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The Golden State sets the gold standard for wedding venues. With an abundance of stunning natural landscapes, historic destinations, eclectic urban areas and seaside celebration options, California offers more variety, excitement and romance than any other state. For couples seeking city weddings, Los Angeles is a great choice, with glitz and glamour that help define the city of angels. In Northern California, few cities can match San Francisco for architecture, unique character and an all-time favorite wedding backdrop, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. California's wine country is perfect for a change of pace wedding. Actually, there are two famous wine regions in the state - the better-known Napa Valley near San Francisco and the Santa Ynez / Santa Barbara area just north of Los Angeles. Nature enthusiasts will find abundant alternatives away from the beaten path; Lake Tahoe, the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and a hundred other spots throughout the state are worthy of your consideration
California's climate is almost as varied as the state's geographical and demographic makeup. While Southern California locations rarely disappoint in terms of sunny, cloudless skies, points north experience cool autumn and winter weather. San Francisco's famously finicky climate can change in an instant. But for the most part, practically any location in California is accommodating to wedding celebrations. With some advance planning, you'll be able to pick the appropriate dress, based on your wedding day weather. Color choices can be daunting in California, but the state's sun-drenched venues work great with yellow, neutral colors, pink, purple and other traditional tones. Vineyard weddings are the perfect opportunity to go with burgundy, blue or green, to complement the local grape varieties.
The Golden State's meteoric real estate market, high state tax rate (currently at 7.5%) and regulatory-happy government can make a wedding celebration a bit expensive. Likewise, wedding food and décor possibilities can be pricy, but a little research and creativity will help limit overall wedding costs. According to recent research, the Golden State is one of the more expensive states to hold a wedding, at around $275 per guest. For décor, California roses are a popular choice, especially for SoCal venues. Expect to pay around $40-50 per dozen. Outdoor vineyard weddings can help offset décor expense, with the rolling hills, idyllic farmland and natural landscape redefining a "beautiful wedding." California's diverse cuisine scene makes for limitless catering options. In the Sonoma Valley region, catered BBQ from one vendor can run for around $30 per guest. In the LA area, another vendor offers a variety of both local and international-inspired menu choices, ranging from $50-150 per guest.
A California wedding license isn't too difficult to obtain. You'll need a photo ID, an adult witness, and you have to be at least 18 years old. Some counties in California require a birth certificate for that extra layer of ID validation.
For assistance planning your California wedding, don't forget to browse our California wedding venues, with great locations all throughout the Golden State!