For many years Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo has been my favorite California beach. But recently, Crystal and Homer contacted me to be their wedding photographer at the Point San Luis Lighthouse there. I had never been on the property but immediately said yes because I just love the area so much.
Point San Luis Lighthouse is the only surviving Prairie Victorian model lighthouse that remains in existence on the West Coast of the United States. We are talking about a complex of buildings from the 1880's. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being refurbished by the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, a volunteer group. The group of docents that were working the day of the wedding were great. Everyone of them was friendly, helpful, and proud of the property.
One thing to note is that your guests do not drive directly to the lighthouse. Instead, there is a trolley provided. I wish that I had captured some photos of the long, single lane that must be traveled to get to the lighthouse because it ended up being a fun part of the experience.
The property is somewhat small. What I mean is that any wedding party over 125 people will be hard-pressed to fit. I'm not even sure if they could take a group that size. The Saturday in July that I was there had perfect weather (in the 70-80 degree range) which helped result in some great wedding photos that featured ocean views. Additionally, the docents opened up all the buildings for us so that we could take some wedding shots inside the lighthouse in the old Victorian building and in the small museum like setting. I believe they do that for everyone just so the wedding guests can roam around and enjoy the site, too. The reception dinner was also held in one of the building which supported a view of the ocean from each guests' table. So, my thought is that this is a good venue for a smaller, family-focused wedding.
The couple hired a musician named Justin Martinez. I would highly recommend him if his style and approach appeals to you. His guitar playing provided such a perfect backdrop for this setting. There were no cheesy songs, nor were there any forced attention away from the festivities. Instead, everything just fit and the experience of being in this great setting was enhanced. I'm sure that his skills would work in a number of other local venues, also.