Descanso translates to “take a break, relax, or rest” which is the perfect description for this beautiful destination beach wedding venue. The Descanso Beach Club is located in Avalon, Santa Catalina Island, off the shore of Long Beach, California (Los Angeles area).
If you’re looking for white sandy shores and a cozy little Italian town feel, Catalina Island is a beautiful place for your beach wedding! This “island of romance” is a break from the hustle and bustle on the mainland. All the locals know each other and smile as you walk by. Everything you need is within walking distance. Very few people own cars or trucks, most travel around on golf carts. The epitome of an easy-going, laid-back, and stress-free little island.
This Descanso Beach Club Wedding Guide will provide all the info you need for planning a beautiful destination wedding there including how to get there, the best time to get married there, the Descanso Beach Club Amenities, marriage license, where to stay, and more.
“A short stroll along the waterfront past Catalina Casino, Descanso Beach Club features one of
southern California’s last private beaches to offer public access. Amenities such as private cabanas,
chaise lounges, huge bar and 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor restaurant and meeting space
make this beachside venue a popular choice for destination weddings. When reserved in its entirety,
Descanso Beach Club can accommodate up to 3,000 guests, including a private outdoor lawn with
room to seat 300.” https://visitcatalinaisland.com
The island is off the coast of California, there are a few ways to get there. The most common is by boat ferry – The Catalina Island Express ferry. The ferry has three ports – Long Beach (most popular, with the most departures available), San Pedro, and Dana Point. The Descanso Beach Club is near the Avalon port on Santa Catalina Island so that will be your arrival destination. Ferry rides are about an hour on a large boat with indoor and outdoor seating. Pro tip: I’ve found the ride to be smoothest in the morning, but this is completely dependent on the weather. There is another ferry, Catalina Flyer Ferry, that departs from Newport.
Fun wedding idea: You can rent a private deck for your wedding party on the ferry to celebrate as you all ride to the island together! There used to be a bar, food, and drinks available onboard but things have changed with Covid. Check the most current updates.
You can also travel to Catalina Island by plane, helicopter, or private boat. By plane, you will be able to land at Catalina’s famous airport in the sky! Their airport is on top of a mountain.
If you are traveling from out of state, or even Northern California, your best bet is to fly into LAX, Los Angeles, California International Airport. From there it is only about 30 minutes (more with traffic) to San Pedro or Long Beach Port.
You can also fly into San Diego and depart from the Dana Point port or drive to long beach, about an hour and a half commute. Some flights can land in Long Beach.
Avalon is a cozy little town, the capital of Santa Catalina Island! Once you arrive at the harbor you could walk to the Descanso beach club within 45 minutes. Or you can take a taxi or rent a golf cart to get there in less than 10 minutes. The ferry lets you off on the southwest of the island and the beach club is just on the other end of Avalon.
The Descanso Beach Club Address: 1 St Catherine Way, Avalon, CA 90704
The best time to say your vows at the Descanso Beach club would be in the Spring or Fall. Winter can be chilly and the water is choppy for your ferry ride. Summer is nice and warm, but definitely the busiest tourist season. The island averages the 70s-80s in the warm season and 50-60s in cold seasons.
Whatever size wedding you are dreaming up, the Descanso Beach Club can accommodate your event. There are several sites for your ceremony and reception that each have their own charm! They have amazing in-house catering, tables, linens, decor, and a list of recommended vendors for your perfect day.
Catherine’s Terrace: is a beautiful indoor space with a view of the harbor. You won’t have to worry about inclement weather. The terrace can fit up to 200 guests.
Descanso Beach Club Lawn: The most popular spot to get married with plenty of space for your guests, arbor, and gorgeous view of the harbor just 50 feet away.
Descanso Beach Club Beach Cabanas: Get married right on the beach! Perfect for elopements or intimate ceremonies. The famous Casino serves as a beautiful backdrop. An amazing California beach wedding venue!
You can check out their virtual tours here.
Most everything is within walking distance if you stay in Avalon! Here are some links to find a great place to stay by the Descanso Beach Club.
Some of the nearby, longstanding hotels are Pavilion Hotel, Atwater Hotel, Mt Ada, Banning House Lodge
Catalina Island Vacation Rentals: Catalina Island Vacation Rentals or AirBNB
Avalon falls under Los Angeles County, California. Any California marriage license would do. Here is the link to apply for a marriage license: https://marriage.lavote.net/MLS/ The fees are about $175 as of 2022. The county license in Avalon is at:
Avalon: Catalina Branch Court
215 Sumner Avenue
Avalon, CA 90704
(By Appointment Only)
Another option is to get married at your local justice before traveling to Catalina Island!
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I’m familiar with the island and love the Descanso Beach club! It is such a beautiful beach wedding venue! I’d be happy to help you plan the best day ever and capture photos to remember it all with. You can contact me here https://kacilou.com/contact
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