Leo Carrillo Ranch Film Festival


In previous years, the “Dinner & A Movie at Leo Carrillo Ranch” was the big annual fundraiser supporting arts and education. However, this event was split this year, turning the movie night into the Leo Carrillo Ranch Film Festival!

Guests were encouraged to bring: blankets, low-back chairs, warm clothes, and a flashlight. They enjoyed an evening of nostalgic entertainment under the stars hosted by the Carlsbad Parks & Recreation Department. Over the last three Friday nights, they showed rare historical films from the Golden Age of Hollywood featuring Leo Carrillo and movies that Leo would love.



A Meurer Image Photography Photo from the 2017 Dinner & A Movie Fundraiser night.


Personal Touch Dining offered snacks at a concession stand, a fun change of pace from the regular wedding menu they serve! There were desserts, popcorn, hot dogs, and other fun snacks you’d see at a movie theatre for sale.

While the City of Carlsbad also hosts larger public Family Movie Nights, these Film Festival events require advance online reservations. The tickets sold out fast! If you’re a local in the area, keep a sharp eye on the City Of Carlsbad’s event calendar for more fun events like this in the future!



A Meurer Image Photography Photo from the 2017 Dinner & A Movie Fundraiser night.


Are you interested in the Family Movie Night coming up on Saturday, Sept. 10? 

The City of Carlsbad says, “Bring family & friends, a blanket, and a low-back chair to Stagecoach Community Park for a night of fun activities and a movie presentation on the big screen under the stars.” This is an open invite event; no tickets need to be purchased to attend!

“Enjoy a movie-themed FunZone with bounce houses, obstacle races, crafts, games, and activities from 5 – 7 p.m. Wristbands for the FunZone can be purchased for $5 at the Event. Our feature presentation UP (rated PG) will start at dusk.”

Food and beverage sales are available between 5 and 7 p.m.

Enjoy Pizza, nachos, hot dogs, ice cream, & popcorn, or bring your dinner from home!

*** Event may modify or cancel due to inclement weather.***

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022
5 p.m., the Movie starts at dusk
Stagecoach Community Park
3420 Camino de Los Coches

Late Night Snacks!

Picture This…

It’s been the perfect wedding day: a beautiful ceremony, friends you haven’t seen since before the plague, and fantastic music to rock out to on the dance floor. So what else could this dream day need? A Late Night Snack in the form of your favorite late-night, greasy, or comfort food to help re-energize your party!

Donuts and Ice Cold Milk

Assorted Donuts with 2% Milk.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

Spread on Wonder Bread, Served with Chocolate Milk.

All-American Sliders

Mini Sliders with American Cheese, Secret Sauce, and a Pickle.

Mini Tacos

Topped with Fresh, Home-Made Guacamole and Cilantro.

Custom Snacks Available upon Request!

Dessert Action Stations!

Raise The Bar for Your Desserts!

As we discussed, dessert bars are fantastic for groups who want a little something sweet on the go. However, a dessert action station is raising your dessert bar to the next level! These stations focus on one type of dessert and offer countless topping combinations to delight you and your guests. From Icecream Sundaes with all the toppings to roasting your own S’more, these stations elevate the feel of your event and provide the perfect cherry on top of your perfect night.


Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, Chocolate Bars, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Guests of all ages love this station. No matter the time of year, everybody is ready for a S’more! You, too, can delight in roasting your mallow to perfection and then deciding between a peanut butter cup or a hearty chunk of milk chocolate to finish off your summery sandwich.


Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream Topped with Your Choice of Chocolate Sauce, Strawberry Sauce, Nuts, Candies, Sprinkles, Whipped Cream, and Cherries.

Icecream is a rising trend for couples who’d rather go the creamy dessert route over the cakey ones. At this station, all the classic toppings from nuts to strawberry syrup are included! See something missing? It’s no trouble to customize your toppings selection to fit your unique tastes.

Pie A la Mode

Sweet & Tart Cherry and Apple Oozing with Cinnamon, Served with Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream.

The Pie A la Mode station is definitely a crowd favorite during our Autumn weddings and festivities. Served with a heaping scoop of ice cream on top, this station brings about a heartwarming feeling that guests go crazy for!


Crispy Churros Cooked on Site Dipped in Cinnamon & Sugar, Served with Chocolate Sauce, Carmel Sauce, and Whip Cream.

By far our most popular station here at the Ranch, the Churro Station is the perfect dessert to complement our Spanish heritage and style. Fried on-site, these crispy treats taste best topped with caramel, chocolate, and a healthy heap of whipped cream!

The Dessert Bar!

Let Them Not Eat Cake.

There is a whole world of dessert options beyond traditional tiered cakes to explore for your wedding. Dessert bars in particular offer long-term snacking compared to active stations like the S’mores, Ice Cream Sundae, and Churro stations that we provide. These dessert bars are perfect for couples who want to keep their guests on the dance floor and want to appeal to the largest crowd. Check out these mouth-watering options below for your own sweet, sweet inspiration!

Gipe Photography

Dessert trends have been pointing away from classic tiered cakes, with their overly sweet or inaccurate amount issues, and towards experimenting with smaller portions or varieties of treats as options for guests.

Anastasya Photography

Donuts, in particular over the last few years, have rocketed off the charts in popularity!

Honestly, who can resist fried dough covered in sugar?

Gipe Photography

Cupcakes offer options for your guests’ special dietary needs as well!

Instead of ordering one layer of cake hoping and worrying about anybody’s allergy restrictions, ordering cupcakes allow for specific numbers of different flavors to please everyone.

Anastasya Photography

Your favorite treats to go–such as cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and any other sugary concoction are perfect for guests to snag from a dessert station on their way to the dance floor.

Krissel Rivas Photography

Snag your favorite candies in bulk to share with your guests. They can make little to-go bags of their favorites to take home. A healthier version that we’ve seen of this dessert station option is a trail mix station!

Acqua Photo

Choose your favorite treats and go wild! We love seeing couples get creative with their choices.

Gipe Photography

Just ask our coordinators for ideas on how best to display all of your treats!



Leo Carrillo Ranch Coordinated, Managed, and Catered by Personal Touch Dining.

Unity Ceremony Inspiration!

Add Your Unique Touch to This Unforgettable Moment

A unity ritual is certainly not required by any means. Still, there may be a ceremony option that’s the perfect fit for you and your partner, whether you’re looking for something religious, historical, or secular.

Carissa Woo Photography

What Is a Unity Ceremony?

A unity ceremony is a symbolic ritual woven into the wedding ceremony. Among the most common unity ceremonies are handfasting, circling, and the lighting of a unity candle.

One of the most meaningful choices you’ll make is what will be included in your ceremony! Friends, Family, and Coordinators will all be asking what you’ll do to personalize your wedding ceremony. Unity ceremonies are meaningful rituals performed during your wedding to represent becoming a union. Often, a unity ceremony allows other family members to participate and further its meaning and representation of two families joining together. It may also be the perfect way to celebrate your and your partner’s heritage with tradition.

Lighting a Unity Candle

This is definitely one of the most common unity ceremonies performed. The candle-lighting ceremony usually involves the couple lighting one large candle from two smaller family candles. Traditionally, the smaller candles are lit by each of their mothers, representing the merging of two families.

Michelle Dudley Photography

The Lasso Ceremony

Also called “el Lazo,” this ritual—traditional in Mexican, Filipino, and Spanish cultures—occurs after the vows have been said. At that time, the officiant (or whomever the couple has designated) drapes a floral garland or rosary around the couple, twisting it into an infinity symbol. At the end of the ceremony, the bestower of the lasso removes it, and the couple saves it as a symbol of their love and unity.

Anniversary Time Capsule

The time-capsule ceremony is a reminder of the durability of your love and the lifetime commitment of marriage. During the ceremony, all of these tokens of love are sealed up in a box, and the couple can open it on their five-year, 10-year, or 20th anniversary. The time-capsule ceremony can also include friends or family invited to bring photos, letters, or keepsakes to seal in the time capsule.

Before the ceremony, the couple should gather important mementos from their relationship: ticket stubs, hotel room keys, notes, and cards. In addition, each should write a love letter to each other.

Vee Taylor Photography

Wash Each Other’s Feet

While this ceremony has Christian roots, washing the feet is a symbol of love and humanity–we find that purpose is truly universal. It serves as an act of caregiving to symbolize your devotion to each other.

Pouring Sand

This is such a fun ceremony idea for a nautical or beach wedding, but any wedding theme can certainly utilize the concept for any wedding theme. The couple takes turns pouring colored sand from personal vases into another vase, where they blend their sand to make a beautiful display. This is one of the best unity ceremony ideas for blended families, as children can also add sand to the family vase.

Wine or Beer Pouring

If you’ve ever stumbled upon the perfect red blend wine that you couldn’t get enough of, this is definitely the unity ceremony for you. The couple chooses two different yet compatible wines, pour them into a glass to create a perfect blend, and then drinks the blend together. Beer can also do this, or it can be done with tea for a dry wedding.

Tree Planting

This is such a sweet ceremony option for a woodland-themed or garden-inspired wedding. This creative nature-inspired idea is to plant a tree together, adding soil (perhaps gathered from both of your hometowns) to a pot to symbolize your union. Like the tree, your relationship will need love and care to grow and bloom.

Wine Box Ceremony

Some things get better with time, like the perfect bottle of wine. And what better way to plan for your anniversary than to bring a love for wine into your ceremony? For the non-religious wine box ceremony, the couple selects a wine that can age well. During the wedding, the couple places the bottle of wine in a box and closes the lid, sometimes including other notes or objects. Once sealed, the box isn’t opened until a specific date chosen, such as a 10th wedding anniversary.

If you choose this unity ceremony option, be sure to consult a wine steward or another knowledgeable wine expert on the best wine to tuck away. Often, white wines don’t age as well as reds. You’ll want to make sure you choose something that can still be enjoyed when you choose to reopen your box.

Religious or Cultural Tradition Blending

Intertwine heritages, cultural backgrounds, and religions through unique blended ceremonies. Many cultures incorporate their good wishes on the happy couple through ancient traditions. Please bring them to your ceremony with pride!

Your imagination is the limit!

We’ve seen glass beads be used instead of sand, which is then sent to a professional to be transformed into a one-of-a-kind glass vase or bowl. From Hand-fasting to releasing floating lanterns, ask your venue or event coordination team what they’d recommend!

Happy Father’s Day!

“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, storytellers, and singers of song.” —Pam Brown

Francis Ralph Potograpiya

“He never looks for praises.
He’s never one to boast.
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most.
His dreams are seldom spoken.
His wants are very few,
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken, too.
He’s there –a firm foundation–
Through all our storms of life,
A sturdy hand to hold onto
In times of stress and strife.
A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad.
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad.”

 —Silent Strong Dad, by Karen K. Boyer


Thanks to all the proud Dads who have graced our historic halls with their endless support and devotion.

Francis Ralph Potograpiya

We hope you feel appreciated by all of us at Leo Carrillo Ranch, and we wish you all a fantastic Father’s Day!



Enthusiastic Client Review!

Another “Great Wedding Experience!”

We strive to make your wedding day as effortless and stress-free as possible. As an all-inclusive venue, all the little details are taken care of, so you can focus on the fun stuff! For all the charm our historic ranch naturally has, it’s surprisingly flexible enough to be transformed into the perfect fit for your unique personality. Just ask Meagan!



Check out all the gorgeous details of Meagan and Chad’s Romantic Greecian Ranch Wedding on our blog!


Our Favorite Seasonal Cocktails | Early Summer Sippers

The Perfect Refreshing Summer Cocktails!

With the start of June, we can officially say Summer is upon us. Although the mornings are clouded in the signature San Diego “June Gloom” that lingers until mid-afternoon, by the time Happy Hour rolls around, the sun is out! That’s when a chilled beverage is exactly what we need. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite summer-inspired cocktails that should put anybody in the right headspace to enjoy a classic San Diego summer.

Green Tea Sangria

Refreshing, subtly sweet, and flavored with lemon and mint, this is a cocktail even grandma would approve of. 
This is a cocktail meant for those lazy Sundays where a spiked iced tea might be ok to start enjoying way before 5 pm. The prep time might take a bit from start to finish, but the effort is minimal, which is our favorite part. Brew this sangria up at your leisure in the AM, and it’ll be ready by the early afternoon. Just in time for your guests to arrive for “Sunday Funday.”
(Servings 4 -5)


  • 1 bottle white wine (We suggest using a Reisling)
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 bags green tea
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 lemons, sliced
  • 20-25 mint leaves


  1. In a large pot or kettle, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. After boiling, take off heat, and add in 6 green tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags, and stir in 1/3 cup of honey. (Let cool for 30 min-1 hour before mixing sangria.)
  4. When the tea is slightly cooled, add it to your pitcher along with 1 bottle of white wine, lemon slices, and fresh mint leaves.
  5. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving!

Strawberry Basil Gin Jammer

Who would’ve thought to put jam in a cocktail?
Late spring to early summer is strawberry season here in San Diego. At the beginning of June, we’re about neck-deep in the delicious stuff and just had to include a strawberry-inspired drink to this list. This tasty beverage is perfect for those summer outings at your favorite picnic spot. Or those days when you need to satisfy a sweets craving but have no juice in your fridge. Muddled strawberries, basil, and a healthy glob of strawberry jam are all you need to complete this refreshing, picnic-perfect drink!


  • 2 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 2 ounces gin
  • More whole strawberries for garnish (if desired)


  1. In a rocks glass, muddle the strawberries and basil.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with about ¾ cup of ice, combine the strawberry jam and the gin.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds and then pour contents of shaker (including ice) into the rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and enjoy.


Tequila Mockingbird

Tequila Mockingbird cocktail on yellow-and-white-striped surface

Author: Liquor.com, Image: Tim Nusog.

A book, a pun, and–most importantly–a cocktail with many surprising variations.

If you were to google how to make a Tequila Mockingbird, you’d find around four or five completely different recipes that all claim to be the same drink. This spicy margarita variation is our favorite and screams summer with its watermelon base. It’s easy to make, and prep only requires slicing up a few ingredients! We can see this enjoyed by the pool or even at an upscale summer bbq. Book lovers and mixologists alike will rave about this one.


  • 1 slice jalapeño
  • 3 watermelon cubes
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 ounce agave syrup


  1. Muddle the jalapeño slice and watermelon cubes in a shaker to extract the juices.
  2. Add tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and ice, then shake until well-chilled.
  3. Fine-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.


What are some of your favorite summery cocktails? We’d love to add them to our list!

Farm vs Round Tables: The Skirmish of Style

Gather Round To Hear A Tale…

The paramount decision between farm tables and classic rounds with linens has plagued couples and event designers for time and memorium. Linens offer infinite options to help create the perfect tablescape and overall event look. On the other hand, farm tables can be just as versatile in their look depending on the rest of the decor.

Photos by Vafa Photography

For years, round and rectangular tables were the standard, and the linen industry ruled with an iron fist! 

Not without reason, either. The draw toward tables with linens is that of a clean-cut, classic look, and they happen to come in every shade of your imagination. Through shade, texture and layering, you can make your dream wedding or event come to life. The options and combinations are quite literally endless, so if you know what you want, little can stop you.

The choice of table shape includes more factors than you might guess. Round tables are especially convenient for social gatherings, allowing guests to talk freely without straining necks and voices. No longer are we restricted to a forced conversation only with the person next to us, because everyone faces the same center point! As a result, the centerpieces for circular tables can be tall, glorious works of art or smaller, cute, and more cost-efficient! Round tables are also easily maneuverable in irregular-shaped spaces (which happens to be the case with our reception area here at Leo Carrillo Ranch).

No respectable event allowed tables to go unclothed. It was indecent! Imagine naked tables all over your wedding, bare legs out for the world to see!


The Rustic look, with all its wood and naked tables, didn’t become a trend until couples started wanting more to their weddings than hotel ballrooms. Couples began to desire less of a “big white wedding” look and sought something more tailored to fit their personalities. These farm tables appeal to those looking for something casual yet high-quality to carry the importance of the occasion.

The rustic look is growing in popularity to this day. Event planners and Pinterest personalities alike are discovering the untapped potential for these wood canvases. In places where outdoor events are available most of the year, they’ve become a standard!

Soon, a new generation didn’t mind these barbaric clothless tables. They were charming, simple, craftsman works of art. They had begun to appreciate the freedom that comes with a good glossy stain and not much else.

While farm tables grew in popularity, the divide between rustic and contemporary also expanded. Couples and wedding planners were tasked with exploring this new event motif while still trying to appeal to an older generation with traditional wedding ideas. The next hurdle became organizing these events with polar opposite visions and expectations battling for dominance. People had to decide: follow the traditional classic look of tables with linens, or embrace the new picturesque look of bare farm tables.

So the feud began…


Until someone discovered in a burst of inventive brilliance…

… why not have both?



In a stroke of genius, someone combined the two in the ultimate compromise. The final product is called Rustic-Chic (or Boho-Chic depending on the amount of pampas grass in the rest of the decor). The look is well-rounded, regal yet approachable, clean yet quaint. It melds the best of both worlds and can transform the layout of any event.


Where will your loyalties lie?

Ask our Event Coordinators to help you decide which style best fits your function when planning your next event at Leo Carrillo Ranch!

Thanks to Vafa Photography for the visual aid to this story!

And huge thanks to Personal Touch Dining for the Coordination and Management of our venue, as well as the phenomenal food quality and selection!

Trendy Summer 2021 Wedding Designs

A Summer of the ’70s

Summer 2021, we’re seeing so many ’70s flashbacks that we’re starting to find pampas grass in our dreams! Our Ranch has always attracted the boho-chic couples, but this year they’re going bigger than ever before. There’s no holding back on the fabulous decor and ingenious DIY creations we’ll see amidst our historic charm. From Mid-Century, Boho-chic, even a little bit of disco, we’re feeling these inspired designs.

Neon Letter Signs

We’re seeing these custom-made neon signs everywhere in our summer wedding plans. A little nod to the disco age during the 70s, neon signs can be integrated into ceremony backdrops, welcome signs, and even bar decor. The best part about these neon signs is that couples can keep them and reuse them as fun decor in their home!

Color-Block Backdrops

These backdrops are the most popular ones for now, and the best part is that they’re super DIY friendly. Color block cardboard or plywood backdrops with laser cut or without, with some abstract prints or without them. The colors are traditionally orange, rust, red, yellow, ocher, burgundy, and other warmer desert shades, but we’ve seen ones with all colors. Toss around some candles and large bundles of florals to match your overall decor, and you’ve got a look that professional designers crave!

Wedding Arches

There are so many sub-categories of “70’s Boho” wedding arches. We’ve done gorgeous arches of macrame, fringe, greenery, dried and fresh blooms, and pampas grass is sky-rocketing in popularity. Recently, the geometric designs have really taken off as well, and we love the idea of a triangle wooden arch. You can skip all the macrame and fringe stuff, sticking to a more traditional floral design too! Creating a bold arch or altar with flowers in bright colors (orange, rust, yellow, red, burgundy, of course) and some dried blooms and bright leaves among your greenery can still fall into the 70’s vibe,

Vibrant and Colorful

Photo Credits: via Gather Design Company, Photography: The Ganeys /

If you haven’t picked up on the proper 70’s color scheme yet, vibrant colors are some of the most popular hues for Summer weddings. Brilliant blooms in corals, oranges, and yellows, have always been an exquisite accent pallet to our gorgeous sunsets, blue barn doors, and white-washed walls. You can spin these colors however you feel, whether you’re looking for inspiration to keep things fresh with vibrant and tropical color combinations or want something classic with romantic pastels and modern neutrals. It is easy to bring your ideas to life, and the 70s were all about vibing with what feels right.

Welcome Boxes

Distance Party To-Go Box, "Grazing"

Photography- True Photography Welcome Box- Personal Touch Dining

There are so many welcome gifts that have become a new standard for couples to give–and generally have available– to their guests now. It seems like it’d be odd not to offer cute personalized hand sanitizers and optional masks, but what about programs and take-home favors too? Instead of assuming your guests have space to fit all these fun trinkets into their pockets, a box filled with everything they could need from the start is the perfect solution. Guest-centered details like this are blowing up in popularity since so many weddings have been downsized. As a wedding favor that they can actually use at the wedding, these boxes act as a thoughtful way to make your loved ones feel that they’re cared for on your wedding day.

Looking For More Inspiration?

Check out our Instagram and Pinterest!


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