Mt. Shasta Wedding Guide – Elope Wild & Free in the Shasta Cascades

Mt Shasta Wedding + Elopement Guide


In the northeast corner of California, you’ll find the underrated, less traveled Shasta Cascade mountain range! While the beaches in California are certainly out of this world, these inland mountains offer incredible peaks, forests, waterfalls, volcanoes, and more. It’s absolutely perfect for couples who love outdoor adventure and natural beauty, so if you want to tie the knot in a way that’s unique and personal, consider a Mt. Shasta wedding or elopement! This guide will tell you all about eloping in the Shasta Cascades, whether you want to hike (or ski) Mt. Shasta or find a view in the incredible landscapes surrounding the peaks.

What you’ll find in this Mt. Shasta Wedding + Elopement Guide: 

  • Why you should elope in the Shasta Cascades
  • Shasta Cascades Elopement Locations
  • Best Time to Elope at Mt. Shasta
  • The Legal Stuff: Permits, Officiants, and Marriage Licenses 
  • What to Do
  • Where to Stay 
  • Example Timelines  
  • Alternatives to Mt. Shasta
  • The Cost of Eloping at Mt. Shasta
  • Mt. Shasta Elopement Packages – Are you ready to elope Wild & Free? 

Why You Should Elope in the Shasta Cascades

Before we explain how to tie the knot and plan your intimate Mt. Shasta wedding, here are some reasons why we think you should consider these mountains for your elopement!

Stunning Lakes

Tucked between the peaks of the Shasta Cascades, you’ll find incredible lakes. Whether you want to tie the knot on the shore, paddle out and relax on the water, or even dive in for a swim, the views of these glistening mountain lakes are just breathtaking!

Fewer Crowds

It’s no secret that California has a ton of natural beauty – but that there are also usually a lot of people around. National parks like Yosemite and coastal locations like Big Sur tend to be pretty heavily trafficked, and it’s hard to get some privacy. While Mt. Shasta isn’t exactly a secret, the Shasta Cascades offer tons of remote places (many of which you don’t have to hike to!) that are less popular, as people gravitate to more developed parks and areas on the coast for much of the year.

Four Season Fun

Mt. Shasta is known for being a great destination year round. In the summer, it’s perfect for hiking and outdoor adventures. In the winter, you can ski, snowboard, or just have fun in the snow! The Shasta Cascades offer something unique no matter when you go.

Mt. Shasta Elopement Locations

One of the most exciting things about eloping is finding the perfect spot to say your vows and begin the rest of your lives together. Needless to say, the Shasta Cascades cover a ton of land – which means narrowing down your options can be hard! Here are a few of the best spots to get married in the Shasta Cascades, to get you inspired.

Bunny Flat 

Bunny Flat is located at the base of Mt. Shasta, providing a gorgeous, easily accessible spot to get married with mountain views behind you! There are lush pine forests that clear the way for a view of Mt. Shasta, and this spot is perfect for any elopement – because you can choose spots right next to the parking lot, or take one of the many hiking trails for some extra adventure.

Castle Lake

For lake views, one of the best Mt. Shasta elopement locations is Castle Lake! The clear water of the glacial lake is surrounded by granite cliffs, and it’s easy to get to. There are several hiking trails nearby, and you can swim, kayak, or just enjoy the beach!   

McCloud Falls

Along with mountain views and alpine lakes, you’ll also find stunning waterfalls all over the Shasta Cascades. McCloud Falls is a gorgeous tiered waterfall, and makes an incredible backdrop for an elopement ceremony. The trail to get there is about 3.5 miles, but it’s flat, which makes it the perfect low effort high reward hike!

Secret Wild & Free Spots

While we love all those epic, must see spots in the Shasta Cascades, when you plan your unconventional elopement, you’ll probably want some privacy when you exchange vows, and some quiet as you explore all the beauty this region has to offer! To help you get off the beaten path, we give every couple a list of personalized elopement recommendations, to make finding the right one easy, and stress free.

Get in touch to learn more about our secret Mt. Shasta elopement locations!

The Best Time for a Mt. Shasta Elopement

Like any mountainous region, weather varies a ton in the Shasta Cascades, and each season brings something different! Here’s what you can expect, and some tips for setting an elopement date.

Winter at Mt. Shasta

Winters in the Shasta Cascades are snowy and cold. If you want to elope in a winter wonderland, this time of year is the best for you! It’s a great time for skiing and winter sports, but you’ll definitely need to be prepared for the cold.

Spring at Mt. Shasta

As spring brings warmer temperatures, this can be a great time to elope if you want to avoid crowds! Higher elevations will be covered in snow until around mid summer, but lower elevation spots can be great for wildflowers, waterfalls, and exploring outside. Spring is pretty rainy, so be prepared with waterproof gear!

Summer at Mt. Shasta

For most couples, summer is going to be the best time to get married at Mt. Shasta. The weather is warm and sunny, the trails are snow free (except for some high elevation peaks), and you can spend the day hiking and exploring. This is also the most popular time to visit, but we’ll give you some tips to avoid crowds!

Fall at Mt. Shasta

Fall is stunning at Mt. Shasta, with colorful foliage displays and crisp temperatures. As it cools down and the trails get less crowded, you can find more secluded, private places to tie the knot! September is an amazing time to elope at Mt. Shasta, as it’s usually still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, without all the crowds. At higher elevations, snow begins to accumulate towards the end of October.

W&F Tip!

Elope on a weekday!

One of the best ways to avoid crowds when you elope at Mt. Shasta (or anywhere else) is to plan your ceremony for a weekday. Saturdays and Sundays are busier no matter where you go, so tie the knot during the week! Be careful to avoid holidays and three day weekends, as these get extra busy.

The Legal Stuff – Getting Legally Married When You Elope at Mt. Shasta

To get legally married during your Mt. Shasta elopement, you’ll need to do some paperwork! Here’s what you need to do to make things official.

Mt. Shasta Wedding Permits

Some locations require a permit for elopement ceremonies. The good news is that much of the Shasta Cascades is on national forest land, which means there are fewer restrictions and most of the time, you won’t need a permit! However, this depends on where you decide to elope, and some locations may require a ceremony permit. Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure this one once we find the perfect location for you!

Mt. Shasta Marriage License

A marriage license from the state of California is required to get married in the Shasta Cascades. You can get one at any county clerk’s office in the state, so if you live here, finding an office close to home is usually the easiest option. But, the closest office to Mt. Shasta is in Yreka. You have to go in person to apply and pick up your marriage license, and the fee at this office is $78.

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

Mt. Shasta Elopement Officiant

On your marriage license, an ordained officiant needs to sign to legally marry you. You can hire a professional to perform the ceremony, but for a more private experience, we also double as officiants!

W&F Tip!

Consider a self uniting ceremony.

As elopement photographers, we know how important privacy is for couples – so if you want to do your ceremony your own way, you can exchange vows and skip the officiant. This gives you more freedom, and you don’t have to worry about sharing that intimate moment with anyone else. You do need an officiant’s signature on your marriage license – but don’t worry, we’re ordained and can do that for you!

You can learn more about self uniting ceremonies here.

What to Do When You Elope at Mt. Shasta

Your elopement should be an experience, so personalize it and make it your own! For some inspiration, here are a few things that you can do on your elopement day.

Go Hiking

Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in the Shasta Cascades, and you don’t have to do anything strenuous to have an amazing adventure! There are plenty of options for nature walks, short trails, and more, so you can choose what kind of hike you want to do on your elopement day.

Ski or Snowboard

In the winter, you can hit the slopes at Mt. Shasta Ski Park! Whether you’re an experienced skier or you want to try it out for the first time, it’s guaranteed to be a blast, and a really unique wedding day experience.

Kayak or Canoe

The best way to experience the glistening lakes in the Shasta Cascades is to get in the water! You can rent a kayak or canoe (or bring your own), and paddle out to enjoy the serene feeling of being out on the still water.

Mt. Shasta Elopement Inspiration

For more Mt. Shasta elopement inspiration, check out this Pinterest board! And if you want more elopement resources and tips, follow us!

Where to Stay During Your Mt. Shasta Elopement

You’ll need a place to sleep, and a cozy place to relax after a day of adventures. Here are some ideas for places to stay in the Shasta Cascades!

A Cabin

You can find some magical cabins tucked in the woods. Check out this adorable cabin on the river, or this spot with mountain views!

A Lodge or Inn

Around Mt. Shasta, you’ll also find lodges, resorts, inns, and B&Bs that make for a perfect getaway. The Mt. Shasta Resort is at the base of the mountain, and the McCloud River Bed and Breakfast is unbelievably cozy!

An Airbnb

We always recommend checking Airbnb for private accommodations! There are bungalows, cottages, cabins, and more in the Shasta Cascades.

Sample Mt. Shasta Elopement Timelines

When you elope Wild & Free, every couple gets a custom elopement timeline! We’ll get to know you and what you want to do and experience, and create a personalized outline of your day. To give you an idea of what an elopement at Mt. Shasta can look like, here are some sample timelines!

Cabin Elopement With Family

9:00 Dad makes breakfast at the cabin

11:00 Hair and makeup begins

12:00 Family gets dressed

1:00 Couple puts on ceremony attire

1:30 First look and couple’s photos outside the cabin

2:30 Ceremony in the backyard of the cabin

3:30 Picnic lunch 

5:00 Photos with family

6:00 Couple drives to Bunny Flat for sunset photos

8:00 Drive back to cabin for dinner & toasts

“Just Us” Castle Lake Elopement

9:00 Breakfast and coffee

10:00 Yoga together to relax

12:00 Hair and makeup begins

2:00 Change into ceremony attire

2:30 First look & photos at the Airbnb

3:30 Drive to Castle Lake

4:30 Blow up inflatable kayaks and paddle out on the water 

6:30 Return to shore

7:00 Ceremony

7:30  Sunset photos

W&F Tip!

Chat up an expert

The perfect elopement timeline gives you an idea of what’s going on, without putting too much pressure on you to follow it minute by minute or to stress when the plan changes. We’ll handle all of it – taking lighting, travel time, potential traffic or delays, and extra time for spontaneous ideas and adventurous detours!

Alternatives to a Shasta Cascades Elopement

If you love the mountains, forests, and waterfalls of the Shasta Cascades, but aren’t quite sure if this is the perfect elopement location for you, here are some spots with similar scenery!

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe features a gorgeous blue lake surrounded by mountains. Just like Mt. Shasta, it’s an incredible ski destination in the winter and a hiker’s paradise in the summer! 

Big Bear

Another mountain town, Big Bear is a few hours away from LA and offers lakeside adventurous, mountain trails, and plenty of outdoor fun.

Redwoods National and State Parks

If you want to elope in Northern California, consider tying the knot in the Redwoods! You won’t find many mountain views, but if you’re drawn to the forest scenery, there’s plenty of that here. 

The Cost of Eloping at Mt. Shasta

Budgeting is important, and helps you keep track of wedding day expenses! Elopement budgets are so different because you get to prioritize what’s important to you and what you want to invest in for your wedding day. Your budget might look different depending on what kind of experience you’re planning, but here are some things that might be part of it!

  • 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

A photographer is a big investment, and usually one of the largest chunks of the elopement budget. But, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You deserve to be able to preserve those memories and look back at your photos, and a photographer allows you to do just that.

Investing in an experienced elopement photographer also means planning assistance and guidance as you navigate your untraditional wedding day! We help couples with every part of the process, so you also get a planning assistant and adventure buddy.

Mt. Shasta Wedding + Elopement Packages – Ready to Elope Wild & Free?

Your wedding day should be stress-free, fun, and full of love, laughter, and genuine joy! Out Mt. Shasta elopement packages include everything you need – locations scouting, vendor recommendations, places to stay, permit assistance, a custom timeline, and more. Everything you need to tie the knot in the Shasta Cascades, we’ve got your back! 

Mt. Shasta Wedding + Elopement Packages Include:

  • Photography coverage 
    • Options from 1.5 hours to 2-days of photography coverage 
    • Photographer’s travel covered to your destination
    • A fun photo experience where you’ll feel comfortable in front of the camera in no time
  • Planning tools
    • A step-by-step guide to help you plan your elopement from start to finish
    • Location Lookbooks of our favorite dreamy 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 so you can share on social media right away
    • Your full story in hundreds of high-resolution digital images delivered within one month to relive how it all felt
    • 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 $3800
      Mini Elopements start at $1500

Contact us if you’re ready to elope Wild & Free, and let’s get started on your one-of-a-kind adventure!

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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]