California has always been a place you can count on to see breathtaking landscapes and diverse scenery. It’s home to 9 different national and 270 states parks, the most out of any other state in the United States. Whether you’re envisioning a cliffside ceremony overlooking the Pacific, or a secluded ceremony in a large grove of Redwoods, the Golden State offers a plethora of different options to choose from for your California elopement.

As an elopement photographer based in California, I wanted to put together this comprehensive guide for couples who are interested in eloping in California. Whether you’ve come to see the best places to elope in California, want to know how to apply for a marriage license, or simply want to know the best season to elope in the state, you’ve come to the right place. This is the best California elopement guide out there. Without further adieu, let’s dive in.

How to Elope in California – The Complete Checklist

  1. Choose your California elopement location
  2. Decide what time of year you want to elope
  3. Book your elopement vendors
  4. Book your travel
  5. Get your marriage license
  6. Obtain any necessary permits
  7. Elope!

The 21 Best Places to Elope in California

A bride and groom playing in the water on their elopement day.

Best Places to Elope in Northern California

Burney Falls

Why Elope at Burney Falls?

When I look at lists of all the best places to elope in California, I’m always surprised that Burney Falls never seems to make the list. Burney Falls is located within McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park near Redding, California (my hometown) and was nicknamed “the Eighth Wonder of the World” by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1954. It’s accessible by a 5 minute walk down a paved trail and is ADA accessible. It’s truly one of the most epic places in California you could say your vows at and deserves to be at the top of the best places to elope in California list.

When to Elope at Burney Falls

The best time to elope at Burney Falls is between April and October when the waterfall is at its peak. I recommend avoiding visiting from June to August because the parking lot fills up fast and the base of the falls gets extremely crowded. The falls are open year-round and make for a great elopement location in the winter as well (though be prepared for snow and ice).

What You Should Know

It’s very slick on the rocks near the base, so wear some shoes that have good traction. Second, it’s wet (obviously), so be prepared to get a little damp on your special day. Lastly, it’s loud, so get that voice ready to scream those vows.

Permit Information

A permit is required for your ceremony and costs around $200. To contact the office and receive more information about a special use permit, you can email or call the office here.

Additional Resources

Check out this elopement I shot at Burney Falls in October to get a better idea of what the area looks like.

Mt. Shasta

Why Elope at Mt. Shasta?

Mt. Shasta is another one of those elopement locations that not many people know about but should. It’s located in Northern California near Redding (about two and a half hours north of Sacramento). It’s a huge snow covered volcano that’s bordered by lakes and pine trees. It’s a popular place for skiers and snowboarders in the winter, but in the summer, it’s an incredible place to visit, especially if you’re into cute coffee shops and hiking.

When to Elope at Mt. Shasta

The spring or fall season is the best time to elope in Mt. Shasta (especially if you hope for snow on the mountain, as it melts in the summer). The weather is cool and you’ll avoid the large summer crowds. Mt. Shasta is also accessible during the winter, but it gets a ton of snow. While the summer is a great time to visit, the area gets very hot. It’s not uncommon to see 100+ degree days throughout the summer months.

What You Should Know

Mt. Shasta is classified as a volcano and is potentially active, but there hasn’t been an eruption since 1786. There isn’t a ton to do in the town of Mt. Shasta itself, but an hour south will take you to Redding where you’ll find more activities, lodging, and dining options.

Permit Information

If you have a wedding with over 75 people, you’ll need to obtain a special use permit. If you have less than 75 guests, no permit is required. To get more information about how to obtain a permit (if needed), check out the official site here.

Additional Resources

Check out this hiking elopement I shot in the area in the early summer months.

Redwood National and State Parks

Why Elope at Redwood National and State Parks?

I couldn’t make a list about the best places to elope in California and not include Redwood National and State Parks. The Redwoods are located in Northern California near Trinidad, and undoubtedly one of the coolest places you’ll ever visit. The park is comprised of 4 different parks (5 if you count Humboldt Redwoods State Park, though the park has a different permit system). Within the park you’ll find lush greenery, dozens of hiking trails, thick fog, and the famous redwood trees that can grow up to 350 feet high.

When to Elope at Redwood National and State Parks

The best time to elope in this area is during the late spring or fall to avoid both the rain and crowds. However, if you’re open to the possibility of a little rain, the winter season is one of my all-time favorite times to visit the park. You’ll be amazed at how quiet and peaceful it is. One great thing about the park is that they’re open 24/7, making an elopement anytime during the year possible.

What You Should Know

The Redwood National and State Parks do get quite a bit of rain during the winter and early spring, with an average of 15 days out of the month being rainy. However, the giant trees usually provide great coverage from the rain. The park also has some incredible beaches worth exploring.

The park also has designated ceremony sites, so while you can take pictures practically anywhere in the park, ceremonies are only permitted at specific locations.

Permit Information

For groups under 50, the cost of the permit is $100 and can be obtained by filling out and sending the forms in via email that can found on the park’s website.

Additional Resources

Check out my super in-depth Redwood National Park Elopement Guide.

The Lost Coast

Why Elope at The Lost Coast?

The Lost Coast is located near Eureka, a small town in Northern California, and is truly one of my most favorite places on earth. This place is very remote and not very well known to the public, making it a great spot for an intimate elopement or a romantic getaway.

When to Elope at The Lost Coast

The best time to elope at The Lost Coast temperature wise is year-round. However, if you don’t want to risk the chance of rain, I recommend a summer, fall, or late spring elopement.

What You Should Know

The drive to the coast is very windy and not for those who get carsick easily. There is also little to nothing in the area, so be sure to stock up on gas and food before your trip. Lastly, the beaches in this area tend to be very windy. I recommend bringing a jacket, even during the warm summer months.

Permit Information

The permit costs $105 if you have more than 50 guests. If you have less than 50 guests, no permit is required! Check out everything you need to know about obtaining a permit for your elopement here.

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about The Lost Coast, check out my Northern California Elopement Guide, or this super helpful travel guide.

Big Sur

Why Elope in Big Sur?

Big Sur is definitely another one of those elopement locations that always seems to make the list of best places to elope in California. Big Sur is right on the coast in the middle of California near San Francisco and holds a ton of different state parks such as Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Andrew Molera State Park. It’s known for its turquoise water, dramatic cliff line, and rolling hills.

When to Elope in Big Sur

Big Sur is best to visit between September and October, when the weather is at it’s best. Like most locations in California, this location is very popular in the summer. Because the area doesn’t have a ton of parking lots, many of the cliffside locations are located along the roadside, which can be hard to access when there are multiple other cars there.

What You Should Know

If you decide to have your ceremony or take photos on the beach, be prepared for high tides. The Big Sur area also has a bit of traffic year-round. Lastly, in the summer, there is a marine fog that tends to cover the cliffsides for a few hours. Keep this in mind if you’re hoping to elope in the summer.

Permit Information

Big Sur does has very specific guidelines for obtaining a permit and what qualifies as an elopement. Because Big Sur is made up of a few different state parks, each park has their own permit requirements. The permits in the area usually cost around $300-$400. You can read all about the requirements and learn more about the fees for each park here.

Additional Resources

Get more location ideas and specific information from my Big Sur Elopement Guide.

Klamath National Forest

Why Elope in Klamath National Forest?

Klamath National Forest is an incredible hidden gem in Northern California. The forest is over 1-million acres large and boasts lakes, mountains, rivers, and forests. It’s so large that it even extends into Oregon. This area is primarily known for their long-distance hikes and lakes.

When to Elope in Klamath National Forest

Klamath is best to visit in the summer and fall months. Due to its higher elevation, the forest gets quite a bit of rain and snow which can make driving dangerous. The area isn’t super busy, so a summer elopement won’t draw in too many crowds.

What You Should Know

Klamath National Forest is a very remote area without much cell service. Always be sure to bring extra gas and food, just in case. Many of the roads are also forest service roads, which can be bumpy rides. I usually recommend a 4WD high clearance vehicle depending on how much of the forest you want to explore.

Permit Information

A permit is not required for an elopement with under 75 guests. If you have more than 75 guests, be sure to contact the permit coordinator here to obtain a permit.

Additional Resources

Check out the official forest website to see more images and to get more information about the park.

Lake Tahoe

Why Elope in Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe is everybody’s favorite getaway destination. The area is known for its immense beauty, charming towns, and activities for all ages. A bustling area in the summer turns into a luxurious ski resort in the winter, making this a beautiful place to elope year-round.

When to Elope in Lake Tahoe

The best time to elope in Lake Tahoe is during the spring or fall. I personally recommend staying away from the summer season because this place gets extremely popular (more so than other locations). I’m talking crowded beaches, high priced lodging, and traffic. I would also not encourage a late-winter elopement, as the snow makes the roads dangerous and the plans unpredictable.

What You Should Know

Lake Tahoe gets lots of snow in the winter which can cause the roads the close. There is also a difference between North Tahoe and South Tahoe. North Tahoe is known for its quiet charm and beauty, while South Lake Tahoe is known for its fun nightlife and activities.

Permit Information

Lake Tahoe has various different parks and forests. Most of the permit costs are around $200, and limit the amount of people that can be at your wedding (it’s usually around 25). For more information on how to obtain a permit, specifically for Tahoe’s most popular location, Emerald Bay, contact the park office through their website.

Additional Resources

Check out my comprehensive Lake Tahoe Elopement Guide!

Yosemite National Park

Why Elope in Yosemite?

This one is a given. Look up any list about the best places to elope in California, and Yosemite National Park is sure to be at the top. It has become a very popular area for elopements recently, and it’s no surprise why. With large valleys, dramatic viewpoints, and huge forests, it’s not hard to find that picturesque elopement location within Yosemite.

When to Elope in Yosemite

Yosemite is best to visit between May and September, but keep in mind that tons of tourists flock to this area of California every year. I’m talking 5 million people every year, so if you’re interested in this elopement destination, look into either eloping within the park during late fall or early winter. The winter is limited in terms of what areas of the park you can visit, but some of the park and its valleys are still accessible with a 4WD vehicle. Plus, there are hardly any people!

What You Should Know

If you bring more than 11 people to your elopement, your options for ceremony locations within the park will be a bit limited. However, there are plenty of gorgeous spots within the park to elope at if you do have a larger crowd. It’s also important to know that the park is very crowded no matter what time of day, especially in the summer. You may even have to wait in line to get a picture taken!

Permit Information

The permit costs $150. You can find everything you need to know about how to obtain a permit here.

Additional Resources

Check out my Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide.

Patrick’s Point

Why Elope at Patrick’s Point?

Patrick’s Point is a state park located near Trinidad in Northern California. It’s right along the coast and is surrounded with lush forest. It’s very similar to the Oregon and Washington coast with lots of fog and greenery. There are dozens of hiking trails and sea lions to see. Plus, it’s right down the road from Redwood National Park.

When to Elope at Patrick’s Point

Patrick’s Point isn’t a super well known location, making any time of the year ideal for an intimate ceremony. Because Patrick’s Point is on the coast, the weather is consistently around 55-65 degrees, making it a more chilly location for an elopement.

What You Should Know

Patrick’s Point gets an average of 56 inches of rain a year during the winter months, higher than the US average of 38 inches, so if you’re not wanting any rain during your elopement, consider eloping here during the summer, though be prepared for higher amount of visitors.

Permit Information

A permit to elope at Patrick’s Point costs $250 regardless of guest count and can be obtained by calling the park office. You can find all the contact and pricing information for the park here.

Additional Information

Check out the park’s official site to get more information about the area.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Why Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the lesser known national parks in California, but it definitely shouldn’t be. The park is comparative to Yellowstone National Park, with less people and more forest. It’s definitely one of those places to have to see to believe and for sure belongs on the list of best places to elope in California. It offers incredible views of Lassen Peak and has various volcanos that make for an epic elopement backdrop.

When to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park

The best time to elope in this area is during the late spring or fall. Even in the spring, only a fraction of the park may be open due to snow. It’s fairly inaccessible and dangerous in the winter.

What You Should Know

Lassen gets a ton of snow and shouldn’t be visited in the winter due to the dangerous road conditions. Wildlife sightings are also frequent within the park (mountain lions and bears), so caution should be taken.

Permit Information

The permit cost to elope in the park is $75. You can find all the contact information, rules, and application on the park website.

Additional Information

Check out my Lassen Volcanic National Park Elopement Guide.


Why Elope in Bishop?

Bishop is one of those cities in California that hardly anyone knows about. It’s located right between Yosemite and Death Valley and has a slogan of “small town with a big backyard.” With mountains, lakes, and forests nearby, this is a great place for a super laidback or very adventurous elopement. It belongs on the list of the best places to elope in California simply because of those views!

When to Elope in Bishop

The best time to elope in Bishop is during the spring or fall. However, Bishop is a good place to elope year-round. If you choose to hike, I recommend spring, summer, or fall in order to avoid the snow some of the higher elevations get.

What You Should Know

Bishop is pretty secluded, so don’t expect to have service or many indoor excursions. Most people who come to the area are there for the hikes.

In the winter, the roads can get lots of snow, which can cause road closures and delays.

Permit Information

The closest national forest to Bishop, the Inyo National Forest, which is where a majority of the elopement locations are, does not require a permit if you have less than 75 guests.The permit costs $128 if you have more than 75 guests, and you can read everything you need to know about obtaining that permit here.

Additional Resources

Check out Bishop’s own website to get information on activities, trails, and lodging options.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Why Elope at Pigeon Point Lighthouse?

Pigeon Point Lighthouse is located off the coast of California near San Jose and San Francisco. It’s one of the tallest lighthouses in America and sits right at the edge of a cliff. It’s a remote and beautiful area you have to see to believe.

When to Elope at Pigeon Point Lighthouse

The best time to elope in this area is during the late spring or fall to avoid both the rain and crowds. However, you can really elope here anytime of the year you want. Because the lighthouse is on the coast, the temperature stays practically the same throughout the year.

What You Should Know

There is a rainy season here, and it’s pretty foggy most of the year, but that only adds to the photos. There is limited parking.

Permit Information

There is limited information online of how much the permit costs. Contact the station by email or phone to find out all the information you need. You can find their contact information here.

Additional Resources

Read this helpful article about the lighthouse, where you can learn more about the park, tours, and amenities.

Fort Bragg

Why Elope in Fort Bragg?

Fort Bragg is a smaller town on the coast of California right between Sacramento and Redding, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in California (in my opinion) that deserves to be on this list of the best places to elope in California. It’s surrounded with dramatic cliffs, beautiful beaches, and giant forests. With this area not being as well known as the other coastal town in California, it makes a great place to elope.

When to Elope in Fort Bragg

The weather in Fort Bragg is pretty consistent year-round, but the best time to elope is from spring to fall in order to avoid the rainy season during winter. Summer is also a great time to visit, but it’s not as lush and green.

What You Should Know

Fort Bragg can be very foggy and misty in the mornings, so a sunrise elopement might not be the most ideal if you want the coast in the background of your photos. However, it’s great if you want your images to have the famous Pacific Northwest feel.

Permit Information

I had a difficult time finding permit information. From my research, it looks like you might not need one. However, I recommend getting in contact with the City of Fort Bragg and inquiring about permits for your elopement, just in case.

Additional Information

See Fort Bragg’s official site for more pictures and information about the quaint town.

San Francisco

Why Elope in San Francisco?

San Francisco is my favorite big city in California and definitely deserves to be on the list of the best places to elope in Northern California. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Pier 39, you truly do have endless venues to choose from. Whether you want a city or beach elopement, San Francisco has everything and more you’re looking for.

When to Elope in San Francisco

San Francisco weather is very similar year-round. Although it rains during the winter, it’s still a great time to elope. In fact, the fall and winter months often have warmer and much more pleasant weather than the chilly summer months.

What You Should Know

San Francisco has lots of traffic and lots of fog, so be prepared and plan ahead with a ton of extra time in between things.

Permit Information

This really depends on where you decide to elope. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any exact information until you pick your elopement location, as San Francisco is so large and has multiple different parks and venues.

Additional Resources

Check out my San Francisco Elopement Guide that covers everything from locations to lodging.

Sequoia National Park

Why Elope in Sequoia National Park?

I couldn’t make a list about the best places to elope in California and not include Sequoia National Park. It’s very similar to Redwoods National Park, but also has a Yosemite feel to it. It has various mountains, lookouts, and fields that will make you feel as small as an ant, especially when you stand next to those huge Sequoias.

When to Elope in Sequoia National Park

The best time to elope in this area is during the late spring or fall to avoid both the rain and crowds. It’s often snowy and dangerous to visit in the winter.

What You Should Know

The park does get quite a bit of rain and snow during the winter and early spring. The temperatures during the winter reach around 36 degrees and doesn’t start warming up until around May.

Permit Information

The permit for the park costs $50, and it can be obtained by filling out the application on the park website.

Additional Resources

My Sequoia National Park Elopement Guide has everything you need.

Best Places to Elope in Southern California

Sunset Cliffs

Why Elope at Sunset Cliffs?

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is located in San Diego. It’s a very popular location for surfers, sunset watchers, and yoga enthusiasts. The park is an incredible 68-acres and is one of the best places to elope in Southern California.

When to Elope at Sunset Cliffs

In San Diego, it’s practically sunny year-round. This means that in the off-season of winter, you’ll still be able to have a warm and sunny elopement without the crowds. While this place can be extremely crowded during the summer, and especially during sunset, you’re still bound to find a secluded spot for your elopement. If you really want to beat the crowds, sunrise is great option!

What You Should Know

If you decide to have your ceremony during sunset, be prepared for some heavy traffic and limited parking. I often have to park in a neighborhood and walk down to the cliffs.

Permit Information

There are a few different parks within the Sunset Cliffs area that all take different permits. The cost of the permit is around $187. You can find all the information and forms you’ll need for your elopement by visiting The City of San Diego website.

Additional Resources

Take a look at the elopement featured here or my San Diego Elopement Guide.

Catalina Island

Why Elope at Catalina Island?

Catalina Island is definitely one of the best places to elope in Southern California. The island is an absolutely beautiful area filled with beaches, palm trees, and fun activities to do. It’s right near Long Beach and is a perfect place for a romantic elopement and honeymoon. It’s remote and almost feels like a little slice of Hawaii in California.

When to Elope at Catalina Island

Like almost all other locations, the spring and fall are best times to visit this beautiful island to avoid both the crowds and rainy weather.

What You Should Know

The island does not permit cars, though they do have golf cart rentals and taxis. After it rains, the island can get quite muddy and sticky making driving around in a golf cart difficult sometimes. During the winter, the boat ride to the island can be quite choppy depending on the weather.

In the off-season, many of the restaurants shut down.

Permit Information

Catalina Island may require a permit depending on the location, but fees differ depending on the location, amount of guests, etc. Be sure to check out everything you need to know about obtaining a permit here.

Additional Resources

Check out my Catalina Island Elopement Guide.

Joshua Tree National Park

Why Elope in Joshua Tree?

Joshua Tree National Park is another one of those locations that are expected to be seen on lists all about the best places to elope in California. Joshua Tree is located in Southern California near Palm Springs. It’s famous for its rugged rock formations and named for its twisted and bristled Joshua Trees.

When to Elope in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is the most popular among tourists during the spring and fall. I personally think late November or December are great months to elope in this gorgeous desert. Not only will you avoid the heat, but you’ll avoid a majority of the crowds who tend to visit in September and October.

What You Should Know

Joshua Tree is a beautiful place, but should be avoided during the middle of day in the summer. It’s definitely possible to elope during this time, but it often reaches 100 degrees, and in recent years, this temperature has steadily increased over the years. It also gets super cold at night during the winter, so be prepared for cold temperatures.

Permit Information

The permit costs $120, and you can get it by filling out the application and simply emailing it to the NPS office. Check out everything you need to know about permits within the park here.

Additional Resources

Read all about how to plan an elopement in my Joshua Tree Elopement Guide.

Red Rock Canyon

Why Elope at Red Rock Canyon?

Red Rock Canyon is a state park near Bakersfield and is surprisingly not as well known as the other state parks. It’s another desert area in Southern California that’s filled with dramatic shapes and vivid colors. There are even Joshua Trees here, making it a great alternative to Joshua Tree National Park if you’re wanting something a bit more intimate and unique.

When to Elope at Red Rock Canyon

Just like all deserts, you’ll want to elope here during the spring, fall, or winter when the temperature isn’t as hot. I recommend a winter elopement if you want to beat the minimal crowds that visit here each year.

What You Should Know

It gets super windy in this area of California, so always check the weather before planning an elopement near this spot.

Permit Information

Although I couldn’t find an exact cost of the permit, you are required to have one for your elopement. The permit looks to be around $150. You can find contact information and how to obtain a permit here.

Additional Resources

Check out this useful travel guide!

Glamis Sand Dunes

Why Elope at Glamis Sand Dunes?

The Glamis Sand Dunes, also known as the Imperial Sand Dunes, are located in Southern California near the border of Mexico and are over 40 miles long. The dunes are like a little slice of Morocco in California and make for the prettiest, simple background for any image.

When to Elope at Glamis Sand Dunes

The best time to elope in this area is during the spring, fall, or winter in order to avoid the summer heat. I personally recommend winter, as that’s when it’s the coolest and most enjoyable.

What You Should Know

It gets extremely hot in this are during the summer, I’m talking over 100 degrees hot almost everyday. I don’t recommend eloping here during the summer.

Permit Information

The permit is $100. You can obtain one by filling out the application found on this website.

Additional Resources

Glamis is very much known for their off-roading, which you can explore more of in this guide.

Death Valley National Park

Why Elope in Death Valley National Park?

Once again, I couldn’t make a list about the best places to elope in California and not include Death Valley National Park. I mean, I couldn’t make a list and not include almost every national park in California. Can you blame me?

Death Valley National Park is located right on the border of California and Nevada and is in fact the hottest and driest national park in America. Not only is it one of the most extreme national parks, but it’s also the most unique and has various shapes, colors, and textures throughout the park.

When to Elope in Death Valley National Park

The best time to elope in this area is during the late fall or winter. In the spring and summer, the park reaches over 100 degrees almost every single day and definitely isn’t the safest time to visit. In the fall and winter, you’ll have cooler temperatures and a much more enjoyable time.

What You Should Know

Like I stated before, the park is extremely hot and not safe to hike or visit for a long period of time in the summer. 

The park is very desolate, so prepare for days without cell phone service, and make sure the gas in your car is full and stocked with food and water.

Permit Information

The cost of the permit is $210. You can find more information about the permit and how to obtain one here.

Additional Resources

Learn everything you need to know about Death Valley in my elopement guide.

When Is the Best Time of Year Elope in California?

While California boasts a variety of different temperatures and climates, overall, the best time of year to elope in California is from March-May. This is considered California’s off-season. The summer rush has yet to hit, meaning prices are low, crowds are minimal, and in most locations, the weather is pleasant.

The fall season is another great time to visit and one of my favorite times to photograph, especially up north where you can witness the colors change over the mountains.

If possible, avoid the busy summer months (June-August). Prices are much more expensive, there are crowds everywhere, and the traffic is bad.

Remember that each area of California has different weather. While it may be sunny and warm in Southern California, it could be snowing in the mountains of Northern California. Be sure to do some additional Googling, and always ask your elopement photographer what time is best for your chosen location.

How to Get a California Marriage License

In California, you can apply for a public marriage license or a confidential marriage license.

A confidential license is not public record and can only be obtained by the couple. You must be living together before your wedding if you choose to obtain a confidential license. 99% of couples get a public license.

In California, you do not need to get married in the county you received your license in. For example, if you got your marriage license in Los Angeles County, you can get married in Orange County. There also isn’t a waiting period in California, so you can get married the same day you pick up your marriage license. The marriage license is valid for 90 days.

I will be using LA County for this example to showcase how to obtain a marriage license. The process is very similar for each county in California.

  1. Apply for the marriage license through their online application system.
  2. After completing the application, you may be given the option to book an in-person appointment to pick up your license (they can only be booked three weeks out). If not, write down the confirmation number. You will need this to book your appointment.
  3. Book an in-person appointment to pick up your license on their calendar. Appointments are scheduled up to three weeks in advance.
  4. Bring your photo ID along with $91 to obtain your license.
  5. After the ceremony, your officiant will mail back your license for processing.

Some counties allow the marriage license to be mailed to you if you don’t live in California and are unable to pick up the license before your elopement.

A couple having a sunset elopement at the beach during golden hour, captured by a California elopement photographer.

Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in California?

Yes. In order for your ceremony to be legally binding, you must have an officiant and at least one witness. If you have a confidential license, an officiant must sign the license, but no witnesses are required.

Do I Need a Permit for My California Elopement?

It depends. If you’re eloping in a national or state park, a permit is required. In other locations, you may not need a permit. Once you’ve selected your location, Google or ask your elopement photographer for more information. Your photographer will know where to point you in the right direction.

California Elopement Packages

I’m Brianna, a Northern California based elopement photographer who ho helps couples all around the world plan unforgettable and personalized elopement experiences. Take a peek below to see what’s included in each elopement package, and how I can make your elopement vision become a reality.

California Elopement Package Pricing

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
  • A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • Personalized elopement location recommendations
    • Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
    • Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
    • 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
    • Customized elopement timelines
  • Optional complimentary officiant services
  • Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in California are already included
  • Starting at $6,500

Want more elopement inspiration? Check out this blog post all about the best mountain elopement locations, along with my Mendocino elopement guide, and a California elopement that took place at Sunset Cliffs


How much does it cost to elope in California?

It costs $100 to elope in California. The $100 cost is from the California marriage license.

What do you need to elope in California?

To elope in California, you need a marriage license, which can be obtained through a government-issued photo ID.

Where can I elope in California?

You can elope anywhere in California. The best places to elope in California include Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, and Joshua Tree National Park.

Can you get married the same day in California?

Yes, you can get married the same day you get your marriage license in California. There is no waiting period.

How many witnesses do you need to get married in California?

You need two witnesses to get married in California.

Can I get married anywhere in California?

As long as you have a marriage license, you can get married anywhere in California.

Do you need a blood test to get married in California?

No, you don’t need a blood test to get married in California.

Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!

An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.

A girl holding a camera and smiling.

You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…

That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.

These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.

If the mountains/beaches/redwood forests are calling your name, go ahead…

(I promise you won’t regret it.)

P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.

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