Two Luxurious Oceanside Escapes for Your Destination Wedding


May 2, 2023
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of various

If you’re looking for a picturesque location to celebrate your destination wedding day, Oceanside in Southern California should be at the top of your list. With miles of stunning coastline, a short drive from San Diego International Airport and golden sandy beaches, it’s no wonder that Oceanside is a popular destination for couples looking to tie the knot. 

The area has been transformed with new restaurants, shopping and two of the newest (and most cleverly stylish) resorts on the water. The sister properties are unique and different, each having its own character and vibe, yet both offer stellar service, interesting spaces and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

The Seabird Resort feels like a modern beach house with upscale furnishings and a laid-back coastal take on decor. The resort has 226 rooms (56 of them are suites) and countless spaces to mingle and connect with guests. Partial buyouts are an option for couples wanting to create a “home-away-from-home” feel and the resort can accommodate up to 350 guests for larger weddings. The unobstructed views of the Pacific are a real selling point here and their Coastal Terrace (can seat up to 250 guests) is ideal for a gorgeous sunset ceremony and reception. 

There are multiple places to indulge your palate on property, from Piper  (brunch is exceptional here) to The Shore Room (killer craft cocktails and light bites by the sea) and even their poolside restaurant, The Shelter Club.

One major stand out at The Seabird Resort is their on-site salon and spa, Sunny’s. With signature scents and treatments, your wedding party and guests will be transported to a serene and calming environment for a day of relaxation. Take in a sound bath or a Reiki treatment as well as more traditional services like facials and massages. Make sure to get some Vitamin D by relaxing on their oceanfront balcony. Wellness here is a full-body experience.

The Seabird Resort’s next-door neighbor is just as special, just as upscale and has just as many views. The Mission Pacific Hotel offers 161 rooms (including 38 suites) and mouthwatering restaurants. 

One restaurant at The Mission Pacific Hotel that is currently on the MICHELIN Guide is Valle. This “Guadalupe Valley Dining Experience” is brought to you by one of Mexico’s most renowned chefs, Roberto Alcocer. His unique approach to his prix-fixe menus (select from four or eight courses) combined with the relaxed and approachable atmosphere proves why this restaurant has become such a standout. Chef’s beautiful plates with delectable ingredient combinations will send you and your guests back for more. 

One of our favorite places to unwind and turn up is The Rooftop Bar. An eclectic, al fresco backdrop with lounge seating is paired with the antithesis of “bar food.” Fresh and interesting menu items like coconut salmon crudo, charred octopus and green pea hummus are served from 11 am-11 pm. At sunset, the sounds of a live DJ can be heard and the space turns into a sought-after 21+ lounge. Friday and Saturday nights, the music plays until 1 am.

Worried about your guests being bothered by the sounds of The Rooftop Bar from their guest room? Don’t. The rooms are virtually soundproof and the music is just loud enough so you can enjoy it but still have a conversation.

I’d be remiss not to mention what’s found in the center of the resort as its backstory is truly iconic. The Top Gun House, also known as The Graves House, (you’ll recall from the original movie and the famous scenes between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis) was moved from a few streets away and renovated to what it is today – High Pie, a hand-pie bakery serving made-to-order fruit pies. It also is the backdrop to the Pacific Garden, where you can say your destination “I do’s” with both this architecturally significant home and the ocean behind you. The lawn can accommodate up to 280 guests.

The rooms at The Mission Pacific Hotel are a perfect blend of bright and airy with a touch of whimsy. Sophisticated bohemian chic decor can be found throughout the resort and is a perfect nod to its Southern California location. You’ll find “Instagrammable” moments in every corner of the property and may even find yourself inspired to update your own home decor after a visit.

In addition to the destination wedding day itself, both The Seabird Resort and The Mission Pacific Hotel offer a range of activities and amenities that your guests can enjoy during their stay. From lounging on the beach to exploring nearby attractions like LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo, there’s something for everyone. Check out Pedego, an on-side e-bike rental shop that can give directions for where to ride to take in the sights. Shopping in Oceanside is as fun and elevated as it gets. Don’t miss The Ozone (there’s even a backdoor from The Mission Pacific directly into the store) where they sell everything from beachwear and jewelry to luxury handbags and Apothia products (also found in your guest room!).

If you are an art enthusiast, both resorts are brimming with gorgeous one-of-a-kind art. Artists such as Jennifer Luce, the De La Torre brothers and Michelle Monty (with a full installation at The Seabird) are featured. A total of 120 different artists’ works can be found throughout the properties. In partnership with the Oceanside Museum of Art, you can peruse up to 280 different art pieces in public spaces showcasing everything from historic photographs to sustainably sourced original works of art.

As you think through the “where” for your upcoming seaside wedding away, consider both of these idyllic properties in Oceanside where art, convenience, luxury, service and accommodations are in perfect harmony. 

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): The Seabird Resort (1st-10th; 20th); The Mission Pacific Hotel (11th, 13th, 14th, 17th-19th); Jordan Younis (12th); Douglas Freidman (15th & 16th)

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