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California." (via)

There's the Rancho Guajome Adobe (just down the road from me; some good friends held their reception there this past June. I'd suggest my friends' wedding venue, the beautiful University of San Diego Immaculata as well, but it's both Catholic-only and booked for months in advance).

The Adobe, as the site linked above notes, is perfect for a wedding: "Ahhh, how romantic to celebrate your marriage on land that was itself once a wedding gift! In 1851, the 2,219 gently rolling acres of Rancho Guajome must have been an extravagance for Abel Stearns to present to the bride, his sister-in-law Ysidora Bandini, but she did, after all, come from one of San Diego County’s most prominent families.

Or, there's the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe, which is interesting because it's a former rancho of the Mission San Luis Rey that was given by Governor Pio Pico to a Mission Indian.

There's Cabrillo National Monument, which as the National Park Service notes, is very historic indeed: "Climbing out of his boat and onto shore in 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped into history as the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States."

There's the Star of India, which is the world's oldest active sailing ship (and she actually made trips to India, among other places, so you might even find ancestors worked on her or took passage on her), or any of the other tall ships at the Bay.

Oh, and the Hotel del Coronado is a stunning historic venue, if you've got a very large amount of money. According to that link, "From Marilyn Monroe to Charles Lindbergh, from state dinners to the ghost of Kate Morgan, The Del is an American treasure with more than 120 years of fascinating stories to tell." So, a more modern sort of California dream.

Balboa Park has already been mentioned above. There's probably others that I could come up with as well, and I didn't even get into Los Angeles (there's a ton of cool places I can think of there, as well).
posted by librarylis at 5:34 PM on December 22, 2009

By the way, I used this excellent website to jog my memory of what sites there are in San Diego. If you're interested in exploring historical San Diego sites, that's a good jumping off place.
posted by librarylis at 5:38 PM on December 22, 2009

I spent an afternoon or two at this place when my dad used to live in the Palisades. It's got a sort of goofy, surrealistic quality to it that seems very Californian to me, but it's also a serene and interesting spot. Check it out sometime, even if you don't get hitched there.

Not sure what their policies are, but the Getty Museum is an awfully nice place.

I used to go to the Los Angeles County Arboretum when I was a kid, too. Haven't been there in forever, but I remember it as a lovely place.

Also: Nthing Balboa Park. Nice place.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:41 PM on December 22, 2009

On the campus of my alma mater is the Villa del Sol d'Oro, which is described as: "...a duplicate of the Villa Collazzi located on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Villa Collazzi has been occupied for several centuries by the Bombicci ― Fomi family, and legend has it that the Villa is the only one ever designed by the immortal Michelangelo. The Villa del Sol d’Oro is one―quarter scale to the original."
It's gorgeous, and not your everyday run-of-the-mill venue.
Description courtesy of this eye-meltingly designed site (you've been warned): Santa Anita Gardens Catering.
posted by ApathyGirl at 5:50 PM on December 22, 2009

The Mission Inn in Riverside is pretty neat, but then you're in Riverside, which isn't all that. And don't go in the summer- it's a zillion degrees Farenheit. Pretty place, though.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:34 PM on December 22, 2009

Not sure if the Lummis Home does private events, but it's a cool little house with a nice garden and has a good story.
posted by chez shoes at 8:54 PM on December 22, 2009

Seconding the The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades.
posted by euphorb at 10:39 PM on December 22, 2009

Calamigos Ranch is a beautiful place!
posted by trillian at 7:35 AM on December 23, 2009

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