I need help, I really want to make sure I reserve a spot and no one is going to be there for their ceremony on the date that I want, I also want to do it legally and not get introuble, lol. Anyone? I am from Chicago IL, flying out there and not sure where to start. On a tight budget due to having my wedding done there. Please help!
First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Now a few notes about California beaches and wedding locations...
In California, all beaches are always open to the public. You may have a wedding any time on any beach without making a reservation (some beaches have laws regarding fires and alcohol). There are two types of beaches: state park beaches and then undesignated coast beaches. State park beaches have parking lots, rest rooms and generally have easier access. The remaining beaches are all accessible in some way or another via "coastal access" foot paths, that are required, even in costal areas with homes and private property.
In the Fort Bragg and Mendocino area there are quite a few beautiful beaches, most of which are state parks. You can simply plan to have your ceremony at any such beach. You will not be able to block other people from their own beach activities. There are a lot of wedding on our coast and everyone is always very respectful of wedding parties. You will not run into large crowds or any issues involving other people on the beach. There are also many bluffs that over look the Pacific. These areas are also usually part of the state park system and do require a reservation. These locations and the process of reservations can be accessed by contacting the California State Parks - you will need to know the name of the location (Cypress Grove, Mendocino Overlook, etc.)
As a professional wedding photographer in Mendocino, CA, I have been to most of the locations that people select for outdoor weddings on our beautiful coast. They all have their individual benefits and drawbacks. You should consider the level of easy access your wedding party will require...most beaches require at least a short walk down dirt paths and/or sometimes stairs or inclines. I hope this info has been useful... If you have any more questions or would like more information about wedding sites on the coast, please feel free to let me know. You can contact us through our website http://www.glassslipper.biz Please also take a moment to check out our wedding photography; you will find that our work is some of the stand out photography in the area. Have fun planning your wedding day and again, congratulations!