Best Malibu Beaches for an Elopement // El Matador Beach Wedding

From a Halloween proposal with a surprise Chicago blizzard to a sunny Malibu elopement, Angenica and Danny’s love story is one for the books. (You can check out that wildly romantic blizzard proposal at Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk here.) I’ve had a blast documenting every piece of it and all the exciting travels that have come along with it. I couldn’t wait to share it with you and highlight some of the best Malibu beaches while I’m at it.

best malibu beaches; el matador beach elopement by Hanna Walkowaik

These high school sweethearts have had countless adventures together, but their sunset elopement might be the best one yet! Malibu beaches can get a bit crowded at times, so we trekked over to El Matador on a Sunday evening. We couldn’t have timed it any better! The fact that it was December helped a bit too. There were a few beach goers here and there, but for the most part people were happy to give us space for their intimate elopement.

best malibu beaches; el matador beach elopement by Hanna Walkowaik

Angenica and Danny kept their ceremony fairly short and sweet, leaving plenty of time for beach combing, sunset gazing, and yep, trashing the dress! After their handwritten vow exchange, they ran around the beach, dipped their toes in the water, and explored some of the sea stacks and rock formations. Once the sun sank too low for photos, we all went for Thai at a hidden gem of a restaurant that’s become one of their favorites!

best malibu beaches; el matador beach elopement by Hanna Walkowaik

I truly enjoy building relationships with all of my couples. Not only is it more fun that way, but it helps me capture the true ‘you’ during your session or wedding. I have my signature photography style, but I also cater it around your authentic personality so that your photos really feel like you—a perfect reflection of the occasion and all the emotions of the day.

If you’re considering a Malibu elopement, here are a few things to keep in mind while planning:

best malibu beaches; el matador beach elopement by Hanna Walkowaik

Do I need a permit for a Malibu beach elopement?

You do not need an event or photography permit for most public beaches in Malibu. As long as you have fewer than 25 people in attendance and we aren’t shooting commercial film or photography, we’re good to go!

You will need your marriage license and an officiant though. I am happy to serve as your witness! Another option is to do a civil ceremony first, then do a private elopement ceremony at the beach, sans officiant if you prefer.

When is the best time for a Malibu beach elopement?

Like Angenica and Danny’s elopement, you’ll probably have good luck in the off season, such as the winter months. I would steer clear of holidays, school breaks, and peak summer months. Weekdays are a solid option as well since the beaches are more crowded on weekends.

The great thing about Malibu is that the weather is nice all year long. It does get a bit chilly by the water in winter and spring, so bring something to wrap up in.

Mid-morning and early-evening elopements are best for photos. You get those lovely shades of color without the harsh overhead sun casting shadows.

What are the best beaches for a Malibu elopement?

Some of the best Malibu beaches for elopements include:

El Matador Beach

This beach is known for its stone arches, formations, and grassy hillside.

*You will probably get wet at this location, especially if the tide rises. It also has a very small parking lot or street parking available.

Lechuza Beach

This small enclosed beach area features rock structures, cliffs, greenery, and a few trees.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach

Malibu Creek pours into the Pacific Ocean at this iconic surfing location. This is where surf culture started in California, and you can find a few other historical gems here as well. Check out the Malibu Pier, Adamson House, and Malibu Lagoon Museum. The palm-lined lagoon features shallow tidepools, seagrass, and natural beauty.

Pirate’s Cove Beach

On the west side of Point Dume, you’ll find this hidden cove used in the original Planet of the Apes film. It’s small but beautiful. The towering bluff can make it challenging to access at high tide, but the boulders and unique terrain provide a gorgeous backdrop for elopements.

Topanga Beach

Nice and beachy – that’s how I would describe this one. It has lots of space, parking, and sand. But even better, it also connects to beautiful Topanga State Park with winding hiking trails and views over Topanga Canyon if you want some variety.

Have your own gem to add to the list of best Malibu beaches?

I’m all ears and down to be part of your grand adventure. From couple’s adventure sessions to surprise proposals and beach elopements, my passion is photographing your best moments in action! Connect with me here to start planning.





Best Malibu Beaches for an Elopement // El Matador Beach Wedding

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