Brides and grooms looking for a memorable wedding ceremony with their toes in the sand and the ocean as a backdrop won’t need to look any further than Redondo Beach or Manhattan Beach. Both are popular beach wedding destinations for locals and out of towners.
Beach weddings are not permitted in the city of Hermosa Beach. But, if you are planning a small event (fewer than 100), you may be able proceed without incident. Hermosa Beach Police officers may use their discretion to determine if an unpermitted beach wedding is a nuisance; a warning could be issued or the bridal group instructed to move off the beach if the ceremony is disturbing others or if there have been complaints.
Below: all the information a couple needs to plan the Manhattan or Redondo Beach wedding of their dreams.
1. Follow the traditional bridal check list. Once the engagement hype calms and you’re ready to tie the knot at the beach, follow the typical wedding “to-do” list. Choose a date, secure the officiant. Research sound systems, food, and beach décor, and think about your ceremony and reception
2. Obtain a permit from the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors, available online at http://beaches.lacounty.gov/special-event-permit/. Apply no earlier than 90 days, and no later than three weeks, before the desired event date(s). However, submitting a permit application does not guarantee your date(s) or location. Permits cost $250, plus a refundable security deposit and liability insurance policy (purchased separately). Additional fees may be levied on a case by case basis, based on fees paid to hired help such as a photographer or catering service. An alcohol fee of $185 is applied for that champagne toast.
Note: Weddings with fewer than 50 guests, including the bride, groom, and officiant, do not require a permit on LA County Beaches, provided there are no hired services, chairs, or canopies set up, or amplied sound. All others need a permit to avoid fines or possible cancellation of the event.
3. Manhattan Beach sound permit—in additional to the L.A. County permit indicated above, Manhattan Beach requires a Sound Amplification Permit for ceremonies using speakers. The permit costs $227 and is available through the Manhattan Beach Police Department at https://www.citymb.info/Home/Components/ServiceDirectory/ServiceDirectory/281/2119
Only the ceremony is allowed on Manhattan Beach: receptions must be held off-site.
4. Redondo Beach, no additional permits: Redondo Beach and Torrance Beach, which borders a South Redondo Beach postal code, allow both the ceremony and reception to take place on the beach, with only the L.A. County permit. No additional permits are necessary.
5. Get married. On the day of the event, be sure to bring your permit, unless the wedding event is hosting under 50 guests, when no permit is required.
6. Be prepared for the unexpected; with beach weddings, nature has been known to put on its own show mid-ceremony. Wind, excessive temperatures, swirling sand, rain, birds, jumping dolphins, high surf, and a massive wave can all play a role on the day of the event. The bride and groom should be ready for anything, including a few extra eyes on the ceremony, from curious neighbors or tourists.
Have a vendor do it for you
An easy, worry-free-option: get a helping hand. Verandas Beach House in Manhattan Beach can help brides and grooms take care of both the ceremony and reception. The venue takes care of the beach set up, parking, guest shuttles and the wedding permit process, giving brides and grooms an unforgettable beach wedding, followed by a beach house reception without the stress of paperwork.
Verandas recommends a minimum of six-months advance-notice to plan the reception and ceremony; venue and culinary costs may vary depending on the menu, the day of the week, and time of year.
The optional beach ceremony, which includes permits, seating, a PA system, planning and coordination, costs an additional fee, and it can accommodate up to 200 guests.