California is a state known for its incredible beauty. Whether you’re on the beaches in Malibu, the deserts of Joshua Tree, the forest of Muir Woods, or even in cities like L.A. and San Francisco, there’s always some unique and gorgeous sight around the corner. There are also a ton of fun, offbeat places where you and your spouse can say “I do.”
If you’re planning to get married in the Golden State, you’ll need a venue that’s beautiful, original, and unforgettable. Lucky for you, I (a CA native) happen to know of a few! Here are some of the most unique wedding venues in California.
1. Yosemite Valley Chapel in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park attracts about 4 million visitors each year—and from the moment you see this stunning landscape, you’ll understand why! This glacial valley in the Sierra Nevadas is full of lush green forests, waterfalls, and beautiful mountain ranges.
And then, in the midst of all this natural wonder, there’s the Yosemite Valley Chapel.
This old-fashioned chapel was first built in 1879, and it’s full of quaint charm that you’re sure to love. The chapel accommodates weddings of up to 125 guests, so you can have a sweet ceremony in one of the state’s most lovely national parks.
2. Fairyland in Oakland
In the late 1940s, a businessman in Oakland decided to find a way to entertain the local kids. By 1950, he had opened Fairyland, an immersive park that took inspiration from children’s nursery rhymes and gave kids a space to play. Of course, the park was ONLY inspiring for little ones; legend has it that Walt Disney incorporated many of Fairyland’s ideas when he opened his own park (Disneyland) in 1955!
Today, Fairyland operates only seasonally—but when the park is closed to the public, it’s available for private events like weddings. With 60 storybook sets spread over 10 acres, Fairyland is a fun place to release your inner child and celebrate your love story. All your guests will love exploring the area, no matter how old they are!
3. Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes
Where can you get the old-fashioned charm of the Yosemite Community Church COMBINED with the plant-loving vibes of SmogShoppe? Rancho Palos Verdes’ Wayfarers Chapel. This chapel was built after WWII by Lloyd Wright (son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright). Wright drew inspiration from the California redwoods when he designed this glass-walled structure, and today you can see redwoods, blue skies, and sweeping ocean views from the chapel sanctuary.
The Wayfarers Chapel can accommodate 100 guests, so it’s a beautiful spot for a small- to medium-sized ceremony. However, keep in mind that the chapel does NOT have any reception space, so you’ll have to look for a second facility close by. Luckily the chapel’s wedding coordinators will be happy to give you some great recommendations.
4. SmogShoppe in Culver City
Are you and your future spouse bonafide plant parents? Do you love nothing more than a perfectly-Instagrammable photo wall? If so, Culver City’s SmogShoppe is the perfect place to have your wedding. This 6,500-square foot event space is covered floor to ceiling in succulents, desert plants, and other greenery, plus some vintage furniture for a little extra flair!
Seriously, this space has a gorgeous photo opp on every corner. It’s a great space for millennial couples who love a cool, vintage aesthetic—or couples of any age who love environmentally-friendly businesses (SmogShoppe is 100% solar-powered).
5. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose
The Winchester Mystery House once belonged to Sarah Winchester, a widow and the heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune. Sadly, Sarah’s life was marked by family tragedy—and, according to legend, by more than a few ghosts. From 1886 to 1922, Sarah was constantly renovating her San Jose estate, designing trap doors, stairways that lead nowhere, and other bizarre additions that would scare off or divert angry spirits.
Today, the Winchester Mansion is a tourist attraction for ghost hunters, mystery lovers, and anyone who loves strange and unusual tales. They also host weddings in the estate garden (with receptions in the greenhouse)! This venue is a real treat for any couple who loves the weird, wacky, and a little spooky.