Saying ‘I Do’ in the Desert: 8+ Most Scenic Joshua Tree Wedding Locations
Lizzy and Landon planned a super fun and intimate Joshua Tree elopement. It was just the two of them (and me) there to celebrate their love. There’s no greater honor than being trusted to document the intimate memories of such a monumental life event. While they wanted a private and adventurous elopement, they still wanted wedding elegance in their photos. They hired a florist, ordered a custom wedding cake by Baked by Julie, and emphasized all the bespoke details. Alexis the Stylist helped Lizzy get all dolled up in her gown by Hannah Hill Bridal, and Adore Folklore helped with the setup and event rentals. (These SoCal-based vendors are well-versed in Joshua Tree elopements and are reputable resources. I’ll attach the vendor list below.) If you’re looking for the best Joshua Tree wedding locations, I’ve got you covered!
Given the ethereal location, Lizzy and Landon wanted to embrace the editorial feel of Joshua Tree and its unique ambiance. We also incorporated my signature film and flash formats to give their images a nostalgic and cinematic feel.
An elopement doesn’t mean you have to throw out the rest. You can still infuse plenty of wedding magic into your special day. For example, you may envision exchanging vows surrounded by flowers with a little table for champs and cake. Hire the team to make it happen—this is your elopement, so you call the shots.
Your vendors, aesthetic, and details all play a part in your elopement experience, but location is one of the most significant factors. Joshua Tree National Park spans 800,000 acres, and it takes 1 hour to drive from the north entrance to the south, so it’s important to work with your team to select the perfect ceremony spot ahead of time. To get you started, here are my top Joshua Tree wedding locations to consider for your vows:
If you’re unfamiliar with the park, it’s unlike any other. The Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert collide to create an otherworldly terrain where iconic Joshua trees and rock formations beg you to explore. It’s an inspiring place, and it’s no wonder why so many adventurous couples are drawn here to elope.
Note: Ideally, you want to carpool, but I’ll add the parking capacity at each location, too, just in case.
Capacity: 25 people, 8 cars
Hidden Valley Picnic Area
Capacity: 35 people, 8 cars
Indian Cove Amphitheater
Capacity: 100 people, no parking (1 car can shuttle guests if needed).
Live Oak Picnic Area
Capacity: 5 people, 3 cars
Capacity: 12 people, 4 cars
Quail Springs Picnic Area
Capacity: 15 people, 8 cars
Capacity: 15 people, 5 cars
Turkey Flats & Sand Dunes
Capacity: 35 people, 8 cars
Note: this location has no maintained trails, so I recommend hiking boots/shoes for the soft dirt. The landscape is stunning and has very little traffic, but plan carefully. There is no shade or wind protection.
-Marbles (looks more like geometric triangles stacked together)
Joshua Tree welcomes weddings and elopements. Joshua Tree does not require advance reservations to enter the park, but elopements and weddings do require a Special Park Use Permit, regardless of size, for management purposes. The application costs $120, plus your permit fee, which varies on size and location. Since this is not a commercial shoot, this fee and application also cover your wedding photography and videography.
Note: There is a $500 fine for holding a ceremony without a permit.
-Free-standing Arch (can’t attach to rocks, trees, etc.)
-Small table setup
Note: The park does not permit items like rice, balloons, smoke bombs, confetti, dried flowers, etc. Drones are not permitted in the park.
If you plan on having a larger crowd or cocktail reception with friends and family afterward, consider booking a vacation rental near Joshua Tree National Park to keep the fun going. (Alcohol and festivities other than the champagne toast are prohibited.) Don’t forget to let the rental owners know about your plans to avoid unexpected fees.
Joshua Tree Elopement Vendors
Photography | Hanna Walkowaik | @hannawalkowaik
Couple | Lizzy & Lando | @lizzyandlando
Dress | Hannah Hill Bridal | @hannahhillbridal
Hair + Makeup | Alexis the Stylist | @alexisthestylist888
Florals | Simply Bliss Events | @simplyblisseventssd
Workshop | @loversworkshop
Tablescape | @simplyblisseventssd
Chair Rentals | Adore Folklore | @adorefolklore
Cake | @bakedbyjulie_