A California elopement

Elope in California

Elope in California amongst the beautiful mountaintops, desert vibes, epic rock formations, world-famous beaches, and enchanting forests and greenery. Or choose to embrace some of the most iconic destinations in the USA. Elopement packages in California have it all! Choose your adventure package and be a part of the classic vibes of the Golden State.

Check out what happens after you book your elopement with us

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Why is California awesome


West Coast, best Coast: Cali's year-round beautiful weather has got you covered.


Beach couple at heart or national park enthusiasts who just goes nuts for pine trees, Cali's got you covered.


The gorgeous 840 miles of coastline is stunning, but did you know it's also the largest wine-growing region in the US?

California Elopement Locations

Places to elope
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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 California elopement!


Wildflower Experience

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Simply Eloped has been seen in

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
Samantha and Eric

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

Nicole and Chris
Nicole and Chris

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

Emily and Michael
Emily and Michael

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

Sara and Joshua
Sara and Joshua

It was a great experience, start to finish.

Brett and Cassie
Brett and Cassie

Thank you for helping me with my most perfect day!

Taylor and Alan
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
Aimee and James

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

Jacob and Rachel
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
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. For example, if you’re getting married in the LA area, be sure to check out LA County’s beach permitting system. 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.

Reading corner

Read the real stories of couples who eloped in California!

Diana + Alex

After the coronavirus cancelled Diana and Alex’s wedding plans, the couple feared that they wouldn’t be able to have the wedding they had always dreamt of. Instead of feeling down, the pair made lemonade out of lemons and decided that, instead of simply honeymooning in the Lake Tahoe area, they’d extend their trip and get married there first! On August 5, 2020, Diana, Alex, and their parents stood atop a mountain at Emerald Bay State Park Lookout as the couple recited their vows, and celebrated by popping bubbly of two kinds (both champagne and real bubbles!) after they were officially pronounced husband and wife. Read all about their love story, and how COVID-19 couldn’t stop them from saying yes to forever!

How did you meet? What was your first impression of one another?

Alex: I met Diana at work. I was her kickboxing instructor and I kept it professional, even though I thought she was attractive. She seemed fun and easygoing when I would talk to her in class and one day, we sat down and talked for an hour before I had to get back to work.

Diana: During the Summer of 2016 I joined a martial arts gym. I went by myself and didn’t know anyone there, so I spent time before and after classes introducing myself to teachers and other students. Alex was there most days that l went, and I found myself gravitating towards him. I really appreciated his calm presence, professionalism on the mat, and silliness off of it.


When did you first fall in love? How did you know?

Alex: Diana and I went through a lot of big events early in our relationship, and those are some of the things that really brought us closer together. We’ve pushed each other to better ourselves and we’ve grown to be a really good team. Though, there was one specific date where she gave me a look. It’s hard to explain, but the eye contact and smile that she gave me has always sat with me. I had never felt such a connection with anyone and I knew she was the one that night.

Diana: Historically speaking, “falling in love” has not yielded lasting outcomes for me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more intentional in my connections and opt to “grow in love” instead. We encountered a few stressful situations as a new couple – the 2016 election, loss of loved ones, international travel, and employment transitions. When we were able to successfully navigate these situations as a team and come out stronger, I knew this could be something great.


How did you propose or accept the proposal?

Alex: I had been planning to propose for a few months at the time. It was Christmas of 2018 and she had given me a book explaining all the reasons she loved me. This is when I knew I had to propose that day. I took her to a reservoir that had a nice view and proposed to her there.

Diana: Alex has a terrible poker face! I knew it was coming because he had asked my parents for their permission the year prior, and I had sent him a few ring suggestions! On Christmas Day, after opening presents, Alex asked if I wanted to go on a hike. In that moment, I knew what was happening. Who in their right mind wants to go on a hike on a cold winter day, especially when we had plans to visit family? I texted a few people that “it’s happening” and did my best to play it cool when he was driving. Once we got to the reservoir we walked to a few different spots, and he eventually took me to a more secluded area in the woods overlooking the waterfall and proposed. Of course I said yes!


What do you love about your partner?

Alex: Diana brings out the best in me and she makes me want to become a better person. She’s a passionate, caring, good person. We complement each other well. I can count on her to be here for me.

Diana: Alex is a team player and is willing to go the extra mile for others. He is thoughtful, courteous, strong and humble. I feel truly seen by him without judgment, and he inspires me to be more carefree and vulnerable with others. He also makes really good coffee.


What is the greatest strength of your relationship?

Alex: I would say it’s our communication. I had never had someone who had challenged me in a way that made me learn to communicate well, and it’s gotten us through a lot … it has helped us grow.

Diana: I believe we have quite a few. As Alex said, we’ve worked (and continue to work) on having really effective communication. Our personalities complement each other well. Most importantly, I feel that we completely accept each other as-is while continuing to support each other becoming the people we want to grow to be.

Why did you decide to elope? 

COVID-19 came around and shut down our first wedding date which was supposed to be in April 2020. We postponed until August and had to cancel again due to health concerns, and we didn’t think we’d be able to have the wedding we wanted with COVID-19. We wanted to still go on our honeymoon in Lake Tahoe/Napa (we deserved a vacation at this point), so we extended our trip and got married at the beginning of it. We were lucky enough to have our parents join us for the first few days. Such a wonderful experience came out of an unprecedented situation.


How did you find Simply Eloped?

I searched the internet for officiants and photographers in the Lake Tahoe area. The idea of them coming as a packaged deal was perfect!


How did you know Simply Eloped was the right fit for you?

After all the planning and then cancelling of our traditional wedding, postponing, and then cancelling again, it was such a relief to work with Simply Eloped. I can honestly say that by the time we had decided to elope, the wedding planning portion of my brain was fried. I knew that this was the right fit for us because we were able to make a few basic decisions like location and photography package, and the rest was all taken care of.


What attracted you to the venue you eloped at? 

We had actually decided on eloping in Lake Tahoe before finding Simply Eloped, and it was such a happy coincidence. I had spent a week by the lake the same summer I had met Alex to celebrate finishing graduate school. Although we are both children of beach people, Alex and I are both very much lake and mountain people. He had never been to California before, and I was so excited to show him the most breathtaking place I have ever been. The Lake Tahoe area really has it all, and is a site to consider any time of the year for both scenery and activities. There’s really no bad choice for a ceremony site in the area, and the Simply Eloped team offered great advice on what each location offered.


What activities did you do before the wedding? How did you prepare? How did you feel leading up to the moments of your elopement? 

Alex: I was able to take it fairly easy. Myself, my dad, and my father-in-law went on a drive to Jakes on the Lake so I could convince the staff to get Diana some fish tacos for dinner – and it worked! When we got back to the house we all had a glass of bourbon and relaxed before getting ready. It was a nice calm day and everyone made it so I didn’t see Diana until our real first look down at Emerald Bay. I couldn’t stop smiling to myself the whole way down.

Diana: Alex and I got to sleep in, which was much appreciated! There was some hustle and bustle, but luckily I was able to spend some nice quiet moments on the back deck of the house in the woods with my tea and thoughts. My mother-in-law helped me with my make-up and she did a fantastic job. The day flew by and before we knew it we were standing together on that rock. It was a very special moment for us, filled with excitement, gratitude, and relief!


Tell us about your experience with Simply Eloped leading up to and on your big day!

They offered guidance on getting our marriage license coming in from out of state, created a day-of timeline, and connected us with vendors that we had complete confidence in. We were lucky enough to work with Blake & Irina in the Tahoe area as our officiant and photographer. They communicated with us leading up to the ceremony, including getting our feedback to personalize the officiant’s speech and locations for the best pictures (ditch the heels for those hikes). Our Simply Eloped team let us know that parking was very limited at our location (100% accurate), so we opted to use a car service. Because Alex sat at the front and I was in the back, and with the help of our Simply Eloped team, we were able to have our “first look” at the ceremony site.


How did you celebrate after?

We went to Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe City and had our wedding dinner with our parents by our side. It was a beautiful sunset dinner right on the water. The next day, we got our marriage certificate and drove to Napa Valley to start our honeymoon.


What words of encouragement do you have for those considering eloping?

For those seeking an intimate experience in a beautiful space, it’s definitely the way to go. There’s less of the “all eyes on me” feeling enabled us to be fully present with each other. Working with Simply Eloped took all of the guesswork out of the process and made it a stress-free event. Ultimately your ceremony is a very personal decision so I would encourage couples to do what they want to do – especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic when it may not be safe to continue a wedding as previously planned.

Planning: Simply Eloped
Officiant: Blake Weyland
Photographer: Irina Alexandrova

Updated: February 15th, 2024

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