May 18, 2020

When I moved to San Diego 15 years ago…I knew nothing about the city. Now, I have photographed weddings from Downtown to La Jolla to Fallbrook. If you don’t know where I am speaking about…don’t worry. I will explain. I have found some amazing gems that I am excited to share with you. One of the most popular questions I get asked is recommendations for a wedding venue or favorite places to photograph in San Diego. So, I thought it might be helpful to put together this list in a helpful way. Your venue is such a special part of your celebration and I totally get it needs to reflect you. I thought this would be a fun post to discover some of the most beautiful venues in San Diego. I hope you enjoy!

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

With it’s luxurious guest suites, grand golf course, plus grand spa. You will be well taken care of. No doubt. Not to mention it’s truly inspired decor to serve as a stunning back drop to your wedding.

You will feel transported to a tranquil retreat all your own.

Kayla and Ryan chose to get married at The Fairmont Grand Del Mar in Carlsbad, ca. because of this very reason. They had their ceremony in the courtyard with a stunning arbor adorned with custom florals and a perfectly manicured garden. Guests were greeted with champagne as they entered the space. K & R also loved the Grand Staircase and wanted to create a beautiful floral installation to be a showstopper as guests entered the reception area.

I love shooting here because every celebration is unique and can be customized, plus there are sooo many places to take photos. The experience for your guests is amazing.

You can see more of Kayla and Ryan’s Fairmont Grand Del Mar wedding here.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

Nestled in the hills of Luxurious Rancho Santa Fe this quiet and beautiful venue truly shines. As a photographer I love it because the light is west facing during the ceremony peaking magically through the impressive oak trees and gardens as you say your vows. This makes for the most ethereal backlight. And let’s be honest in my opinion it’s the most flattering light to work with. Don’t we all want to look our best lol!

The grounds of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe are green and lush, with a meticulously paved brick walkway that is breathtakingly symmetrical. I am a girl who loves good symmetry. Guests feel like there are in a modern English garden as they sip cocktails and dance the night away.

I also love that they offer indoor and outdoor options for ceremony and reception locations. Plus, can accommodate all your guests for the weekend with ease. If you want an experience for your guests The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will deliver. I have seen intimate celebrations of 25 up to guests of 300+ on the front lawn. It really is a special place.

See Aubrey and Ash’s picture perfect ceremony here.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Where to begin?! A private and exclusive driveway begins your journey to what is the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa. I have had the honor of photographing many weddings at this fantastic venue and each one feels completely unique. You want an outdoor garden inspired wedding or a party that dances all night long with a live band or an indoor modern ballroom wedding with an indoor outdoor feel. You can have it all! The possibilities are endless.

You can see more inspiration here and here and here.

L’ Auberge Del Mar

If you want a venue with quiet opulence L’ Auberge is your place. With sweeping views of the ocean at every turn. This boutique hotel is a hidden gem in Del Mar.

With a large patio overlooking the ocean and a secret garden that has the perfect spot for a secluded first look. I really enjoy photographing weddings at this venue.

You can see more of the wedding above here.

Scripps Seaside Forum

Quite possibly of the prettiest views in La Jolla it at Scripps Seaside Forum. Every sunset is unique and goes on for miles, as far as the eye can see as you dance the night away.

I love seeing the ways in which each couple dreams up this indoor/outdoor venue. Have a ceremony on the lawn, then flip to an outdoor dinner and dancing inside.

It definitely has striking modern design. I love the juxtaposition of nature and architecture. So many locations to photograph…it really is one of a kind.

You can see more here and here

San Diego Botanical Garden

When Laura and Josh said there were getting married at the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas, ca I was smitten. This is truly an oasis of nature and beauty. With a blank canvas to create the wedding of your dreams. Infuse color, keep in neutral, add chandeliers AND eat all the cake. See all the beautiful inspiration from this wedding featured on Style Me Pretty here.

This is good place to start your search in San Diego. I will share more in Part II next week.

xo, Natalie

Top San Diego Wedding Venues Part 1

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