Beach Wedding FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BEACH WEDDINGS IN SANTA CRUZ

1. Do I need a permit for a wedding ceremony on the beach?

Reservations and permits are required for 2 – 6,000 guests. The permit fees run $345.00 – $4,485.00 per day. For information regarding special event reservations on the beach, you will need to contact the bureau accountable, it will either be State, County or City operated. Rules and regulations change depending on location.  

California State Parks & Beaches
ThatsMyPark.org: Parks & Beaches Facility Special Event Rental

County of Santa Cruz Parks
Wedding and Event Facilities

City of Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation
Beach Weddings

Unsure which municipality manages the beach you’re interested in, please click to see our  list of local beaches and parks.

2. How crowded will the beach be?

A beach wedding isn’t exactly private. If you really want to avoid the droves of summer bodies, consider an off-season wedding. Off-season in Santa Cruz is Late October – Mid March. Booking during these months will also give your guests some relief with the costs of accommodations.

3. What if my wedding is super small? Do I still need a permit or reservation?

Yes, a permit is required even if it is an elopement. Also, best practice to check if any significant events are going on the same day or if other parties have reserved the space. The beaches are public, and a lot of daily events go on such as Junior Lifeguards, surf camps & corporate parties to name a few.

4. Will liability insurance be required?

Some locations ask you to get liability insurance naming the city/county as an additional insured.

5. Can I have my wedding reception or a large party on the beach?

Yes, permits are required. Please note that many State Beaches do not allow amplified sound; call (831) 335-6318 for details.

6. May I serve alcohol or champagne on the beach?

For the safety of all beachgoers, and to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, glass and alcohol are not permitted on any Santa Cruz County beaches.

7. What about a beach bonfire?

Beach Bonfires are authorized on select beaches that already have approved fire rings. Seascape, Seabright, Twin Lakes, New Brighton, Sunset, Manresa, and Rio del Mar Beaches all allow beach fires on a first come, first serve basis. In all cases, beach fires are to be extinguished by 10 pm. Visit www.thatsmypark.org for details or call (831) 335-3455.

8. Are the beaches accessible to persons with disabilities?

There is a Beach Wheelchair Program making beach wheelchairs available at many Santa Cruz County beaches. Rent a Beach Wheelchair 831-459-7210 Please find more information here.

9. Are there any dates that are off-limits?

Many beaches don’t allow weddings on holidays, like the July 4th weekend.

10. Can the site we plan to use be cordoned off?

Beach weddings are pretty open to public viewing, so roping off an area might give you at least the illusion of privacy and possibly keep out any wedding crashers.

11. Can my caterer bring in food?

Caterers are allowed with Special Event Permit, but keep in mind that kitchen or prep space could be tricky. Make sure you speak with your caterer about the logistics ahead of time.

12. Is live music allowed?

Most Santa Cruz beaches don’t allow amplified live music, but may allow some background music played via speakers.

13. Is there a curfew?

10PM for all beaches in Santa Cruz. Be sure to leave a cushion of time to gather your belongings and clean up all of your trash before the beach closes.

14. What's not allowed at Santa Cruz Beaches?

  • Glass
  • Alcohol and Smoking
  • Dogs and other Pets are prohibited unless otherwise noted
  • Fireworks (including sparklers)
  • Camping
  • Wildlife is best left alone and unfed
  • Propane and Butane barbecues are allowed if they have stable legs that can be raised six inches off the ground and the gas cylinder is not exceeding 20 pounds
  • As of 2016, coal-burning barbecues are not permitted

Please clean up after yourself so that others may enjoy the beauty of these beaches.

15. My question wasn’t answered here.

Please see our GENERAL WEDDING FAQ or contact us at (831) 425-1234.