A Sonoma County Elopement at Sea Ranch Lodge
While the glittery celebs are spending millions on their wedding extravaganza, savvy couples are increasingly opting for more intimate, elegant, and budget-friendly “elopements” in California's Wine Country.
With orchestrated packages like those offered at Sonoma Coast’s Sea Ranch Lodge, these new “impromptu” weddings can still be as significant as a traditional affair, but for a much lower price tag.
One of the charms of an elopement is the opportunity for privacy, such as a ceremony held at Sea Ranch’s secluded property on Northern California’s rugged ocean front.
With such a serene setting comes a special expression between the bride and groom, that translates personally to the small number of guests.
The lodge’s new, all-inclusive small wedding package caters to two to 15 people, with the backdrop of Bihler Point, a breathtaking overlook on the bluffs delivering a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.
And everything is included, beginning with a Sea Ranch wedding coordinator to pull all the details together, down to the bouquet and boutonniere. The ceremony is personalized, and hosted by non-denominational officiant, with a photographer to capture the magic.
This is a more elaborate package than many other “elopements,” since a three-course dinner is included, too, held in the upscale Black Point Grill’s private dining room, complete with wine pairings and a sparkling wine toast.
Custom touches include a floral table centerpiece, the wedding cake, and commemorative champagne flutes for the wedding couple.
There’s still more: After the reception, the couple retreats to a luxurious ocean view room, and enjoys a full made-to-order breakfast the following morning.
The cost comes in at an impressively low $2,500 to $5,000, depending on the number of guests attending.
With such a budget friendly gathering, the wedding couple might want to draw out the fun with their friends and family, enjoying many other low- or no-cost activities right at their doorstep.
The coast brims with wonderful adventures, so guests could enjoy a few more days together exploring things like the 40 miles of Sea Ranch trails, featuring eight miles right along the coastal bluff, for exploring wildflowers, marine life and spectacular views.
Guests at Sea Ranch Lodge or in a rented vacation home can use the community's Scottish-style golf course. The Ohlson Recreation Center (37600 Highway 1, The Sea Ranch) is also popular for its large outdoor heated pool, saunas, tennis courts, half-court basketball, and volleyball court.
Picnic and barbecues beckon at “The Hot Spot,” a locals’ secret mini campsite on the Gualala River on the south east end of The Sea Ranch.
Just enjoying the Sea Ranch community is an experience all on its own — the coastal luxury neighborhood is renown for its futuristic home design concepts that at the same time reflect historical simplicity.
For that perfect cap to the wedding theme, a visit the Sea Ranch Chapel is a must, with the graceful, somewhat bizarre building looking like a beautifully plumed bird in flight.
Details: Sea Ranch Lodge, 60 Sea Walk Drive, The Sea Ranch