Ultimate guide: how to elope in Northern California

You, wearing what your heart tells you to. In a place, where your intuition has brought you. Feeling sunshine on your face, gentle wind hugging your arms. Whether it’s golden hour at sunset or early morning sunrise, it is surely beautiful. You open your eyes, and you see your beloved. Now you know, it is happening. It is even more real than you could have imagined. The two of you, whispering the words of your marriage vow to each other and to the nature. That is how I see your elopement.

Best elopement places in California. Couple elope for an intimate ceremony in Marin Headlands, San Francisco. Bay area elopement ideas and best places to elope.

Why elope in California?

What do you prefer? What do you need? What is your dream? 

Those are the questions you will be answering soon. The idea of elopement is focused on your dreams and that’s why everything is possible.

You wish to say “I do” with an ocean view? There are many Bay Area elopement places that can suit your preferences. Beautiful beaches, magical headlands, high cliffs. I am an elopement photographer available everywhere and ready to follow your dream. Lets elope in California together!

Elopement is easy

Choosing elopement makes the organization of your wedding much easier. It saves you from the pressure of being responsible for a crowd of guests whilst you should be enjoying the present moment. You can focus on yourself, your needs, feelings and your beloved one. And save money! 🙂 What’s more… you are able to keep that special, intimate wedding ceremony only for two of you, as if the world belonged only to you for this one magical moment.

What is more, the idea of organizing an elopement is way more ecological than a traditional wedding with many guests – beside lowering food waste, we also lower the carbon footprint, as all those guests don’t need to travel to meet us at our wedding spot, we don’t use so much electricity and produce so many one-day decorations. If we get married in nature, we leave it in the same condition as we found it first place. As far as you can see, eloping has more advantages than we could think of.

Are you in? Scroll down for my list of best places to elope in Northern California and elopement packages illustrated by beach photos in Marin Headlands near San Francisco.

Where to elope in California?

What about the place you guys met? Does your hometown brings any nostalgic feeling to you? Or maybe you globetrotters would like to escape far away to experience the unknown, go into the wilderness? Yes, lets elope in to the wilde!

Organizing an elopement can be an unique opportunity to live through a new adventure. Pack your bag, take your car, hitchhike, climb, wander, hit the road. Listen to your intuition asking you: what would be the perfect place to elope and commit to your love? 

You can trust me with helping you choose the perfect spot to elope in California as I am experienced elopement photographer or alternatively you can hire a wedding planner that can make the whole process easier, especially that you might have other things on your mind at the moment. Lets organize your perfect elopement together!

Elopement in California – an intimate wedding for free spirits, nature lovers and adventurers

As we all know, the state of California has plenty of advantages to show you why eloping there can be a great idea. This region is so versatile, filled with beautiful parks, deserts, magical bays and hills that are perfect place for an intimate elopement ceremony. The weather in this region is perfect almost all year round for outdoors ceremonies. In Northern California you can experience also foggy, mysterious and cold mornings.

How to organize an elopement in Bay Area

The whole process is really easy here – you don’t need to be a resident of California to get married here. You just need to follow few steps to complete the organization of your elopement. Beside choosing a location (which is the best part of the preparation, right?) you have to find a wedding celebrant, that will be able to make your marriage official according to the law. There is no need to be worried about that, because even your best friend can become one! After paying a fee and completing the certificate, you will be able to validate your marriage with a person that is close to your heart. How cool is that?! You can also just find an officiant online or organize a meeting in the institution. After submitting & getting your marriage license application, it will be valid for 90 days.

Remember, that same sex marriages are allowed in California, but you have to check if the place of your origin will also consider it as valid.

Northern California offers wide spectrum of perfect spots to elopement, especially if you feel extra connected with nature. If you would like to elope in a national park, don’t forget to check if you need a special permit to perform a wedding ceremony there – go and see on nps.gov!

Where can I elope in Northern California? – best places to elope in Northern California, Bay area

Half Moon Bay

This bay, on the south of San Francisco, is a great place to set an elopement ceremony, especially if you love to feel freedom with the ocean’s wind. It is only half an hour of drive from SF and you will not be disappointed for sure. There are many long, sandy beaches and cliffs with beautiful views to discover in this area. Check out this Half Moon Bay engagement I photographed. Idea of Northern California beach elopement wedding sounds perfect!

Point Reyes 

Point Reyes Peninsula offers many wild places to explore, especially if you love to walk and enjoy the nature. Beautiful light and clouds, that may show up from time to time, makes that place look as if it were taken straight from a fairytale. The views remind of some mysterious island, that is not discovered yet. Here is a photoshoot I photographed in Point Reyes.

McWay Falls, Big Sur

It turns out you don’t have to travel to exotic islands in Asia to find dreamy landscape. Beside romantic view on the waterfall, you can find many different paths and trails to take walks, breathe, and feel deeply connected to your lover and the nature. The whole area of Big Sur is a perfect place to hold an elopement surrounded by the gentle sea breeze and forests.

Twin Peaks, San Francisco

This well-known place in San Francisco can offer you the best views during sunrise, when it is completely empty and covered with the light of sun, that has just woken up. Even though it is not situated in the wild, you can easily make an intimate elopement here. At sunset it is very crowded, so there’s a downside to it. Here’s my same sex marriage couple photoshoot from Twin Peaks.

Sequoia National Park

This park is well known, but for sure less crowded than other ones nearby – for example Yosemite or Death Valley. If you are connected to nature and would like to get married surrounded by one of the oldest trees in the world, it will be a perfect spot. What can be more romantic, than whispering your wedding vow to your beloved in a breathtaking landscape, that for sure remembers many beautiful love stories from previous centuries?

Channel Islands National Park

Do you like adventures? If the answer is yes, organizing an elopement in this coastal area can be what you are looking for. You and your soon-to-be husband or wife, going on a boat, feeling the wind on your skin, smiling to the thought, that your destination is a magical, wild island – the best place to have an intimate elopement ceremony. Maybe even during sunset? Or inside a sea cave? Don’t be afraid to dream, because those islands are dreamy for real!


Long beaches, cliffs, the smell of the salty water and being close to the city, that offers great seafood. Monterey can be really good spot for a Bay Area elopement, especially with its Lovers Point Park at sunrise – even the name is accurate. If you and your partner like to celebrate in alternative ways, you can rent a kayak and start your honeymoon while watching the sunset from it, because… why not? Everything is possible. It is your day!
The whole Monterey County has amazing town like Carmel or Marina with a beautiful coastline. Be sure to click on the map and find your own private beach (if only for an hour or so :)).

Castle Rock View Point

If you are not afraid of hights, and you really liked the atmosphere of Monterey, there is a special view point around that can be a perfect spot to elope in California. From there you can see the bay with small rocks scattered on the sea, and of course, the magnificent Brixby Creek Bridge.

Marin Headlands

It is wild, not crowded, there is a beautiful light especially at the sunset. The view of Golden Gate Bridge is one of the must-see things you can when you’re in San Francisco. Marin Headlands will be great spot to elope with your beloved one – it is not too far away from the city, but already intimate and wild at the same time. Check out all the pictures from this beautiful coast below.

Ready to get hitched and elope in Northern California? Check my availability and let’s plan your elopement together 🙂

Elopement packages Northern California, Bay area

As every couple and wedding is unique I decided to offer not just one, but infinite options of elopement packages for adventurers in love. First let’s get the conversation started and tell me everything you dream of, places you have pinned on the map and concepts you may have. With all that I will guide you and support even the craziest ideas. Elopement prices in California start from $4000 with one full day or two shorter wedding photoshoots (e.g. one sunset and one sunrise on the next day). There are even options of multi-day elopement adventures with sightseeing, hiking and other attractions. Sounds exciting? Book me as your adventurous elopement photographer in Northern California. Next question… where shall we meet? 🙂