Outdoor California Wedding Venue

Congratulations on getting engaged! Now’s the time to start thinking about where you wanna have your wedding. Researching potential venues in Southern California might get overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. What kind of wedding venue best suits your vision of your wedding day?  Different types of venues offer aesthetics. I want to help you narrow down your search. So, check out these 4 things to consider when choosing your perfect wedding venue here in Southern California.

So is it gonna be indoor or outdoors (or both!?)

Consideration for an Indoor soiree.

Indoor venues are exceptionally great because rain or shine, your wedding’s happening. In the summers down here in california, that sun can be sweatering. So choosing an indoor spot, may be a pretty nice option to keep you cool and comfortable. Just be sure that the venue you are considering can house your anticipated number of guests.

The biggest concern with indoor wedding venues, is lighting.

I highly suggest having a conversation with your photographer and talk about this big limitation. Be sure to communicate with your photographer and planner how you will enter the room. Depending on the room, they may need to add lighting or equipment. Side note, be mindful of crazy colorful lights. They are perfect for the dance floor, but not so much when getting picturesque photos of your wedding day!

Considerations for an outdoor soiree.

The beautiful sunshine in Southern California is your best friend! Well, at least when it comes to photos of your big day. Whether they’re selfies on your phone, or images captured by professionals, this light is the bomb! The natural light will make you look so cheerful and glow like the gods! Especially during the golden hours (2 hours before the sun is completely gone from the sky)..

The biggest drawback for outdoor wedding venues in California is the seasonal weather. From windy months and allergy season to humidity and unbearable heat.   At some outdoor locations, you’re able to set up white tents to counter certain weather conditions. I would check with your wedding planner/venue coordinator just to be on the safe side. 

Photography Note:

If you’re having your wedding here in California and your heart is set on a morning wedding and an early afternoon reception, be sure to find a photographer who knows how to capture gorgeous natural light.  If you haven’t chosen a photographer yet, then I would suggest a film photographer who understands light nuance. 

Alternatively, if you’re having a late afternoon ceremony with an evening reception, then a mixture of film and digital images would be the most ideal to capture the sunlight and candle lights.

Neoclassical wedding venue photographed by Peony Park Photography

Private Mansions

There are some historical buildings here in California that were built over a century ago that have now been converted into luxury wedding venues. The awesome part about these Private Mansions is  that they offer excellent privacy with huge tall trees.  

A More modern private mansion option

One location that’s a bit more modern, is the Muckenthaler Cultural Cente in Fullerton, CA. Built in the 20’s and has an italian villa feel that makes you think back to old school hollywood.  It accommodates 120 seated guests and up to 400 guests standing.  There are some amazing picturesque locations on property to get stunning once in a lifetime shots of your wedding day.

Private mansions reminiscent of European Castles

If you’re keeping your wedding on the more intimate side,   Kimberly Crest House & Garden in  Redlands, CA, is perfect for you.  This location features a gorgeous garden and terrific castle-like house that can fool anyone that you got married in Europe. ?  But, if you are having a larger wedding, then Villa Del sol d’Oro in Sierra Madre (super close to Pasadena city) is a great choice. It offers an awesome view of a rectangular garden with a pond while the building glows with yellow paint reminiscent of the architectural style of Spanish castle,e.


Perfect for couple who prefer sunshines and greeneries for their wedding day, vineyards are a perfect option for a mix of outdoor and indoor ceremonies. The best vineyards here in california are in Napa Valley (North California) or Temecula (Southern California near 15 Freeway).  There are a variety of aesthetics from traditional wineries to more modern, so finding the right aesthetics for your day is important.

Traditional wineries typically feature a lot of stone walls and dusty-yellow bricks  They look amazing during early afternoon ceremonies and sunset receptions. Wines are always around and the look is already filled with woods, barrels, vineyards, and trees.  (not too much to decorate!)

If you prefer a more modern vineyard venue, you can definitely check out Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards in Malibu, CA.  Now get ready because this vineyard is literally placed on top of a cliff. The ceremony takes place on the cliff and the wedding reception is outdoors with an awesome view overlooking the mountains and the sea. Umm… can you say gorgeous!?!

California Wedding Venue


Most ballroom venues are found inside hotels and come in a variety of styles from modern to extravagant european. These architecturally profound locations,  can look a bit like a gorgeous movie set and a wedding for the stars!  Many of the ballrooms feature the art deco, and neoclassical interiors of old.  With luxurious interior decorations, gold leafs, well-decorated panels, mirror walls, draperies from the ceilings and more.  

Depending on the look that you want, the ballroom can be dimly-lit or brightly-lit. 

Photography Note:

The lights usually tend to be more yellowish to create that warm atmosphere, so you will need to be sure your photographer knows how to use speedlights to light the subjects well to avoid underexposed images.

Since the wedding ceremony is indoor, there is a mixture of natural light along with artificial light, which is easier for photographers to handle. Now during the reception, make sure you talk to the venue coordinator/wedding planner because sometimes indoor venues like to use weird stagelight or ceiling lights that may not fit your desired aesthetic. 

Bonus Tip!

I always suggest grabbing a few wedding magazines (like Magnolia Rouge, or Martha Stewart Weddings ) as well as check out the latest trends on the big wedding websites (EquallyWed, The Knot, Carrots and Cake ) before making your final decision.  Don’t forget to schedule visits at the venue so you can get a feel for the space and aesthetics in person. Be sure to schedule those visits around the time you want to have your event, so you can see how the lighting looks too!


Well I sincerely enjoyed studying it. This tip procured by you is very practical for good planning. Holli Averill Gombosi

Very good post. I will be facing a few of these issues as well.. Olympia Meier Bondon