Fret no more. Here are a half-dozen suggestions, from a comfy motel for active families to classic inns to a B&B you can have all to yourselves.
Family type: Young children with beloved mutt
One of the coziest places to stay with younger children — especially those who can't bear to be separated from Muttley for even one night — is the Deer Haven Inn. Located opposite historic Asilomar Conference Center, and close to Pebble Beach's Pacific Grove gate, Deer Haven is an easy stroll to Asilomar State Beach. Paths there suit babies in strollers, while supervised kids can dabble in tidepools. The gazebo in Asilomar, a popular wedding site, is about three-quarters of a mile away.
The Deer Haven's rooms are comfortably furnished without being fussy, so parents can relax. All have a table with chairs for offering snacks before the wedding, and fireplaces to relax beside in the evening. Suites offer kitchenettes with dining areas, a boon to anyone with baby formula to prepare, although the inn offers continental breakfast.
It's possible to hold a family-style reception at the Deer Haven, too: There's a pleasant community room with a full kitchen.
Family type: Active children, one well-behaved beagle
When older kids are bundles of energy, families need accommodations with opportunities for blowing off steam before (and probably after) the wedding. The Monterey Bay Lodge might save the day.
It is located just steps (across busy Del Monte Avenue, so cross with care) from Monterey's "Window on the Bay" park, including the paved recreation trail and soft white sands. Across Camino Aguajito is El Estero Park, complete with ducks to feed, paddleboats in season, and Dennis the Menace Playground. The lodge's own swimming pool is heated year-round and has a fountain.
As for the 43 newly renovated guestrooms, many have two double beds. There are two family suites with one queen bed and twin bunk-beds, as well as three pairs of connecting rooms. (The deluxe king room has a fireplace and spa tub for the bridal couple to retreat to!) Ann Kelly's By-the-Lake restaurant, right next door, offers a full menu at breakfast and lunch daily.
Family type: Two couples, four kids, loves cats
They didn't get along as kids, but now your brother and sister, his kids and her kids, all get along like, well, one big happy family. Suggest they bunk in together at the Carmel Country Inn.
It's located on a quiet, residential stretch of Dolores Street a little outside of Carmel's village center; Ocean Avenue is four blocks away. The setting is countrified: shady trees and flower gardens. Guests are greeted by Tescher, the hotel's tuxedo-clad cat, who kindly tolerates guest pets.
In addition to the over-sized standard rooms, the property has deluxe king suites with sitting rooms, and two-bedroom suites with one and two bathroom options. The ambience is country elegant, with pine fireplace surrounds and generously upholstered sofas and loveseats. And compared to some of its Carmel neighbors, the Carmel Country Inn's rates are reasonable.
An extended continental breakfast — cereals and yogurt, fruit and granola, plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate — is offered in the inn's country kitchen or out on the secluded patio.
Family type: Older child who loves books
What dreamy tween has not read "Anne of Green Gables" and wished she were Anne? Bring a family of bookworms (the boys can pretend they're the Hardy Boys) to Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove.
Known for its tradition of putting an "adoptable" teddy bear in every room, the Green Gables commands sweeping views of Monterey Bay from Ocean Avenue. And it is equidistant from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Berwick Park, a very popular wedding site. Its 11 deliciously distinctive rooms share a common theme of Victorian elegance and antiques, with lots of ruffles and flowers. The Carriage House guest rooms are particularly suited to families. A teenager would delight in the Gable Room, with its ship's ladder right up to a tiny sitting area in the topmost gable of the inn. Parents should note that the inn requests "quiet time" between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., and pets are not accommodated.
Breakfast is a full-on cooked affair that will hold hungry tummies until the wedding reception is well under way.
Family type: Extended, laid-back, adventurous
When the wedding is guaranteed to draw Gran and Gramps, an assortment of grown siblings with kids of all ages, and a couple of college students tethered to their laptops, they need an equally expansive place to stay. The Big Sur River Inn, in the heart of Big Sur, can fill the bill.
For quiet chats, it has rustic chairs scattered across the sunny lawns and into the shallow but pretty Big Sur River. For splashdowns after the wedding, it has a heated pool. For those sneaking in study or business, the entire property has wireless internet access.
There are 20 guest rooms, a pleasing mix of rustic knotty pine and bright quilted bedspreads. The two-room, king-bedded suites have space for a twin or rollaway bed in the sitting room, which in turn has a deck overlooking the river.
With a full-service restaurant as part of the property, meals are never a problem. The full bar means the family can return for a nightcap after the reception without driving further. Or just have the wedding here.
Family type: Grown up, sophisticated
The choices are boundless when the kids are grown-ups themselves, but having a wedding site all to yourselves is something special. The Inn at the Pinnacles, about 40 miles south of Salinas near Soledad, is near-perfection.
Perched in the foothills of the Gabilan Mountains, in the middle of the family's own vineyards and virtually at the western gate of Pinnacles National Monument, the inn's six, individually styled guest rooms have views that stretch for miles. Each features its own private entrance, gas fireplace, wet bar with mini-fridge, and two-person whirlpool tubs (one room has an old-fashioned claw-foot bath). There's a bocce court for light exercise, vineyards to walk through, and wine-tastings in the evening.
Full breakfasts are served every morning in the dining room or on the patio. The patio is itself a beautiful place for a wedding ceremony, and the innkeepers can rustle up caterers to produce a grand spread — using the region's finest wines, of course.
Learn more about the Monterey Bay area at MontereyBayAdventures.com.