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Your Pacific Coast Wedding Guide

Your Pacific Coast Wedding Guide

The Pacific Coast Highway (known locally as the PCH) offers a wide array of wedding venues from the beautiful Bay Area all the way south to San Diego. There are so many cities and beach towns along the coast that offer a variety of styles, personalities, and natural landscapes. When planning a wedding along the historic PCH, you can choose from a wide array of events, venues, cultures, and hotels. We can't forget to mention the sunsets because they're incredible - whether your enjoying the view from a balcony or sitting beachside watching the sun gently settle on the edge of the ocean. The sunrise is just as undeniably beautiful in its own right. If you are planning a wedding along the Pacific Coast Highway, check out our tips, tricks, and top picks for local venues.


Aliso Viejo By Wedgewood Weddingsa beautiful couple says 'i do' in aliso viejo, CA


The legendary PCH begins in San Francisco, travels south through Carmel and continues past the incredible Big Sur and the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway. It covers approximately 600 miles of rugged coastline and takes about 10 hours to drive from start to finish (without stops!). We highly recommend that you plan a few full days to soak in all of the amazing sights, stopping along the way at some of your favorite spots. 

Starting from the north and heading south, the northern portion of the PCH runs along the Central California Coast for 123 miles, about a five-hour drive. When you continue south from Monterey, you'll pass Hearst Castle, Paso Robles and Morro Bay all while enjoying stunning ocean views along the way. The views along the northern PCH route create wedding magic, photographic masterpieces, and a pleasant journey.

As you continue south, you'll naturally wind your way through Southern California's wine country, enjoy the beautiful coastlines of Ventura County, get a sneak peak of Hollywood glam, and ultimately make your way down to the blue skies of Orange County and San Diego. With nearly constant sunshine and mild temperatures, Southern California is one of the absolute best destinations for your dream wedding. 


Fallbrook Estate By Wedgewood Weddingsthe romantic courtyard adorned with flowers at fallbrook estate


West Coast Wedding Venues you need to see

  • Carmel Fields in Carmel, CA is a charming, rustic wedding venue located in a beautiful green nature preserve lined with mature trees and beautiful views. Choose either a dreamy beach ceremony along a beautiful piece of coastline or a beautiful lawn ceremony with a classic gazebo backdrop. This venue showcases the best California has to offer, and is located in a true coastal oasis!

  • Pacific View Tower in Ventura, CA offers the best views in Ventura County without question. This 22nd-floor penthouse suite is home to 360-degree views of oceans, mountains and the beautiful Channel Islands in the distance. We love the juxtaposition of this regal wedding venue with the local, coastal scenery. Say 'I do' beachside in the beautiful garden, or up in the penthouse overlooking the mountains of Ojai Valley. Come on up and say hello!

  • Sterling Hills in Camarillo, CA is nestled among strawberry fields and orange groves, making it the most fragrant venue you'll find! This beautiful, classic golf club wedding venue offers a spacious outdoor patio with epic sunset views. If you're looking for a true indoor-outdoor celebration under the palm trees and stars alike, this one's for you. Stop by for a game of golf and tour this beautiful venue while you're there!

  • Fallbrook Estate in Fallbrook, CA is one of our most beautiful San Diego County locations with stunning architecture, beautiful views, an intimate courtyard with bistro lights, and ample outdoor space. Centrally located, you will love having easy access to California's best wineries, nature trails, and the ocean. The Spanish-style wedding venue estate is a must-see!

  • The Carlsbad Windmill in Carlsbad, CA is our newest addition in SoCal. If new and five stars are on your list, this is the hot spot for you. Ocean waves and flower fields engulf this Danish-style building, and it comes complete with a working windmill. When you walk in and see the vaulted ceilings, urban brick accents, and chandeliers, you will undoubtedly be impressed. This venue is worth the free tour, even if you're not engaged, yet!

  • Aliso Viejo Center in Aliso Viejo, CA - this venue is full of luxury and class with views of Saddleback Mountain and the valley. With multiple fire pits, bistro lights, covered patios, and lush views, you are sure to add this venue to your top three list. It's also only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Disney and Knott's Berry Farm! It's the ultimate wedding destination for big families and Disney fans alike.

  • San Clemente Shore in San Clemente, CA is a romantic Spanish-style estate with the perfect beachside location. Think about waking up to the ocean breeze, taking romantic photos, and sipping cocktails while sitting out on a wrap-around balcony. The bistro lights and fire pits are just the little extras to make this location over the top.


San Clemente Rise By Wedgewood WeddingsTwo lovebirds enjoying the gorgeous trees at San clemente rise


getting married in san diego county:

How Much Does a Wedding License Cost?
  • Non-Confidential Marriage License $70
  • Confidential Marriage License $89
  • Civil Ceremony $88
  • Witness Fee $18
  • Certified Copy $15


What Forms of ID are Acceptable?
  • Current Driver's License or state identification
  • Current Passport
  • Current Military identification card


What do I Need to Apply for a Wedding License?
  • Must be 18 years old
  • To buy a marriage license, you much make an appointment and appear together. Bring one of the forms of ID listed above.
  • Complete the marriage license application and pay the fee(s), listed above
  • Once the license is purchased, you have 90 days to perform a ceremony


For more information about San Diego County Marriage Licenses, use this Frequently Asked Question doc provided by the assessor/recorder/county clerk's office.


getting married in orange county:

How to Much Does a Wedding License Cost?
  • Non-Confidential Marriage License $61
  • Confidential Marriage License $66
  • Declaration of Marriage $61
  • Marriage Ceremony $28
  • Certified Copy $15


What Forms of ID are Acceptable?
  • Valid non-expired government-issued photo identification such as a driver's license or passport


What do I Need to Apply for a Wedding License?
  • Must be 18 years old
  • To buy a marriage license, you much make an appointment and appear together. Bring one of the forms of ID listed above.
  • Complete the marriage license application and pay the fee(s), listed above
  • Once the license is purchased, you have 90 days to perform a ceremony


For more information about Orange County Marriage Licenses, reference this page provided by the assessor/recorder/county clerk's office.


Carmel Fields By Wedgewood Weddingsstunning tropical beach wedding ceremony at carmel fields


Fun stops along the Pacific Coast Highway:

  1. Point Reyes: This park is 71,028 acres, full of local historical stories. You can discover over 1,500 different kinds of species, plants, and animals on this National Seashore in California.
  2. Half Moon Bay: If you're looking for fun events, boutique shopping, a quaint little town, and live music, this town is a must-see for a weekend getaway. This little spot has hiking, beaches, kayaking, incredible dining experiences, magical sequoia forests, and so much more.
  3. Monterey Aquarium: Tickets range from $29.95-$49.95. With a focus on sustainability and creating positive climate change, the Monterey Aquarium is a must-visit for eco-conscious travelers and animal lovers alike. The aquarium has fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and tons of family activities. It's a must-do if you're traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway.
  4. Morro Rock Beach: This rock was formed around 23 million years ago from the long-extinct volcanoes in the area. You will see lots of filming going on around this area, weddings, and festivals. Morro Rock Beach is dog-friendly (on a leash, that is), so this breathtaking beach is the perfect destination for a sunny summer day or a sunset stroll with your four-legged friend.
  5. Madonna Inn: If you've ever driven on the PCH between Los Angeles and San Francisco, you've probably noticed the pink and white hotel on the side of the highway in San Luis Obispo, California. This hotel has 110 rooms, super unique things to do, and a charm all its own. The Madonna Inn is always a fun place to stay, stop for lunch, or take a tour. You'll find good food, a great bakery selection, shops, spa, pool, live music, horseback riding, on-site wine tasting, hiking, biking, tennis, basketball, and garden games.
  6. Hearst Castle: Yes, it's a real castle. Yes, you should tour it. This Castle is over 100 years old and very well preserved. The tour takes you through the entire home, both inside and out. The architecture is brilliant, with absolutely stunning photo opportunities, and they offer all different kinds of tours for under $25. The Castle opens ad 9:00 a.m. during the summer. It's a stunning tour, and each guide has something new to share about the property.
  7. The Flower Fields: Where else can you run through endless acres of colorful flowers? The famous Flower Fields of Carlsbad offer dozens of unique activities for kids and adults alike. Take an open-air wagon ride through the fields, learn about SoCal history, visit the Cymbidium Orchid Greenhouse, enjoy the Sweet Pea Maze, and pick blueberries during certain months of the year. 
  8. San Diego Zoo: One of the most iconic zoos in the world, and for good reason! It boasts more than 650 animal species from around the world, a 30-minute guided tram ride, a built-in botanical garden, and has enough activities to keep you busy for two, maybe three days. Tickets for a single-day pass range from $48 to $58 per person, with discounts available for multiple-day passes. 


If California is your wedding destination, consider following the PCH for endless options and inspiration. Whatever you have planned for your wedding, make sure to include something for everyone. Offer your guests a list of fun things to do to take the guessing out of their adventures, including kid- and family-friendly activities during the week of your wedding. Create unique ways to make new memories in the days leading up to your wedding and during the ceremony and reception - both for your guests and for yourself. Check out our list of suggested wedding venues to tour. Most of all, have fun, take pictures, and celebrate this moment of your life, it's a big one.

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