Wedding Guide

the fall, but there’s the possibility of wildfire smoke to be aware of.) There might also be other constraints, like if endangered snowy plovers are in their nesting season, which is the case for Marina State Beach, which is closed to weddings from March through September. Another thing to consider is whether a couple just wants a ceremony in a park, and perhaps a reception somewhere else. John Hiles, manager of State Parks’ Monterey sector, says that while beach weddings are popular—Monastery Beach is the most popular—State Parks doesn’t allow for receptions on the beach. For that, a couple needs to find another spot to gather and celebrate after the ceremony. But State Parks does have gems in downtown Monterey that can accommodate both. Kaitlyn Moreland, State Parks’ manager of events in Monterey’s historic downtown, says the Memory Garden is the most popular, in part because it allows for the most people, and also because the garden is planted in a variety where there’s always at least one type blooming on any day of the year in any season. Moreland adds that California’s First Theatre, which reopened in late 2023 after being closed for more than two decades, will also be available sometime soon for weddings, and one bonus is that it already has a built-in bar. Various city beaches and parks are also beloved wedding venues. Lovers Point Park in Pacific Grove is a favorite for weddings of up to 100 people. The City of Monterey offers permits for weddings on Del Monte Beach. County parks are also popular spots, whether it be Jacks Peak or Toro Park, and Bryan Flores, who leads the county parks department, says people even get married at Laguna Seca Recreation Area—maybe it’s a car enthusiast thing, given that it’s home to the famous race track— and also at Lake San Antonio. San Lorenzo Park in King City is particularly popular, he says, perhaps at least in part because it has a kitchen caterers can utilize. And he maintains that, if one plans to get married in a park, there’s no better deal than the county. “None of [the other parks] have wedding packages like we do,” Flores says. Parks EVYNN LEVALLEY PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL DADULA 32 The Best of Monterey Bay ® Wedding Guide 2024-2025 LionverPsaPcioifinc tGrove Consistently Voted Best Place to Get Married in Monterey County The romantic City of Pacific Grove offers breathtaking coastal locations for wedding ceremonies at Lovers Point Park, Berwick Park and at the historic Point Pinos Lighthouse. Contact the Pacific Grove Recreation Dept. for reservations and permits. City of Pacific Grove Recreation (831) 648 - 3134 • 302 16th St., Pacific Grove PGRec_1-3h_WG23_dg.indd 1 2/14/23 3:26 PM