Dear readers, I need your wedding venue help!

Categories   Real Weddings

Running this blog with Kristina and Jillian for the last few years has been the most exciting, rewarding and inspiring job. Being surrounded by the most beautiful colors, textures, flowers, invitations…we feel so lucky that we get to do this every day! As you can imagine, I have hundreds different ideas circling around in my head regarding my own upcoming wedding (of course). I always get asked, “You probably have it all planned out already, right?”. But I always knew I wanted to wait to even think about anything wedding-related until with my fiancé, and now we are so excited to be going through this familiar, yet foreign, process together.

Tim and I finally landed on the vibe we want for our wedding, “60’s-inspired California glam”. We are so inspired by where we live, and many of our guests are coming from out-of-town so we wanted them to experience it with us. We’re also huge fans of the interior and set design, fashion, colors and quirkiness from the 60’s James Bond movies.

Next step: the wedding venue. Finding the perfect place to live out our dream day (as many of you have already experienced) has been incrrrredibly tough! Having our concept in place is making it EVEN HARDER to find a venue, turns out. We’ve been scouring the web, blogs, forums, etc. for weeks without finding the perfect place for our celebration. Which is why I’m reaching out to yous.. our lovely, awesome readers. Do you know of any good California venues that have this vibe? We want something relaxed and a little retro feeling with a touch of sophistication..preferably with somewhat of an ocean view (but not necessarily ‘in’ the sand). It can also be an estate, hotel, or mid-century modern house with an awesome pool and great view (in the Hollywood Hills perhaps?). Bonus points if there is a fun hotel nearby or cute bungalows for our guests to stay in.

We have already considered Palm Springs since many hotels have this vibe…but we just really want to be near-ish to the ocean. HELP!

{top left photo from the Bond movie Thunderball / umbrella photo / The Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club (which is a leetle out of our budget) / sunbathing image from I Love Wild Fox}

Thank you so much for your ideas!!

xx, Amanda

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Jeanette on Nov 11, 2011

What about Catalina Island? There is some kind of cabana club there.

Matt Sloan on Nov 11, 2011

there are some hip places in Malibu, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. Have you thought about looking at a home to rent in Palm Springs or even Santa Barbara? Look on like and find some cool looking rad homes. :)

Allie on Nov 11, 2011

The Pearl in San Diego?

Jessica Root on Nov 11, 2011

I would suggest the Viceroy in Santa Monica or if you are looking for something a little funky look into the Seasprite in Hermosa Beach. I work at the Beach House Hotel,, and we do not offer weddings, but could offer a dicount depending on time of year. The Seasprite is just south of the pier. The Viceroy would be the nicest...

Laura on Nov 11, 2011

What about Annenberg community beach house in Santa Monica? They have a room that overlooks a pool and it's right on the beach.

Utah Events by Design on Nov 11, 2011

Congrats!!! I'm not sure how far away you are from this venue, but if you're going for 60's Cali Glam, I highly suggest the Viceroy in Santa Monica (see link below) It's super glam, chic, and I have no doubt you and your guests would enjoy!!!

Utah Events by Design on Nov 11, 2011

LOL I just saw that Jessica (the first comment) made the same suggestion :) Guess that tells you a lot about how awesome this place is ;)

100layercake on Nov 11, 2011

I love the Viceroy in Santa Monica! I have a feeling it's probably a bit out of our price range though. :(

Sarah on Nov 11, 2011

came here to suggest the pearl in san diego as well. but be aware - it is small!

elissa @ one stone events on Nov 11, 2011

are you deadset on cali? this hotel in st. pete, fl is really cool...

Melinda on Nov 11, 2011

What about somewhere in Long Beach? At the very least I know the airport has an older architecture. Or the Queen Mary perhaps?

Molly on Nov 11, 2011

Parker Palms Springs! or Condor's Nest Ranch has an unbelievable retro pool to have a reception around with very vintage pool furniture.

Desi on Nov 11, 2011

The Pearl is great if your having a small wedding Also there's Tower 23 There has to be houses around too. I'm going to think about it a little more and see what I come up with.

HiLLjO on Nov 11, 2011

Unique venues has places you've never thought to think of! LOL! I love their website!

Yang on Nov 11, 2011

Congrats! We're getting married in Santa Monica so I've scoured a few venues in the area...I also think Viceroy in Santa Monica or the Annenberg House in Santa Monica are great choices. The Sheraton Delfina also has similar decor to the Viceroy, I'm just not a fan of using their ballroom for the actual ceremony. The London Hotel in West Hollywood is also pretty cool.

birdredbird on Nov 11, 2011

You could probably make that vibe happen at SmogShoppe in Culver City.

Lauren on Nov 11, 2011

The Shangri-La in santa monica or the bel-air bay club? or, it would be more destination-y, but the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz sounds like it would fit the bill

Hilary Scott on Nov 11, 2011

That vibe is so Palm Springs to me. That's actually where my wedding is next October. If you can pull yourself away from the ocean, Palm Springs might be just the mid century modern resort town you're looking for. The options for hotels are endless and even estates. Good Luck!!!

Megan Jean on Nov 11, 2011

You MUST check out the Elvis Honeymoon House in Palm Springs. A friend of mine had her wedding there ten years ago and blogged about it here: Simply 60's and perfect!

kendra on Nov 11, 2011

Hotel Del in San Diego. it's amazing somewhere in Huntington (like if they have a little chapel. I can't remember) Balboa Park san Diego

Jordan on Nov 11, 2011

Molly already mentioned it, but I second Condors Nest Ranch!

100layercake on Nov 11, 2011

I love so many of these! Thank you SO much everyone! Molly and Jordan..I like the pool area at Condor's, which totally fits the bill, but I'm afraid that the ranch part might too rustic for our theme. What do you think?

Sonia Sharma Events on Nov 11, 2011

Palm Springs would be an awesome place to get married! We can't wait to see the final product :)

Amy on Nov 11, 2011

Some friends of ours just went to a wedding at Dick Clark's house in Malibu. No idea how they managed to rent it, but sounds like it would fit the bill. They had a similar vibe too.

Megan on Nov 11, 2011

This is an amazing mid-century modern hotel in Palm Springs.

Leslie on Nov 11, 2011

I saw this place on one of those HGTV dream vacation things where they went to Palm Springs...not sure what your budget is and it looks expensive but also pretty amazing (horses, racetrack, lake and guest cottages? yes please!) ...and it's Merv Griffin's house!

littlewinterbride on Nov 11, 2011

first off, congrats on your upcoming nuptials! how exciting!!! have you ever thought of the frank sinatra house in Palm Springs? tots retro with a pool...could be quite the spot for your big day. Reminds me of the house in Peter Sellers movie, The Party.

Lauren on Nov 11, 2011

Ocean view villas in San Diego. Kind of a blank slate, might be more california dreamin though.

Yolanda on Nov 11, 2011

Here's somemore places that might work for the look you want and meet your qualifications of Southern CA + near the beach: Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach (modern/retro) Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach (modern/retro) Vibe Hotel in Hollywood (great look, but not sure if there is an event space--would be great for engagement photos!):

Lulu on Nov 11, 2011

Bacara in Santa Barbara is beautiful

Terri on Nov 11, 2011

This might work, although I think it may be a little small.

Courtney on Nov 11, 2011

I bet if you contacted a film scouting agency they would know of some rad houses in the Hollywood hills or Malibu for rent. (of course you have to pay the scouts for the info...) Congrats!!

Sarah on Nov 11, 2011

The Pearl is definely rad and (my town!) San Diego has lots of awesomeness to offer. The hotel faces away from the ocean, though, so you won't have ocean views.

holly on Nov 11, 2011

The Casino San Clemente is right near the ocean the venue is a historical building from 1937 that's been refurbished you have to bring in all your own vendors but it has a really cool vibe that would suit that retro feel.

Desi on Nov 11, 2011

what about here. it's awesome.

Sandra on Nov 12, 2011

Surf and sand resort in Laguna beach. Amazing, charming, and a ceremony on a beautiful terrace that overlooks only ocean.

Dorothy on Nov 12, 2011

Have you considered San Diego? The Pearl but also Coronado Hotel come to mind. Good luck!

Eva on Nov 12, 2011

Come to Italy, Sorrento and the Amalfi coast can give you that vibe!

Lesley on Nov 12, 2011

My friend got married at the Bel Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades and it was amazing. Definitely check it out.

Maddie on Nov 12, 2011

Hey! I just went to a wedding in San Clemente : I don't know if it's james bondy or anything but it has a beautiful view of the ocean and an outside space for the ceremony and then an inside space for the reception. It could be something worth looking at :]

Kristi @ Diary of a Bride on Nov 12, 2011

Hi there!! I am from CA and I was also planning a beach wedding with my fiance (but things got too expensive, so we decided to marry where I grew up (still CA, just not at beach). My friend had her wedding in Malibu here: There are also some places in Santa Barbara, CA that are really nice (many hotels right on the beach, and the Cabrillo Pavillion Arts Center). Good luck!! ps. I LOVE your blog, I am going to add your link to mine if that is ok :) -Kristi

Keri on Nov 12, 2011

I was actually think the annenberg beach house as well. it's right on the beach and has the beach club/house vibe. beautiful.

Jess on Nov 12, 2011

The Jonathan Club by the Santa Monica Beach

jessica on Nov 12, 2011

The 4 Season's Hotel in Santa Barbara is associated with a beach club across the (very tiny) street. It is called the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. The beach club is exactly what you are describing. It would be fabulous to use both - guests stay at the hotel. Use the beach club for your reception... The 4 Seasons also has many villas/cottages for guest or the bridal party to stay in. Perfect place.

Lucia Massoni on Nov 12, 2011

Is Northern CA possible? Capitola???? How 'bout dinner at Shadowbrook and then continue partying, swimming, whatever at the Venetian Bungalows on the beach fun!!!! Congrats! (Here is a link that came up when I googled to get a pic of the bungalows: )

Coralie on Nov 12, 2011

Amanda, I am having a hard time finding a venue as well! You are lucky that you found your theme! I have no set theme that I am going for just elegant, yet fun and not stuffy AT ALL! You are already steps ahead just having your theme! No matter what you do it will be amazing! Best of luck to you! P.S. Do you have a date set!? xx, Alyssa

ruth on Nov 12, 2011

Wonderful news! and wonderful taste...... One of my fave 007 movies was set in Glam Japan..... If you wanted to do a destination wedding.....I've never seen one done in Nippon... I would be avail 24/7 to interprete or translate anything....and have you ever seen the handprinted wallpaper of Florence Broadhurst? Very 007!! See on our page: or the lovely main site in Australia Great for a back drop.....and very NOW.....Did you know KateSpade is featuring her whole 2012 on Florence Broadhurst designs?....With 530 to choose from (only a portion are in the standard collections but you can request the archaive designs for a 007xyou feel..WITH YOUR COLORWAYS!!!....just an idea.....:-)

Eleonore Surles on Nov 12, 2011

I would recommend the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

nantucketdaffodil on Nov 13, 2011

I've been making wedding favor sweet...take a peek!

Karlie on Nov 13, 2011

I agree Santa Monica is a great choice for your wedding!! I love that place. If you ever want to make an online wedding album about your ocean-themed wedding pictures, do check out . Thanks and congratulations! Karla

Kirsten on Nov 13, 2011

Smog shoppe in l.a.

Whitney Kimmel on Nov 13, 2011

I've always adored the Indian Springs Resort and Spa, in Calistoga Ca. Its got a great retro vibe - and adorable bungalows. I also really like the Pacific Edge hotel in Laguna Beach. Find photos of them both here - Finally - The Shangri La hotel could also be a great fit!

Catalina on Nov 14, 2011

I would choose Santa Cruz for sure! and around. great by the sea places and very 60s!

Leah on Nov 14, 2011

Scripps seaside forum in La Jolla. Private Beach access, ceremony can be right on the water ad the architectural features are right in line with your theme! Lots of little beach hotels in the area as well.

WiredBride on Nov 14, 2011

The Pearl in San Diego!

Jordan on Nov 14, 2011

About Condor's Nest Ranch: I kind of think you have to see it in person--the website doesn't really do it justice--and paints a very rustic/farm/cowboy picture. The house itself is a mid-century modern bungalow (frank lloyd wright style), and yes, a lot of the vintage decor is rustic, but the outdoor area (where everything happens) is a blank enough canvas that you can style it however you want. My friends' wedding there didn't feel rustic at all--but then again, there are live animals on the premises, so while I think it definitely fits the vintage, quirky 60s vibe, it could be a bit of a stretch for the James Bond aspect of your theme, but you could make it work...if you want. Didn't one of the James Bond movies take place on a farm...? haha.

Tracy Reid on Nov 14, 2011

Hi Amanda! Congratulations! :) Such an exciting time! Obviously Palm Springs has that vibe in spades...and looking at a private home there is a great call. But if you want to be by the beach it's a bit harder to get that for sure! But not impossible. I do think you if can tap into a location scout it will turn up some great ideas...esp. with a private home. There is an awesome place that is pretty under the radar here in LA, up in the Santa Monica mountains. It's a private home called Mountain Mermaid. It's GORGEOUS. I'd say the theme is more 30's tho. However there is a pool area to get married and the most wonderful room for dinner with a huge fireplace and high ceilings. It's a bit more rustic and the vegetation is lush and gorgeous, lots of succulents. Good luck! Can't wait to hear where you landed!

Amy on Nov 14, 2011

I just got married in Palm Springs at the Elvis Honeymoon Hideway. I have a long list of possible venues that could fit your bill. Too many to list here unfortunately.

Hallie on Nov 14, 2011

Flying Caballos in San Luis Obispo might fit the bill, the house is bright yellow (bonus if this is one of your colors) and your guests can stay there

Jocelyn on Nov 14, 2011

Congratulations! I thought of these 2 locations immediately being a SoCal Native & Wedding Planner. The first I worked a retro inspired fundraiser event at the Lyon Air Museum. Very Pan Am. Second, I day dream of the party I could throw here, The Sowden House, oozes wonderful hollywood & is so unique. Good Luck!

Kelly Oshiro on Nov 14, 2011

Coral Casino at the Four Seasons SB might work... its a bit hollywood regency style but the exterior deck is a blank slate (and is right on the ocean)

Jillian on Nov 14, 2011

I am getting married at the Adamson House - historic house built in the 1920s that overlooks Surfrider Beach and right by the Malibu pier - it is awesome, surfers are ALWAYS out and you can have the after party at The Malibu Inn - vintage bar about a block away. Warning - they kick everyone off the property around 10:30pm (hence the after party), but it is a beautiful, relaxing, all outdoor property, with history and surfrider beach!! Also Casa Romantica in San Clemente is very beautiful, yet relaxed. Good Luck and Congratulations!

Hannah Suh on Nov 15, 2011

Amanda, I'm going through the same process right now searching for a venue. Much to my family/friends surprise, I'm having a tough go of it despite being in the wedding industry. I honestly feel like my brain is about to explode from viewing SO many websites/blogs/forums/rental sites/etc looking for the perfect venue. I'm sure you must have already checked out the most obvious venues, so I won't re-hash those. What about this private estate in Palm Springs? It has a retro vibe, a pool, and since it's a estate, you'd have tons of privacy as well as the option to really customize it to fit your theme. No ocean view though. The London West Hollywood also has a cool chic sort of vibe, that could easily be turned retro. Great views of Los Angeles and not terribly far from the ocean. A private estate in malibu: It's sorta retro and has the ocean view. Hang in there Amanda, it's taken me months, but I think I'm finally zeroing in on my venue. You'll find your's too!

Blaire on Nov 15, 2011

Not sure if anyone's suggested this yet, but the Canary Hotel rooftop in Santa Barbara is beautiful, not very theme-oriented, but a good blank slate with an unbeatable SB view as a backdrop!

pants on Nov 21, 2011

what about an aquarium or museum? so many of these CA institutions have mid-century lines and tend to be relatively sleek...?

wedding stationery on Nov 22, 2011

great idea. Love it

beth on Nov 22, 2011

Not to be "salesy" but I work at a wine tasting room in Malibu where we do weddings, and we have a semi private space that would be really killer for you to updo - email me, weddings, MALIBU surf style,

Sarah Pariso on Nov 25, 2011

Amanda! Here's the link to the ranch in Malibu that I was telling you about and then also El Capitan Resort in Santa Barbara, with the tents.

Scott on Nov 27, 2011

Look into The Brewery Gulch Inn Mendocino, California. Amazing and beautiful!

Annalise on Nov 29, 2011

This past summer I went to Crystal Cove for a hike and stumbled upon their Historic district with many cottages. I'm not sure if they do weddings here, but as soon as I read your post, I thought of it. You can rent the cottages to stay in and they have a very retro feel to them. They're on the beach and it's gorgeous down there (near Newport Beach).

Melia Yust on Nov 30, 2011

Congratulations on your engagement! Some thoughts on the above recommendations: The Canary Hotel is a little pricey, as is Bacara (although both are lovely) and both locations are not really 60's Cali Glam. The Four Seasons in Santa Barbara does have a great ocean front venue, which would fit your desired feel, but again pricey. Regarding St. Pete, FL, I planned a wedding there a few years ago and the food is just awful in that entire area... plus very limited vendors to pick from in that part of Florida. It's going to kill you after what you have been doing with 100 Layer Cake, and all your amazing vendors in LA area. Indian Springs in Calistoga is great, but not a perfect fit for the vibe I know you are looking for... couldn't really see James Bond there, or even Don Draper for that matter. I am in Nor Cal, so I am not as familiar with the So Cal locations, but here are some places which I would check out: Sunset Tower (beautiful Art Deco) and The Chamberlain, The London (all in West Hollywood); as well as the Ace Hotel and The Horizon in Palm Springs. I really hope this helps! It took me a year to find our wedding venue, but it was worth it! Happy planning!

Allison McCarty on Dec 2, 2011

Casino San Clemente for sure!!!! Kelly the GM is amazing!! Good luck!! Allison McCarty The Tangled Vine San Juan Capistrano

100layercake on Dec 2, 2011

Thank you everyone! You have been SO incredibly helpful and I have so many great recommendations. This search has been a rough one, but I think we may have found something we like. If you have any other recs though, please let me know! You're the BEST! xx

Wedding Photographer Rayleigh on Dec 7, 2011

The word PHOTOGRAPHY means an art by which a person can capture an image by light or other electromagnetic radiation. And you make them awesome. Very Cool place and I love to see them.

Kelsey on Dec 9, 2011

they are not by the beach but I am surprised nobody recommended The Beverly Hills Hotel or The Chateau Marmont.

Hollywood venue on Aug 16, 2013

Good choice in deciding wedding venue, and yes in my opinion Hollywood venue are best. I am sure you will definitely like Hollywood venues.

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