Frequently Asked Questions
What is Montecito Weddings?
Montecito Weddings has been providing beautiful and affordable wedding packages throughout Southern and Central California since 2007.
We do not hire outside vendors. Our staff consisting of ministers, photographers, videographers, florists, caterers, and other crew are all independent contractors but work regularly with Montecito Weddings as a finely tuned team of professionals. We work in harmony with each other and know what is expected of us every time… providing you with the perfect wedding of your dreams!
How do we reserve our time for our wedding date?
Call or email at your convenience. After a complimentary consultation to determine your needs and how we may best serve you, you may send your deposit via check or Paypal and this will lock in your date and time.
Is email ok to reserve our date?
Absolutely. We understand how challenging wedding planning can be in this busy world… work, family, and life’s demands make email the perfect mode of communication for the busy bride and groom. Please provide us with as many details as possible (preferred date, time, package, estimated guest count, contact info etc.) and we will start the planning process within 24 hours!
How far in advance should we reserve our time?
Montecito Weddings can arrange for your wedding in as little as an hour, however due to pre booked reservations and staffing we recommend starting the process at least 3 months prior to your desired date. Every bridal couple has their own timeline and their own needs. We are here to work with you and simplify the process so that you can enjoy a beautiful and stress free wedding day, from elopements to grand affairs we are by your side all the way.
Is a deposit required to reserve our time?
Yes! We require a 30% deposit to reserve the date and time of your choice. Deposits are NON REFUNDABLE. When you confirm your date and time via email or phone, your date and time will be reserved for 7 days. We accept personal checks, Paypal, money orders, or cashiers checks. We do not accept credit cards at this time, however you may use your credit card through Paypal.
How will we know if our Wedding Time and Packages Have been confirmed?
The Wedding Coordinator will call or email with confirmation.
What if it Rains the Day of Our Wedding and it’s planned for outside?
While Santa Barbara’s temperate climate and year round sunshine is ideal for outdoor wedding ceremonies, we do have the occasional shower… there are alternate locations for your ceremony which you can discuss with your personal Montecito Weddings planner. Oftentimes there are additional fees required for indoor locations which will be added to your package price depending upon location and availability.
How and When do we pay for the services?
Your balance will be due in full on your wedding day in cash only (no personal checks please). All personal Checks must be received 21 days prior to wedding.
How much time are we allowed?
Each package is different, however most packages allow for approximately one hour for ceremony, photos, paperwork, etc. Reception packages are a little different, ranging from 3-5 hours depending upon your particular needs. If you are late or run over your allotted time, you will be responsible for a late fee of $80 per half hour (or every portion thereof) PER crew member.
What if we want more Time or we are Late?
If you are late, you will be responsible for the late fees as described above. Should you wish to have more time added to your package, please discuss this with your personal Montecito Weddings planner to determine the additional amount due (which will depend upon the staff involved, location fees, etc). Nothing is set in stone, we wish to accommodate all of your wishes and needs in order to create the perfect wedding for you!
How many guests can we have?
If you are having more than the allowed number of guests for your chosen package, you may either move up to a larger package OR simply add on to your package at a per person fee. If you purchase a package that only includes 20 guests and 30 show up…you will need to compensate for the additional guests before your license will be filed.
Can others take pictures?
Most certainly! However if you are bringing in your own professional photographer you will need to give us their contact information so that we can include them in the coordination process. Our crew is trained to follow a specific timeline in order to:
a. get you to your reception on time and
b. avoid overtime charges for exceeding the package time allotments.
May we hire outside vendors along with our package?
You may certainly provide your own vendors such as minister, florist, photographer, videographer etc. Please let us know ahead of time so that we may instruct them as to our policies and help them to work in harmony with our crew! In most cases this does not change the package price… please discuss this with your coordinator to determine the specific details and possible substitutions.
What time do we arrive if our wedding is at 2:00pm?
We request that your guests arrive no later than 15-20 minutes prior to your ceremony. The Groom and Groomsmen as well as parents should arrive 30 minutes prior to receive flowers and instructions. The Bride and Bridesmaids should plan on arriving no later than 15 minutes prior.
Please understand that we have a very strict policy regarding late fees. We charge $80 per 1/2 hour (and any portion thereof) PER crew member beginning immediately after designated start time. This is not to punish anyone, but to compensate for the overtime that will need to be paid to all of our staff involved.
Please be clear about this with your bridal party and guests, and allow for traffic delays, parking, and/or last minute details to avoid any unnecessary stress on your wedding day!
Should We have Flowers for our parents?
Traditionally mothers and grandmothers are given corsages and fathers and grandfathers are given boutonnieres. If this is not included in your package you may certainly add it on (see ala carte).
Are Chairs provided?
On many packages, yes. If your package does not allow for chairs you may add them in at an additional fee of $5 per chair. This includes all of the decoration such as tulle and silk flowers. However, city laws require us to file a permit whenever we set up chairs or an arch, so please keep in mind that the permit fees will also be added to your package. Your coordinator will go over all of this with you…
Can we include our children into the ceremony somehow?
Most certainly! In many cases a marriage is not just the bringing together of two people but the blending of families. Discuss your ideas with Reverend Sarah and she will recommend various ways to include your children into the wedding ceremony through personalized family vows, symbolism, or ceremonies specific to the little (or not so little) ones.
Is a Tip necessary?
While a gratuity is always greatly appreciated it is not a requirement. It is entirely up to you and a great way to show your appreciation to individual staff members who went above and beyond their duties. However, please keep in mind when budgeting your event: when you book a wedding and reception package with us, or if you have a ceremony package that includes beverage service and/or petite treats, a gratuity of 18% is automatically added. This should be clearly outlined on your package description.
Do you provide dressing areas for the bridal party?
Many locations are public locations such as the beach, park, etc, and there are no dressing rooms other than public restroom facilities (which I would not recommend for changing into your beautiful gown!). We recommend booking a room for the day that is within close proximity to your location specifically for this purpose.
What do we need?
All we ask of you is that you show up! Well, there is a little more to it than that but basically everything has been taken care of for you by Montecito Weddings, leaving you little to worry or think about on the day of. Please come on time, and please have your marriage license in hand at the time (not at the hotel or in the car). If we are providing notary services for you (meaning the license), our notary will either meet you ahead of time or on site and will have all applicable paperwork ready for you at the designated time and place.
When do we purchase our marriage license?
You may purchase a marriage license at any county clerks office in the state of California. The license is good for 90 days. If we issue the license, please make sure that you have spoken with our notary at least three days prior to your wedding. Click Here for CA Marriage License and Santa Barbara County
Your license will be filed in the county of issuance within 3 days of your wedding. As the state will not automatically send you any confirmation of receipt, we recommend that you fill out the paperwork given to you by the state for a certified copy of your license. It generally takes about 14 days for the paperwork to be entered into the system by the state, so please wait about two weeks before sending in your request for the certified copy. Every county is different, but generally the fee is $13 per copy.
Please note: As per the new law that went into effect on January 1st 2010, you must have your certified copy request form notarized. Please click here if you wish to contact our notary directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
How long does it take for the photo cd to be sent to us?
Most times our photographer will have your photos edited and ready to send out within three weeks of your wedding. However if your wedding package includes a reception or a photo book, the time increases to 8-10 weeks. Please provide our photographer with your mailing address at the ceremony, and he or she will send your cd directly to you.
Can we just show up and get married without a reservation?
No! This is not Las Vegas… we do not have a drive thru chapel or Elvis on staff :). We are by appointment only. However quite often we can pull a wedding together for you in less than an hour! Just call and lets see what we can do for you.
Do we have to reserve beach, park, or courthouse locations?
Yes, and Montecito Weddings will handle everything for you. City requirements dictate that in order to use a public site for business use we must file a permit. The fees for this range from $300 to $650 depending upon specific location and guest count.
Are there any hidden or extra Charges?
No hidden fees! But please keep in mind that a tax of 8.75% is added to all packages, and for packages with chairs we have a set up fee of $1 per chair for all chair rentals on sand or grass. As mentioned prior no gratuity is required but is greatly appreciated by our staff (especially the college students and single parents)