wedding couple holding hands and overlooking san diego
Alyona Photography

If you’re planning a SoCal wedding and wondering how to get married in San Diego, you actually have reason to celebrate. San Diego is one of the most scenic and beautiful cities in the country (with incredible weather) and San Diego weddings are known for being just as special. The second largest city in California, San Diego offers a variety of venues, including historic sites, gardens, and nearby beaches on the Pacific Ocean, and wedding vendors that are ideal to make your dream wedding a reality. If you’re considering getting married in San Diego, there are a few must-know tips to guide you as you’re planning your big day.

Trying to figure out how to get married in San Diego? Here’s everything you need to know.

The Basics

With its stunning weather and gorgeous scenery, it may be no wonder that San Diego is not only one of the most popular cities in the country to wed, but also one of the more expensive. According to WeddingWire data, San Diego is the 11th most expensive city in the country for weddings. Those getting married in San Diego can expect to spend an average of $28,600, which is just above the national average of $28,000. Couples seem to love fall weddings in San Diego, with October being the most popular month to wed. San Diego weddings have an average of 120 guests, right around the national average of 124 guests. Couples in San Diego are typically engaged for about 12 months and hire an average of 14 vendors for their special day.

Couples thinking about how to get married in San Diego should be aware of the busiest times of year in the city, when traffic snarls and booked hotels might inconvenience your wedding plans. Because of the area’s plethora of family-friendly attractions, the city tends to be extra-crowded during school breaks (December holidays, spring break, etc.). There are also sporting and cultural events like the Farmers Insurance Open in January, the CRSSD Festival and the World Baseball Classic in March, San Diego Comic-Con in July, and the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl that may cause some crowding in the area.

Getting There and Getting Around

Your out-of-town guests will likely fly into San Diego International Airport when traveling to your big day. There’s also nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport, located about 40 minutes north of San Diego, near Carlsbad.

San Diego is a sprawling city, so your guests may want to investigate car rentals to get around. However, there is a public transportation system of trolleys and buses that your guests can use, depending on where they’re staying. And of course, taxis and ride-apps like Uber and Lyft, are also available.

couple kissing on a beachy cliff in southern california
Brit Jaye Photography

Weather

A big reason why many couples love getting married in San Diego is the (usually glorious) weather. The weather is usually warm, but not super-hot—even in the coldest months of December, January, and February the average temperature is a mild 65 degrees. In the warmest months (August and September), the average temperature is 76 degrees. The San Diego area only sees about 43 days of precipitation a year (February is the wettest month), which is a major plus for couples looking to host an outdoor San Diego wedding without worrying too much about rain.

Wedding Venues

There are a wide variety of wedding venues in the San Diego area where you can host your marriage ceremony and reception. If you’re getting started figuring out how to get married in San Diego, take a look at some of the trending types of wedding venues in the area.

  • Gardens

Gardens are such naturally beautiful wedding venues. And fortunately, there are many gardens where you can host a San Diego wedding. From the serene Japanese Friendship Garden to the unexpected and unique Karl Strauss Brewing Company, you’ll find a variety of garden wedding venues in San Diego!
Check out garden wedding venues in San Diego »

  • Unique Spaces

San Diego is a hip city, so it’s not surprising that the wedding venue scene is far more than classic event spaces. In fact, couples who are getting married in San Diego and want an “out-of-the-box” venue will find everything from industrial spaces to Victorian-era steamboats!
Check out unique wedding venues in San Diego »

  • Beaches

One of the draws of getting married in the San Diego area is the ability to host a wedding right on the beach! There are several beach wedding venues in the area, most often as part of hotels and resorts.
Check out beach wedding venues in San Diego »

  • Downtown

Couples who want a city vibe for their big day will find a variety of downtown San Diego wedding venues to choose from. From loft spaces to hotels to warehouses, you’re sure to find a downtown wedding venue to suit your style!
Check out downtown wedding venues in San Diego »

  • Outdoor

Aside from gardens and beaches, there are many other San Diego wedding venues that take advantage of the area’s scenery and weather. Country clubs, resorts, vineyards, and more are ideal for the couple who loves the outdoors!
Check out outdoor wedding venues in San Diego »

bridal party wearing pink dresses holding balloons and overlooking the city of san diego
Brit Jaye Photography

Marriage Requirements

If you're trying to figure out how to get married in San Diego, it's essential to know the legal requirements for obtaining your San Diego marriage license. You may obtain your marriage license at one of the County Clerk’s Office in Downtown San Diego, San Marcos, El Cajon, Chula Vista or Kearny Mesa. You will need to make an appointment to apply for and receive your marriage license (call 619-237-0502 to schedule an appointment at the San Diego County Clerk’s Office). A civil ceremony can be performed at one of the County Clerk’s Offices, too. The fee for a marriage license in the state of California is $70, and the license is valid for 90 days.

Wedding Accommodations

Your out-of-town guests will likely be excited to spend a weekend in San Diego—be sure to provide them with suggestions for accommodations in the area. We recommend booking room blocks at hotels near your wedding venue to help your guests out. If you’re getting married at a hotel, booking a room block should be a piece of cake. If you’re getting married elsewhere, try to find hotels that are as close as possible to your venue—since traffic in the area can be troublesome, you want your guests to have to travel as short a distance as possible to your special day.

Things to Do in San Diego

While your wedding day will be the main event, your guests will likely have some downtime during your San Diego wedding weekend. Use your wedding website to provide them with a list of your favorite landmarks and attractions to visit during their stay—they’ll certainly be grateful for the effort! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Balboa Park

From gardens to playgrounds, performing arts venues to museums, this park is the center for culture in San Diego. There are attractions and activities for guests of all ages and it’s truly a must-visit for any tourist.

  • San Diego Zoo

Probably the most popular attraction in Balboa Park is the San Diego Zoo. At 100 acres, it’s huge and full of a variety of animals and plant life. We recommend your guests take a bus tour of the zoo to be able to easily see it all!

  • SeaWorld San Diego

Whether your guests love aquatic life or adore thrilling rides, they’ll be very happy to spend some time at SeaWorld.

  • La Jolla

If your guests will have time to take a day trip, we recommend they visit La Jolla, located about 20 minutes north of San Diego. Visiting one of the many beaches is a must, but the community has many other activities to enjoy.

  • USS Midway Museum

A museum located aboard an aircraft carrier? Guests young and old will be wowed by this museum, which features 60 exhibits and 29 restored aircraft.

San Diego Wedding Inspiration

San Diego weddings have a style all their own. Take a look at some of our favorite SoCal real weddings to learn how to get married in San Diego in style! 

Taylor and Anders’ summer beach wedding »
Michelle and Nicholas’ formal clubhouse wedding »
Lauren and Paul’s timeless hotel wedding »
Jessica and David’s chic golf club wedding »