We were recently guests at the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort & Spa, in Carlsbad, CA, and were absolutely blown away by the property. There are several things about it that make it a dream location for a wedding—its proximity to the ocean (we’re talking right across the Coastal Highway from the Pacific Ocean with the most AMAZING views), the most absurdly talented Chef and kitchen staff, the beautiful, modern guest rooms, and a stunning ballroom (the hotel was just built 2 years ago). But there’s more that really struck us—despite the hotel’s chain namesake, it truly is a boutique hotel with the most amazing options to customize your stay. Whether you’re a California local or if you want to plan a destination wedding that’s still stateside, this intimate property just north of San Diego should be at the top of your list when it comes to finding the perfect venue.
So with that in mind, we decided to take the difficulty out of wedding planning for you, and we planned you a 3 day wedding weekend!
Welcome! Treat your guests upon their arrival with a welcome package waiting in their rooms. Suggested treats? The Chef’s own French macaroons or field-fresh strawberries (both of which we had the palatable pleasure of tasting for ourselves!). After you’ve settled in, the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront staff are amazing at dreaming up the most creative and fun activities for groups. My favorite? A salsa and guacamole class—up the ante with a contest to see whose recipe wins. Then, cocktails await at the outdoor Fire Lounge, followed by a specialty custom dinner with wine pairings at Chandler’s Restaurant, the hotel restaurant that is a favorite among locals. Could the night end on a tastier note?
Day 2: Wedding Day!
Set a relaxing tone for the morning with a group yoga session, and then host a group brunch for the wedding guests followed by a relaxing afternoon pool-side or oceanfront while you and your bridesmaids hit the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront spa. I’ll tell you from experience that this is one AWESOME spa—plus, 85% of the products they use are natural-based or organic! The men can hit the links at one of several nearby PGA courses.
Start the wedding with a beachfront photo session and an intimate ocean-view ceremony set on the flagstone terrace or in the garden, and after outdoor cocktails, move into the new, elegantly appointed ballroom for dinner and dancing.
Thank your guests for spending the weekend to celebrate your union with a farewell brunch. Whether a traditional buffet or a smoothie and yogurt parfait combo, this is a great time to open gifts, reflect on the past evening, and spend a little more time with your loved ones.
Do you have time to stay longer? Well, your guests can enjoy, plenty of water activities like fishing, surfing, whale watching and other water sports. Or they can plan family friendly day trips to LEGOLAND California, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, Disneyland California! They can also go for some fun tours – we recommend the Gemological Institute of America for something a little more educational, or if you’re the outdoorsy type, a day at one of the local flower farms! And for those guests looking to explore a bit more, suggest they take a day trip up and down the coast to any of the many small but amazing towns with great shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Thanks again to the Hilton Carlsbad for inviting us to visit, and we hope you consider their amazing boutique hotel for your destination wedding!
Graphic: Hannah Lee
We always go weak at the knees when we see wedding photos sent to us from around the world, and in particular, the incredible style that European weddings exude. So with today's editorial, we thought this would be the perfect time to show you how to create a European-inspired wedding style.