Planning a San Luis Obispo wedding ceremony can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With some careful research and preparation, you can create a memorable and meaningful ceremony that reflects your personality and Central Coast style.
How to Plan A San Luis Obispo Wedding Ceremony
Step 1: Choose a wedding ceremony location
The location of your wedding ceremony venue sets the tone and mood for your entire wedding day. You want to choose a place that suits your vision, budget, and guest list. Some popular options are churches, hotels, vineyards, ranches, gardens, parks, beaches, and historic venues. Consider the weather, accessibility, parking, and noise level of each location before making a decision.
Often, the ceremony will be held at the same location as a wedding reception. However, if you are on a budget and looking for more affordable wedding options, many couples will plan a ceremony at one location and a reception at another. Local San Luis Obispo wedding couples often choose a beach or local park for an affordable wedding ceremony option and then follow with one of our many great reception and rehearsal dinner locations.
Step 2: Decide on your date and budget
San Luis Obispo has a mild climate year-round, but some months are more popular than others. If you want to avoid the peak season, consider booking your wedding in the winter or spring. You should also set a realistic budget that covers all the expenses, such as venue, catering, photography, flowers, and entertainment.
Step 3: Select a San Luis Obispo Wedding Officiant
The wedding officiant is the person who will perform your wedding ceremony and pronounce you married. You want to choose someone who is authorized to do so in your state or country, and who respects your beliefs and preferences. You can ask a friend or family member to get ordained online, or hire a professional officiant such as a priest, rabbi, minister, judge, or celebrant. Make sure you meet with your officiant beforehand to discuss the details of your ceremony, such as the vows, readings, rituals, and music.
We asked one of our local wedding officiants a few questions:
- How far in advance do you recommend couples schedule a wedding officiant on the Central Coast?
“Truthfully, it depends on your plans. An intimate elopement ceremony with just a few friends can usually be scheduled just a few days in advance. If having a larger ceremony which involves a wedding planner, we’d suggest following the planner’s recommendations. Keep in mind booking one of the Central Coasts’ spectacular wedding venues can require some lead time.”Pastor Patrick Moran
- Do you have any wedding ceremony tips for couples?
This is your special day. Custom design it the way you want. Do you want an intimate, brief and small ceremony, or are you looking for a more traditional ceremony? Are you looking for a non-denominational ceremony, or do you want to add aspects of a traditional ceremony? Share your vision for this special day with the officiant so we can design exactly what you what. If not sure what you want, we can make suggestions to help ensure you have the day of your dreams.Pastor Patrick Moran
Step 4: Choosing ceremony music
Ceremony wedding music is an essential element of any wedding ceremony, as it sets the mood and expresses your emotions. You can choose live music, such as a string quartet, harpist, pianist, guitarist, or singer, or recorded music from a playlist or DJ. You will need music for the processional (when you and your bridal party enter), the recessional (when you and your spouse exit), and any special moments in between (such as a unity candle or sand ceremony). Choose songs that are meaningful to you and your partner, and that match the style and tone of your ceremony.
For Central Coast weddings, it is imperative to book a wedding musician well in advance so you guarantee availability. Oftentimes, wedding ceremony music can be forgotten until the last moment, when many local musicians are already booked up. Don’t let this be you, schedule in advance.
Step 5: Book Wedding rentals such as an arch and chairs
Depending on the location of your ceremony, you may need to rent some items to make it more comfortable and beautiful. For example, you may need an arch or altar to frame your vows, chairs or benches for your guests to sit on, a microphone and speakers for the officiant and music, a tent or canopy for shade or rain protection, and decorations such as flowers, candles, lanterns, or signs. Check with your venue if they provide any of these items or have preferred vendors that you can work with.
Step 6: Order Specialty Wedding Signs & Seating Charts
Custom, handcrafted wedding day signs and seating charts are a wonderful way to add authenticity and beauty to your wedding. However, if you plan to have a custom sign created, be sure to order it well in advance. Wedding signs take a considerable amount of time to coordinate, creat, and deliver, so connecting with your local wedding sign company in advance is required.
Planning a wedding ceremony can be fun and rewarding if you follow these steps and add your own personal touches. Remember that the most important thing is to celebrate your love and commitment with your partner and your loved ones. Happy planning!
Featured Central Coast Wedding Vendors:
Top Photo Credit: Lauren Hope Photography, @laurenhope.photography
Second & Third Photos & Musician: (Harpest) Jan Walters, @jan_walters_harpist
Wedding Signs: Rachell Rae Designs, @rachell_rae_designs,
Wedding Sign Photos: @daniellegillettphotography
Wedding Officiant: Pastor Patrick Moran, SLO Ministers @sloministers