The Fab Five

From: Winter 2016-2017 edition

Paséa Hotel and Spa

Huntington Beach’s newest spot to combine big days and beach vibes successfully marries luxury details and laidback attitude. Its local-artist program, coastal blue color palette, unique furniture and plush hoodie robes invite you to immediately start Instagramming your experience. Pull off an activity-packed wedding weekend without repeating a location by taking advantage of a variety of distinct venues, including a lawn illuminated with bistro lights and a terrace replete with fire pits (accommodates 1,400); the spa’s garden patio, with a Balinese water feature wall, an 8,400-square-foot contemporary and elegant ballroom for 935; Tanner’s restaurant, a hip open-air bar that specializes in rum drinks with clever names, and features swinging seats, a centerpiece shaped like a giant tree and a perfect view of the historic pier; and for cozy affairs there’s always the penthouse suite.

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Ocean splendor at Paséa Hotel and Spa in Huntington Beach; Photo courtesy of Paséa Hotel & Spa

The catering menus contain as much variety (dim sum, sushi, braised short rib ravioli, crab and corn chowder, cheese board and more) and offer multiple options to please vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free friends. And if you were just dying to include the meal from your first date or a cocktail from your hometown bar, the chefs and mixologists are happy to take requests. Complete the Golden State experience with s’mores and a bonfire, sunrise yoga, surf lessons, bike rides, spa treatments or a pool party. Paséa is conveniently connected to a brand-new dining and shopping complex for last-minute essentials or late-night partying at The Bungalow.

OUE Skyspace LA

Take your celebration to new heights—1,300 feet above sea level to be exact—on the 70th floor of downtown Los Angeles’ most iconic skyscraper, which houses California’s tallest open-air observation decks. The crescent-shaped space, which can handle a standing reception for 300 or a seated dinner for 120, boasts oversize window bays and gold accents that hint at Art Deco. But there is no shortage of wow factor courtesy of the 360-degree panoramic view, especially once the sun sets and the city lights twinkle. Have your guests go from “wow” to “whoa” by providing rides on the 45-foot-long glass Skyslide attached to the outside of the building. There is a built-in bar and a prep kitchen, but catering and most decor need to be brought in. Included in the rental is an optional two hours of use in Maguire Gardens next-door (a good way to add some nature into the ceremony). A customized green screen for the photo booth makes for great entertainment. Book a room at one of six hotels within two blocks for a bridal suite, as the site doesn’t have one, and spring for an expensive buyout if you want the place closed to tourists.

The 1912

Catering and event planning powerhouse 24 Carrots has added another standout setting to its roster. The 1912, named for the year the building was built in downtown Santa Ana, merges industrial chic (exposed high ceilings and venting, factory windows, sculptural metal chandeliers) and a light and airy atmosphere with a hint of speakeasy. 

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The 1912’s industrial chic setting in Santa Ana; Photo courtesy of The 1912

The entrance is unmarked, and the jackrabbit logo, reminiscent of a private club of the ’50s, is playfully scattered throughout. The main room, with its partially tiled statement half wall that bleeds onto the smoke-hued wood floor, and the separate cocktail area can accommodate as many as 350, but the recommended magic number is 150 for those who want to hold both the ceremony and the reception in the second-floor space. Packages include standard decor rentals, but leave room in the budget for some tall floral arrangements, throw rugs, tufted couches and king’s tables, as they really bring the room together.

Oyster Ridge

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Bucolic beauty at Oyster Ridge in Paso Robbles; Photography by Michelle Roller

If you dream of slow dances under the stars, a vow exchange in front of vines, a fete in a grassy field or a barbecue bash inside a rustic barn, this recently launched oak-tree-dotted, rustic ranch, adjacent to Paso Robles, just might be perfect for you. Located in the heart of Santa Margarita’s Ancient Peaks Winery, it offers indoor and outdoor options for as many as 200, surrounded by majestic mountains, thriving vineyards and miles of blue sky. It’s secluded yet civilized: The band can play late and loud, but there’s indoor plumbing, heaters, sound systems and lighting. Pick from a list of preferred vendors for food and beverage needs; the house has you covered in terms of wine. Adventurous couples can take advantage of the property’s zip lines, glamping, safari Hummers, tasting tours or the private landing strip, all of which can be used as additional entertainment or as day-before bridal-party pastimes.

Balboa Bay Resort

Tie the (sailor) knot aboard the new floating venue at one of SoCal’s celebration stalwarts, Balboa Bay Resort. The Mediterranean-inspired Newport Beach property has gone full Jayonce on vacation with The Ambassador, a 128-foot custom-built yacht complete with a grand piano, full bar, a bridal suite with private bathroom, twin spiral stair towers and an open-air observation deck perfect for exchanging vows while gliding around the bay with up to 150 of your nearest and dearest. The vessel is available for any part of your union’s itinerary including a sit-down feast or can be mixed and matched with spots that don’t require sea legs, which include two lawns, a beach, a fountain patio or the recently refreshed Grand Ballroom (450 capacity).

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Sail away at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach; Photo courtesy of Balboa Bay Resort

The surrounding sand, sea and sky provided the perfect palette to capture serenity and sophistication from head (lighting and wall-coverings) to toe (a thoroughly modern patterned carpet). New bi-fold doors enable parties to flow organically into an expanded foyer lounge. These enhancements follow renovations of all 159 rooms and the lobby and the addition of a coffee shop and A&O Kitchen+Bar. The pool area and the spa will also be redone by Spring 2017.