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From Santa Barbara to San Diego, the southern California coast has some of the most beautiful seaside resorts anywhere, making this a great destination for a wedding that mixes big-city fun with an exclusive beach getaway.

Begin by deciding what kind of destination wedding suits your fancy: an LA getaway with shopping on Rodeo Drive and channeling Old Hollywood with a silver-screen themed affair, or the more laid-back charms of San Diego, where the historic Gaslamp Quarter and the world-famous San Diego Zoo offer intriguing backdrops for your ceremony or reception. Both cities serve as great gateways to Southern California’s finest oceanfront resorts and most treasured wedding venues.

Two hours north of Los Angeles you’ll find the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara, where the classic Spanish-Mediterranean design speaks to this beach hotel’s laid-back elegance. The nearby Bacara Resort has 78 acres of beachfront and can stage your ceremony high above the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Among the coastal towns lining the shoreline between LA and San Diego, Newport Beach stands out for its beaches, piers, marinas and harbor. In other words, the sea is the star here, and never more so than at the Pelican Hill Resort, known for its oceanfront golf course and its Mar Vista wedding venue. To the south you’ll find the famous artist’s colony of Laguna Beach, where the Montage resort boasts a spacious spa, 248 guest rooms, and 16,000 square feet of event space—ample room, in other words, for even the biggest wedding celebration.

Ready to take it downtown? The Four Seasons Los Angeles is a Beverly Hills landmark, while the Hotel Bel-Air has perhaps the city’s most desired wedding locale: Swan Lake, where you can exchange vows under the boughs of a 100-year-old Sycamore tree.

Written By: Bob Curley

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