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Wedding Venue in Central Coast or Santa Barbara Area with GREAT FOOD

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We're looking to get married somewhere North of LA up through the Central Coast (Cambria/Paso Robles) area. Can anyone recommend a nice venue that has great food?

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  1. Most of the resorts at the coast in SLO county have good restaurants and I would imagine good catering as well. You could also find a good caterer and see which venues they like best. (i.e.; starting with a caterer like Chef Rick's, then finding a venue.)

    If you are doing this in the summer, I'd forget about Paso unless you and all your guests are accustomed to intense heat. Paso would be best in mid-late spring (late April-early June)or Oct-Dec. Summer temps are most often in the 90's and 100's. "Cool" would be high 80's.

    Other more quixotic sites would be places you'd have to get outside catering. My boss's daughter got married at See Canyon Fruit Ranch this Sept. and the creekside garden was quiet and private. There are large ocean-going boats you can hire out of Morro Bay, lavender farms, olive ranches, etc.
    A consultation with a local wedding planner would be useful as they know all the venues and the caterers. They'd be able to help you xero in on what you want.

    There are several wedding fairs coming up sarting in Jan--I'd check them out because you'd be able to see the most info all at one time.


    Good luck and congratulations!

    1 Reply
    1. re: toodie jane

      That's a great point about the weather. We looked at the weather in Cambria and it seems fairly mild in August and September, but I guess if we went more inland it could be an issue. Thanks for the heads up and the great advice!

    2. How many guests?
      Do you want the ceremony and reception at the same location?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Got Cake

        We'll probably have about 150 guests, and yes, we'd like to have everything in one location, if possible. Thanks!

      2. Congratulations! I'm also getting married in the Central Coast (SLO, to be exact). Are you looking to have the reception catered by the venue itself, or to hire a caterer? We're having our reception at the Jack House Gardens, to be catered by Phoenix Fine Catering (phoenixfinecatering.com). If you want the venue itself to cater the reception, I've heard a lot of really good things about the Sea Shanty in Cayucos (805) 995-3272 - I think you can reserve their restaurant itself, but they also cater to a few places.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kcchan

          Congratulations to you too!!

          We're open to having either the venue cater or hiring an outside caterer. If possible, we would love to have it at an inn so that our guests can stay there. We're currently looking at Cambria Pines Lodge, which we've stayed at many times and loved, but I wanted to check out other options.

          1. re: pkaz

            I had my wedding reception at the Cambria Pines Lodge and rented out one of their banquest rooms. My guests loved the ambiance with the gardens and having the ability to stay on the property. They catered the luncheon and everybody loved the food. I thought it was very good and they do a good job of keeping the food the appropriate temperature. My only (small) complaint would be that their menu is pretty traditional, things like satays, stuffed mushrooms, appetizer pizzas, etc. Nothing is really ground-breaking, revolutionary stuff, but it is all executed really well. The staff were very helpful and all my relatives and friends had only nice things to say about the inn, the food, and the staff. So it mostly comes down to making a decision about whether you would like traditional food executed well or keep looking for something different.

        2. Price no object? - San Ysidro Ranch or The Simpson House - both in Santa Barbara.

          Simpson House: http://www.simpsonhouseinn.com/weddin...

          1. Me, I saved money by going to a location and hring a caterer. I had my wedding at Godric Grove in Elings park, and had Pure Joy cater it for me. Pure Joy I deem the top caterer in SB-food was great and service was exceptional!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Diana

              Ehlings Park in Santa Barbarazzzzzzzzz; I attended a catered wedding here and it was very nice for an outdoor wedding on a lovely day. There is a little stage and amplitheater with verdant views and a lovely place for the buffet gathering.

              Fresco's does very good catering in Santa Barbara - check out their website.

              An even more spectular site if want to cater wedding outdoors is the Winslow Maxell Overlook at Santa Barbara City College on the Mesa - fabulous backdrop of the city, mountains and the harbor.

              The college now makes this spot available to the public with reservations for weddings and catered events. You can sit down up to 350 people at this site. There is a raised central area for a ceremony and there is plenty of parking on weekends.

              "Alice Keck Park" is another lovely site for weddings in Santa Barbara on East Micheltorena.

              I do however have a bias against outdoor weddings as the music and words spoken are lost in the outdoors or else have to come through amplification which is never very good for such an intimate moment. I think a lovely church or chapel is far superior to the outdoors. Outdoors is fine for a reception, but for the sound and the music of it all, paying attention to accoustics can only be done indoors.

              Santa Barbara Unitarian Church across from Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens has superb accoustics, lovely chancel and a center aisle.

            2. I attended a wedding @ Alice Keck park and it wasn't too difficult to hear the bride and groom exchange vows. Gorgeous site! The reception was @ Stella Mare's, and the food was very good. I wasn't a fan of the location because it wasn't one large room , some people were in slightly isolated areas, and the dance floor was behind a wall from where everyone was having dinner, so the flow was a bit obstructed.

              1. What about the Rincon Beach Club? Rincon Catering does a great job, and it is right on the beach in Carpenteria.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JalamaMama

                  And they'll charge you an arm and a leg for food and seervice that isn't as good as Pure Joy. I priced them for my wedding...it was insane what they wanted for a small light menu of mostly apetizers. They charge even more for the whole package at Rincon.

                  Plus, there's something inherently cheesy about wedding at all-in one places.

                2. Has anyone been married at Jack House Gardends?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: johnsend

                    I'm having my reception there! My photographer got married there...

                  2. We're getting married next year at the Barn at the Dana Powers House in Nipomo. She has two options on the property and both are lovely: the Barn (which has a nice lawn next to it for the ceremony) or the Dana Powers House (Victorian house with a nice garden and patio). We are hiring our own caterer...which I think is a better option than having to use the venue's. Anyone have a suggestion for upscale BBQ caterers? Anyone ever had Testa Catering or McGee's Catering? Just curious.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: smallgirlbigcity

                      Pure Joy is the best all around caterer and they will do BBQ

                      1. re: Diana

                        I haven't heard of them. Going to look it up right now. Thanks!

                    2. I was married under a tent, with heaters, on the large expanse of lawn at Shamel Park in cambria (seaside, behind a berm and windswept trees) and had Chef Rick's cater. Paid a premium to bring it all in, but the result was worth every penny. We were married in the gazebo.

                      1. Hi, We got married at Cambria Pines Lodge, & it was lovely. Like the prior poster, the food was good, but I can't say great (although the restaurant itself at the property is great). There are a lot of beautiful wineries that can serve as a venue in the Paso area (like Silver Horse). Check out pasowine.com. You could probably get a fantastic Paso restaurant like Artisan to do the catering. Have a wonderful wedding.