North and South County
San Diego is a prime destination spot for weddings. Why not? The average temperature is 72 degrees all year round, the only rainy month is February and the choices of locations for a wedding are boundless. If you want a beach wedding, you have Hotels dotting miles of oceanfront, from Coronado Island to Oceanside Harbor. Downtown San Diego hotels look out over San Diego Bay, as does Harbor Island and Shelter Island. Travel 10-15 minutes north and you’re overlooking Mission Bay or have your ceremony in a beautiful terrace garden in Mission Valley, about 10 minutes from almost any tourist attraction. If a winery is more your speed, we have those as well.
I listed several favorite spots I’ve discovered over the years. The first locations are for that intimate, more casual, beach or park wedding,( from two to fifty people)
Note: The San Diego Park and Recreation Department issues permits for these ceremonies. The cost is anywhere from $175 to $250, depending upon the place and the size of the wedding party. You can choose from beautiful, tree lined Balboa Park near downtown San Diego, Presidio Park high upon a hill-one of the first missions in San Diego, Mission Bay Park, etc. A complete list can be found on the The San Diego Park and Recreation website. If you wish to speak to someone at the Park and Recreation Department you can call 619-235-1169.
Three of my favorite venues are:
Mission Bay Park
A Spanish style Hilton Hotel sits directly on beautiful Mission Bay. (Google “Hilton San Diego Resort” and you can see a panoramic view of the bay). There is a boardwalk that runs about 3 miles along the bay, a park which has lots of grass or sand, trees and picnic tables. Choose whichever tree suits you for your ceremony. Easy access as it is right off Highway 5, five minutes north of downtown San Diego, and unless you’re arriving mid-afternoon in the summertime, especially on a holiday weekend, there is ample parking.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Sitting majestically overlooking the ocean, Torrey Pines State Reserve is approximately 15 miles north of downtown San Diego on Coast Highway 101. The reserve has a hiking and/or driving trail from which you can see almost all of San Diego’s coastline. There are several places to hold a ceremony on the reserve. Check out www.torreypine.org. For information on permits, it is within the jurisdiction of the San Diego Park and Recreation Department.
Balboa Park has many secluded spots, wooded groves, gardens, reflecting pools – a beautiful place for a wedding ceremony. The Balboa Park website has many photos that will give you a good idea of this natural outdoor location.
Small, Indoor Weddings
Rose Creek Cottage
Located at 2525 Garnet Ave. – San Diego 92109, 858-490-0468
This 80 year old, English Tudor cottage has a chapel like interior and can accommodate 2 to 80 people. It is located in the Pacific Beach area, just off Highway 5, so it’s easy to get to. They also have a garden for a small reception. If it’s just you and your betrothed, and you want an indoor wedding with charm, the price is just $195.
Formal, Larger Weddings
For more formal, larger weddings, check out the following low to mid-priced venues.
Located at 950 Hotel Circle North – San Diego 92108 800-843-4243
The Handlery Hotel is close to most tourist attractions in San Diego, has reasonable room rates and a very beautiful terrace garden where you can have the wedding of your dreams. There is a virtual tour of the facility on their website.
Located at 1938 Quivira Basin – San Diego 92109, 619-222-1620
The Marina Village conference center, close to Sea World, has several wide open outdoor gardens for ceremonies, plus more contained patios, all overlooking beautiful Mission Bay. In addition, they have different sized reception rooms and there are several nice bayfront hotels in the area.
BALI HAI RESTAURANT
Located at 2230 Shelter Island Drive-San Diego 92106, 619-222-1181.
The Bali Hai restaurant overlooks the bay at Shelter Island, five minutes from downtown. They have a quaint, covered garden area with an arch in front, a small, running stream with curved, photo op bridges, looking out onto San Diego Bay. The reception room is right next to the garden. Under the same ownership for 50 years, they believe in fine service and well co-ordinated events. Check out their website where you will find lots of pictures, maps, etc.
North San Diego County Venues
THE NEXT LOCATIONS ARE A BIT FURTHER NORTH, BUT UNLESS YOU’RE DRIVING IN COMMUTE TRAFFIC, YOU CAN GET TO ANYWHERE IN SAN DIEGO IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES.
Rancho Bernardo Winery
Located at 13330 Paseo Del Verano N.-San Diego 92128
I’ve lived in San Diego all my life and until I did a wedding last month at this location, never even heard of it. The gardens are beautiful, the location is easy with lots of parking. Check out the Rancho Bernardo Winery website for a virtual tour of the venue.
In the quaint town of Encinitas, 20 minutes north of downtown San Diego, you’ll find a secluded garden, with a step-up covered stage perfect for your wedding ceremony. The grassy setting dotted with trees and shrubs will accommodate up to 150 people. The venue has a dressing room for the bride, a groom’s room, a reception hall where you can bring in your own caterer. This is a newly offered venue so book your garden wedding today!
Call Rev. Marcia 858-353-0784 for details.
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