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Weddings at the Wedding Bowl

La Jolla’s Wedding Bowl in Scripps Park is one of The Jewel’s most sought-after spots for weddings.
La Jolla’s Wedding Bowl in Scripps Park is one of The Jewel’s most sought-after spots for weddings.
Light File

Looking at your ‘I Do’ at La Jolla’s most sought-after park for weddings

The Wedding Bowl — credited as La Jolla’s most sought-after park for weddings — is getting some much-needed attention at the hands of the Whale View Point Enhancement Project. Already a popular venue for saying “I Do,” the Wedding Bowl improvements are intended to make the area that much more desirable. La Jolla Light looked into some of the steps involved in celebrating one’s special day there.

The Whale View Point project is run under the auspices of La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group, which assumed management of the Whale View Enhancement Project in April 2014 from the La Jolla Conservancy.

The project features many tasks for improving the coastal area along the 300-500 blocks of Coast Boulevard, on one of which sits the Wedding Bowl. Partnering with Boy Scout Troop 506 and sister club Venture Crew 506, Whale View Point organizers recently cleaned out the dead overgrown vegetation to reveal the cobblestone wall. The palms trees at the Wedding Bowl also were trimmed recently. Going forward, the area will be re-vegetated with new drought-resistant plants.

Also referred to as Cuvier Park, the ocean-facing plot across from the Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla location, the Wedding Bowl fits 40 people for ceremonies. Receptions are not allowed at the site.

Rev. Christopher Tuttle — who owns the domain for theweddingbowl.com — said he created the site as a step-by-step guide to having a ceremony at the panoramic landmark, and began officiating weddings there in the 1990s. To date, Tuttle’s ministry has performed more than 1,500 weddings at the Wedding Bowl.

“It’s one of the most beautiful locations in the world,” he said. “You have the Pacific Ocean right there and the crashing waves can’t be beat.” The only downsides, he said, are that there are no restroom facilities on site, glass containers are prohibited, there can be no amplified music and no electricity.

Tuttle does not profit from anyone using the site, but he does recommend his ministry Vows from the Heart to officiate. Using Vows from the Heart is not required for having a ceremony there. “Establishing the site was my way of answering questions for couples without selling anything,” he said. “As soon as you say the word ‘wedding’ costs start to go up, and as soon as you get a wedding planner, costs go up, so this is a guide for brides who want to plan the event themselves.”

He noted the very first thing that needs to be done for a wedding at the Wedding Bowl is for a city permit to be obtained for lawful gathering on public land. “When you send us an e-mail, the very first question is ‘Do you have a permit?’ and if the answer is ‘No,’ we can’t do anything,” Tuttle said.

San Diego Park & Recreation district manager Dan Daneri reported permits issued are limited to one per day, per area, for a maximum of four hours. In 2014, 197 permits were issued for weddings at the Wedding Bowl site. Thus far into 2015, only 94 have been issued.

The city issues permits for weddings in city parks one year in advance. Or, for those hoping for a quick ceremony, permits are available the first working Monday for any available dates that month. The San Diego Permit Center can be reached at (619) 235-1169, for fee information. Daneri said all City of San Diego park-use permit fees, including wedding permits, are deposited into the General Fund.

Should more than one party request to have its wedding at the Wedding Bowl on the same date, the names go into a lottery, facilitated through the Balboa Park Administration Building, 2125 Park Blvd.

For information about weddings there, visit sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation

Editor’s Note: One thing that’s stumped La Jolla Light, and those involved in this story (including Whale View Point Enhancement Project organizers and the La Jolla Historical Society), is the history of the Wedding Bowl, including when it was established, by whom, and for what purpose. If anyone has a documented history of the site, please e-mail reporter Ashley Mackin at ashleym@lajollalight.com