Are you or a family member planning a destination Sea Ranch wedding? If so…
Now onward with the wedding planning!
Sea Ranch Wedding Planning Tips
First and foremost, we recommend that you make your reservation as far in advance as possible. Sea Ranch is a popular location for the North Bay Area and beyond. Realizing there are only 52 weekends in a year, the venue options fill quickly. However, if you are able to make a mid-week wedding date you may find greater options opened for you.
To help you in your early wedding planning, we share how we planned for our daughter’s wedding. We also answer questions frequently asked about getting married at Sea Ranch as well as offer our wedding planing tips.
Frequently asked questions include:
- Can you get married at Sea Ranch Chapel?
- Can you get married at The Sea Ranch Lodge?
- Can you rent vacation rentals for the wedding party?
- Can you get married at Sea Ranch Abalone Bay?
- Is Sea Ranch a good place for a honeymoon?
Can you get married at Sea Ranch Chapel?
We love the Sea Ranch Chapel and know you will too, especially for a small elopement style wedding. The tiny Chapel offers an intimate, light infused setting for any number of sacred events.
Primarily our whimsically shaped chapel provides individuals and small groups an opportunity for prayer or meditation of a non-sectarian nature. However, the chapel also can be reserved for private functions. In the past, it has been used for Weddings, Marriage Vow Renewals, Commitments, Anniversaries, Memorials, Baptisms, and Consecration of special events for small groups.
Wedding Planning at Sea Ranch Chapel
The Sea Ranch Chapel provides a lovely intimate setting for a small wedding party of a maximum of twenty people. You can get married at the Sea Ranch Chapel with the proper permissions. In planning for your important event, be sure that the size of your group will fit comfortably into the chapel. It should be noted that there is only parking for thirteen vehicles and RVs are not allowed. Please also remember that there are no restroom facilities. The very best idea is to visit the chapel well before your event and to think through clearly how you would utilize the chapel’s facilities.
How to Reserve The Sea Ranch Chapel
All reservations for the chapel must be made through The Sea Ranch Association Office. We recommend that you call first to see if your date is available. The Association Offices are open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Their telephone number is 707-785-2444, and their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can mail your Request to the following address:
The Sea Ranch Association, Reservations
Post Office Box 16
The Sea Ranch, CA 95497
Can you get married at The Sea Ranch Lodge?
The Sea Ranch Lodge, now under new ownership and management, is fully operational and taking reservations for events and weddings! The Lodge offers not only lodging options, but also a variety of venues for your ceremony and reception.
We found booking rooms at The Lodge convenient especially for day of wedding preparations.
Can you rent vacation rentals for the wedding party?
When your wedding plans include an extended stay on our Sonoma coast, then a vacation rental at Sea Ranch makes the most economical sense. Family and friends can share a home and save on the cost of eating out by preparing meals at home. Plus, with prior arrangements, many homes, such as oceanfront, pet friendly Abalone Bay, allow for pets.
We also are happy to recommend other homes in the Sea Ranch for your wedding party as well.
Can you get married at a Sea Ranch vacation rental like Abalone Bay?
On occasion we are asked if weddings can be held at our home, Abalone Bay. We are happy to work with you in planning your intimately small, quiet ceremony and to assure that you have a beautiful day.
As each request to use our house as a wedding venue comes to us, we review with the wedding party our HOA rules, and their obligations of keeping the guest list small. Our home allows no more than six (6) occupants. We also have restrictions regarding house decorations, venue set-up and loud pre / post ceremony celebrations. However, within those parameters, we are happy to provide you a memorable first day of the rest of your lives together.
Is Sea Ranch a good place for a honeymoon?
We firmly attest that Sea Ranch is an excellent location for a honeymoon! Our review posted on The Knot attests to the same:
We were married over Labor Day and had a wonderful honeymoon at this beautiful house by the seashore. The view and setting is perfect for relaxing and spending time together and enjoying scenic walks along the coast. The bedroom and luxurious bathroom is very romantic and the property is extremely well kept, gorgeous and bright. A delightful place to spend our honeymoon.
Good for Babymoons too!
Then remember us when you move out of your Newlywed status into your New Family status. You’ll find Sea Ranch an excellent location for your Babymoon too!
Our family’s Sea Ranch wedding
Though the wedding planned for our daughter occurred many years ago, and The Sea Ranch and its Lodge has had many changes, you may gain some insight from our experience.
When our daughter announced her engagement, we as a family resided in Chile. Happily, our daughter decided she and her intended wanted a destination wedding.
I thought, “Great! Santiago, Chile is a destination, let everyone come here!”
However, she had a different idea. She decided she wanted a destination wedding- on the Sonoma Coast. And of course the ceremony had to be at The Sea Ranch Lodge!
Reunion with a wedding attached
Actually, our daughter’s wedding was more a reunion with a wedding attached as our family resided in Chile and the groom’s family in Michigan. My brother, the officiate also resided in Michigan. And then there was family coming in from Oregon, Los Angeles area, Northern California, and various other states. Then there was the international family members coming from Canada, Spain and a few friends from Peru.
It became an international homecoming of sorts and we loved that it was happening in The Sea Ranch!
The idea of a Sea Ranch wedding was drawn from her fondest memories of our family visiting the Sonoma coast to dive for abalone while she was young. While mom and dad would go diving for abalone she remained behind with friends and family eagerly wondering if dinner would be provided. Then we’d pop out of the ocean with our harvest bags full. We’d celebrate our luck and then feast on freshly harvest abalones. There was nothing better than to enjoy the camaraderie of friends, family and this fabulously fresh feast.
California – More than a Cliché
More than anything, our daughter wanted to show her new family members that there is so much more to California than the cliches. California was more than palm trees on a picture postcard. There were redwoods that towered over them as they drove along the Russian River Road. And of course the river communities along it!
Here in The Sea Ranch, in one spot, was a peaceful, tranquil location. It was the perfect location given the betrothed’s love of nature. There was a magical rhythm that encompassed the ocean’s ebb and flow as the meadow grasses swayed in cadence conducted by the sea breezes. Stalwart redwoods loom on the hills above as tall sentries over the coastal expanse below. Sea Ranch quickly became everyone’s favorite location.
A Space for Everyone
To facilitate the gathering of our families and friends for the Sea Ranch Wedding, many of whom hadn’t seen each other for many years, we rented vacation homes, as well as the rooms available at The Sea Ranch Lodge. This way family groups were able to gather to reminisce and help plan the festivities. Meanwhile, friends were able to share space and still have their privacy too.
It was the best idea ever!
Many of our family and friends turned the event into an extended holiday. Those from far away took the opportunity to learn more about California by touring it further before and after the wedding. Their excursions included side trips along the coast as far as Santa Cruz, an extended stay at San Francisco, and sampling the Napa-Sonoma wineries.
By staying longer at Sea Ranch we were able to become reacquainted with our newly extended families. It allowed us the precious gift of time to really know each other and have a relaxing moment or two while we prepared for the ceremony at the week’s end.
And for those family members who needed a bit more than nature to appease them, they found plenty to do at the three recreation centers. Swimming and tennis kept them very busy. And now with the addition of pickleball everyone can have fun.
The playground at One Eyed Jack’s allowed the little ones to expend their pent-up energies.
And it goes without saying, our Spanish relatives enjoyed the escape to The Sea Ranch Golf Course taking on the challenge of the landing a ball between a herd of deer.
Family Reunites at Salt Point
One of the best ideas our daughter had was to have a gathering of the clans held at Gerstle Cove in Salt Point State Park. This way we were able to allow party revelers to be as rambunctious and as loud as they wanted without disturbing the peace and zen of the residents and others at The Sea Ranch.
Be Mindful of HOA Regulations and Restrictions
Most importantly, booking our large family gathering away from the houses at Sea Ranch saved us from having The Sea Ranch HOA’s Security knocking on our doors.
Recent regulations and restrictions made on vacation rentals throughout the Sonoma County not only add fines when rules are not followed, some may find they could be evicted from their vacation rental.
Nuisance and Enforcement Rules
Sea Ranch’s tranquility is the main reason guests come to our northern coastal community. In fact, our home’s motto is, “Experience nature at your doorstep.” But if noise and activity becomes too loud or excessive then not only will nature become disturbed, so will the neighbors.
Should you also plan to book homes for your wedding party be aware that The Sea Ranch HOA rules require that there be no noise after 9 P.M. Should you book a house, including our Sea Ranch Abalone Bay, you will be required to follow all the noise, parking, and home occupancy restrictions that are required. In fact, guests can now be fined for being too rowdy and gleefully celebrating loudly.
Therefore, it becomes paramount all guests remember to adhere to their signed contract that includes the noise restrictions to assure their stay is not only fun, but also stress free.
Quiet Hours Limits
The Sea Ranch Quiet Hours are between 9 pm and 7am daily. Guests must conduct indoor and outdoor activities in a prudent and respectful manner that will not disturb your neighbors, especially during quiet hours.
- 55 dBA intermittent
- 45 dBA constant
Maximum quiet hours decibels is 55dBA, about equal to a conversation from 3 feet away.Particular to noise, The Sea Ranch security now has equipment that checks on the amount of noise as measured in decibels:
Non-Quiet Hours Limits
- 65 dBA intermittent
- 55 dBA constant
During the day of course you may enjoy your fun! However, that fun may not disturb the neighbors by becoming too loud, annoying, or continuous.
An Opportunity to Let It All Hangout
During the week’s stay, family and friends joined up at our vacation rental to spend time planning the picnic preparations that included team-building games such as water carry, piñata busting, and of course blueberry pie eating. The best fun was building the ocean themed main event- smashing the shark piñata.
Adapting our reunion idea
Another option for those of you also considering a reunion or gathering of the clans is to book the picnic area at The Sea Ranch. One Eyed Jacks. The picnic area is a wonderful location right at Sea Ranch for family and friends to gather for special occasions. It offers tables, barbecues and port-a-potties and play areas for both children and adults. To view the picnic area action see photos of our Volunteer Fire Department’s Annual Picnic event held there.
The party goers may also enjoy a short walk through the mystical Cyprus hedgerow.
They’ll delight in the discovery it leads them to the Tide Pool and Shell Beach ocean bluff area
Partying away from Sea Ranch housing
Actually, taking our large and festive group away from The Sea Ranch was the best idea ever!
We strongly advise you consider doing the same for your wedding party or other reunion events. Sea Ranch loves its zenful ambience. So any partying in the neighborhood is strictly frowned upon.
However, while our family was more interested in reunion-like DIY event, you may find working with The Sea Ranch Lodge team helpful for more elaborate, traditional festivities.
The Sea Ranch wedding leads to owning Abalone Bay
Once we arrived at Sea Ranch, we knew we were in a special place. It was then that we decided we would want to have a place where we could call our own. The next year we made the jump to purchasing Abalone Bay
We hope that our home will become your home away from home for your special gathering as well.
Memories of our daughter’s Sea Ranch wedding:
Videography: Anna Wu, Kevin Yau, Seaglass Cinema
Editing: Kevin Yau
Photography: Deborah Coleman
Officiant: Rev. Robert Hansen, White Lake Weddings
Cake: Franny’s Cup and Saucer
Flowers: Coastal Posies
DJ: DJ Mike
Reception Decor: Wine Country Party & Rentals
Abalone Shell decor: Family project
Suits: Island Importer
Coordinator: Jeanne O’Reilly, SteppingInn
Suits: Island Importer
Bridal Gowns: David’s Bridal