San Diego Ocean View Wedding Venue: Cape Rey

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If you’re looking for a wedding venue with an epic ocean view but barefoot in the sand isn’t exactly your style, then consider Cape Rey Carlsbad in sunny San Diego, where the weather is {almost} always perfect, the beach is just 150 steps away, and the ceremony site overlooks the big blue Pacific Ocean.  The Cape Rey Carlsbad is one of San Diego’s newest hidden gems for weddings, with a fantastic ceremony lawn and garden, a great outdoor entertaining space for cocktails and even dinner beneath the stars, and a mega ballroom that’s pretty enough to satisfy the most discerning couples.

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Besides the beautiful event spaces you have to choose from, a highlight from my recent visit was the food.  The trendy lobby bar and restaurant, Chandler’s Restaurant, a local favorite, is also the catering department for weddings.  That means you’ll get a fabulous restaurant-quality meal for your first as newlyweds!  The fresh seafood, local fare and great wine selection give you and your guests a great culinary experience to remember.  (And the bar scene during off wedding time is pretty great too…)

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The Cape Rey Carlsbad has a relaxed beachy vibe while staying true to its hotel roots to give you a great and well-rounded weekend experience when you visit.  The property is small enough to feel intimate when you run into your wedding guests in the lobby or by the pool, but large enough to house weddings with up to 650 guests, so you can invite just about everyone you know!  It really is the best of all worlds here and you can’t beat San Diego for a domestic destination wedding spot!

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And if you just got engaged, then even better news – book Cape Rey Carlsbad by March 31, 2017 and receive $1000 off your ceremony fee PLUS 15% off their evening wedding package prices.  Mention this offer when booking and be sure to get your amazing savings!  For more information, be sure to visit Cape Rey Carlsbad.

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Photos Courtesy of Cape Rey Carlsbad.

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New Laguna Beach Wedding Location: The Ranch at Laguna Beach

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Tucked away just 350 yards from one of Southern California’s most pristine beaches is a hidden hideaway unlike anything else in the area. Laguna Beach may be know for its boutique surf hotels and mega luxury resorts but at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, we discovered something a little bit different.

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A brand new hotel, The Ranch was once a Girl Scout retreat before its current owners developed the canyon into a summer camp-like luxury resort fit for the kid in all of us and the grownup with ultra high standards. I got the chance to visit The Ranch recently and as a Southern Californian, this might be the best weekend getaway or staycation around.

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You’ll disconnect with little to no cell service as you unwind in a cabin-like building adorned with swanky suites and incredibly comfy beds. The rooms were designed by the local trending home store, Tuvalu Home Environment, and the result will make you want to move in.

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The food is outstanding, the ranch hands as they call them (the crew that will drive you from place to place via golf cart) couldn’t be more friendly, and the golf, if you partake is pretty special, complete with wild deer on the course.

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But it’s the wedding venues at The Ranch at Laguna Beach that are truly jaw-dropping. Imagine guests in a rally of golf carts out to a clearing deep in the forest where a wedding deck sits, surrounded by vast trees and beautiful gardens, with twinkle lights all around. It’s rustic glam at its finest, with all the amenities, service and cuisine you can expect from a five star hotel.

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Or say “I do” on the golf course, under trees lining the 1st and 9th fairways before moving into the ballroom to dance the night away.

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No matter where you wed at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, you’ll find total privacy, a rare connection with nature in the Orange County area and the best of both worlds on land and sea (your ranch hand can easily cart you out to the ocean for a welcome party, late night fire pit experience, or just a day at the beach).

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is brand new, so while it may be Southern California’s best kept secret for now, it’s too good to be for long.

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Temecula Wedding Location: Pechanga Resort & Casino

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Did you know that Southern California has a wine country?  And a beautiful one too!  Temecula is home to rolling hills, boutique wineries, and even a fabulous resort to call home for your destination wedding!  Set just outside of the wineries, a few minutes from the vines is Pechanga Resort & Casino, the perfect place to wed when heading south for an outdoors wedding in wine country.  I recently got to test drive what a wedding would be like here…and let’s just say, I’ll be back!

You may think you want to say “I do” among the grapes, but once you set foot on Pechanga’s private garden ceremony site, you may think again.  A beautifully manicured lawn and garden with a raised platform just for you, your ceremony point will be protected by trees yet overlook the beautiful golf course and valley beyond.

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Then head to the patio nearby for a fire pit-clad cocktail hour (perfect for s’mores) and enjoy a jaw-dropping setting complete with old-fashioned bridge just beyond, where most brides and grooms can be found taking portraits in a place unlike any other.

For dinner, dine under the stars or indoors at Journey, a swanky restaurant the property shuts down just for you and 180 of your closest friends and family.  You’ll enter by a large, two-story stone fireplace and head into a space that’s already dressed up so you need not do much to make it picture-perfect.

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Then it’s time to eat.  And eat you will!  The food at Pechanga Resort & Casino is something to write home about.  Wow, it’s better than good.  Your first meal as newlyweds will be one you remember.

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But a destination wedding to Southern California’s wine country isn’t all about the wedding day.  What I love about Pechanga is all there is do on property AND nearby.  You can take your guests to a comedy show in their comedy club instead of hosting a stuffy rehearsal dinner.  If there’s a concert in town, you can catch that too in their theater.  If you like to gamble, there’s a major casino on property.  And if you don’t, it’s housed a shuttle ride away from the wedding space so you’ll never even know it’s there.  But if you do like to play a little, might we suggest a family round of bingo or a poker tournament for your group?  Pechanga can set up gaming activities for your group too – even lessons for those needing a little help!

Then don’t forget to arrange a shuttle to the wineries for some tastings along the way and perhaps even a day after trash the dress session!

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The rooms at Pechanga Resort & Casino are lovely, the staff knows their stuff, the activities are endless, and the wedding spaces and menus are surprisingly unique and delightful.  Home run if you’re looking for a domestic destination I do and a wine country that’s a little more relaxed with a lot more to do.  Oh, and did we mention Pechanga is undergoing a 285 million dollar expansion and renovation?  That means this time next year, you’ll find even more to do on property with even more luxury at your fingertips.  Booking now means getting in before it’s booked later.

{Photos: Image 1: Pechanga, Image 2, 3, 6: Hulse Photo, Image 4, 5: Jenna Joseph Photography}

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Best Place to Bachelor/Bachelorette in Los Angeles

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Summer is right around the corner, which means here in Southern California, it’s bachelor and bachelorette party time!  If you’re planning your bachelorette weekend or getaway bachelor party, then look no further than sunny So Cal and the bright lights of Los Angeles!  The trend to getaway for a bachelorette party is taking the country by storm – no longer do guys and gal pals go out for just one night, they get in the car or hop on a plane for a quick ride to somewhere special for a few fabulous days with friends.  And Hollywood is one happening place to do just that!  If you want a spot that marries (pun intended) hip nightlife with sun tanning and spa, then check out the newly redone W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills.

This posh property has everything a weekend away with friends could need – a popular pool and poolside restaurant for cabana living and dare we say, a little day drinking; live local music certain times of the month in the swanky lobby lounge known as the Living Room Bar, a celeb-favorite steakhouse, STK (complete with it’s own DJ and entertainment), and even a Bliss Spa on property to help you recover from all the fun you had the night before!

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Located within perfect proximity to Hollywood nightclubs if you want to go out, but complete with all the social scene you could need within the walls of the hotel, the W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills is the ideal home to dance all night, lounge all day, and celebrate those last few days of single life with those you love most.

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If you’re organizing a little soiree during the weekend or you’ve got a good size group, consider staying in the E Wow Suite, a lavish party palace complete with a tufted wall-clad screening room, floating bed, and bar in the living room.   It’s got good times written all over it!

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With a recent renovation, all the rooms are inviting, modern, and made for fun, regardless of the suite or size room you select.

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But even with a room as wow as the E Wow Suite, you won’t want to spend too much time tucked away with a happening lobby and lounge scene like this.  Head downstairs to celebrate in style and don’t forget to dine and indulge at STK when you do!  Just ask the W Insider for help, they’re goal is to provide you Whatever / Whenever you want it and make your bachelorette weekend a breeze to plan!

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If you want to get some sun before the big day, see the City of Angels by night, and experience some of the best food and drink in LA on your bachelor or bachelorette weekend, then W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills is the place to be.  You might even spot a celeb or two during your stay!

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For more information on parties, dinning, spa, and getaway weekends in Los Angeles, check out the W Los Angeles – West Beverly Hills for more ideas and great rates.

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Palm Springs Wedding Location: The Parker Palm Springs

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If you want a swanky place to wed in the desert of California, then your search may have just ended here.  One of our favorite places for a destination wedding in Southern California is sunny Palm Springs, and one of the best hotels in the region?  The Parker Palm Springs.  Beautifully manicured grounds, delicious cuisine, fire pits and places at every turn, a spa worth writing home about, and a retro chic style unique only to The Parker is what ultimately sets this special spot apart from the rest.

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Even the front drive is memorable – a giant decorative wall that you almost tuck into to get inside and check in for a relaxing, old world experience.  Once you get past all the eye candy in the lobby (where I highly suggest you return later to enjoy a drink by the fire), your room will be nestled away in one of several buildings that you’ll get to via a secret-like winding path.  What I love about this property is that it’s not small, 144 rooms, big enough for a large wedding party, but it feels incredibly boutique, without the hustle and bustle of a large resort.  But if you want big, they’ve got that too – with reception lawns large enough to fill a small county fair (they’ve built one for a private party before, complete with rides and all!).

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Weddings at The Parker have several options – outdoors under the stars of course (if it’s not too hot in the summer months), and two beautifully appointed ballroom spaces that need little else to dress them up other than the elegant decor already inside.  The Mafiya Suite, which is perfect for parties of 100 or less, has beautiful high ceilings, grand windows and drapes, and even makes for an intimate indoor ceremony site when need be.  For larger weddings, the Grand Ballroom can hold up to 200 for dinner and dancing and has a private indoor / outdoor space for when curfew calls.

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The Parker has charm, sophistication, and playfulness – including a spiked lemonade stand on property with a bike and cart for poolside delivery – all that you’d want in a Palm Springs wedding.  And with so many party places on property, you’ll never have to leave when celebrating your destination wedding weekend.  Shhh…that includes the spa too!  One thing not to miss is a day at their stunning spa, which, for just the right occasion, has been known to host a party or two.

 Evening Banquet Palm Court

For more information on getting married at The Parker Palm Springs, check out their dedicated weddings site here!

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All Photos Courtesy of The Parker Palm Springs.

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