San Luis Obispo County, anchored by its biggest cities, San Luis Obispo (SLO) and Paso Robles, is where wine country meets beautiful coastline, where a cowboy and a college kid are often one and the same, and where tables are filled with bounty produced by the family farms and cattle ranches that dot the undulating mountainsides. This diversity is now made even more appealing with seven new event venues ready to host your wedding weekend.
This 30-acre private property is yet another fabulous choice for nuptials in the Edna Valley. The setting brings pure romance and drama to any big day, with a two-story, 13,000-squarefoot Italianate villa nestled in a grove of towering oaks, along with sprawling lawns under wide-open skies. There are many ceremony-worthy spots to choose from. The owners recommend exchanging vows under the pergola in front of a tall waterfall. The grounds boast plenty of opportunities for picture-perfect moments, including 20,000 square feet of water features, lush gardens, a stone turret, dramatic staircases and winding trails. Head inside the dramatic, high-ceiling villa for dining, dancing and drinking with as many as 350 of your nearest and dearest. Take the revelry back outside for lawn games and a bocce court. Set on dining under the stars? There’s a brick patio that can comfortably seat 200. Plus, a secluded cabin serves as the groom’s quarters, while the bride and her squad can get ready in the villa’s bridal suite. Perhaps the best part is that couples can enjoy their loved ones’ company until the very last moment before retiring to the mansion’s two-bedroom suite.
Encircled by majestic oaks in the heart of the Edna Valley sits this former Arabian horse ranch turned enchanting hacienda-style bed-and-breakfast. Composed of seven suites and a stand-alone home, the property is filled with handcrafted Mexican furnishings, folksy prints and Saltillo tiles, in recognition of the region’s history. This style is carried over to the three event spaces, where customized gatherings can be held: The Plaza, Oak Courtyard and The Terrace. The grassy Terrace presents mountain views and a vibrant tiledstaircase perfect for family and wedding-party photo ops. La Lomita opened a fourth venue called The Pavilion, a red-tile-roofed building reminiscent of a mission, this spring. The versatile space will offer an effortless flow from indoors to outdoors as well as an indoor option for winter weddings.
Last March, Jill and Hamish Marshall added to their ever-growing venue empire—which includes SLO Brew’s The Rock brewery and taproom, a catering kitchen and an event center—by converting a dairy barn and horse stable into a refined yet rustic home with several spaces suitable for wedding-related events. With the property surrounded by the rolling hills and sprawling vineyards of the Edna Valley, engagement parties, send-off brunches and welcome receptions fare well in the farm’s yard, where as many as 75 guests can gather around the fire; a giant chicken sculpture brings a peck of quirkiness to the scene. An animal menagerie (miniature donkeys, a pig, horses and even a pair of alpacas) spices up photo sessions and the guest experience. Rehearsal dinners can be customized, but are often held with farmhouse tables forming a long line down the house’s main corridor, the front garden, or in between the converted horse stalls in the attached barn. Another convenience is that the wedding party can stay in the three-bedroom home and get ready on-site.
Piazza Hospitality, known for its incredible art-filled and sustainably designed Healdsburg boutique hotels, introduced its contemporary design vision to downtown SLO with Hotel San Luis Obispo last December. Of the hotel’s 78 rooms, brides should lock down the Morro Suite which boasts high ceilings, big windows with mountain views, balconies and white oak floors, all of which make a great setting for wedding-prep photos. The Seven Sisters ballroom, which hosts as many as 180 seated guests, has the feel of the outdoors, with its connected terrace and an abundance of natural light streaming in through glass walls. The laid-back pre-event foyer opens up to the courtyard, replete with native plants and fire pits. There are two restaurants on the property: the casual Piadina and the fancier steak house, Ox + Anchor, which offers private dining in the win library for smaller groups while the rooftop bar is available for light bites, beer and bocce. Group pampering is extra special at Sol Spa, with salt saunas, pretreatment foot soaks and a make-your-own scrub bar. Staff can formulate a scrub customized for the couple or the event, and will package it as gifts for the squad.
Jill and Hamish Marshall became their own competition in 2020 as they partnered on a new 65-room boutique hotel in downtown SLO. Opened in January, the property has an overall aesthetic of relaxed refinement; its design incorporates ideas from modern, mission, and industrial styles, while focusing on sustainability. It boasts the city’s only rooftop pool (available for cocktail parties), a tranquil chef's garden (its ingredients are used in preparing fare for the ground-floor brasserie as well as wedding menus) and a 4,000-square-foot day spa with a post-treatment rooftop terrace. The main celebration space is the airy second-floor Olive Tree, a streamlined room with a historic brick accent wall and a fireplace that opens up to a garden terrace. On the terrace, guests will find built-in bench seating, a fancy grill and a fire feature. Smaller soirees for 20 people or fewer can be held in the Penthouse Loft. Another fun feature that can be used for groups is the in-house distillery, just off the lobby. Bachelor and bachelorette parties could start with demonstrations and tastings of the artisanal spirits and liquors, and perhaps a class on how to use the copper still.
Simultaneously hip and historic, this industrial chic option in downtown SLO was built in the 1930s to house a blacksmith shop, and, in 2019, was repurposed as an event venue by Tinker Tin Company (which rents out vintage trailers, tepees and tents for events) and Sidecar Cocktail Co. (a cocktail bar and restaurant with a bar catering branch). Striking photo backdrops can be found in every direction of the flexible, moldable mixed-use space. Picture exposed brick, paned windows, big black metal doors, a weathered barn, a courtyard strung with lights and an indoor room with a beamed ceiling. The Penny can accommodate parties of 300 for an indoor/outdoor cocktail reception and as many as 125 seated. A noise ordinance brings an end to events by 10 p.m. On-site parking is not available, but numerous downtown hotels are within walking distance.
Named for the small woodwind instrument, this new 24-room hotel is intimate, yet handles group service with ease. Welcoming touches are sophisticated and approachable, such as being
greeted with a glass of local wine or bubbly in the lobby wine bar. Still thirsty? There’s a Moet vending machine, for which tokens can be purchased as welcome gifts or favors. The downtown Paso Robles location puts guests within walking distance of shops, restaurants and tasting rooms—and makes it a snap for the newlyweds to pose in the historic central square. For exclusive use of the hotel’s rooftop bar (the first in the city) or the courtyard, with its whimsical 76-foot mural depicting native plants and flowers, you must buy out the hotel. The second-floor balcony overlooks the courtyard, offering opportunities for introducing the couple or even a vow exchange from above. A bonus for a buyout is that the decadent breakfast spread can become your own private farewell affair. Couples looking for a larger reception will be happy to know that The Piccolo is connected to its much larger sister property, the Paso Robles Inn (pasoroblesinn.com), by a small path. Guests can use the inn’s facilities, including the pool. In addition, it offers a large historic ballroom for bigger, more traditional receptions.