Planning An Epic Santa Cruz Wedding

The big question has been popped — and hopefully so has the champagne — so now comes the fun part. With plenty of inspiring settings and talented artisans to choose from, planning a wedding in Santa Cruz County is the start of your nuptial bliss. You already know the who, so let us help with the what, where and when. Below, we’ve rounded up the best resources and advice to help make your big day one to remember.

Photo Courtesy of Roaring Camp Railroads


Santa Cruz County’s climate stays pleasantly mild throughout the year with a dazzling 300 days of sunshine. During winter and spring, temperatures dip and showers can appear but it’s not unheard of to see warm, glorious days as well. You should consider visitor seasons for pricing and availability at venues and lodging. Note: off-season is roughly October through May.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Ingram Visuals


With nearly 30 miles of warm sandy goodness, we couldn’t blame you for taking your wedding party straight to the beach. Depending upon the size of your group and the extent of your plans, you may need a permit for a beach ceremony and almost certainly for a beach reception. You’ll need to contact the agency that oversees the site you are interested in to check for availability and other considerations. Start with our Beach Wedding FAQs for contact info and other important details such as if alcohol is allowed on the beach (spoiler alert: it’s not). Just remember, the inspiring backdrops don’t end at the shore. You can also soak up gorgeous scenery on a pastoral farm, in an atmospheric redwood grove, at a rustic winery or grand historic home. Check out our list of wedding venues for more inspiration.

Photo Courtesy of Expressive Photographics


If you’ve spent any amount of time in Santa Cruz County, you know it is home to some exceptional creative talent. The region boasts a diverse array of caterers, bakeries, talented photographers like the one above, florists and stylists to inspire you. From traditional looks to an elaborate Edwardian-meets-Steampunk affair, you’ll find vendors to match your style and help craft your vision. Here’s just a sample of the vendors available. Want more? Check out the Monterey Bay Wedding Event Professionals.

Photo Courtesy of Expressive Photographics at Chaminade Resort & Spa


Just like its home state of California, Santa Cruz is an iconic traveler destination with no shortage of desirable lodging options. Trust us: your guests will thank you. In addition to the usual big name brands, you can choose from intimate B&Bs, waterfront hotels, and enchanting resorts perched high on a hill. Browse our list of lodging options here. We can even help you set aside a block of rooms (we recommend advance planning, especially in summer). Just send us a Request for Proposal via our site and we’ll be in touch.

Photo Courtesy of Bonnie and Genevieve

Need More Help? Look Here:

  • More info, such as how to obtain a marriage license, is available at our Wedding FAQs
  • Have questions specific to Beach Weddings? We got you covered.
  • You can also request a Wedding Packet and receive additional resources like a Traveler’s Guide and detailed vendor information.

Updated June 2020

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