Pristine beaches…swaying palm trees…plumeria-scented air…and technicolor sunsets over the Pacific. These are just a few of the things that make Hawaii a tropical paradise and a top choice for destination weddings.
You don’t have to go to a faraway tropical shore or exotic island to channel your inner beachcomber. If you crave the sand, sun and sea, you can get all that and so much more right in beautiful Southern California. From glamorous resorts to quaint waterfront hotels, here’s our pick of 9 beachy destinations for a romantic getaway:
My hands-down honeymoon pick (and I’ve thought about this a lot over the years, so trust me on this one!) is San Diego’s L’Auberge Del Mar. This place has all the amenities of one of those big-name resorts, but with an intimate, boutique hotel feel that I just love.
If you’re like me, you may not want to lift a finger on your honeymoon, except to order room service. The Monarch Beach Resort will help honeymooners accomplish just that. It’s the perfect destination for a honeymoon away from it all.
Right across the Coronado bridge is one of the most luxurious island resorts I’ve ever seen—the historic Hotel Del Coronado. This immense, Victorian-style hotel, capped with its iconic red turrets and white balconies, spans Coronado Central Beach.
When asked where my dream honeymoon would be in California I immediately knew the destination, The Carneros Inn in the Napa/Sonoma Valley Wine Country.
I fantasize about The Willows Historic Inn, a bed and breakfast steeped in the glamour of a bygone era. I’m attracted to the quiet and intimacy of this boutique hideaway that’s walking distance to town but in its own world atop a view-filled bluff.
The Hotel Kabuki is literally a zen compound in the heart of Japantown, San Francisco. The entire hotel was revamped in 2007, revealing a new serene, harmonious aesthetic that is reminiscent of a Japanese teahouse or a meditation garden.
It was one of the few weekend getaways when I yearned for a lover. Yet even without one I still managed to be seduced—by Eagle Island, a private slice of unspoiled nature and an idyllic honeymoon destination 60 miles south of Savannah, accessible only by boat from sleepy Darien on Georgia’s coast.
In the name of that all-important wedding budget (and in the tradition of convenient combo products offered all across America!) what about one item that gives you both class and sass in one neat package? The answer is in the wedding transportation.
My colleague Jan invites me to spend the upcoming weekend with her at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, where she’ll be staying while profiling new locations for Here Comes The Guide. I jump at the chance for some quality Ritz time. It’s a well-known fact around the office that I ♥ the Ritzes. (What can I say? I have a soft spot for superior customer service and a swanky setting!)
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. If you’re planning a honeymoon or destination wedding in one of the area’s picturesque towns, you might think beyond the winery.
Whether it’s for your honeymoon, holiday travel or a romantic weekend getaway, these days it pays to pack it all in your carry-on suitcase—and avoid extra charges for checked luggage. The best way to be a breezy bride at the airport is to remember you’re on the vacation of your life…and to “hang loose” when you’re packing. Keep it simple, easy and fun. Follow these five tips, and you’re off to a carefree start.
With all its gold medals and high style, the Central Coast retains its small-town friendliness, and locals have positively thrown out a red-carpet welcome to bridal couples from near and far. Recently we did our own Central Coast Wine Country investigation.
WANTED: A special place for a romantic escape. Scenic, natural surroundings required. Must be lavished with sensual creature comforts. Obliging yet unobtrusive service preferred. Does this imaginary classified ad sound like something you might have written? If so, we’re answering your cry for help with a dozen of the best places in California for a romantic weekend—choice spots bound to inspire relaxation and heartfelt moments. (No need to thank us—an emailed photo of your happy, rejuvenated selves will do!)
Palm Springs is HOT and we're not talking about the temperature. The Palm Springs of the new millennium is young, chic, and a great place to party. Here are some of our own suggestions for local activities and “can’t miss” Palm Springs ceremony and reception locations.
While I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 30 years, I took my very first trip to Lake County only recently when I rented a house on Clearlake for a much-needed family vacation. Now that I’ve finally visited, though, I’m already starting to wonder when I can return to this peaceful region north of the wine country. Of course I managed to scout out some ideal wedding ceremony, reception and rehearsal dinner sites while there. A couple of my new favorite places:
My colleague Jan invites me to spend the upcoming weekend with her at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, where she’ll be staying while profiling new locations for Here Comes The Guide. I jump at the chance for some quality Ritz time.
The second part of our wedding anniversary road trip was as fun and romantic as the first. My husband Jaya and I drove to Half Moon Bay, a quaint little town along the coastline where the air is fresh, the people are friendly, and the pace is slow. By the way, this is also a great spot for a honeymoon by the sea, too.
Add this to the list of “why didn’t I think of that?” wedding registry ideas: Registering for experiences instead of things. After The Wedding Day was founded from the idea that relationships are made stronger not by what you have but by the time you spend together as a couple.
For our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband Jaya and I decided to visit places we had each frequented separately in our early adulthood—but this time, we’d be together!
Are you still lugging around that tired old suitcase your Aunt Stella gave you for a high school graduation present? You’re not taking that relic with you on your honeymoon, are you? Think of it: Your traveling outfits rock, your face is still glowing from your pre-wedding facial, you’re already sporting a deep bronze tan (thanks, tanning salon!) and you haven’t even made it to Maui yet. You look hot…so shouldn’t your luggage be haute, too?
Save the bags from your sheet set purchases. Then when you pack for your honeymoon or other romantic weekend getaways, use these bags to stash your shoes! That way, the rest of your clothes will stay clean. I’ve got a collection of these handy plastic bags—an extra large one that’s perfect from my cowboy boots, and petite size that work for my beach sandals.
If you’re on the lookout for a San Diego wedding location that has a history as special as the one you and your fiancé share, you’re in luck: Many of the San Diego venues we feature have historical significance that is only surpassed by their impressive architecture. Here are a few of my faves: