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How to Elope in California

A helpful guide

Big Sur

Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park.

Full name, address, place of birth, and date of birth for you AND your partner.

Name and birth places for each of your parents, including mother’s maiden name.

Valid, government issued photo ID for both of you. Such as: valid driver’s license, passport, military ID, or state issued ID.

$90-100 cash for the application fee. The exact amount varies by each county.

For those who have been divorced previously, you will also need to know the date of the dissolution. For a divorce finalized less than six months prior, then you will also need a copy of your recent divorce decree.

Huntington Beach

Joshua Tree

joshua tree elopement

Los Angeles

Speaking of officiants!

I AM A LICENSED OFFICIANT IN THE U.S.

San Francisco

Yosemite National Park

Big Sur

Leave no trace!

Plan ahead and prepare

Stay on paths and hard surfaces

The use of undesignated trails can lead to erosion, vegetation damage, unsafe trail conditions, and impacts to local wildlife according to this study.

Areas like meadows, wetlands, and places closed for restoration are especially fragile and easily damaged.

Look up regulations before your visit

Research if a permit is required

Only bring dogs or pets in areas where they’re allowed and always follow leash rules

Know the maximum number of people you can bring with you if you’re eloping

Prepare for extreme weather and emergencies

Leave what you find

Pack it in, pack it out

Simply pack out your garbage. Also know that things like confetti, as well as biodegradable foods and their peels need to be packed out as well.

Look at this graphic to see how long it takes things like food and cigarette to decompose.

The photos are your souvenirs.

Resist the temptations to pick flowers, stack rocks, or carve your name into anything.

Minimize campfire impacts

Be considerate of other visitors

Keep fires small. Use only sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.

Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Don't bring firewood from home, which could introduce new pests and diseases. Buy it from a local source or gather it responsibly where allowed.

The wilderness belongs to everyone. Simply because someone is documenting a special moment there does not mean they have privilege over others.

If you’d like privacy, consider doing your photos at sunrise, sunset, on a weekday, or avoid peak season.

Respect wildlife

Give animals their space, don’t try to feed them, and always control your pets or leave them at home.

Keep in mind that disturbance from humans can indirectly affect animals’ fitness and population dynamics through energy loss and opportunity costs of risk avoidance in wildlife according to the science behind leave no trace principles.

Hello, deer. Sequoia National Park

THIS WAY TO GET IN TOUCH

WHO IS THIS KATE BUNNY ANYWAY?

EVEN MORE INFO, LINKS TO REAL ELOPEMENTS

Comments
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Oh wow, this is everything you need to know! Incredible resOurce for california elopements!

This is such a great guide for elopements! California has so many amazing locations!

This is such a well put together Guide for eloping!!

This is An amazing resourCe for anyone INTERESTED in eloping in CALIFORNIA!

So much great info here–I love that you had a section on LNT!

Great info! Laws vary so much that and this is very helpfull.

Now that is a comprehensive guide to eloping in california, good work kate 🙂

California is an amazing destination for a wedding or elopement! Yosemite is hard to beat but there are so many great options!

As a former Californian; California does indeed have it all! So many wonderful spots to choose from.

This is an amazing resource for couples eloping in California! It’s clear you really know your stuff!

This is a very complete and well structured guide. I think there are tons of valuable information for the couples planning their elopement in california. You are the true expert elopement photographer to guide them through the process

THIS WAS SO INFORMATIVE. WELL DONE. I LEARNED SO MUCH IN THIS GUIDE.

This is such a great resource! California has such great elopement spots so I can see this being super helpful for potential clients. Great work.

I totally agree that California is the perfect place to elope! the state has everything to offer eloping couples!

wow what an all inclusive guide! thank you

I haven’t had any idea that California may be such a great source of elopement spots. So much to select! Great article by the way!

This is such a helpful resource for eloping in California! Perfect for planning and so thorough!!

This is so important because California has sooooo many epic elopement locations that many travel to.

This is such an excellent resource for couples interested in eloping in CALIFORNIA! Dying over the landscape shots of Yosemite!

This is the perfect guide to eloping in California! I can literally smell yosemite from your photos. I love the the spots you recommended for locations too. Those are perfect!