Orange County + Laguna Beach Elopement Guide

Orange County + Laguna Beach Elopement Guide


Orange County is a region in Southern California, known for its incredible beaches, gorgeous mountains, and Disneyland! Laguna Beach is a small coastal city, and one of the best places to elope in Orange County, with some of the most stunning coves and beaches. Tying the knot in Orange County is perfect for couples who want a wedding day that’s unique and spontaneous, and if you’re planning a Laguna Beach elopement, this guide will tell you everything you need to know!

What you’ll find in this Laguna Beach Elopement Guide: 

  • Why you should elope in Laguna Beach
  • Best Places to Elope in Orange County & Laguna Beach
  • Best Time to Elope in Laguna Beach
  • The Legal Stuff: Permits, Officiants, and Marriage Licenses 
  • What to Do
  • Where to Stay 
  • Example Timelines  
  • Alternatives to Laguna Beach
  • The Cost of Eloping in Laguna Beach
  • Elopement Packages in Laguna Beach – Are you ready to elope Wild & Free? 

Why You Should Elope in Laguna Beach

Before we tell you all about planning your Laguna Beach elopement, here are some reasons to tie the knot here!

The Beaches

One of the most popular attractions in Laguna Beach, and all of Orange County, is the stunning beaches. They’re perfect for relaxing on the shore, hopping in to surf, exploring the coves and tide pools, and more!

The Mountains

Though the beaches may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Orange County, there are also some incredible mountain views! The area is bordered by the Santa Ana Mountains, where you’ll find plenty of hikes and stunning overlooks.

The Weather

When it comes to weather, you can’t get much better than Laguna Beach’s year round sunshine and warmth. It’s a huge reason why couples choose to elope here, and it can be a great winter escape if you live in colder parts of the hemisphere!

The Best Places to Elope in Orange County & Laguna Beach

Finding that perfect spot to officially promise to spend forever together can be hard when you have so many gorgeous options – but don’t worry, we’ll help you narrow it down! Here are some of the best places to elope in Laguna Beach, as well as some nearby spots around Orange County.

Crystal Cove State Park

One of the best places to get married in Laguna Beach is Crystal Cove State Park. This stunning location features over 3 miles of coastline, and trails through the undeveloped woodlands! You’ll find some of the most incredible nature views – you can scuba dive to see the colorful sea life, stay on the beach and explore the tide pools, or hike to a bluff over the ocean or a woodsy spot.

Crescent Bay Point Park

This park may be small, but it’s got incredible views and big adventures! The park is on a coastal bluff, so tying the knot here will give you an incredible backdrop of the ocean. You can also head down to the beach for snorkeling, surfing, or just soaking in some sunshine. 

Huntington Beach

One of the best places to elope in Orange County is Huntington Beach. Just north of Laguna Beach, this is the perfect laid back surf city to explore if you want to try local shops and restaurants! 

Limestone Canyon Regional Park

If you want mountain views and woodsy scenery instead of beaches, Limestone Canyon Regional Park is one of the best places to elope in Orange County! There are gorgeous rolling hills and mountain peaks, diverse plants and wildlife, and tons to explore.

Secret Wild & Free Spots

Part of our job as elopement photographers is making sure every couple finds the perfect spot! And for most couples, the perfect spot isn’t just scenic – it’s also secluded and private, giving them a place to exchange vows with no one else around. 

Finding these spots can be a challenge – but we’ve got you covered! We’ll give you a list of personalized recommendations with secret spots to help you choose the right one. Each couple gets a custom list of location recommendations to help you find the right one! Get in touch to learn more about our secret Laguna Beach & Ocean County elopement locations.

The Best Time for a Laguna Beach Elopement

Laguna Beach, and all of Ocean County, has pretty ideal weather! There’s no bad time to elope, but here’s what you can expect throughout the year.

W&F Tip!

Any time you’re near the ocean, it’s going to feel a little colder. When you’re planning, don’t forget that the ocean breeze can get pretty strong. No matter what time of year you elope, but especially in the colder months, remember to bring layers! Especially if you’re going to be by the water in the mornings or evenings, you’ll feel a chill.

Winter in Laguna Beach

With highs in the 70s, this isn’t a typical winter! It’s still pretty warm and sunny in Laguna Beach, but night time gets a little chilly and can dip down to the 40s. The water will be cold, but this is a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds! January and February tend to be rainier than the rest of the year, but most days are still sunny.

Spring in Laguna Beach

One of the best times for a Laguna Beach elopement is spring. Wildflowers bloom in the hills around Ocean County, temperatures get warmer, and it’s an all around great time to go! Spring isn’t as busy as summer, so you can avoid the crowds by tying the knot this time of year.

Summer in Laguna Beach

Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit Laguna Beach, and people flock to the beaches! The weather is sunny and warm, and this is the best time to elope if you want to be in the water for surfing, snorkeling, or swimming.

Fall in Laguna Beach

Once the number of visitors drops after Labor Day, fall is one of the best times for a Laguna Beach elopement! Temperatures are still warm and the days are sunny, though nighttime can get chilly again. This is one of the best times to go if you want to hike the mountain trails.

W&F Tip!

Elope on a weekday!

Everywhere you go, weekends are much more popular. To avoid crowds on your elopement day, plan your ceremony for a weekday! Watch out for holidays and three day weekends, and this will help you ensure some more privacy.

The Legal Stuff – Getting Legally Married in Orange County

To get legally married, you’ll need to know about local marriage laws! Laguna Beach is in Orange County, so here’s what you need to officially tie the knot.

Laguna Beach Wedding Permits

Some elopement locations in Laguna Beach and around Orange County may require a wedding permit for your ceremony. The rules and regulations vary, so we’ll help you with this after you decide where to elope!

Orange County Marriage License

A marriage license is required to get legally married. You can get this from any county clerk’s office in the state of California, but the office in Orange County will likely be most convenient if you’re traveling to Laguna Beach.

You can apply online ahead of time, but you’ll need to go to the office in person to show your IDs and get the marriage license. The application fee is $61 in Orange County.

For more info on California marriage licenses, check out this guide.

Orange County Elopement Officiant

An officiant needs to sign the marriage license to make it legal – so you can hire a professional to perform your ceremony. But, if you prefer some more privacy, we’re ordained and can sign the papers for you instead!

W&F Tip!

Consider a self uniting ceremony.

A self uniting ceremony is when instead of hiring an officiant, you do it your own way! You exchange vows, add any traditions or unique touches to your ceremony, and have all the flexibility and freedom to personalize it. You still need a signature for the marriage license, so we take care of that and sign for you! You can learn more about self uniting ceremonies here.

What to Do During Your Laguna Beach Elopement

There’s so much to do in Laguna Beach, and when you elope, your day should be an experience you’ll never forget! Plan an adventure and spend the day doing something incredible – whether it’s a favorite hobby or a new experience. Here are some things y9ou can do during your Laguna Beach elopement!

Go Snorkeling

The views don’t end at the shoreline – you can see a whole other world of sea life and beauty under the water! Laguna Beach has tons of incredible beaches for snorkeling, or even scuba diving. 

Go to Disneyland!

What’s more magical than a trip to Disneyland? Disneyland is located in Orange County, so you can definitely spend a day, or a few days, exploring the park.

Go Hiking

There are lots of hikes around Laguna Beach and Orange County! You can explore beaches and coves, or head to the mountains. There are hikes of all kinds, so you don’t need to do anything too strenuous to reach amazing views.

Surf

Surfing is really popular in Laguna Beach, and even if you don’t have much (or any) experience, it’s super fun to get in the water and try to catch some waves! You can bring your boards, or you can take a surf lesson together as a fun way to spend time together on your elopement day.

Laguna Beach Elopement Inspiration

Check out this Pinterest Board to get inspired for your Laguna Beach elopement! Or, follow along for all of our tips, advice, and elopement planning resources.

Where to Stay in Laguna Beach

During your elopement, you’ll need a place to stay! Here are some of the best spots in Laguna Beach.

A Seaside Inn or Resort

There are tons of hotels, inns, and resorts in Laguna Beach that are right on the water, giving you a convenient place to stay, and a beautiful view!

The Inn at Laguna Beach has waterfront views and even a pool, and the Surf and Sand Resort offers luxurious accommodations by the ocean. You can also stay at the Ranch at Laguna Beach, which offers incredible mountain views and a vista over the ocean!

An Airbnb

We always recommend checking Airbnb for the best places to stay in Laguna Beach! There are amazing beachfront cabanas, rental homes, and more. 

Glamping

Glamping is a fun way to experience Ocean County – with cabins, glamping tents, and more! You can get out in nature without giving up the amenities.

Sample Laguna Beach Elopement Timelines

Each of our couples gets a personalized elopement timeline for their day – and to give you an idea of what your Laguna Beach elopement can look like, here are some examples!

Crystal Cove State Park With Family

10:00 Breakfast & coffee at Airbnb

12:00 Hair and makeup begins

2:00 Put on ceremony attire

2:30 First look outside Airbnb

2:30 Drive to Crystal Cove State Park

3:30 Boho picnic on the beach

5:00 Hike to ceremony spot in the woods

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Photos with family

6:30 Family goes back to Airbnb, couple goes to beach

7:00 Sunset photos

“Just Us” Laguna Beach Elopement

9:00 Pancakes & coffee

11:00 Drive to La Vida Laguna

12:00 Surf lesson begins

1:30 Lunch at local cafe

2:30 Go back to Airbnb

3:00 Hair and makeup begins

5:00 Put on ceremony attire

5:30 First look

6:00 Walk down to beach

6:30 Ceremony

7:00 Sunset photos

W&F Tip!

Chat up an expert

When you’re making a timeline for your Laguna Beach elopement, it’s important to think about lighting! The beach is gorgeous at sunrise and sunset, but midday sun can be harsh. So when you plan, stick to shady locations (like forested trails) until the sun goes down. Talk to a professional elopement photographer to help you plan around the light!

Alternatives to a Laguna Beach Elopement

If Laguna Beach doesn’t feel quite right, here are a few alternative elopement locations that might work for you!

Malibu

Malibu is one of the absolute best places to tie the knot if you want beaches and gorgeous scenery! With rolling hills and rocky cliffs over the ocean, you can’t go wrong.

San Diego

San Diego is further south, offering a big city with small town vibes. The scenery is similar, with stunning beaches and mountain views! 

Catalina Island

For a more remote elopement destination, consider Catalina Island. With incredible natural beauty and wild scenery, it’s the perfect spot for outdoor adventures.

The Cost of Eloping in Laguna Beach

When you elope in Laguna Beach, making a budget will help you keep track of expenses! Elopement budgets can vary a ton, because each one is so unique. Remember that everything is customizable – so prioritize the things that are important to you!

Here are some of the costs of eloping in Laguna Beach.

  • Travel – Do you need flights or transportation?
  • Accommodations – You’ll need somewhere to come back to after your adventure so whether it’s a campground, trendy Airbnb, or an upscale resort, find something that fits your vibe!
  • Meals – Don’t forget about food! You can pack a picnic, stop at a local eatery, or even hire a private chef.
  • Marriage License – Fees vary by county, but average around $90 across the state.
  • Wedding Permit – If you need a permit, depending on the park and area will average between $100-400.
  • Wedding Attire – Dresses, suits, or whatever you’ll be wearing when you tie the knot!
  • Hair and Makeup – You can totally do your own, but hiring a professional is so worth it and helps ensure things stay put throughout your adventure – this usually ranges from $300 to $1000.
  • Florals – Add a bouquet, flower crown, boutonniere, or floral decorations to your day! A professional florist ranges from $300 to $1500.
  • Photographer – Relive your memories over and over by investing in a photographer you love! Elopement photographer packages average from $3000 – $8,000

W&F Tip!

You’ll never regret investing in good photos

Photography is usually a pretty big chunk of the elopement budget. But what’s more important than documenting the best day of your life? Hiring a professional, experienced elopement photographer means you’ll have photos that will retell the story of your elopement day forever! It also means that you’re investing in the experience you have, because we help with planning every part of your one-of-a-kind day.

Laguna Beach Elopement Packages – Ready to Elope Wild & Free?

When you elope, we want you to have a wedding day that’s carefree, adventurous, fun, and everything you want it to be! You deserve a day that reflects the two of you and your relationship, so our Laguna Beach elopement packages include custom planning assistance – we’ll help you find the best places to elope, recommend vendors and lodging, give you tips and advice, make an elopement timeline, and everything you need to plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Laguna Beach + Orange County Elopement Packages Include:

  • Photography coverage 
    • Options from 2 hours to 2-days of coverage 
    • Photographer’s travel covered to your California destination
    • A fun photo experience where you can express your love without inhibitions
  • Planning tools  
    • A step-by-step guide to help you plan your elopement
    • Location Lookbooks of our favorite elopement spots
    • Creative timeline design to make your day flow perfectly
    • Officiant signature for self-uniting ceremonies 
    • Sustainability and Leave No Trace education for a wedding day you can feel good about 
  • Amazing photos + quick delivery 
    • Sneak peek images within one week of your elopement day 
    • Your full story in hundreds of high-resolution digital images delivered within one month 
    • Your own personal gallery to download and share your images with family and friends 
    • Printing rights to all photos 
    • Access to professional quality prints, wall art, and albums conveniently available for purchase right inside your gallery


      Elopement packages start at $2400 depending on date and travel schedule

Ready to elope Wild & Free? Contact us, and let’s start dreaming up your incredible, wild, elopement day!

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Ready to elope Wild & Free?

You deserve an elopement that throws out all the rules and focuses on what matters most.

 

We don't want you to have to do this alone, so it’s ok if you don’t have the details figured out yet -- we’ll help you design your day from start to finish!

 

Wild & Free Elopements is based in Southern California and photographs elopements all over the world.


Direct Email: [email protected]