Whether you’re planning a “Surf’s Up” wedding in Southern California or an elegant beach celebration in Northern California, the glorious temperatures, fabulous beaches and panoramic ocean views make the California coast the perfect spot for a destination wedding. As with any destination wedding, fantastic “Save the Date” cards, keepsake invitations and good planning are all essential in making your California beach wedding the celebration of your dreams.
Invitations by R Squared offers these tips, ideas and inspiration for your magical California beach event:
Choosing a Location
California has over 1,300 miles of coastline, and lots of locations from which to choose for a destination wedding. If most of your guests will be journeying forth for your wedding, you may want to focus on locations near a major airport in San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco to keep things simple. Many beachfront hotels offer wedding packages that include accommodations, the ceremony and reception space. In southern California, the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach and Marina Hotel and Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel are among the options; for northern California weddings, options include the Oceano Hotel and Spa Half Moon Bay and the Seascape Beach Resort. You might also consider beaches on California state parks, which range from rustic wilderness to historic mansions. Fees and requirements vary by park, so check with individual parks you’re considering to get an accurate idea of costs.
For a destination wedding, Bride magazine recommends sending out “save-the-date” cards eight months before your wedding and following up a couple of months later with a travel information package, including hotel details, airport and car rental information. While it’s wise to arrive ahead of your guests so you have time to prepare and relax, don’t forget your sunscreen if you’re planning to hit the beach before the wedding — tan lines and sunburn aren’t exactly the wedding accessories. Consider hiring a wedding planner to help with long-distance planning and find out what local resources are available for your wedding. It will be cheaper to use produce and flowers that are in season in California than to import supplies from somewhere else.
Especially in Southern California, a daytime beach ceremony can get too hot too fast, so be sure to provide your guests and your wedding party with water and set up some shaded areas if you plan to be outdoors for a long period of time. If your ceremony is a walk down the beach, consider providing flip-flops as wedding favors to make navigating the sand easier for your guests. Touches like seashells, sea glass and lanterns make charming additions to a seaside wedding. Consider incorporating California’s state flower, the poppy, in your floral arrangements or using California’s state colors of blue and gold in your wedding palette to honor your location.
Making It Legal
Non-residents can get married in California by procuring a California marriage license. You don’t need a blood test, but you do have to apply at a county clerk’s office appropriate for your location in person, so plan accordingly. Fees and office hours vary by county, so call ahead to get current information. California marriage licenses are valid for 90 days. The person who performs your ceremony will need to return the license to the county clerk within 10 days after your wedding, so make sure you have the correct address. If you want a copy of your marriage license mailed to you after the wedding, you’ll need to request it, as well as pay for it, when you pay for your license.
Your day will prove to be the most magical ever, set on a gorgeous California beach. Invitations by R Squared is here to help make your dream come true!