”...Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is waitin’ for me…” This once exclusive isle still beckons those in search of “fun in the sun” in a tranquil setting. Make your destination wedding an extended vacation by inviting your friends and family to celebrate amidst this island paradise, just over an hour from the mainland by express boat or 15 minutes by helicopter. The staff at the fabulous Santa Catalina Island Company will gladly help you arrange everything, including transportation, tours, activities, golf, accommodations, dining and, of course, all the event details. They’ll even help you select the wedding site that’s right for you!
Catalina Island’s most famous venue is the Casino Ballroom, a grand, Art Deco landmark built in 1929. The Casino Ballroom has never been a gambling house, but rather a spectacular dance pavilion that attracted thousands of well-dressed socialites from the mainland. Today the aura of elegance still lingers around this historic treasure, and its glamorous legacy is carried on by 21st-century event hosts seeking the maximum amount of panache.
Located on a rocky harbor break at the edge of Avalon Cove, the Casino is a huge, 12-story circular building. The forum-like structure boasts a red-tile roof and an impressive triple-arched portico. Above the entryway, a tiled mural portrays a fetching underwater sea sylph who welcomes lighthearted revelers inside. Downstairs, flamboyant murals in vibrant hues decorate the walls of the Casino’s sumptuous movie theater, where visitors can still enjoy nightly cinematic diversions while relaxing in red-velvet seats.
You and your guests will head up to the top floor to the Casino’s crowning glory: an enormous ballroom that retains its original style—a lavish medley of rose-hued walls, black Art Deco reliefs, and an arching 50-foot ceiling. No less than five resplendent Tiffany chandeliers illumine the crowd, while curving windows capture postcard views of the aqua sea. The ballroom is so spacious that you can set up an altar and theater-style seating for a wedding ceremony in one area, then host a sit-down reception on raised seating areas that surround the dance floor. A vintage full-service bar in the back serves up refreshments and an elevated stage is just the spot for the entertainment.
An outdoor veranda encircles the ballroom and overlooks the protected coves of Avalon Bay; from here the fabulous view of the mainland can stretch all the way from Ventura to San Diego. In the twilight it’s possible to see seals, dolphins and brightly colored fish, including the Garibaldi, splashing about in the clear waters of the cove. At night the scenery takes on an air of dreamy mystery, with an endless star-scape sparkling in the surf.
The Santa Catalina Island Company has two more spectacular and very different event venues: Descanso Beach Club is perfect for a wedding right on the beach or relaxed rehearsal dinner, while the Catalina Country Club exudes old world charm and sophistication. For more details on all three locations, please visit the Santa Catalina Island Company website.