California elopements with Hanna Walkowaik


Southern California Elopements: Things to Know Before You Elope 

Kenz and Ernie’s Southern California elopement session atop the Santa Monica Mountains is what intimate-wedding dreams are made of. From the genuine smiles to the gentle breeze through their hair and the perfect golden hour sun peeking through the mountains, the pictures documenting their big day are brimming with effortless beauty. Kenz and Ernie exchanged their vows privately but still wanted professional photos to commemorate their day. The pictures authentically capture the love between these two and the easy-going adventurous spirit that they share in a gorgeously editorial way. Somebody put these two on the cover of a magazine! 

When it comes to preparing for your big day, choosing an elopement like these two doesn’t necessarily equate to no planning. There are obvious components to consider, such as location, attire, and photography (hi there!). Still, some details can be easily overlooked, especially for public, beach, or state park elopements. Here are some things for your SoCal elopement to keep in mind.

Best Time of Day for a California Beach Elopements

In my opinion, it just doesn’t get better than that golden hour sunlight. The best time for a beach or mountain elopement is the hour leading up to sunset. However, we would need to meet well in advance for parking, accessing the location, getting situated, etc. Sunset transitions very quickly! Sunrise also provides beautiful light… but I might need some convincing and a cup of coffee to schedule that shoot (kidding!) 

Consider the Tides for Beach Ceremonies

In line with the time of day, paying attention to high and low tides is of utmost importance if you choose a beach location. Some of the most stunning places in Malibu disappear completely at high tide. Once you’ve decided on your spot, we’ll want to ensure that won’t be a problem! (You can usually find tide charts on the beach or park’s website.) We also need to ensure we won’t get stuck—you probably don’t want to wade through waves to get out, which is more common among the smaller beaches with rock features, caves, and sea stacks.

Malibu Elopement Permits

Some people think choosing an elopement means you can waltz in anywhere, any time in your wedding dress and have your ceremony—but that could result in an unforeseen fine added to your budget. Many locations require a permit application before your ceremony, especially with a photographer, guests, vendors, or special circumstances. The permit process and fees vary from place to place, and some are difficult to obtain. (We typically need to apply 30-90 days in advance.) I am always happy to help guide you in your planning process! 

Stay tuned for a Comprehensive Malibu Beach & Park Elopement Guide I’ll publish next month with application links, locations, details, fees, and more!

Best SoCal Elopement Venues & Locations

Need help finding the perfect spot? Luckily, the list of stunning places to plan your elopement around Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains is endless. Here are a few California elopement locations and venues I’m a fan of: 

El Matador Beach
Point Dume State Beach
Leo Carrillo Beach
Malibu Creek State Park
Topanga State Park
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Leo Carrillo State Park
Rocky Oaks Park
Malibu Secret Gardens
The Surfrider Malibu
Adamson House Museum
THE 1909
Cielo Farms
Saddlerock Ranch & Vineyard 
Inn of the Seventh Ray
Duke’s Malibu
-An Airbnb
An overpass on the side of the road (I’m serious—would you believe me if I said that’s where these unbelievable images were taken??)

I featured some of these breathtaking locations on my blog; head over for inspiration for your SoCal engagement, elopement, wedding, and everything in between. Whether you’re ready to start planning your Malibu session or still have a few questions—I’m your girl. Let’s chat

California Elopement Vendors

Retreat // @roamersworkshop
Couple // @kenzrempel @ernierempel
Florals // @wyld_blooms
Dress // @stonebridal
Rentals // @farmandfieldevents





Southern California Elopements: Things to Know Before You Elope 

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