by Jolene Rae Harrington, Director of Creative Content
California’s Central Coast, celebrated for its charming wineries and photogenic vineyards, also lures visitors with landmarks like Hearst Castle, and the chance to golf, surf or go horseback riding amidst spectacular natural scenery. The less adventurous flock here for shopping, beachcombing, spa treatments and, of course, wine tasting! If you’re planning a honeymoon or destination wedding in one of the area’s picturesque towns, you might think beyond the winery. From beach-chic to wine country rustic, we’ve discovered a delectable selection of wedding-friendly resorts, bed & breakfasts, restaurants and golf clubs. (Even if you do host your main event at a winery, you’ll also need a place for your rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch or wedding night, right?)
So read on, be inspired, and consider the intriguing possibilities…
Known for its warm service and forever views, High Ridge Manor overlooks a spectacular valley vista and Paso’s oak-studded peaks. Say your vows beneath a pergola on an elevated stage, with the awe-inspiring view as your backdrop. Garden paths wind through the lush grounds, and a tiled pool area and covered patio are sleek cocktail settings. Deluxe suites take in the expansive views, while treating guests to canopy feather beds, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and tasty gourmet breakfasts.
Avila Beach Resort is a full-service golf course that can accommodate events for up to 3000 guests! The primary event area is an expansive, manicured lawn embracing breathtaking ocean views and glorious sunsets. If you’d like an outdoor party with an indoor feel, set up a clear-sided tent (or two!), and you’ll still have a water view. Nearby, you can host a more intimate reception or ceremony inside Mulligan’s Restaurant, whose cozy fireplace banquet room is also terrific for rehearsal dinners.
Tucked within the forested hills of a quaint seaside village, Cambria Pines Lodge is famous for its hospitality and gorgeous, world-class gardens. Landscaped pathways meander among fragrant blooms and flowering herbs, lend a fairytale quality to wedding ceremonies. A splash of green lawn hosts open-air receptions, and a neighboring patio makes a natural dance floor. In the Main Lodge, the spacious Peacock Ballroom stands ready for indoor gatherings. Accommodations range from rustic log cabins to luxurious fireplace suites with private garden patios.
The posh Casitas put a luxurious polish on Early California design. The hilltop Bed & Breakfast encompasses 7 landscaped acres—a private wedding paradise. Tiled garden courtyards with trickling fountains and wisteria-decked trellises inspire outdoor celebrations. With so much abloom, little additional floral décor is needed—the lush panorama of the Arroyo Grande Valley and nearby vineyards is a dramatic, natural embellishment. Guest suites have picture windows, lavish interiors and fireplaces, inviting lazy mornings and late-night intimacies.
This award-winning blufftop resort presides over a pristine beach. The service-oriented staff produces swanky celebrations on the Oceanfront Pavilion, Waterfall Terrace or in the Grand Ballroom. All-inclusive packages, customizable menus and snazzy upgrades are offered, too. First-class restaurants, shops, and a spa are right on site, and even the fitness center has an ocean view. Cliffs is pet-friendly—walk down to the sand for wedding photos with your furry ring bearer, or stroll the scenic Shell Beach promenade right outside the hotel door. At night, the lullaby of the waves inspires sweet dreams.
The welcoming resort encompasses 30 acres of tree-studded golf greens with picturesque vistas of Morro Bay. In the Wedding Garden, couples say their vows beneath a classical pergola accompanied by a trickling fountain. Serve cocktails on the Clubhouse Patio, and then dine in style inside the Wedding Pavilion, an elegant clear-sided tent. The Clubhouse Grill also works well for indoor gatherings. The resort’s lodge has 44 rooms-with-a-view to house your guests. Perhaps the best thing about Sea Pines is the price—their catering packages offer exceptional value along with gracious service.
At this boutique beachfront hotel, you can wed right on the powder-soft sand, with the ocean waves and a vibrant sunset accompanying your vows. Adding to the scene are wind-sculpted sandbanks and a neighboring tidal marsh bustling with native wildlife. The hotel does have comfortable accommodations, but for the ultimate privacy, reserve the 3-bedroom Beach House. SeaVenture’s 3rd-story restaurant boasts view-filled banquet rooms and delicious cuisine. The covered terrace is a refreshing spot for cocktail gatherings or a moonlit after-party.
(San Luis Obispo)
In the wooded hillsides above Avila Beach, this natural haven has plenty to melt your cares away, like their spa, Meditation Labyrinth and outdoor hot tubs. So you’ll be relaxed and refreshed for your wedding in the Gazebo Garden, sweetly perfumed with star jasmine; afterwards, invite your guests upstairs to the cathedral-ceilinged banquet rooms. All accommodations have cozy fireplaces, but the West Meadows Suites give newlyweds luxurious privacy amidst a flowering glen. Note: The resort’s Gardens of Avila restaurant is consistently voted “Most Romantic on the Central Coast.”