Wedding Venues in San Diego, California by Southern California wedding planner Constance Curtis

Categories: Destination Wedding, Southern California Wedding planner

Our team is extremely knowledgeable with venues all over Southern California. By the time our clients start the search for their dream-wedding venue, they have set their wedding budget, concluded their guest list and have a clear idea of the style (beach, city, etc.) of wedding they want to have. If you haven’t done this, we suggest you read our posts Setting a Wedding Budget – What you need to know, Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Southern California’s South Coast Region and Wedding Budget Break Down in Detail.

San Diego, California is one of our favorite areas of Southern California and our team is very familiar with the city. We’ve planned weddings and events all over San Diego from the southern tip of Coronado Island to Carlsbad in North County. San Diego is one of the most popular wedding destinations in the world. It’s the home of venues with ocean, mountain and city views. We provide our clients with a very detailed venue list, making it easy for them to decide which venues they want to consider for their wedding. In this blog post, we will discuss some of our favorite venues on that list.

When it comes to beach weddings, many couples want to have their ceremony directly on the sand. However, even with the hundreds of miles of sand that stretch along the Southern California coast, due to city limitations and permits, finding the perfect venue that will allow you to get married on the sand can be challenging. For this reason, we absolutely love the island of Coronado, as it is the home to a couple of our favorite venues that allow wedding ceremonies directly on the sand. These venues are Hotel del Coronado and Loews Coronado Bay Resort. If the couple is OK with having an ocean view at their ceremony, we love La Valencia Hotel and L’Auberge Del Mar which are located north of the island.

Hotel del Coronado

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Not every client wants an ocean view or beach wedding. For the city vibe, we love Downtown San Diego. This area is hip, fun and there’s so much for your guests to do. Two of our favorite downtown venues are The US Grant and the El Cortez Don Room. Both have very romantic settings!

The US Grant

Don Room at El Cortez

Last but not least, and probably our favorite area of San Diego, is North County. The resorts in North County are some of the most beautiful in all of Southern California. This area is the perfect location for a black-tie event. The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is breathtaking. One of our favorite weddings we’ve ever planned was at this resort. You can view that wedding here. The Grand Del Mar has a stunning chapel on site that creates the most romantic setting for an indoor ceremony. A few of our other favorite wedding venues in North County San Diego are The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Valencia, and Rancho Bernardo Inn.

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

San Diego is the perfect wedding destination as the city has a lot to offer. Your guests can go sailing, play golf on some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world, or attend a major sporting event. There are few people that would turn down attending a wedding in San Diego, California! It’s also very easy to travel to San Diego. The city has a major airport for those traveling afar. There is also a train (Pacific Surfliner) that travels right in to the city, making it very convenient for anyone traveling from the north that wants to avoid the famous Southern California traffic.

We would love to chat further with you about our favorite venues in San Diego. Please contact us to learn more and let us help you find the perfect venue for your event!

Breaking Down your Wedding Budget by Constance Curtis, Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Uncategorized

Before reading this blog post, if you haven’t already, please read Setting A Wedding Budget. That post will give you insight to initial steps of setting your budget which will help you to better understand this post. In the post below, we will break down a wedding budget, clearly showing you how to spend your money wisely.

One of the most important things we do for each of our clients is manage their wedding finances. We break down each client’s budget, line item by line item. When we are done configuring a client’s budget, they know the exact dollar amount they are able to spend on their invitations, photography, catering, etc. Knowing these numbers from the beginning of the planning process is key to staying within your budget.

There are two different types of wedding venues that affect the percentage amount you will spend on certain items. One venue type provides food and beverage service at their venue (i.e., resorts, country clubs and hotels). The other venue type does not provide food and beverage service (i.e., privately owned estates and wineries). In this blog post, we will help you to understand the difference between the two when it relates to your budget.

Getting married at a resort has its perks. The biggest perk is that they provide items such as chairs, tables, flatware, glassware, etc., at no extra cost which can save a lot of money on the cost of your rentals. On the contrary, resorts typically charge more for their food and beverage, especially alcohol, as this is where they make a lot of their money. Here is the percentage break down of your budget when getting married at a hotel or resort.

  • Resort/Hotel (venue space, catering, beverage and all resort fees): 40 – 50% of your entire budget
  • Wedding Planner: 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Printed items (save the dates, invitations, menus, programs, etc.): 3% of your entire budget
  • Attire (brides dress, shoes, grooms tux, etc.): 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Entertainment (Band, DJ, ceremony music): 10% of your entire budget
  • Flowers: 10 – 12% of your entire budget
  • Upgraded Rentals and lighting: 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Photography and videography: 10% of your entire budget
  • Miscellaneous: 4% of your entire budget


Getting married at a privately owned venue has it perks as well. You can bring in any caterer, which can save a lot of money on food. You can also buy all your own alcohol from Bevmo, which saves tremendously on alcohol prices! From a design perspective, you have an open slate to work with and you can create anything! On the contrary, the venue rental fee for a privately owned venue includes nothing but the space. You have to spend a lot more of your budget on rentals as these venues typically do not provide tables, chairs, flatware, glassware and sometimes believe it or not, they don’t even have kitchens! We’ve built many kitchens in the years of planning events. Here is the percentage break down when getting married at a privately owned venue:

  • Venue Rental Fee (for the space only): 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Catering and Beverage: 20% to 25% of your entire budget
  • Wedding Planner: 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Printed items (save the dates, invitations, menus, programs, etc.): 3% of your entire budget
  • Attire (brides dress, shoes, grooms tux, etc.): 5 – 10% of your entire budget
  • Entertainment (Band, DJ, ceremony music): 10% of your entire budget
  • Flowers: 10 – 12% of your entire budget
  • Rentals and lighting: 20 – 25% of your entire budget
  • Photography and videography: 10% of your entire budget
  • Miscellaneous: 2% of your entire budget


Many people think getting married at a privately owned venue can save them money however, that’s not necessarily the case. We are more than happy to help you further understand the difference in pricing for these venues. Please visit our contact page and inquire to chat with us further! We are excited to hear from you!

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her, By Constance Curtis, Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away! Flowers are always the go-to gift but if you are looking for something different this year, I’ve come up with five inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift ideas that she is sure to love! If you are on a budget or just looking to do something small this year, cook her breakfast with heart shaped blueberry pancakes! The gesture is sweet and romantic!

For the Sweet Tooth Gal: Milk Jar Cookies

Chocolate is the go-to sweet for Valentine’s Day but I encourage you to think outside the chocolate box! 😉 Milk Jar Cookies, located in Los Angeles, CA, is heaven on earth! They are the BEST cookies I’ve ever had! Milk Jar’s homemade heavenly treats are always fresh and soft. A few of my favorite fun and unique flavors they have are Banana Split, Birthday Cookie, and White Chocolate Raspberry. They even make GLUTEN FREE cookies!! Milk Jar ships all over the United States and you can custom create your own cookie box for $30/dozen. Just make sure you don’t eat them all before you give them to her 🙂

For the Beauty Gal: BirchBox

This gift is perfect for the woman who loves to try new beauty products. BirchBox is a subscription service that curates a selection of beauty products that ships straight to her door. With BirchBox, she’ll get five beauty samples, all picked just for her, every month. The cost is $10 a month or $110 for the year.



For the Girl Who Loves to be Pampered: Dry Bar

Love is in the Hair! Make her hair day with a gift card to Dry Bar. You cannot go wrong with this gift! Every girl loves to sip a glass of champagne while being pampered! Costs start at $45.00 per blow out (may vary from state to state). You can buy one blowout or a bundle.

For the Health Nut: My Custom Yoga Mat

I don’t do a lot of yoga but if I did, I would definitely want my own custom yoga mat. If my loved one custom designed it for me, that would be even better! 🙂 On My Custom Yoga Mat, you can create her own custom embroidered yoga mat in her favorite colors. Yoga mats don’t get cuter than these! Custom yoga mats start at $50.00


For the Fitness Fanatic: RX Smart Gear Jump Rope

Every dedicated fitness guru needs their own custom jump rope. I love my RX Smart Gear jump rope. I’ve had it for almost 4 years (about time for a new one!). You can custom create the length, weight and make it in her favorite colors! This gift is also perfect for the businesswoman who travels a lot or the stay at home mother who has a hard time making it to the gym. Owning your own jump rope makes it easy to get a great workout in almost anywhere! Jump ropes start at $43.00

We hope this blog post gave you some unique Valentine’s Day gift ideas! Wishing you all a Valentine’s Day filled with love and kindness! xoxo


Choosing a Wedding Venue in the Southern California South Coast Region by Southern California wedding planner, Constance Curtis

Categories: Uncategorized

We are constantly asked about the best wedding venues in Southern California. If you have read our blog, you know we recommend agreeing on the number of guests you want to invite, as well as setting a wedding budget, prior to selecting the actual wedding/reception venue. If you haven’t selected the number of guests or set a wedding budget, please check out our article: Setting a Wedding Budget – what you need to know.

You know the number of guests you want to invite (or pretty close anyway), what is the best venue for you? With over 200 miles of coastline between Santa Barbara and San Diego, the beautiful San Gabriel Mountain range and each unique town/city in-between, there are virtually endless amount of venue options. To help you narrow down the venue options, we will need you to give us the image you have dreamt of (maybe before you even found the person you have decided to marry) for your wedding. Do you see yourself barefoot on the sand, on a mountain with trees all around you, in a skyscraper or the church you grew up in? Wherever it is, we want to help your vision become a reality. Use the following chart to start to narrow your venue search. List all options you are willing to consider.

Budget: ______________

 # of Guests  Ceremony Type  Reception Type  Region
 100 Outdoor/On Sand  Outdoor/Ocean View  San Diego
 100  Church  Indoor Ballroom  Los Angeles
 100  Outdoor/Ocean View  Outdoor/Ocean View  Los Angeles

Consider where majority of guests are coming from:

• Difficulty to reach from local airports
• Will they need nearby accommodations?
• Travel time from ceremony venue to reception venue

The purpose of working through the worksheet above is to focus your efforts and hopefully help you find the perfect venue or have an alternate location if need be.

Now that we know what you want, we have to work with the known of the industry. The first reality is that most known venues book as early as nine months out. Popular venues can book as far as one year out. What does that mean for you? You either have to plan ahead, change your planned wedding date or consider changing the venue if it is unavailable.

Over the next few blog posts, I will break down some of our favorite wedding venues in Southern California. Congratulations again on your engagement! I hope you are excited to start the planning process! We are ready to assist you to make your wedding day the most memorable day of your life!

Setting a Wedding Budget – What you need to know, by Constance Curtis – Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Destination Wedding, Southern California Wedding planner

Yay, you’re engaged!!! But now what? One of the first issues I have to help a couple with is their wedding budget. Some people have thought a lot about it, some have left out important items and others haven’t thought at all about it by the time they are meeting with the Constance Curtis team. We are here to make sure you think about everything and don’t have to worry about anything.

When a couple begins the wedding planning process, the very first thing they should do is set their wedding budget. As a destination-wedding region, getting married in Southern California can be very expensive and it is important to understand the cost of typical wedding wants and must haves. It is also important to know how to spend your money wisely. Whether you are on a strict budget or have an unlimited budget, every couple wants to know they are spending their money responsibly. While you are focused on one wedding, we have years of wedding planning experience that will enable us to advise you on reasonable vs. unreasonable costs.

It is important to know that when we refer to the budget of a wedding, we are referring to the cost of the entire wedding from the bride’s dress to food, venue, photographer, flowers, invitations, etc. Brace yourself for this next fact… The cost of a well-planned memorable wedding in Southern California can start around $300 per person. Wait, that is nothing. We have planned weddings that cost up to $1,200.00 per person. The two major factors to consider when setting your budget is wedding guest count and venue rental costs. This article will discuss these issues in more detail below.

We understand you have a lot of friends and your fiancé’s family is huge, however, you are going to have to quickly decide how much you love/like all of these great people. Such an unfair choosing of who to invite vs. who not to invite is critical because it is unrealistic to think you can plan a 200-person well-planned wedding for $30,000.00 in Southern California. If you would like to invite 200 guests, it would be reasonable to assume that you likely won’t spend less than $60,000.00 for your wedding. For this reason, you should focus on an agreeable guest count in the initial planning stage of your beautiful day. If you are on a strict budget, I will give you some hints in a future article.

As we mentioned above, the second most important factor to consider when setting your budget is the venue rental cost. There is a reason we are a wedding destination hotspot – there are so many beautiful venues to choose from in sunny Southern California. We’re surrounded by gorgeous venues all along the coast, in the hills and everywhere in between. Many of these venues however, are very expensive. In other articles, we will discuss the nuances of beach weddings vs. weddings right next to the beach, urban venues and resort type venues.

With some exceptions, most venues have what they call “minimums” for food and beverage purchases. This “minimum” is always before tax and service charge. These minimums are exactly what they sound like – the least amount that you MUST spend if you are going to use their space to get married. Importantly, these minimums are always contracted for and you are agreeing to be legally bound to pay these costs. Part of the services we offer is to be right there with you when making decisions prior to signing on the ‘dotted line’.

While there are many ways to look at a budget, we like to suggest a general rule of thumb concerning venue pricing – that is to say that the venue costs never exceed 50% your entire budget. For instance, if you have a wedding budget of $80,000.00 and the venue has a minimum of $30,000.00, we would recommend that the proposed venue is a wise choice. Such a selection will give you room to spend money on other necessities such as your photographer, florist and a professional wedding planner.

Although there are many other things to consider, we hope this article has provided you some points to ponder. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you, so you don’t have to worry about every little detail that goes into a beautiful Constance Curtis event.

Happy New Year!!

Categories: Uncategorized

I can’t believe 2014 is coming to an end! I had so many great clients this past year. Feeling very very blessed!! I’m looking forward to 2015 and all the fabulous weddings we have in store! My new years resolution is to pick up blogging again! So you’ll be hearing from me more often 🙂




Christen and Lejon’s Wedding! Southern California Wedding, Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Uncategorized

Christen and Lejon got married at Terranea Resort and had their reception at the Portofino. It was simple, classic, and beautiful! I was honored to plan Christen and Lejon’s wedding!! This wedding was special because Christen is Aaron Young’s (the photographer you all know I love so much) sister-in-law. Here is the video! Enjoy!


Vendors on this event:
Photography: Aaron Young
Florals: The Vines Leaf
Video: Cloudless Wed

Featured in The Knot, Alyssa and Ben – Wedding by Constance Curtis Events, Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Uncategorized

So excited to have Alyssa and Ben’s wedding featured in the Spring 2013 issue of The Knot Magazine!

"For Always" – Mini Online Wedding Magazine by Constance Curtis Events, Southern California Wedding Planner

Categories: Uncategorized

I’m so excited to share with you my first issue of For Always! Please let me know if you like it!! Click HERE to read it!



My Brother’s Wedding! by Southern California Wedding Planner, Constance Curtis

Categories: Uncategorized

My brother got married two weeks ago and we had the BEST time!!! I can’t wait to show everyone pictures!! Their wedding will be featured on Green Wedding Shoes in December so until then, I’ll give you a sneak peek at my nephews and niece at the wedding. How cute are they?!?! All photos by Aaron Young Photography!



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