The following is some helpful information for planning your beach or ocean view wedding in Monterey, California. Just click on the topic of choice to go to that section. You may also want to read our Local Information page where we have put together some facts on the area for you, and for other frequently asked questions, please see our FAQ page.
- Marriage License Information
- Site Permits
- Selecting a Site — Beach or Park?
- Things to Think About
- How it Works
- Deposits, 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 required site permits are not included in our packages and must be obtained from the city your site is located in. Please see our Beach Locations page for details on permit fees, as well as 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. The cost for this service is $180.
Selecting a Site — Beach or Park?
The image of you and your guests barefoot on the beach is indeed quite romantic. However, it’s not always practical. Walking on sand can be awkward and older guests may not feel comfortable doing so. Some beach locations do not allow placement of more than a few chairs; therefore, many of your guests may have to stand during the service. As an alternative, you may wish to consider a ceremony set up on a grassy knoll that overlooks the ocean.
Things to Think About When Having a Beach Wedding
We know the pros — a beautiful ocean, a pristine 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 event, you will be at the mercy of the weather as well as the topography. The best months of the year in Monterey for chances of sunny weather conditions are March, April, May, October and November (no guarantees!). Please know that our Monterey Beach Wedding service includes some clear umbrellas, but depending on your guest count, we most likely do not have enough for every guest, so you will want to make sure you have a “Plan B” prepared. Please talk to your Events by Classic Group/Monterey Beach Weddings Event Manager for Plan B ideas.
Formal dress may be inconvenient at a beach wedding, especially if you are standing directly on the sand.
There have been stories of a ring being dropped and lost 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 or Monterey Beach Weddings 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 could 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 not be a more naturally romantic setting for your wedding ceremony than 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.
- If you are certain which location you want, first contact them (see our Beach Locations page for phone numbers) to confirm if your date is open.
- Then call, email or submit our Request Information Form so that we can check our calendar.
- If we are available, we will then go over any “customization” requests you may have.
- You will need to acquire the wedding location permit (if required), or we have a service that will help you with this. If your chosen location does require 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 following section.
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 10 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 is payable 90 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.
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.