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Long Beach Museum of Art, reception

Top 10 Southern CA Museums for Weddings

10 Southern California museums that are as great for weddings as they are for class trips.

Photo: Courtesy of the Long Beach Museum of Art

The Museum of Photographic Arts

Skylights, 24-foot-high ceilings, white walls and porcelain travertine flooring give the David C. Copley Atrium at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego a cool, contemporary look. There's seating for up to 140 guests and they get private access to the museum's exhibits, including a functional antique photo booth. For your cocktail hour, there's outdoor patio space. Choose from the museum's list of preferred caterers. (619) 238-7559 x 290, MOPA.org

The Planes of Fame Air Museum

The Edward T. Maloney Hangar at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino can fit 300 among its aircrafts. Transform the airplane hangar's more than 5,000 square feet of open space into your perfect venue -- with lots of room to dance. Bring in any caterer you like. Want to make a grand exit? Arrange a wedding day flight for you and your groom in one of the historic planes! (909) 597-3722, PlanesofFame.org

The Edward-Dean Museum & Gardens

Book the Edward-Dean Museum & Gardens in Cherry Valley and you get the entire place, including lush lawns, which can be tented. The gazebo beside the pond is a sweet spot for the ceremony, but if it rains, there's a covered outdoor pavilion, which holds about 180, and an indoor space for 225. Choose any caterer you like! (951) 955-3091, Edward-DeanMuseum.org

The Bowers Museum

Get a taste of the world abroad without leaving Orange County at the Bowers Museum, a Spanish-Colonial building in Santa Ana. We love The Historic Balcony, overlooking the Margaret and Cleo Key Courtyard, for cocktail hours for up to 100 guests. Save on d├ęcor in John M. Lee Court, which seats 350; there are floor-to-ceiling windows framing the garden. You must use the museum's exclusive caterer. (714) 567-3623, Bowers.org

The San Diego Natural History Museum

At the San Diego Natural History Museum, guests can check out the museum's exhibits, including a giant dinosaur skeleton. Filled with natural light, the four-story Sefton Grand Atrium is a beautiful spot for a daytime wedding. It seats 275 -- 350 if you include the second-story mezzanine space. For a more intimate event for up to 100 seated guests, the El Mirador Rooftop Terrace has views of Balboa Park, downtown San Diego, the bay and the San Marcos Mountains. Choose from a list of preferred caterers. (619) 255-0182, SDNHM.org

The Long Beach Museum of Art

You must have a sunset ceremony at the Long Beach Museum of Art; it's right on the ocean! The Museum Garden can hold 250 guests for a sit-down dinner, catered by the exclusive caterer. Though weddings are for members only, you can become one with a $50 donation. (562) 439-2119 x234, LBMA.org

The Heritage Square Museum

The romantic gardens and historic buildings at Heritage Square Museum in Los Angeles have made it a hot spot for film and photo shoots; you can rent the grounds 'til 10 p.m. any day. The museum stays open to the public until 5, so if you want some privacy, aim for a late-afternoon wedding. Choose one of the museum's preferred caterers or bring in your own for a fee. (323) 225-2700, HeritageSquare.org

The Maritime Museum

Have your wedding ceremony on the deck of a docked ferry at the Maritime Museum of San Diego; then move inside to the Victorian ballroom for dinner and dancing for up to 350 guests. Smaller wedding? Get married while sailing aboard the Californian, which can handle up to 50. You can work with the museum's caterer or choose from their list of preferred ones. (619) 234-9153, SDMaritime.org

The Travel Town Museum

Give your wedding a vintage vibe at the Travel Town Museum in Los Angeles. The vast, outdoor space -- with no capacity limit! -- is lined with old trains. Have your ceremony under the covered pavilion, which is modeled after a European train station. Bring your own caterer -- and chairs, tables and a dance floor too. (323) 662-5874, TravelTown.org

The San Diego Museum of Man

The nondenominational Saint Francis Chapel at the San Diego Museum of Man has a beautiful altar with gold leaf embellishment and seats 88, plus 12 in the balcony. Start the party after 6, once the museum closes to the public, and have your reception outside on the plaza or in the main gallery. Or rent both for an indoor/outdoor party! The museum works with a select group of caterers. (619) 239-2001 x15, MuseumofMan.org