Idyllic wedding ceremony setup on a lush lawn overlooking the ocean, featuring rows of white chairs, a floral arch at the altar, and tall palm trees swaying against a clear blue sky at Pelican Hill.

Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Destination Wedding in Orange County


If you’ve been around the blog, you know we’ve covered a multitude of fabulous wedding locations. Italy, Mexico, Bahamas. Now, we spin the globe and land in Orange County. Seems random, right?

But let us tell you, friends—this California region is anything but random. We’ve done our research, planned some beautiful weddings, and collected the facts just for you.

Grab your sunglasses, and let’s head to SoCal, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about planning your dream wedding in the OC.

Bride in a stylish white dress with sneakers and groom in a navy suit walking hand-in-hand in front of a turquoise mural depicting fish.

Why Choose Orange County for Your Destination Wedding

You don’t have to travel to far-off lands to find a fairy tale location. Orange County has pristine beaches, rolling hills, and stunning coastal cliffs. And the weather is ideal all year long. With mild, sunny days throughout the year, you can confidently plan an outdoor wedding anytime.

Orange County’s beauty goes beyond just looks; it’s got variety, too. We’re talking about a whole treasure chest of wedding venues to suit your style and budget. Whether you’re into intimate garden soirées or want to go all-out in a grand ballroom, the options are as diverse as your imagination.

But that’s not all. This county is bursting with cultural and recreational activities to entertain you and your guests. Think world-renowned theme parks like Disneyland, a buzzing arts scene, and more delicious dining options than you can shake a bouquet at. It’s like a built-in itinerary for an unforgettable wedding weekend.

The cherry on top? Orange County is easily accessible for your out-of-town guests. With John Wayne Airport nearby, it’s a breeze for your loved ones to join the celebration.

Choose Your Own OC Adventure

Scenic view of a bustling beach in Orange County, California, featuring waves crashing onto the sandy shore, beachgoers enjoying the sunny day, and residential houses nestled among lush greenery and palm trees on the hillside.

Your wedding should reflect your love story, and when you choose Orange County as your destination, you’re opening the door to a world of possibilities.

Each town in this diverse and vibrant region offers something special, and it’s like having a menu of experiences to pick and choose from for your big day.

Let’s look at some ways you can craft your wedding adventure in Orange County, ensuring your guests have an unforgettable time.

1. Newport Beach – Chic Shopping and Luxury Vibes: Newport Beach is synonymous with sophistication and high-end experiences. Picture your guests strolling down Fashion Island, a luxury outdoor shopping center offering world-class brands and gourmet dining. Host a glamorous rehearsal dinner or a chic cocktail party for your wedding. And think oceanfront views for your ceremony.

2. Laguna Beach – Surfer Town Vibes and Bohemian Beachy Feels: Laguna Beach exudes a laid-back, bohemian charm with an artistic twist. The town is renowned for its vibrant art scene and beautiful beaches. Plan a beach bonfire with your guests for a more relaxed pre-wedding event. Exchange vows with your toes in the sand and have a reception with live music under the stars.

3. Del Mar – Shopping, Food, and Leisurly Love: Del Mar is all about indulgence and leisure. This town is known for its upscale shopping districts, gourmet restaurants, and world-class golf courses. It’s perfect for guests who appreciate the finer things in life. Imagine your guests dining at renowned restaurants and playing rounds of golf before your wedding. Pair Del Mar with a luxury beachfront resort for the ultimate high-end experience. Your wedding day will culminate in sophistication, culinary delights, and the ambiance of coastal luxury.

Orange County provides a wide range of choices, whether your guests are looking for high-end shopping, beachy vibes, or top-tier golfing. You can even blend high and low experiences, ensuring that every guest can partake in the adventures that appeal to them the most.

Wedding Venues in Orange County

Orange County has a stunning selection of wedding venues, but we have a few on our favorite list.

Pelican Hill (Newport Beach)

Imagine a Tuscan villa perched on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean – that’s Pelican Hill. With its breathtaking panoramic views, lush gardens, and stunning rotunda, this venue is luxury and romance all wrapped into one. It’s the perfect place to create a dreamy West Coast wedding with a touch of Italian elegance.

Idyllic wedding ceremony setup on a lush lawn overlooking the ocean, featuring rows of white chairs, a floral arch at the altar, and tall palm trees swaying against a clear blue sky at Pelican Hill.
Outdoor wedding reception setup at Montage Laguna Beach on a lush lawn overlooking the ocean, featuring black tables with luxurious floral centerpieces, elegant dark chairs, and plush lounge areas, all under the soft glow of sunset light with palm trees in the background.

Montage (Laguna Beach)

For a quintessential beachfront wedding, Montage sets the stage for an idyllic celebration. The ceremony lawns and artistic seaside charm offer a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere. It’s the perfect canvas to embrace the laid-back surfer town vibes while enjoying the height of luxury.

Monarch Beach Resort (Dana Point)

Nestled along the stunning coast, Monarch Beach Resort combines opulence and exclusivity. This venue offers a range of picturesque settings, from its grand ballrooms to intimate garden spaces, making it a versatile choice for your dream wedding. Guests will enjoy the top-tier amenities and oceanfront allure.

Ritz-Carlton (Laguna Niguel)

This is the venue for you if you’re looking for a location that effortlessly marries elegance with coastal charm. The Ritz is synonymous with timeless luxury and oceanfront majesty. Its classic architecture, manicured gardens, and ocean-view terraces provide a beautiful backdrop for your wedding day. 

#1 Tip for a Seamless Celebration

Bride and groom toasting at their wedding reception, sitting at a table adorned with a floral centerpiece and elegant tableware, bathed in the golden glow of sunset.

When planning any wedding, staying organized is key to ensuring your day unfolds seamlessly.

Of course, we recommend enlisting the services of a professional wedding planner. Our experience and connections can help you navigate the planning process, coordinate with vendors, and manage details you might overlook.

No matter what, be flexible and prepared for changes, as destination weddings can sometimes throw unexpected curveballs. The weather may not cooperate, and guests might have travel hiccups. Have backup plans in place for outdoor events, and consider travel arrangements for guests.

Remember, a well-organized wedding is a less stressful one. With the right planning tools, professionals by your side, and a flexible mindset, your OC wedding will be the beautiful and seamless celebration you’ve always imagined.

We can help you get there!

Thanks for reading, friend.

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