West Coast Elopement Ideas (My Top 3 Choices for 2023)

June 10, 2022

Elopement, Intimate Weddings, Resources

The west coast is the best coast for brainstorming elopement ideas and inspiration. The wide variety of landscape options are unique to the rest of the country. On the west coast you have world renowned mountains, beaches, forests, and more! Because eloping is all about creating a custom-to-you experience with basically no limits, it can feel overwhelming when you start to plan. Deciding on the landscape you want is a great place to start. Read on for my top three west coast elopement locations and info on:

  • Elopement Permits
  • Best Season to Elope
  • Items to Bring
  • What to do for fun while you’re there!

#1 Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of my all-time favorite elopement locations. The variety in the landscape means an infinite amount of elopement ideas. Yosemite is known for the larger-than-life sequoias, impressive rock formations, and having the tallest waterfall in the world! This waterfall is 2,425 feet tall and is technically made up of three smaller waterfalls – either way, it’s a must-see. 

(I love it so much I wrote an entire guide on how to elope in Yosemite. You can find it here!)

When should I elope at Yosemite?

November through April

Did you know that Yosemite is over 125 years old? While it was not the first National Park, it was the inspiration to begin founding National Parks thanks to its breathtaking views and terrain. Its a pretty important place! This park’s popularity is amongst the most visited places in the United States with over 75% of its guests visiting from May to October. SO that is why I recommend planning your Yosemite elopement ideas and inspo outside of those months. Less people at the park allows us more space to play!

Pro Tips | What to bring

  • Sturdy hiking boots…the ones with ankle support!
  • Water shoes for moody river shots + potentially muddy dresses 😉
  • Binoculars: there are 400 different species to witness here!
  • Water + dry snacks 

Fun things to do:

  • Do you enjoy a bit of adrenaline when playing outside? Check out this awesome guided waterfall hiking excursion!
  • Hike the Half Dome!… if you’re down for a 12-hour hike lol! There are so many hikes in Yosemite, enjoy a list of my favorites here.
  • Rent bikes to witness the incredible views throughout the park here.

Yosemite Elopement Permits: 

  • Information on the park here
  • Find your permit application here

#2 Moab, Utah


Does “desert playground” sound like your ideal elopement inspiration? Moab is a stunning desert elopement location. I love the drama of a desert landscape. While the flora/ greenery is scarce, the wide open skies and bright red rocks provide the perfect backdrop. The history is rich in this area as well. Paleo-indians inhabited this land 10,000 A.D. Today, there are over 3 million visitors a year! While this is one of my favorite spots, I highly recommend being strategic about WHEN to elope in Moab.

When should I elope in Moab?

September through March

Summer is the busiest time of year! I highly recommend creating elopement ideas + inspo for the fall and spring months. No matter what season you choose, I recommend early morning shoots with soft light and the blazing sunsets for golden hour. Two mini shoots are worth waiting for that optimal lighting!  

Pro Tips | What to Bring 

  • Bring layers, this is definitely the stereotypical hot during the day and freezing at night
  • Bring sturdy hiking boots to get to the location
  • Expect to get dusty from the red rock – like everything!! 
  • Sunscreen, hat, and a water bottle

Fun things to do:

This is a super outdoorsy area with a ton of options for your visit! 

Moab Elopement Permits

You can find more information here! These rules are regularly updated and may have small changes. When you work with me, you will my guidance and expertise every step of the way. If you’re more of a DIY type of couple, download my elopement checklist here!

#3 Sunset Cliffs in San Diego 


The Sunset Cliffs in San Diego define romance. This beachside landscape features crashing waves against dramatic 400ft sea cliffs. View the entire gallery for this stunning Sunset Cliffs Elopement in San Diego here!

When should I elope at Sunset Cliffs?


Due to the excellent weather, San Diego is an ideal elopement location all year long. Expect 70-degree days with unforgettable sunsets during the winter and summer. Golden hour here is my favorite against the cliffs. There are creative opportunities for playing with shadows and perspective.

Pro Tips | What to Bring?

  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • And anything extra you need can probably be left in your car. The Sunset Cliffs are conveniently located near amenities if needed!

Fun things to do:

Sunset Cliffs Permit

You can find information on the permits required for eloping to Sunset Cliffs here.

If you are inspired by these epic elopement locations and want an expert to enthusiastically guide you, let’s connect! I love elopements because they are never the same. I encourage my clients to create an adventure that they will never forget. A ceremony that feels authentic to who they are. If this sounds like you, we might just be the perfect match!

Let’s find out! You can contact me here.

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