There’s nowhere on earth quite like Southern California; the breezy ocean vistas, chill vibes and the flawless weather make this destination positively utopic. The weather is also pretty much perfect year-round, meaning you won’t have to stress about your outdoor ceremony being rained out.
In terms of wedding venues in the area, there’s no property more beautiful than Rancho Valencia. This exclusive resort, located 30 minutes north of San Diego, is private, intimate and oh-so-luxe. Rancho Valencia is Southern California’s only Relais and Chateaux property and will spoil you with incredible food, luxe accommodations, pristine lawns and verdant Mediterranean garden vistas (olive and citrus trees abound on the property’s 45 acres and you can exchange ‘I dos’ amidst any of these amazing backdrops!) The five-star resort, which repeatedly tops travel best lists, recently underwent a tip-to-toe multimillion dollar renovation and everything on property is absolutely OTT.
Let’s start with the accommodations, which are positively plush. There are just 49 hacienda-style casita suites on property (it’s not huge so you can easily take over the resort for your celebration) all of which are spacious and luxe, complete with fireplaces, private patios and plunge pools. Freshly squeezed orange juice arrives outside your door every morning to kick-start your day (it’s always the little things) and we recommend having breakfast in bed for the duration of your stay to enjoy these gorgeous rooms to the fullest.
We recommend checking in a few days before your wedding so you can get organized and kick the pre-celebration anxiety by indulging in Rancho’s incredible spa with its zen approach to modern wellness. Set amidst lush gardens guaranteed to soothe the soul, the spa menu here is extensive and inspired, all focused on bringing balance and wellness back to you (book the Lovers Ritual or Sensual Plunge for two). The adults-only pool is a beautiful place to relax and you can even get your sweat on in one of three studios: fitness, Pilates and yoga. Rancho is also one of the world’s top tennis destinations, so if that’s your game, this is the place to sharpen your serve.
There are a number of spots to host your wedding, whether it’s an intimate gathering of 10 or a rollicking bash for 250+. For larger celebrations, gorgeous outdoor spaces include The Croquet Lawn (pictured) and The Valencia Lawn, both of which feature manicured lawns and lush gardens framed by hibiscus, bougainvillea and palm trees (these areas can also be tented for to create a reception space). The Rose Garden is also located outdoors and is for a smaller gathering of up to 30 and it’s one of our favourite spots on property as it overlooks a stunning olive grove (don’t miss the wedding photo op here!)
For a wedding indoors there are also ballroom options available and one very special space we adore for intimate celebrations is The Wine Room (above). This gem is tucked in the lower level of the resort and is a gorgeous spot brimming with warmth and character.
Of course a key part of any wedding celebration is the food and the all-star culinary team at Rancho Valencia more than has that covered. With plenty of fresh local produce at the ready, you can custom-create a California cool menu (and even go shopping for veg to be served at your wedding with the chef at the local market!)
Rumoured to be a hideaway that celebs adore (the Clintons and Robert Redford to name a few), Rancho Valencia delivers nothing but the best travel experience possible, exactly what you want your destination wedding to be!