Read this important info: Wedding Information
Cowell Beach - Outdoor Event Application, Cowell's Beach Map, Located on the west side of the municipal wharf, just in front of the Dream Inn Hotel, this area is suitable for a weddings, picnics, and private or corporate parties. Ideal for smaller gatherings ranging from 1-400 people. Portions of the beach are close to restrooms, parking, and electricity. Amplified sound is allowed with a Access to Power Permit ($20 fee). Fees for renting the beach.
Main Beach - Outdoor Event Application
Located in front of Beach Street and to the east side of the Municipal Wharf, Main Beach is ideal for larger events such as corporate gatherings or sporting tournaments. Framed between the ocean and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this 1000 yard stretch of sand is suitable for events 6000+ in attendance. Portions of the beach are close to restrooms, parking, and electricity. Amplified sound is allowed with an additional permit. ($47 fee)
FAQ's regarding beach weddings
Q: May I bring or serve alcohol on the beach?
A: No alchohol is allowed on the Santa Cruz City beaches.
Q: Do I need a permit to get married on the beach?
A: You may use our beaches first come first serve for a family gathering, including a small wedding, however you must follow the rules of the beach. There is never alcohol permitted on any City beaches and amplified music is only allowed with a reservation. You may make a reservation for a portion of the beach which can include sound. Information on reservation fees can be found above.
Q: Can I have a reception on the beach as well as a ceremony?
A: yes, but our beach works best for a ceremony and an off site reception. We do not allow glass, alcohol or open flames so it will limit what you can have at your reception. Usually, groups just do a ceremony with an arch and sometimes chairs for some guests. The beach is great for casual wedding ceremonies.
Q: Does reserving an area make it private for only me and my guests?
A: No, the beach is a public beach and there will be beach goers. Your permit will allow you the right to ask patrons to move in the event they are in your reserved space. We do not rope off or isolate your event from the rest of the beach. We will post a sign on cones which alert the public that a special event will be happening.
Q: Can I light candles, tiki torches or send off lanterns into the sky as part of my ceremony?
A: no, the Fire Department code states that no open flame will be permitted on City beaches.
Q: Can I have a DJ or band for a big party?
A: We do allow amplified sound permits in conjunction with a reservation. However, it is typically used for ceremony music, vows and announcements. We do not provide electrical power so a generator must be rented. All sound speakers must be facing the ocean and kept at a reasonable level.
Q: Can we have my wedding catered and bring in tables, grills, etc?
A: We do not allow any vehicles on the beach which makes bringing down a whole wedding reception challenging. Everything must be hand carried. The wedding sites are a good walking distance from the parking lot and nearest ramp. We dont recommend this type of party, however, you can do so if you fully understand the limitations. No glass is allowed, styrafoam is prohibited, trash and coals must be removed from the beach.
Q: Which area of the beach is most used for weddings?
A: The most private setting is Cowell Beach at Sandy Point. The closest area used for weddings is Cowell Beach at the Hotel. The Main Beach isnt used much for weddings unless you are wanting to be near the amusement park for great pictures and setting.
Q: How big are the wedding sites and the exact locations?
A: There are three sites to reserve to weddings at the Cowell Beach. The beach will still be open to the public but we will mark off your area with cones to alert beachgoers that a wedding will be happening. The areas can be seen on the map here with the approximate dimensions.