Updated: April 15th, 2021

Elope in California

With varied scenery, tons to do, and fair weather all year long, California is definitely a crowd-pleaser. There are more parks in California than any other state in the country and over 840 miles of coastline, making it a prime location for couples eyeing an outdoor elopement on the Best Coast.


California Elopement Locations

Places to elope
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San Diego

If consistently warm weather, mellow waves, and soft white sand beaches are your thing, you’ll absolutely love a San Diego...

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San Francisco

The City by the Bay; Fog City; The Golden City - there are so many names for this robust and...

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Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the nation and arguably one of the most beautiful, making it a...

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Big Sur

Big Sur is a region with limited cell phone reception and connectivity — perfect to get you in-tune with its...

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California Elopement Packages

We will help you lock down the ceremony spot and package that best meets your budget, while helping you produce an unforgettable elopement!

  • Officiation services

    Personalization of vows

  • Enactment of ceremony

    Advice on obtaining wedding license

  • Advice on ceremony locations

  • Everything from the


  • Photography of ceremony

    Brief portrait session after
    (up to one hour of photography)

  • Digital transfer of 75+ edited images

    Delivery of Photos
    (14 days or less after ceremony)

  • Everything from the


  • Nosegay bouquet & boutonniere of your choosing

  • Everything from the


  • 2 Hours Total of Photography

    1 Hour of Videography

  • Long-form video of ceremony & 1-2 Minute Highlight Reel

  • Hair & Makeup for One Person

  • On-Site Helper

It’s No Secret…

Traditional weddings are incredibly expensive and can take years to plan. When couples choose to elope, their ceremonies can be planned quickly at a fraction of the cost. But don’t take our word for it!

My husband and I eloped and it was absolutely phenomenal. The process was made SUPER easy and the photograph process was just as AMAZING. They were the perfect team to be there for our big day. I highly highly recommend Simply Eloped to anyone thinking of eloping. I’d do it again and again and again if it meant I could relive that day with my new husband.

Samantha and Eric

The price was right, the photography looked great, and it included the officiant! Too good to pass up!

Nicole and Chris

Everything was well put together and made simple for my husband and I to really enjoy our day!

Emily and Michael

Appreciated that this service and company was available to us. It made everything a dream.

Sara and Joshua

It was a great experience, start to finish.

Brett and Cassie

Thank you for helping me with my most perfect day!

Taylor and Alan

We’ve been together for 9 years and have always talked about eloping rather than a big wedding. Our families all live in Iowa and with COVID precautions we knew it would be smarter to have the small elopement now. We loved having it just be us and our 15 month old son!

Aimee and James

The process was easy, packages fit well, and the locations were great.

Jacob and Rachel

I am SO happy we used Simply Eloped – thank you for what you do, our day was perfect because of you!

Kelsey and John

How to elope in California

To elope in California, simply bring a driver’s license or passport for both parties wishing to elope to any county clerk office in the state — weekdays only. Note that some counties in California will also require copies of your birth certificates for this process, so check online well before your trip to confirm if this is a requirement for the county you plan to elope in. While you’re on the clerk’s website you may also check to see if you can start the marriage license application online before you travel. This can shorten your eventual visit to the clerk’s office to finalize your application and help to avoid any unforeseen complications that might arise on the week of your elopement when you’re already far from home.

If either party wishing to elope has been divorced within the past six months, you’ll need to present a copy of the divorce decree along with your other required documents. A California marriage license is immediately valid and remains valid for 90 days. It must be used within the state of California. Once your marriage is formalized, don’t forget to return the actual license to the clerk’s office where it was issued. They will provide you with certified copies of your marriage license. If you’re not sticking around the area for long after your elopement, let us know! Your officiant may be able to assist with this bit.

If you’re looking to elope in Lake Tahoe, be sure to double and triple-check the location of your elopement venue to ensure that you are indeed eloping in California and not across the border in Nevada, where you’ll need a marriage license issued by the State of Nevada rather than California.

How much does it cost to elope in California?

There are California elopement options to fit any budget. The Golden State has plenty of possibilities for those looking to splurge a little, but if you and your partner are trying to be budget-conscious, you can certainly keep costs low. Your marriage certificate will cost around $100 and, if you’re eloping outdoors, there may be extra fees associated with any permits required to elope in one of the state’s nine national parks.

Where can I elope in California?

California is a huge state with so many different landscapes that it can be daunting to narrow down the location of your small California wedding. Talk with your partner about the kind of weather, scenery, and activities that bring you the most joy before deciding on your elopement destination, venue, and date. The northern half of the state is more pine trees than palms and it celebrates all four seasons out loud while the southern half of California has more of a tropical, beachy feel overall and fewer national parks. Both areas have plenty of perks, so it’s up to you to figure out what your preferences are before honing in on a location for your intimate California wedding.

What do you need to elope in California?

You’ll need to bring $100, one form of government-issued identification per person, and proof of any prior legal separations to any county clerk’s office in the state. You may also need to bring copies of your birth certificates. This varies by county, so do your research.

Do you need a witness to get married in California?

In the State of California, you are required to have one witness present during the ceremony. Note that there is no age requirement in California for witnesses, but any witnesses you choose will need to be old enough to sign their names on the official marriage license.

How long does it take to get married in California?

In California, there is no blood test or waiting period required, so your visit to the county clerk’s office shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. As soon as you’ve completed the application process, the clerk will give you your license immediately and you are ready to elope. California marriage licenses are only valid for 90 days, so make sure you get your marriage license within the 90 days leading up to your elopement date.

Do you need a permit to get married on the beach in California?

All beaches within the State of California require a permit for wedding ceremonies, no matter how small. These permits typically cost no more than $150, but they won’t limit access to any public areas, so keep in mind that you might not be completely alone when saying your vows.

What is the best month to get married in California?

California’s weather is exceptional. Even with the varied climates of the northern and southern parts of the state, the weather in California is typically sunny and temperate throughout. Keep in mind that the summer months still get hot here, so spring and fall may be better options for heat-sensitive couples. It is also worth noting that the state can experience some clouds in May and June, but these two months are popular with engaged couples who welcome the slightly cooler weather for their outdoor elopements and are happy to avoid the dreaded midday sun that can cause squinted eyes and an unpleasant glare in photographs. Of course, deciding which month will be best for your California elopement also depends on the vibe you’re after. Each season offers something different, especially in northern California.

If you want to keep costs low, May, June, and July should be avoided, as they are the state’s busiest months for tourism, and prices for things like accommodations and transportation are at their highest. For elopers on a budget, your best bet is a November elopement when visitors are more sparse and prices are subsequently lower.

Keely Smith

Article written by

Keely Smith

Keely Smith is a customer experience and elopement specialist for Simply Eloped and has planned small weddings all over the US. In Keely's spare time she enjoys singing and playing piano.

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Updated: April 15th, 2021

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