Getting married is not something that you do every day. In fact, for many of you this is your first time so it makes sense to have a lot of questions about the process.

Below are the answers to common FAQs (frequently asked questions we get.)
Is a permit required for a wedding on the beach, in a park, or on cliffs?

Some locations require a permit, even for small gatherings of two people without any setup. Generally, all locations mandate a permit for events with setups. The City of San Diego allows us to help you obtain the necessary permits, and the associated fees will be added to your invoice. We can assist you in determining if your chosen location falls under the jurisdiction of the City of San Diego. However, for locations outside the City of San Diego, you will be responsible for obtaining the permits, as the city only permits couples to apply for their own event permits.

What is parking like?

As all ceremony venues are in public spaces, parking is shared with the public. Some locations offer dedicated parking spaces, while others rely on street parking. Unfortunately, the city prohibits blocking off ceremony sites and parking areas, as these locations are accessible to the public. It is highly recommended to arrive early, and carpooling is also advised. Alternatively, Uber or Lyft can be considered as options, or you may explore renting a shuttle for your guests.

What happens if it rains?

While it rarely rains in beautiful San Diego, in the event of rain threatening your wedding day, you have the option to relocate your ceremony to your reception venue if it has indoor facilities. Renting an indoor space is also a viable option ifavailable, but this decision needs to be made at least 2 weeks before the event as a backup, incurring an additional cost.

Do I need a coordinator?

Some may believe that a very small event doesn’t require a coordinator, but our experience has shown that every event, regardless of size, can encounter unexpected challenges. We provide in-house coordination by professionals familiar with the ceremony locations and our processes. If you decide to hire your own planner/coordinator, kindly note that you are choosing not to utilize our services as the designated day-of coordinator for the sake of maintaining consistency. Having two coordinators overseeing the event is a conflict of interest that could lead to conflicting instructions. Keeping these roles separate ensures you get the best value and outcome.

Is a wedding rehearsal needed?

Whether your wedding party is small or large, a wedding rehearsal is essential for a seamless ceremony. While some may questions its necessity it provide an opportunity for familiarize everyone with their roles, coordinate timing, and minimize potential issues. This practice enhances the overall experience, turning potential uncertainties into well-orchestrated celebrations. If you hire or provide your own officiant, please unsure they attend the rehearsal. The photographer’s presence is not required during the rehearsal.

How Does The Marriage License Work?

Another common faq; we have a page dedicated to getting your marriage license so for more details please feel free to check out that page. In short, the two of you need to appear together with a picture ID in a county recorder’s office anywhere in the state of California. It does not have to be in San Diego.

The license is good for (90) days so we encourage couples about (30) days before their big day to call in and schedule their marriage license appointment. Once there the staff will be able to give you more info and details about your next steps. Our job as officiants is to complete our portion of the license and have the witnesses sign their portion. As part of our service will be turn in the license for you if you wish. All you have to do is bring it with you to the ceremony and we will take care of the rest!

Are there any fees, and what does it take to reserve my date?

At Socalvows, there are no taxes or hidden fees associated with our services. To secure your date, we require a payment of 25% of your total, in addition to the location fee. It’s important to be aware that obtaining permits for locations not managed by the City of San Diego, such as Carlsbad, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, and others, is your responsibility. Our commitment is to offer transparent and upfront information, ensuring a seamless and clear reservation process for you.

Additionally, please review the gratuity details specified in the contract. It’s important to know that gratuity is not included in your invoice; a separate provision for it will be made on the day of the event. For events involving setup, if you opt to hire your own planner/coordinator, please note that you are declining our services as the designated day-of coordinator for the sake of continuity. In this case, the gratuity, typically managed through our day-of coordinator as the exclusive point of contact, will be incorporated into your invoice instead.

What is the refund policy?

The initial reservation fee or deposit is non-refundable. If you cancel within (60) days of booking, you would be responsible for the full amount.

Is there a list of the beaches require a permit?

Most of the beaches in Southern California require a permit from the city where the beach is located. Each city has its own requirements and price for the permit. For most cities they only offer one permit a day. There are times when you can have an event and do not need to get the permit. We can help you figure out if the circumstance can apply to you.

Do you have pictures of the decorated arches you have done in the past?

You can find a few pictures of the different arches we have and how they are decorated on our beach wedding page. We have a couple of different options for our arches – our traditional white, and bamboo. The bamboo arch can only be used in the sand at a beach wedding.

Can I choose the type of flowers for the decorations?

The complete beach wedding package comes with roses as the base flower. You can chose the color of rose. There are options to upgrade to other flowers, however, some flowers and the amount of flowers may increase the price.

Is there a certain time of day that is best for pictures?

There is no real “better” time to for pictures when it comes to a wedding. When there are clouds and no direct sun that does make for better lighting. Many couples like the “golden” hour which is the generally one hour before sunset. In a nutshell, our photographers can make any time of the day look good for your wedding.

Do you play music before and after the ceremony?

For your music we ask to get a couple of songs from you. One for your song that you will walk down for the processional, and another when you leave the ceremony or recessional. We like to play music 15-20 minutes before the ceremony start time to set the mood for your guests. After the wedding we turn off the music because you are taking pictures and it is hard to hear the photographer with the music playing and the waves crashing.