California Elopement Laws

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably about to get married and deciding whether to elope or you’ve already decided to elope! Elopements are an intimate and intentional wedding experience that focuses on the two of you. If you’re trying to decide if eloping is right for you check out my blog to learn more about it. As an experienced California elopement photographer, I’ll be talking about all the things you need to know if you’re wondering what the California elopement laws are.

california elopement laws

California Elopement Laws Requirements

  • Based on California elopement laws both parties must be at least 18 years or older unless you have parental consent
  • You do not need to be a California resident
  • To obtain your marriage license you both must be physically present and sign for your license. If you or your partner is a member of the military and deployed overseas click here to find out those details. 
  • Marriage license is valid for 90 days after being received
  • There is no waiting period in California
  • A witness over the age of 18 is required to be present during your ceremony

What Do You Need to Elope in California?

  • An application fee for marriage license ranges anywhere from $35-$100 depending on the county
  • A valid photo ID for both you and your partner (drivers license, government ID, passport, green card, etc.)
  • Full legal names, place of birth, the name you’ll take when your marry (if you’re planning on changing it), and your parents’ legal names and their places of birth (state or country)
  • If you’ve been divorced previously you’ll need to know the date of your divorce. If you divorced within the last 90 days, bring a copy of the judgement of divorce. 

Where Can You Elope in California?

An officiant can perform your ceremony anywhere you’d like. However, some locations will require permits like national/state parks. Fees will vary based on the specific location. If you hire an experienced elopement photographer they will be able to help guide you in the permit process with California elopement laws. Here are some of my favorite locations to elope in California:

Yosemite National Park

Eloping in Yosemite is very popular and for good reasons too! This park has so much to offer from gorgeous waterfalls, meadows, and granite cliffs. If you’re having guests, the park is perfect because it has lots of shops, restaurants and lodging. If you’re interested in learning more about how to elope in Yosemite click here to read more. Click here to apply for a permit.

Yosemite National Park Elopement

Joshua Tree National Park  

This is one of my personal favorite places for eloping in southern California! It’s a little over 2 hours away from Los Angeles and has a lot of spots that are easily accessible. Summer months are very hot here and should be avoided if possible. The best seasons to elope here are spring and fall. Read more about how to elope in Joshua Tree National Park here. Click here to apply for a permit.

Joshua Tree elopement

Big Sur

Big Sur is a beautiful coastal destination to elope at! It has a lot to offer from beautiful forests with Redwood trees to breathtaking coastal views. There’s also a ton of lodging options to choose from. Depending on if you elope on public or private land getting a permit will vary. Read more about how to elope in Big Sur here

Big Sur elopement

Redwoods National Park

This park is perfect if you’re looking to have a dreamy forest wedding! Not only do you get the Redwood trees, but also amazing coastal views. You also must obtain a threatened and endangered species addendum before eloping here. Click here to apply for a permit.

Big Bear Lake

If you’re looking to elope in the mountains in southern California this is the perfect location for you! Big Bear has lots of cute shops, restaurants and lodging if you’re looking for things to do in the area. In the winter time this place turns into a gorgeous snowy wonderland. 

Big bear elopement

Mammoth Lakes

If you’re looking for a mountain destination that’s more spread out and less crowded then Mammoth Lakes is for you! On top of having beautiful lakes and mountains there’s also hot springs, waterfalls and a unique salt lake. Fall is one of the best times to elope here with the gorgeous fall colors and less crowds! 

How Much is it to Elope in California?

Eloping in California can cost anywhere from $200-$20,000 for a higher end elopement. When considering budget for an elopement here are some costs to consider hiring: elopement photographer, videographer, hair and makeup artists, florists, officiant, lodging/travel, caterers, cake, musicians, and elopement day activities. You can decide what you want to prioritize for your budget and go from there! 

California Elopement Packages

I offer California elopement packages which range from $2,500 to $6,000 for half day to full day coverage. With my elopement packages I offer location scouting to help you find the perfect elopement location, a 100+ page elopement planning guide, a list of what to bring for your elopement, in depth questionnaire to get to know you better, a Leave No Trace guide, unlimited planning consultations, vendor recommendations, permit assistance, and a personalized location list for your elopement. Contact me to schedule a free consultation call about your dream elopement!

Meet Your California Elopement Photographer

Hi, my name is Tiffany and I’m an adventure elopement photographer! Not only do I help document your elopement, but I also help to craft it. I’m here to help make sure that you have the best experience ever. I help assist in finding the best location for you, handcraft your timeline, give you vendor recommendations/and elopement guide and so much more! 

I’m a huge outdoors lover and adventure seeker which is where my passion for documenting adventurous elopements comes in. I firmly believe that your wedding day deserves to be intentional and focused on you. Elopements absolutely have my heart!

I offer California elopement packages! So if you’re looking for an elopement photographer contact me so we can start planning your dream elopement! 

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