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Destination Elopement: Why and Where?

California Destination Elopement Photographer

Gone are the days when eloping meant to run away, get married secretly and tell your family and friends only when you’d already tied the knot. Today, couples choosing to elope are happy to share their plan, hire an elopement photographer, a florist and maybe even more!

Today, it’s all about making your elopement wedding a personal experience: there are no rules, no requirement to the number of people (from just the two of you to a very small crowd for an intimate ceremony) and no other limits other than your vision ~ or sometimes your budget!

The Surprising Reason to Opt for an Elopement

A wedding costs an average of $39,000 in California and $30,000 across the US in 2019. On top of that, college students graduated with an average debt of $29,900 based on this study. Should I also add that the average price of a house here in California is $554,886?

All of that to say that numbers DO matter and they feel heavier generation after generation. I’ve heard so many times that couples who choose to elope mostly for budget and save money. Which makes sense!

Yes elopement weddings costs way less money, but it is not always necessarily cheap. I have seen elopements ranging from $2,500 up to more than $15,000 (all aspects included).

The number one reason to elope is actually more surprising than that: millennials value more the experience above material things! You might find that true for yourself – I certainly feel that way for my personal life.

Stress-Free, Personal and Stylish

You want your special day to be a true reflection of your relationship and more than ever, Pinterest’s elopement photography ideas have become ever more popular.

Embracing your true self will define how you will tie the knot. There is no classic wedding day: there is a jaw-dropping location where most guests and vendors are not anymore in the equation for a smoother and stress-free experience.

California Adventure Elopement Photographer & Locations

My elopement packages start at $2,700. You can explore the next steps and a few answers to common questions here if you want to connect with me or book your elopement.

After many years shooting everywhere in California, I’ve also put together a list of my favorite locations for your elopement below. You have more areas to dig in the Bay Area here or in California there. My passport is always ready too, and I am crazy thirsty to discover more states in the US if you plan to do your destination elopement in a different place!


Yosemite National Park

This might be my number one destination for an adventure elopement because it’s totally gorgeous! You can find way more information on my guide here. Epic rock formations, epic forests, epic Yosemite falls and epic points of view literally everywhere you look. Everything you need for an epic adventure wedding or elopement.


Sonoma County and Mendocino County

It’s as beautiful as Big Sur, but with fewer people and true north coast weather. If you love the fog, dramatic coasts and endless Redwood forests this place is for you. Each county is huge but I can help you out by suggesting a few stand out places (and some great places to stay):

Locations


Joshua Tree

This one is so special; between perfect lighting and colors to the uniquely beautiful desert mood. You have locations within the park (check with the park for the fees and process) such as Hidden Valley Picnic Area, Quail Springs Picnic Area, Cap Rock, Live Oak, Split Rock, Rattlesnake Picnic Area.

Outside of the park, check out Sacred Sands, The Ruin, Rimrock Ranch, The Ace Hotel, The Joshua Tree House or even El Rancho!


Big Sur

Figuring out where to go on Highway 1 on the central coast is easy: Big Sur! You’ve got the Pacific Ocean as far as you can see, just waiting for the sun to drop below the horizon is a treat for the eyes and will make your special day even more unforgettable

Locations:

  • Carmel
  • Point Lobos State Park
  • Garrapata State Park
  • Garrapata Beach
  • Rocky Point
  • Bixby Creek Bridge
  • Soberanes Trailhead
  • Pfeiffer Beach
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Accommodations & Food:


San Francisco

San Francisco City Hall is a classic, urban setting for your elopement. It’s a popular and ultra-classy spot for both city dwellers and people looking for a great destination wedding in the bay area. I’ve shot dozens of weddings and elopements here, so definitely take a look at my San Francisco City Hall guide for more ideas and details.