• Ajay Manaktala

10 Best California Indian Wedding Venues | 2020

Updated: 6 days ago

California has some of the best venues for Indian weddings in the world. 


We have Indian wedding guides for major cities like LA and SF, but if you're deciding between Northern and Southern California or the east coast and the west coast, this breakdown should help you out.


Just remember, California is also one of the most expensive places to have a big fat Indian wedding.


So what are the best Indian wedding venues in California? The best venues and hotels for Indian weddings in California are:


  • Pelican Hill 

  • Terranea 

  • Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

  • Montage Laguna Hills

  • Ritz Carlton Bacara

  • San Diego Grand Del Mar

  • Monarch Beach Resort

  • Meadowood

  • Casa Del Mar Santa Monica

  • Four Seasons Westlake Village


They’re many factors that make one Indian wedding venue ideal over another.  Cost is probably one of the least important. More expensive does not mean better.


For example, for a Gujarati wedding that needs ample space and noise to Garba or a Punjabi wedding that has a massive baraat and drone camera footage, each venue has its strengths. 


I’ve seen low budget weddings that left the guests talking for years and million dollar weddings that were a snooze fest, so make sure you line up you and your families preferences as you make your lists. 

The joke with California is you can be 30 minutes from the coast or the mountains, and being on the coast of the Pacific ocean and having amazing year-around weather makes for some GORGEOUS photos and lighting during evening sundowner vibes.



Let's look at each of these venues to understand which one is a perfect fit for your Indian or Pakistani or South Asian theme wedding.


All of these resorts and properties are experienced with:

  • clay pits for cooking naan,

  • loud noise from a Sangeet or baraat

  • elaborate wedding receptions and ceremonies

  • mehendi and henna friendly (My brother was charged $600 at my wedding because the henna ruined the hotel towels all the girls used).


1. Pelican Hill



Kobe Bryant loves to have his lunches here, and this private golf course and luxury coastal community caters to the elite of Orange County, about an hour south of Los Angeles.  Ocean views, greenery, fresh air and world class amenities makes it one of the most popular Indian wedding venues in the United States.  


Food: They usually have Indian catering from an approved vendor that you have to go with, as opposed to picking your own outside restaurant. (It’s very good though.) 


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Location: Newport Beach in Orange County


Cons: Indoor Ballroom space is limited to 300, which is usually just enough for most, but not all Indian weddings.  And cost. 


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2. Terranea



Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Food: You can probably bring in outside catering but will pay a charge for kitchen fees and outside vendors. 



Location: Rancho Palos Verdes


Cons: Location is a bit isolated, so if you have to pick something last minute like a coconut for a Pooja/Puja, it’s about a 10 minute drive away and could be a 30 minute delay at a minimum. 


3. Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel


Image courtesy: Ritz Carlton

Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Food: You can probably bring in outside catering but will pay a charge for kitchen fees and outside vendors. 


Location: Laguna Niguel in Orange County

Con: Not beach front for guests who stay there, but has a cliff side. 



4. Montage Laguna Hills



I do several weddings at Montage, Pelican and Monarch every year. These venues are all sure shot bets and depending on your requirements it may be a great choice.


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Food: You can probably bring in outside catering but will pay a charge for kitchen fees and outside vendors. 


Location: Laguna Beach Cliffside in Orange County


Cons: Just like it's OC neighbor, Capped off also at 300 people. 


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5. Ritz Carlton Bacara Santa Barbara



A mini destination wedding or staycation makes this hotel ideal for California folks who want a wedding weekend without the airport.


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Food: Allows outside catering. 


Location: Santa Barbara



Cons: Since a lot of guests will likely come from LA, you or them will have to take up hotel rooms in case they need to stay in between your ceremony and reception or spend the night. Not beachfront but has beach access via a path.


6. San Diego Grand Del Mar



For guests in San Diego, the Grand Del Mar is as pro at Indian weddings just like the Fairmont hotels in the bay area (San Jose and San Francisco) are also quite experienced in the same up north. Golf course also available for those who want to hit the greens, although who has at the time at Indian weddings?


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Food: Used to have an in-house Indian catering but unsure at the moment, please call them. 


Location: Luxury Resort in the middle of San Diego..  Notable celebrities have been married there.


Cons: Not coastal but a private resort away from the city


7. Monarch Beach Resort



The Monarch beach resort probably does an Indian wedding once a month, and for good reason. I personally have DJ'd or coordinated several weddings here in the last six months alone. One of our favorites in the last five years and definitely top choice.



Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $250,00 to $300,000.


Location: Dana Point.  


Food: Allows outside catering although might be similar approved catering to other south OC hotels. 


Cons: No coastal access but coastal views. You'll need a car to get to the beach.


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8. Meadowood Napa 3 Michelin Weddings



A 3 Michelin star restaurant and the who's who of Silicon Valley make this hotel the most expensive option for a big fat luxury Indian wedding. Not great for large groups or late night romps but 7 star luxury with the price tag.


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $200,000+, usually in the $500,00 to $1,000,000 when all the bells and whistles get added.


Location: Napa Valley, award winning winery with a Michelin star restaurant.


Food: Each dish comes with it’s own glass of wine and you won’t get $20/head Indian food when you’re spending hundreds of dollars per guest on the 3-michelin star food.  Western food and their own selections is what you get, but it’s the height of luxury. 





Cons: Probably the most expensive place in California to have a big fat Indian wedding. You’re competing with all that bay area/silicon valley demand and that demand comes at a premium.  Unless you have a million dollar wedding fund lying around you probably don't want to look here unless your heart and finances are set on it!


9. Casa Del Mar Santa Monica


Notice the Santa Monica pier in the background?

I love doing weddings here and the beach is MASSIVE, so your guests who decide to take up a room will have a gand time. It isn't a private beach however so don't expect a mandap on the sand. But it's one of my favorites and in the heart of Santa Monica, so don't expect any West Hollywood discounts here.


Average Cost for a 200 person big fat Indian wedding: $120,000+, usually in the $150,000 to $200,000.


Location: Santa Monica with Public Beach access.


Cons: A bit far for people, like Santa Barbara, who may need to figure out what to do and where to change in between a morning ceremony and reception. 


Food: Allows outside catering. 


10. Four Season Westlake Village


Luxury in the Valley.

A top choice for guests who don't want to move into the LA or Orange County traffic or live in the northern areas of Southern California. A pro at Desi weddings!


Average Cost for a 300 person big fat Indian wedding: $150,000+, usually in the $200,000 to $250,000.


Location: Agoura Hills and Westlake Village area, aka the Valley.


Food: Allows outside catering. 


Cons: Wedding venue and ceremony area would need a canopy to cover as heat is wedding killer.  This is a $5,000 to $10,000 expense. 




Conclusion


You really are spoiled for choice with South Asian wedding venues in California.  If you and your partner can afford a $400,000 or more for your special occasions, all of these venues can give you whatever you need. 




If you’re closer to the $200,000 mark, you will compromise with a few of these locations.  



For example, if you spend all your money and food and alcohol, but your 200 guests are toasted by a hot sun in their suits and sunnies, they will be very uncomfortable for the rest of the day and simply want to get home by 11PM. 


Read Next: Beach Wedding Mistakes Nobody Tells You


So you’d need to splurge on the canopy, freshly made juices, outside coolers or whatever else. 


Ajay Manaktala is a DJ and owner of Special Occasions DJ and Lighting, one of North America's best Indian wedding vendors. He blogs extensively on Indian weddings and sound/lighting.