bride walking down spiral staircase darlington house wedding

Darlington House Wedding : A Photographer’s Guide to an Amazing La Jolla Wedding Venue

There are so many wonderful La Jolla wedding venues, but a Darlington House wedding is always going to be a favorite! I’ve photographed many weddings at the Darlington House, so I’ve got some great tips on making the most of your experience. Please read on!

Here’s a quick summary of what’s in this article:

Special Note About This Darlington House Wedding Guide

One of the many wonderful things about the Darlington House is that nearly every space on the property can double as both a ceremony and a reception space. For example, the Rose Garden can host a large ceremony and then be flipped for an amazing reception.

For the purposes of this guide, I’m going to concentrate on the most common areas for ceremonies and receptions. For additional information on what each space looks like in detail, please contact the Darlington House directly.

Getting Ready Spaces

The Darlington House is home to two of the greatest getting-ready suites of any San Diego wedding venue! These spaces offer a serene and generous space for the entire bridal party to relax before a wedding ceremony. They are cozy and have wonderful decor. In addition, they have amazing natural light for wonderful pictures!

The Bridal Suite

The bridal suite at the Darlington House is truly a sight to behold! It consists of one main room with a smaller room off to the side. In addition, it has a wonderful changing room that is gorgeous, too.

Not only is the room carefully decorated in an antique aesthetic that’s calming and serene, but the room has AMAZING light! With windows that look out on to the courtyard below, the light and airy feel to the room is the perfect place for a bride to be before her wedding!

The Groom’s Suite

The groom’s suite is also really nice, and has a wonderfully masculine touch. For example, the wallpaper is bold and the seating is navy blue, so the room looks good no matter what the groom and his groomsmen are wearing!

groom and groomsmen sit in upstairs area before darlington house wedding

In addition, the room has the same amazing light as the bridal suite! And with a window that looks out on the street, the groom can watch as guests arrive at the Darlington House!

What are the Ceremony Spaces at the Darlington House?

There are six notable wedding spaces at Darlington House:

The Andalusian Patio

This patio draws inspiration from southern Spain and features Roman arches and rich Azulejo tile. It seats about 80 people and is perfect for stylish, more intimate wedding. In addition, it can also serve as an area for cocktails for larger weddings.

The Egyptian Patio

This patio is a feast for the eyes with a glorious fountain, lush vegetation and red-brick walkways. The space seats about 150 guests, so it’s perfect for larger celebrations.

The Rose Garden

This open-air space smells like roses and azaleas. The Rose Garden is the largest event space on the property. It seats 200 guests theater style.

Reception Spaces for a Darlington House Wedding

Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is the most common space for a Darlington House Wedding. It’s size and decor make it the perfect spot for a dinner and dance party.

The space allows virtually limitless configurations. There are multiple entries and exits to access the bar or the main house. It’s tightly packed brick surface makes it easy to put use as a dance floor, or you can bring in your own.

The space features built-in cafe lights, so that’s one less thing you need to bring in.

Egyptian Patio

While the Egyptian Patio can be used as a reception venue for smaller weddings, its most common use is as a spill-over area from the Andalusian Patio, which normally is the focal point of cocktail hour.

Andalusian Patio

Even though it’s large enough to host a small reception, it’s most commonly used in combination with the Library as the center of cocktail hour for Darlington House weddings. The Library usually holds the bar, and the Andalusian holds appetizers, belly tables and other cocktail-centric decor.

The Library

The Library features rich wooden bookcases, a gorgeous Moroccan fireplace and a regal staircase. With most events, the space is commonly utilized as a bar setting. It is next to the Andalusian Patio, so it’s a natural starting point for wedding receptions.

Photo Spots for a Darlington House Wedding

First Look

In my professional opinion, the best spot at the Darlington House for a first look is the living room area just in from the front entrance.

The space features comfortable seating and a cozy fireplace. In addition, the light is stunning and there’s plenty of space. Make sure to do your first look here early, because this area will be the main entryway as your wedding guests arrive!

Also, you’ll walk through this room on your way down the aisle to your ceremony!

The Darlington House is an amazing place for a wedding celebration. However, because of the venue’s small size it is not the best spot for intimate bride and groom photos. Instead, I like to take couples throughout the surrounding gorgeous neighborhood and to the nearby beach for amazing portraits!

Group Photos

Egyptian Patio

The Egyptian Patio is a great spot for group and family photos. Due to its proximity to the cocktail hour area, it’s a convenient spot to shoot those post-ceremony family photos. It has gorgeous arches and wonderful light so your pictures will be amazing!

Marine Street

Marine Street is a great spot to shoot a big bridal party photo. As you walk towards the ocean the street starts downhill, leaving a fairly clean background to shoot a big group celebration shot.

Olivetas Street

There are two main spots on Olivetas Street where I like to shoot bridal party photos.

The first is directly outside the Darlington House. It’s a long, narrow street that I love for walking shots of big groups like this one.

Or, the famous orange garage door directly across the street from the Darlington House, which I often use for pictures of the bride and groom, makes a nice backdrop for a bridal party group photo.

Bride and Groom Romantics

Olivetas Street

Olivetas Street, is also perfect for bride and groom photos!

For example, my favorite spot on Olivetas Street is the house with the orange garage door and arched ivy. It’s just perfect!

Marine Street

As you walk to the beach from the Darlington House, the road goes downhill, which can make for great sunset shots like the image above.

Marine Street Beach

Not only is Marine Street beach is one of my favorite beaches in La Jolla to shoot brides and grooms, its one of my favorite beaches period!

In addition, on the beach the sand is super soft and it’s never too crowded. And that light is amazing all year long!

Pros and Cons

Here are my pros and cons to having a wedding at the Darlington House:


  • Conveniently located near downtown La Jolla.
  • Entire property is wonderfully adorned–you don’t need to do much to it.
  • Intimate venue that only allows one wedding per day.
  • Near downtown La Jolla, so there are plenty of options for hotels.


  • Must use approved catering list, although the list has some of the best caterers in San Diego!
  • Limited parking in adjacent lot and on the street. Guests can take Uber/Lyft, or it’s recommended to use their preferred valet parking partner.

Fabulous Vendors!

Finding reputable vendors can be a challenge, so here’s a list of some of my favorite wedding colleagues!

PlannerMolly Stark/Tres Chic
FloristSplendid Sentimentsbethany@mysplendidsentiments.com
Music/DJStill Listening Productionsinfo@stilllisteningproductions.com
VideographerBlue Tiger Films
Hair/MakeupAshley Fierroinfo@ashleyfierro.com

Planning a Darlington House wedding? I’d love to chat!

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