The following is some helpful information for planning your beach or park wedding in Monterey, California. Just click on the topic of choice to go to that section.We also created a Frequently Asked Questions page that might help with some of your other concerns – just click on this FAQ Link.
you are looking for financial guidance, one of Monterey Beach Weddings partners recently founded YourWeddingDollars.com, an Internet Magazine dedicated to helping you create a stylish wedding within your budget. You are certain to find some useful articles at Your Wedding Dollars to help with your wedding planning journey.
You may also wish to look through our tips and information for wedding reception locations, wedding reception food ideas, and other wedding guidelines at the website of our caterer,Classic
Marriage License Information
Selecting a Site — Beach or Park?
Things to Think About
How it Works
Payments & Cancellations
Marriage License Information
Monterey County Court House
168 West Alisal Street, 1st Floor, Salinas, CA 93905, (831) 755-5450
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except holidays
Marriage license fee is $75.00 (at time of this writing and is subject to change). Out of state checks or credit cards are not accepted.
Both bride and groom must appear together, in person, with proof of age and identification. A valid state driver’s license, state identification, or passport is acceptable. Other acceptable forms of identification combined with a copy of the birth certificate are military ID, temporary driver’s
license, immigration card, school or employment ID. A blood test is not required.
Your marriage license is effective immediately, valid for 90 days anywhere within the state of California, the ceremony can be performed at any location of your choice.
Any needed site permits are not included in our packages and must be obtained from the city the beach
or park is located in. Please see our Beach & Park Locations section for details on permit fees, as well as the telephone number to check availability and obtain the permit application. If you wish, Monterey Beach Weddings offers a service whereby we will handle the entire permit process for you including any liability insurance needs. See our á la carte selection for details.
Beach or Park?
The image of you and your guests barefoot on the beach is indeed quite romantic. However, it’s not always practical unless your guest list is on the small side and on the “younger” side. Walking
on sand can be awkward and older guests may not feel comfortable doing so. Some beach locations do not allow the placement of more than a few chairs; therefore, many of your guests may have to stand throughout the service. As an alternative, you may wish to consider a ceremony set up on a grassy knoll that overlooks
the beach. After the vows, you and your photographer can go down to the beach for those special shots.
Things to Think About When Having a Beach Wedding
We know the pros — a beautiful ocean, a pristine sand shore, tying the knot in the midst of one of nature’s most alluring settings — the beach. A beach wedding is a romantic ceremony option that so long as you are “prepared,” will fill your memories and photographs with gorgeous
colors and beautiful auras that will mesmerize you and your guests.
But just as all marriages have ups and downs, beach weddings have ebbs and flows. Here are a few tips to make your beach wedding successful.
As with any outdoor wedding, you will be at the mercy of the weather as well as the topography. The best time of year in Monterey for chances of sunny weather conditions are: March, April, May, October and November (no guarantees.) You will want to take steps to protect yourself, and you will also want to have a “Plan B.” Beach umbrellas can be colorful and make nice features; how about a slew of them, including, of course, one for the bride, groom and officiant? Canopies work well, too.
Or maybe you don’t want to take away from the beach beauty itself if you can help it, but might consider having these items, or even a tent, being kept on call and nearby in case Mother Nature does not cooperate. For a “Plan B,” you might want to make arrangements with a nearby establishment, even if it’s only a coffee shop, for your wedding party to take refuge and continue the ceremony in case of extreme weather.
Monterey Beach Weddings is affiliated with Gatherings, a lovely venue just a short distance from many of the beach and park locations that, if it works, might make sense for you to put a “Plan B” in action with.
Formal dress may be inconvenient at a beach wedding, especially if you are standing directly on the sand. If you are on a grassy knoll, this does not come into consideration. You
might want a mat under the bride and groom if rings are to be exchanged; you don’t want to drop that ring in the sand!
Bare feet may work better than sandals. Think “festive” instead of “formal.” Flowers, bells and seashells can be worn as garlands, necklaces or belt. Bright colors contrast
well against sea and sand for photos.
A beach wedding probably wouldn't work well for an extremely large group. It is hard to hear outdoors, and the more people there are, the farther some of them must be from the ceremony, and you could experience some noisy surprises such as boats, helicopters or auto traffic. Other people may chance by, they may be noisy and inconsiderate and unless you’re on a private beach, there’s nothing you can do about it.
The best time of day to schedule your ceremony is in the morning or late afternoon. This allows for a more intimate atmosphere, pleasant temperatures and less crowds (remember these parks and beaches are not private). You will also want to consider “sun glare.” Before you set your time of day, we suggest you visit your location of choice at the time of day you are thinking about to determine the crowd and sun glare at that particular time of day.
Chairs will sink in the sand and can prove to be dangerous for elderly or disabled guests. At some informal and “not so long” beach weddings, guests should be ok standing during the ceremony, but you still must be sure to have some chairs available.
Lastly, relax and go with the “flow.” Expect the unexpected. Go ahead and send out your message-in-a-bottle
invitations. There might be no more naturally romantic setting for your wedding ceremony that the beautiful coastline. Remember that the reason you are there is that you love each other and you’re planning to spend the rest of your lives together. A wedding hindered
by serendipity may be frustrating at the time, but think of the great story it’ll make for your grandchildren!
How it Works
Simply choose one of our pre-designed wedding packages. However, if you don’t find the exact one that fulfills your wishes, pick the one that is closest to your dreams and we will work together to customize a package especially for you.
- If you are certain which park or beach location you want, first contact them (see our Beach & Park Locations page for phone numbers) to confirm if your date is open.
submit our Availability Request
Form so that we can check our calendar; or if you prefer, you are welcome to call us instead at (831) 647-0117.
- Monterey Beach Weddings will contact you to let you know whether or not we are available for your chosen date and to go over any “customization” requests you may have.
- Bride and/or groom to acquire the wedding location permit, or you request us to handle this for you. If your chosen location requires a permit, it must be secured before we can commit by way of contract for your date.
- Finally, to confirm your date, we will forward you a contract along with payment details which must be signed and returned with the deposit check for us to secure your date. For further information on payment terms, please see the Deposit/Payment Information section below.
Deposits, Payments & Cancellations
- If your Ceremony is less than 30 days away, the entire amount of your package is required to secure your date.
- If your Ceremony is more than 30 days out, a $150 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your date and the balance is due in full 14 days prior to the date.
All-Inclusive Package for Ceremony & Reception at Gatherings:
- If your Wedding is less than 30 days away, the entire amount of your package is required to secure your date.
- If your Wedding is more than 30 days out, a $1,500 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your date. 50% of the balance due is payable 60 days prior
to the date, and the final balance is due 14 days prior to your date.
If you need to postpone your wedding, and we are available for the new date, we will hold your non-refundable deposit as the deposit for the new date and re-book for you. If you must cancel
the event entirely and we are able to mitigate our damages
by booking another party for your date, we will refund everything with the exception of the non-refundable deposit. In the event of an extreme crisis, we will see what we can do to assist with the circumstances.
For all other situations: All payments for cancellations made no later than 90 days before your reserved date will be refunded less the non-refundable deposit. For cancellations made between the 30th and 90th day prior to your date, 50% of the payment is required, and for cancellations less than 30 days prior to the Event, the full amount is due.