If you are here, you are probably one of the many who have said goodbye to a huge fancy wedding and want to focus on what matters the most, a simple day just for the two of you (or at least just a few people). If you are wondering,” what do I need to elope in California?”, you have come to the perfect spot to grab all those details! Eloping is such a beautiful way to say I do. It truly focuses on what matters and makes the day so much less stressful and full of so much love! As a California wedding photographer I can tell you how wonderful these special intimate days are.
I am here to help with all the details you need on eloping in California! Below you will find some of the most important factors to consider when eloping.
Marriage license: Before you can elope, you will need to make sure you receive a marriage license, this is true for any kind of wedding. You can obtain a marriage license from any county clerk’s office in California. Both of you will need to be present when obtaining your marriage license. You will need to make sure you bring a form of identification and be prepared to pay a fee for this, the fee will vary based on your specific county.
Choosing a location: This is by far the best part of the whole elopement planning process. As a California wedding photographer, I have had the opportunity to capture a ton of intimate days at many beautiful locations. There are so many options in California from beautiful beaches along the coast, amazing jaw dropping courthouses-here is a beautiful wedding I shot in Beverly Hills! There are also such beautiful landmarks like Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe-the list goes on. An amazing spot I always love is Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. Here is a helpful blog I wrote and some images from that beautiful location in SD.
Hiring an officiant: You will need someone there to marry you two! This is probably the most important part since it can’t be done without them there. There are so many different types of officiants you can choose from, here is a really helpful page to help with your search. If you decide to get married at the courthouse, most of the courthouses will already have all of this setup and one less thing for you to worry about. Here is a blog on how to get married at the courthouse, each courthouse is slightly different but I have a ton of these blogs on my website for you to checkout since I am an expert at courthouse weddings. You can also have one of your friends or family members become an officiant if you are wanting to go that route!
Bring a witness: Having a witness is super important, this can be a friend or family member but if you are keeping it super intimate with just the two of you, don’t worry, your photographer can be your witness! I have done this so many times and it’s such an awesome way to make sure you keep your day small and intimate while making sure you have your witness.
Hire a PROFESSIONAL photographer: I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention this hehe. Hiring a professional is KEY! I know there are a ton of couples out there that want to save on costs and hire a friend etc. but I am telling you, you will not regret hiring a professional. There are so many things, even with an elopement, that a professional knows and understands. You will absolutely be happy you did this!
Pro tip for your elopement: I always highly recommend purchasing a bouquet and boutonnière for your special day. In the scheme of things, your costs are low and this adds so much texture, personality and color to your photos. It also gives you something to hold onto and makes photos that much more beautiful. Always opt for real flowers too :).
Eloping is truly such a beautiful way to get married! If you are wondering what do I need to elope in California, I hope this blog helped a bit. If you have any other questions or are interested in chatting about photography for your special day, reach out below! I would love to hear all the details of your elopement plans, they are some of my absolute favorite days to be a part of!