Planning a luxury Southern California wedding is no easy task. The amount of time, energy, and intention that goes into planning a cohesive and elevated event are absolutely worth it, though! If you’re a modern couple who’s looking for tangible tips and tricks on how to host a high-end SoCal wedding, then this blog was made for you.
What to look for in your Southern California wedding venue
Your Southern California wedding venue will be one of the main factors in dictating how your day is going to look aesthetically. If you want a luxurious feel to your venue, then architecture should be a huge focus! You can never go wrong with booking a space with European-inspired architecture as I’m a firm believer that anything in the European category is luxury. The amount of class, culture, and artistry that goes into this style will never look or feel cheap. As for specific details, look for venues that include artful decorations like paintings in gold frames, as this will tastefully elevate the entire space. To be honest, any venue where you’re surrounded by art will give you a luxury feel!
I recommend making sure that your ‘getting ready’ location matches the feel of your Southern California wedding venue so that your gallery remains seamless and cohesive. You don’t want your ceremony & reception photos to have a high-end, elevated look and your ‘getting ready’ photos to be the complete opposite! The same advice as above applies here; stick with clean, minimalist, and neutral colors to ensure a timeless and classic feel.
One of my all-time favorite venues that screams “luxury” is Stone Mountain Estates in Malibu! The Tuscan-inspired landscape and intentional stone architecture will give the European vibe I talked about earlier. You’ll also be completely secluded at this 40-acre venue tucked away in the Malibu Coastal Range, resulting in an intimate and exclusive vibe for you and your people!
Be intentional with your wedding attire & accessorize!
Alright, now that we’ve got your wedding venue down, it’s time to talk about your wedding attire! Whether you want to go the minimal, chic route or the extravagant, ‘all out’ look, it’s very important to be intentional about it. When choosing a dress specifically, think about the artistry behind it and how unique or high-fashion it is. At the end of the day, your wedding outfit will set the tone for how luxurious you look and feel, which in turn affects how your photo gallery will turn out. Your outfit will be in the majority of your wedding photos, so if it gives that high-fashion look then your photos will look somewhat luxurious no matter what!
Another component of how luxurious your wedding outfit will look is how you accessorize. Feathers, ruffles, pearls, and beadings are all elements you can incorporate into your look to really make it pop! Adding gloves, headpieces, unique jewelry, and shoe choice can make or break your wedding outfit, so be sure to intentionally style all of your elements.
Have a wedding outfit change… or two!
Speaking of outfits… Why not have a couple to choose from?! I love when couples have a day-to-night look or have separate outfits for their wedding portraits. This gives you the opportunity to really get creative and not have to choose one outfit for all aspects of your wedding day. Instead, you’re able to have specific looks for certain events that don’t have to account for all of the activities you’ll be partaking in! For example, the dress you choose for your wedding portraits most likely won’t be the most comfortable dress you choose for dancing the night away at your reception.
This doesn’t just go for brides, either! One of my past grooms, David, changed into a velvet tux for the reception and looked quite chic. Both people getting married should be intentional about the outfits they choose and make sure they are cohesive, especially when having multiple looks.
Choose a neutral color palette (or be cohesive with color)
Neutral color palettes will always be classic and timeless. If you’re not comfortable with styling colors and would rather play it safe, then sticking with a black-and-white theme will be the easiest way to go. Not only will it look clean and minimal, but black and white are always chic as fuck!
On the other hand, if you know how to be cohesive with colors, don’t be afraid to incorporate them. At the time I’m writing this blog, bold pops of color are becoming more and more popular for luxury weddings and events. If you know how to style them correctly, bold colors can elevate the look of your wedding and give an aura of extravagance to your decor!
Get creative with your champagne tower
Having a champagne tower itself gives an ultra-luxurious feel, but why not take it a step further and get creative? Having different-colored sparkling wine or champagne can add that extra pop… bonus points if it matches your wedding color scheme. You can also repurpose your florals to add a decor element to your champagne tower table! Taking the aisle pieces from your ceremony would be the perfect opportunity to do this.
And don’t feel like you have to use the traditional champagne coupes or flutes for your tower. There are so many stunning, luxurious-looking glasses you can utilize to make your champagne tower more unique! Even adding elements like cotton candy or liquid nitrogen gas will make your pour quite the showstopper.
Use romantic lighting to set the mood
Nothing sets the mood of your ceremony and reception better than your choice of lighting. Be intentional about the form of lighting you use, as it will also have a huge impact on how your gallery turns out. Try using lots of candles, chandeliers, and other soft forms of lighting (like fairy lights) to set that intimate, romantic mood.
If this is the look you want to go for, make sure your venue allows open flames. Some venues have strict policies against having candles inside, so double-check your contract before making any final decisions. If you’re hiring a wedding planner, they can handle this for you, too!
Don’t be afraid to go all-out with your florals
I’m gonna keep this one simple: you can almost never have too many florals. Gone are the days when having minimal florals is the only way to have a luxury wedding feel. Incorporate tons of flowers, petals, greenery, etc. for that maximalist vibe that’s currently trending. Especially if you’re having bold, colorful florals, this element will definitely add the “wow” factor!
Have your guests stick to a dress code
Again, your guests and their outfits will be in quite a few photos in your wedding gallery. If you truly want that luxurious vibe from start to finish, suggest a specific dress code to give your guests parameters for their outfits! That dress code could be black tie, an intentional color palette, or based on a specific theme (think: spring wedding, garden party, red carpet, etc.). Having a dress code will make your wedding look more cohesive and therefore elevate the entire event. Bottom line: if your guests are dressed like they’re attending the MET Gala, your wedding will look expensive AF!
Keep your guests cool (and chic) with parasols
Southern California can get especially warm in the spring and summer, so providing your guests with some sort of relief is never a bad idea. Remember, hosting a luxury wedding includes providing a luxury experience for your guests, too! Having something like white parasols will keep your guests cool and chic… Plus, we can repurpose them as props for your portraits later on.
Ditch the big wedding and have a boujee elopement
If you want a luxury day but are working with a more conscious budget, I’m here to tell you that you’re allowed to ditch the big wedding vibes. If you’d rather have a boujee AF elopement so you can splurge on your dress, florals, and decor, then you absolutely should do that! More and more couples are choosing to prioritize a smaller, intimate wedding where they can make it everything they’ve ever dreamed of. Joshua Tree and Palm Springs have some very gorgeous estates with unique architecture and design, which will give you that luxury feel. You can book one of those properties and have yourselves a boujee elopement weekend with just the two of you or a few friends and family members!
Ready to plan your luxury Southern California wedding?
I would love for you to get in touch via my contact form to see if we’re a match. Once you inquire, I’ll get back to you within 72 hours with more details! In the meantime, feel free to stalk my Pinterest profile to start getting more inspo for your SoCal wedding. And if you’d like to see my work in action with storytelling behind it, check out David and Natalie’s Coyote Hills Golf Course Wedding that’s on the blog!