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Best Places to Elope in California

It could feel daunting to choose an elopement spot with so many dope locations throughout California’s diverse geography and epic architectural backdrops. Here are some guiding points that might help you choose a spot and my best California elopement locations!

Consider the Seasons + Climate

While California is known for being sunny year-round, we still have diverse weather and climates depending on season and location! For example, Yosemite in the winter, full of snow, is going to feel and look different than Yosemite in the fall, full of colorful leaves, or Yosemite in the Spring, full of blooms and a slight chill. The season will not only help determine what you wear, it’ll inform the vibe of your elopement and sometimes inhibit you from reaching certain spots. Many of Yosemite’s trails, for example, are closed down in the winter. Double checking these tiny details will make a big difference when you plan your elopement!

Consider your Connection to a Location

While you may not live in California, if you have a connection to a specific location, celebrating there feels like a no-brainer! My past couples have shared that they chose Palm Springs because their family used to vacation there every winter, or their first trip together was to San Francisco, or they’re really into kayaking/snowboarding so Lake Tahoe is THE spot they want to be at. The nostalgia from already having a connection will forever make your elopement that much more special.

Consider the Backdrops

California is one of those states that has every type of landscape. Further north, you’ll find Redwoods, thicker, greener mountain-sides and rugged terrain along the beach. SoCal is more known for long strips of beach and epic desert landscapes. Both offer incredible beauty, but offer a different vibe. Which also leads us to thinking about…

Consider your Pre + Post Wedding Day Plans

You’re more than likely going to hang out before and after your elopement! Your surroundings not only influence the backdrop, vibe and connection day of, it’ll influence what you guys get to do to celebrate after. I encourage you to google “top 10 things to do in X city” before settling on a location.

Check out Clara and Cortland’s Joshua Tree Elopement Before His Deployment

Are you eloping in California? Here are 14 beautiful, iconic places to exchange your vows, and a few things to consider before choosing a location!



San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall Elopement
Photo of Me and Jaime at our Engagement Session – By Sarah Liz Photo

Big Sur

Big Sur Elopement


Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Elopement
Christy and Patrick instantly felt like family. You can check out all the rad Lake Tahoe Elopement locations we hit up, on the blog!


Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Elopement
See more of Adeyling and Martin’s super heartfelt Joshua Tree Elopement on the blog here.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs Elopement
Behind the Visitors Center in Palm Springs is an ethereal sprawl of desert with a mountain backdrop. Gorgeous both at sunrise or sunset. You can see more here.

Glamis Sand Dunes

Glamis Sand Dunes Elopement
See more photos from this Glamis Sand Dunes Photo Shoot

Anza Borrego State Park

Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Sunset Cliffs Elopement

Balboa Park in San Diego

Balboa Park Elopement

San Diego City Hall

Point Dume in Malibu

Point Dume Malibu Elopement
Point Dume (and even the Greystone Mansion) are both different and uniquely beautiful spots to say your vows.

Pasadena City Hall

Santa Barbara Courthouse

Santa Barbara Courthouse Elopement
The iconic Santa Barbara Courthouse is a GORGEOUS architectural structure for an intimate elopement. With so many yummy spots nearby for food and drinks, it’s the perfect spot to elope and then make a whole day out of celebrating.
***Please remember to check on individual permit requirements per county or national park, and adhere to the “no trace left behind” policies if you’re adventuring about somewhere for your elopement! ALL LOCATION PERMITS ARE LINKED***

Elopement, Wedding Tips

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