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Temecula Wedding Venues

Upon your first visit to Temecula, you’ll be awestruck by the seemingly endless miles of mountains and grapevines, which produce 50 different varietals. Between the 35 wineries, horse ranches and family farms, you can’t help but observe how this heart of Southern California’s constantly expanding wine country has retained its agricultural ambiance while growing into a bona fide small city, complete with gastropubs, craft breweries, community theater and unique boutiques peddling everything from old-fashioned candy to locally made lavender products. 

1. Temecula Creek Inn

Ironically, the Château Lafite of Temecula’s wine country isn’t even in the business of vinification and vintages. The charming Temecula Creek Inn, which underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2012, is an intimate 130-room, 27-hole golf resort nestled into the region’s rolling hills. It feels tucked away and tranquil, secluded enough not to have noise restrictions or a mandatory lights-out time, yet is only three miles from the antique stores and diners of bustling Old Town. After lounging on their private balconies, taking a dip in the refreshing pool or napping while wrapped in the premium bedding, guests can almost throw themselves from their plush overnight accommodations (complimentary for the newly minted Mr. and Mrs.) to the brand-new site known as Stone Meadows. Ideal for 125 guests or fewer, Stone Meadows looks like a dream backyard with paths of decomposed granite, fire bowls, comfy lounge and bar areas under redwood-stained trellises, a permanent dance floor, an expansive ceremony lawn lined with mature trees and food-prep areas hidden behind slatted wood scrims. Dinner is served under the stars and market lights, with long king’s tables set up between rows of trees potted in giant modern, above-ground crates.

Your “something old” can be the splendid Stone House site, with its backdrop of towering oaks, grassy knolls, and the charmingly rustic and historic 180-year-old granite building that once served as a bunkhouse for local quarrymen. Everyone must take a tram to this spot, but any imposition is quickly forgotten when you lay eyes on this pastoral paradise, which is often booked a year in advance for in-demand Saturdays. You can have your nuptials in nature in front of the wood arbor and underneath the hanging pendant lamps with an audience of 300. Then, invite them to nosh from a custom- designed menu, relax in front of a roaring fire, play bocce or boogie on the concrete dance floor. Previous clients have used the generous amounts of open space to bring in vintage furniture, set up a prop-heavy photo booth, have a sushi station or hire cigar rollers and an ice cream cart. Smaller parties of 40 or fewer can set up a meal inside the stone structure under its adorable rusty upside- down pail lights. Speaking of eating, the newly renovated, cleverly decorated with just the right amount of pig images and bucolic tchotchkes, local vendor-heavy foodie-approved Cork Fire Kitchen is a must-stop even if you only have room for the fig-blue cheese-pistachio flat bread or the chef-made jams, scones and ice creams. The private dining room, located near the third and more traditional waterfall plaza and ballroom, is perfect for a rehearsal dinners.

2. Ponte Family Estate

No expense seems to have been spared when this 300-acre, Napa-rivaling, eco-consciously designed cru compound of gardens, grapevines and great rooms was constructed. There’s even an outdoor gourmet bistro and a gift shop curated so expertly that you’ll wish that at least a few of your pals had waited to purchase presents. While the fact that Ponte will book more than one event a day and keeps its restaurant open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays earns it checks in the con column, the magnum-size convenience of having on-site, upscale lodgings (rare in these parts) and a bar for post-nuptial merriment (even more uncommon) might help one overlook those limitations. The wedding comes with a free stay in the four-diamond-rated, Mission-style, 60-room boutique inn. Start the big day primping in the shabby-chic bride and groom cottages, which have touches of whimsy, such as crescent-moon cutouts on bathroom doors in a nod to Wild West outhouses. Couples can get married in the vineyard garden, with its stately wooden pergola, flagstone aisle and Tuscan urn fountain, or in the hotel’s courtyard, where the only thing separating the wedding party from the growing grapes is a peaceful pond. (We strongly second a possible plan to add a rowboat for picture potential alone.)

Fruit-water stations and parasols are posh bonuses. Continue the soirée in style with a seafood bar, fried gorgonzola-stuffed Sicilian olives and porcini-crusted sea bass resting in artichoke and potato ragoût in the moody candlelit Barrel Room (capacity: 100), the Stone-Walled Reserve Room (150) or the Vineyard Pavilion (280). The latter’s shape is reminiscent of a barn, but its striking gabled ceiling, white beadboard columns, fruitwood Chiavari chairs and delicate chandeliers couldn’t be farther from a farm aesthetic.

3. Grand Tradition Estate

When you step onto this sprawling, well-manicured 30-acre spread in the neighboring town of Fallbrook, it feels as if you’ve stepped back in time to some romantic bygone era. The property’s centerpiece is an immaculate Victorian-style mansion complete with an elegant ballroom lit by gleaming Swarovski crystal chandeliers and lined with panoramic windows that gaze out on a massive heart-shaped lake, verdant grounds and iron scrollwork bridges. Serve cocktails and raspberry-chipotle brie-and-nut bruschetta on the wraparound veranda, or toss back pints and barbecue quesadillas in the Beverly Mansion’s English Pub. Complete your fairytale fantasy by arriving at the lakeside gazebo ceremony site in a carriage drawn by a pair of white Arabian horses. If you pictured more green for your gala, you can choose to get hitched in front of a trio of cascading waterfalls in the Arbor Terrace’s plumeria-scented tropical gardens and celebrate in the open-air pavilion accented by its white-draped ceiling and stately stone fireplace. The McDougal Family, who broke ground on the estate in 1983 and have operated it ever since, recently put the finishing touches on a third, slightly more informal option called Compass Terrace, which will start taking reservations in February. After a ceremony in a garden setting overlooking the water, as many as 125 guests can retire to the beautiful outdoor bar, with its all-weather furniture, swaying palms, wall of succulents, large screen display for movies or photo montages and fire feature.

4. Falkner Winery

This hilltop purveyor of merlots and sauvignon blancs offers two celebration areas with distinct personalities. The Garden satisfies the couple looking for a rustic outdoor event with green grass, blue sky and twinkle lights. Falkner claims to be the only area winery venue with shade at 5 p.m., a sunset-facing view, and a redwood winery building-the walls of which make for a stunning backdrop to jewel and autumnal-toned bouquets and bridesmaid dresses. The 25-foot oak bar provides a fantastic conversation spot when not partaking in a buffet meal prepared by Falkner’s Mediterranean restaurant, Pinnacle (which can happily whip up vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes), or cutting a rug on the parquet dance floor. If you are looking for a more formal experience, choose to hold your ceremony in the dimly lit barrel room or in the vineyard, a jasmine-scented, rose-dotted site surrounded by cypress trees. After a stunning stroll along the arch-covered path and a photo session in Pinnacle’s dramatic stairwell, there’s dinner, dancing and free cake-cutting. Unlike many of the neighboring wineries, Falkner shuts down its tasting room and eatery to the public by 5 p.m., so the happy couple and their minimum of 75–100 guests will have the run of the grounds. And because there is no hotel lodging on the property, everyone can chicken-dance late into the night.

5. Wiens Family Cellars

This 8-year-old, family-owned operation, which specializes in big, bold reds (but also makes a mean Viognier and sweet ports), built the winery (which is next door to the aforementioned Ponte Family Estate) with special events in mind. The classic, crisp exteriors, which can feel eco-chic and casual or be dressed up with linens, lighting and flowers for a more sophisticated party, has an overall Mission-meets-California-bungalow vibe and is characterized by neutral earth tones, native plants, dark woods, clean-lined concrete and strands of tin-shaded globe lights. The Vineyard View arbor backs right up to grapevines and can accommodate as many as 100 guests for a seated reception. (If holding only your ceremony and cocktail hour here, the number rises to 200.) The Mountain View Amphitheater and Patio has a similar feel on a super- size scale. Three hundred of your closest friends and family members can watch your exchange of vows on the stage and then take to the grassy area to munch on mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres such as avocado eggrolls and Angus beef roquefort sliders created by globe-trotting German chef Volker Lutz, who uses primarily local, sustainable and organic vendors. If the bridal duo wants to serve a seated dinner under the stars, the patio can hold 250. Wiens is not limited to outdoor options. Oenophiles will delight in the unique smell of fermentation and oak in the intimate cellar room. Whether you use it to tie the knot or throw a dinner party for 40, half the decorating is already done, thanks to the barrel stacks, stainless steel tanks and leather chairs. Bigger parties that crave an inside setting will feel at home toasting with complimentary Amour De L’Orange sparkling chardonnay in the beamed-ceiling banquet hall. A dance floor, ceiling swag and a photo booth are available additions.

6. Villa de Amore

Set atop a picturesque foothill in a secluded neighborhood off the main wine-country drag, rancho California road, the Mediterranean mansion Villa de Amore was built in 2002 with the express purpose of hosting special events. As such, the mother-son-daughter team that operates the venue are consistently adding modern amenities, such as uplighting, wireless microphones and photo-shoot props like an antique truck and “Mr. & Mrs.” pillows. This winter,the ballroom will be remodeled in order to accommodate 225 guests. Around every corner, couples will find perfect picture spots, thanks to plentiful roses, countless fountains, gazebos, carved and decorative doors, a romantic swing, crystal chandeliers, grapevines that surround the property and close to a million lights twinkling in the trees. There’s even an archway near the changing suites that allows a photographer to capture a clever back-to-back shot even if the couple doesn’t want to see each other before the ceremony.

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