Historic wedding venues provide epic backdrops for your big day. A place rich in experience, typically grand in design (even if it’s because it’s in ruins), and a sense of place and story that most people want for their wedding. Well, if this fits the bill for you then one destination wedding location in Southern California has got to be on your radar. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside (not too far from Disneyland if you want to make a day trip) is an old-world gem that is back on the map again. With architecture and design unlike anything I’ve ever seen, setting foot here will take you back to a time and place you may not have know existed.
Built originally in 1876, this property has relics from the 17th century and statement pieces from around the world. And it also has a chapel! That’s right, you can get married in a stunning non-denominational chapel for 160 (or opt for a smaller ceremony in the St. Cecilia Chapel for just 15). A big bonus for couples getting married here, I highly recommend a ceremony in the St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, followed by cocktails in a beautiful courtyard framing a fountain, before heading into dinner and dancing in one of eight ballrooms on property.
Then when it comes time to retire, you and your guests will delight in different rooms for each! No two hotel rooms or suites (out of their 238) are the same, many of which were even designed and built during different eras. For newlyweds, the Keeper of the Inn Suite, the Amistad Suite and Alhambra Suite are most popular. Whereas I stayed in a Mission Room on the top floor, complete with fireplace, high ceilings and a rooftop garden out front and I found it perfectly romantic for any pair in your bridal party.
And when planning a destination wedding, it’s important to think beyond just the big day. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa has five spectacular restaurants to choose from. You could host a dozen events here, from rehearsal dinner and welcome party to bridal luncheon and post-wedding brunch and never set foot in the same space twice! But no matter what venue you choose, know the food will be fabulous! Tub-sized margaritas will greet you at Las Campanas, while Duane’s Prime Steak and Seafood Restaurant is ideal for a more formal gathering of the group.
We mentioned this place has everything you need for a destination wedding weekend right? That includes a world-class spa, Kelly’s Spa, with couples suites complete with fireplaces and tubs for two and for others, a pool and deck where I’m sure an impromptu party or two have taken place. You can also opt in for a docent tour of the artwork and grounds that will give you a little lesson about the history you stand on.
But it doesn’t stop there. When you’re ready for dessert or want something a little different than wedding cake, ring up Casey’s Cupcakes in the lobby for a selection of wedding themed sweets and even a cupcake injected with ice cream! Yum.
Something else you might not know about The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is that the warmth of the team starts with the family that restored it, preserves it, and runs it. It really is a family business here, with the spa named after the Mrs, and the cupcakery created by the daughter of the owners!
And the owners have done a lot for the community, including creating a Festival of Lights during the holiday season with over 4 million twinkle lights to make for one amazing wedding backdrop. Hint: If you’re getting married in Southern California during the season, a honeymoon or wedding night or two here would be breathtaking, though just remember, during winter you won’t be alone!
The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa is one of the most charming, unique, and memorable places I’ve stayed – and I’ve stayed a lot of places. We all want our weddings to be unforgettable, and I’m confident no wedding guest or host will ever forget this magical spot.
For more information about getting married at The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa or for your honeymoon, check out their website here. And don’t forget to celebrate the season in Southern California at their Festival of Lights this winter!