The Road Less Traveled
Wonderous Wedding Locations Off the Beaten Path (but well worth the drive!) in Northern and Southern California.
One of the highlights of Highway One’s famously scenic drive is Cambria, an artist colony known for its pristine beaches, hiking trails and small-town friendliness. On a tranquil, woodsy hilltop overlooking town is Cambria Pines Lodge, a Central Coast wedding favorite. Built in the ’20s as the rustic retreat of a European baroness, the pine-log lodge is beautifully landscaped, with grassy paths meandering through world-class gardens. Both ceremony and reception can be held on a pretty expanse of lawn ringed with flowers and Monterey pines, and elegantly dressed for the occasion. Fireplace suites, an organic kitchen, and an on-site spa will keep you pampered and relaxed.
Why not splurge and ferry your wedding guests “26 miles across the sea” to glorious Catalina Island, where cars are verboten and spectacular ocean views are impossible to miss? Back In 1929, when this island paradise was the exclusive playground for society’s elite, the main draw was an enormous jazz-era dance hall called the Casino Ballroom. Today the Art Deco landmark is still one of Southern California’s most glamorous reception venues—its vaulting, 50-foot ceiling boasts five Tiffany chandeliers! An elevated stage, raised seating areas around the dance floor, and a vintage full-service bar are very event-friendly. There’s even an outdoor balcony overlooking the coves, and at night an endless starscape sparkles across the water. If it’s “memorable” you want, surely the Casino Ballroom delivers magnificently.
Mammoth Mountain isn’t just for skiers anymore. In fact, leisure-seekers come here year-round for golf, fishing, hiking—or to just kick back in the serene alpine environment. Still others, enticed by the drama of the terrain and the deluxe amenities of the newly expanded Mammoth Mountain Resort & Village, come here to wed. A wide assortment of venues lets couples customize their Mammoth experience to suit their personal style. Want traditional? The Mountainside Conference Center in the historic Main Lodge provides a wide-angle view of the ski slopes. Want modern sophistication? Then consider the state-of-the-art Grand Sierra Lodge at the heart of the new Village. If you prefer rustic charm, then tie the knot on the shores of Twin Lakes at the intimate Forest Chapel. Adventurous couples can transport their guests via gondola to Parallax, a fine-dining restaurant at mid-mountain—or even marry on an 11,000-foot summit!
Piru, between the Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County
Rancho Camulos’ landscaped grounds and quaint adobes are part historical postcard and part rural paradise. A lovingly preserved National Landmark, this tranquil oasis is a testament to Early California’s rich heritage—and it’s also a beguiling (and very affordable!) event location. Stage your wedding on the Rancho’s sprawling meadows, cradled by orange groves and sagebrush-cloaked hills, and make a spectacular entrance beneath a white arbor swathed in grapevines before passing an aviary alive with birdsong. Then, while your photographer captures romantic photos of you in a flowering herb garden, your guests enjoy the cocktail hour alongside a fishpond with a miniature waterfall. As a glorious sunset gives way to a starry evening sky, Rancho Camulos weaves a tapestry of rustic charm over your entire celebration.