Redwoods Elopement Guide

Redwoods Elopement + Wedding Guide

Imagine standing with the love of your life, exchanging vows and promising to spend the rest of your lives together while the majestic trees and forest groves tower over you, and the quiet serenity of the forest surrounds you, so that it feels like you’re the only ones in the entire world. If that sends shivers up your spine, a redwoods elopement in the magical forests of California might be the perfect way to spend your wedding day!

In this guide, we’ll cover Redwoods National Park elopements, as well as other places in California where you can tie the knot amongst the incredible forests.

What you’ll find in this Redwoods Elopement Guide: 

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

Why You Should Elope in the Redwoods

Before we tell you how to plan your magical elopement in the redwood forests of California, here are a few reasons to tie the knot here!

Incredible Redwood Trees

Of course, the best reason to elope in the redwoods is to see these incredible, towering trees! But what makes redwoods so magical?

They’re among the tallest trees on earth, and some of the oldest too! They showed up shortly after the dinosaurs, so they’ve been around much longer than we humans have – exploring the forests gives you a glimpse at not only some of the most beautiful scenery, but also at the history of these majestic trees.

Remote Landscapes

While some redwoods can be found in more populated areas, like the Bay Area, a lot of them are in remote, rugged spots along the California Coast, where the land is largely undeveloped! You’ll find some amazing secluded places to tie the knot, and the forested scenery makes even the busier places feel private and enclosed.

Mild Temperatures

Most of the redwoods in California are located close to the coast, which means that these elopement locations have more mild weather than areas further inland! While some parts can definitely be moody, it rarely gets too cold by the coast, so any time of year can be great for exploring the redwoods.

California Redwoods Elopement Locations

Choosing the perfect spot to exchange vows and officially marry your best friend is so unbelievably exciting – and you have so many options for an elopement in the redwoods of California! To help you narrow it down, here are a few of the best places to see redwood trees, and some incredible redwoods elopement locations.

Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National Park is one of the best places for an elopement, protecting nearly half of the world’s redwood trees! Some of the trees are over 370 feet tall, and the forests, hills, and rivers in the park are home to some amazing wildlife. There are plenty of spots in the park to see the trees, from easily accessible places to longer hikes!

Big Sur

One of the most stunning elopement locations in general, but especially if you want to see redwoods, is Big Sur. You have the best of both worlds – sandy beaches and rocky cliffs over the ocean, and inland forest groves where redwood trees tower over the landscape!

Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Cruz mountains on California’s Central Coast offer another incredible redwoods elopement location. Big Basin State Park is California’s oldest state park, with some of the best views of the old growth forests. You’ll also see ocean views, waterfalls, and lush greenery!

Muir Woods National Monument

Just outside of San Francisco, you’ll find the Muir Woods National Monument, with centuries-old redwoods and incredible forest scenery. This place is popular, but it’s great for couples who want to elope somewhere scenic while staying close to the city! 

Secret Wild & Free Spots

Choosing an elopement location is unbelievably exciting, but it can also feel a little overwhelming! You want to find the perfect spot – the one that’s scenic and stunning, but also remote and off the beaten path, so that you can exchange vows in private. 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 redwoods elopement locations.

The Best Time for a Redwoods Elopement

While temperatures stay fairly mild along the coast of California, the seasons can definitely bring some changes and moody weather – so before you set a date, here’s what you need to know about the best time for a Redwoods elopement!

Winter in the Redwoods

Winters are rainy in the redwoods, so while temperatures are usually in the 40s and 50s, the rain can make it a little more difficult to explore outside. This does mean that the redwoods are much less busy in the winter, so if you don’t mind drizzle you can bring an umbrella and enjoy crowd free parks! 

Spring in the Redwoods

The rainy season usually continues through April, but spring can be a great time to elope if you want to hike. The temperatures are in the high 50s towards the end of spring, which is warm enough to explore outdoors but mild enough that hiking is comfortable! May can be a great time to elope before the summer crowds come in, and though there’s often a fog by the coast, the mist hanging over the trees makes for some really magical forest views.

Summer in the Redwoods

Summer is the most popular time to visit any of the redwood parks, because it’s dry and warm! June usually has that mystical fog hanging over the trees, but it tends to clear up by July. This is definitely a great time to elope, but make sure you keep reading for our tips to avoid crowds!

Fall in the Redwoods

Fall is one of our favorite times to elope in the redwoods. September offers warm, sunny weather without all the summer crowds, so you can get the opportunity to explore without running into too many people! Rainy season usually begins in October, so be prepared for some slightly unpredictable weather in the fall. There are some places to spot gorgeous fall foliage too!

W&F Tip!

Elope on a weekday!

To avoid crowds even in the busiest seasons, plan your elopement for a weekday! It’s always less crowded than the weekend, so tying the knot while everyone is at work or school is a great way to get some privacy.

The Legal Stuff – Getting Legally Married When You Elope in the Redwoods

Elopements are all about the fun and adventures – but to get legally married, you need a little bit of paperwork! Here’s what you need to know about getting legally married in the redwoods.

Redwoods National Park Wedding Permits

If you elope at Redwoods National Park, or any of the state parks, you will need a wedding permit – also called a special use permit. For any other redwoods elopement locations, a permit may be required as well, so once you decide on a location, we’ll help you figure this out! 

For Redwoods National and State Parks, you can find the wedding permit application, along with a list of pre approved locations for your ceremony, here. The application fee is $100, which you can pay after your application is received. The park doesn’t specify how far in advance you need to apply, but be sure to do this as soon as possible to give them some time to process your application!

Redwoods Marriage License

To get married in California, you’ll need a marriage license! You can get one at any county clerk’s office in the state, so if you’re local, we recommend finding an office close to you. If you’re traveling to tie the knot in the Redwoods, we’ll help you find an office that’s on your way. Many offices will allow you to apply online ahead of time, but you will still need to go in person to sign the papers, show your IDs, and pick up the marriage license – so make sure to work this into your travel plans!

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

Redwoods Elopement Officiant

An officiant is required to sign the marriage license to make you officially, legally married. You can hire a professional to join you on your adventure in the redwoods, but if you want a more private ceremony, there’s another option! You can have a self uniting ceremony instead.

W&F Tip!

Consider a self uniting ceremony.

A self uniting ceremony is when you skip the officiant and do the ceremony your own way! You can exchange vows and rings and have your ceremony exactly how you want it, without worrying about meeting up with someone else or sharing that intimate moment with a stranger. A signature is required on the marriage license – but that’s where we come in! We’re ordained, and can do that part for you. It’s totally legal!

You can learn more about self uniting ceremonies here.

What to Do When You Elope in the Redwoods

Eloping is all about the experience, so customize it and make it your own! There are countless adventures to have in the redwood forests of California, so here are some ideas for your elopement.

Go Hiking

Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in the redwoods, and hitting the trails is a great way to explore the forest! You’ll find everything from short nature walks to longer hikes, so pick something that works for you and your wedding day.


Imagine seeing the redwood trees from above! A really unique adventure to add to your elopement day is a ziplining tour – where you’ll explore sky bridges, zip over the tree canopies, and have a truly once in a lifetime experience.

Have a Picnic

Not all elopement adventures have to be adrenaline inducing to be epic! You can have a nice picnic in the forest, or on the beach if your redwoods elopement location is by the coast, and relax with your partner as you snack on something delicious.

Redwoods Elopement Inspiration

To get inspired as you plan your incredible elopement in the redwoods, check out this Pinterest board. And if you want more elopement resources, follow us!

Where to Stay During Your Redwoods National Park Elopement

Where you stay will impact your elopement experience, so choose a place you’ll love coming “home” too! There are amazing places to stay in all the Redwoods elopement locations, but here are a few ideas close to Redwoods National Park.

A Cabin

Cabins are cozy, private, and the perfect way to stay close to nature without having to give up the amenities you’re used to! 

The Coho Cottages are perched on a mountain, surrounded by gorgeous forest. The Emerald Forest Cabins are tucked amongst the redwood trees, providing the perfect place to stay.

A Lodge or Inn

A cute lodge or inn provides the perfect place to cozy up after all of your elopement adventures, and there are plenty of options in the redwoods! 

The Victoria Inn is a historic, boutique hotel that’s romantic and charming, while the Lost Whale B&B is a small, charming place to stay that offers trails to a private beach.

An Airbnb

We always recommend checking Airbnb for private accommodations! You could stay in a tiny cottage by the ocean, a vintage Airstream, or in a home with ocean views and a hot tub.  

Camping in the Redwoods

For nature lovers, a camping elopement can be a fun way to celebrate getting married! You can find established campgrounds in the national and state parks, or find national forest land where you can find dispersed, free camping amongst the redwoods.

Sample Redwoods Elopement Timelines

We make a custom timeline for every couple, to ensure that everyone’s on the same page! We’ll work with you to find out what you want to do on your elopement day, give you some ideas, and create an amazing elopement timeline. To give you an idea of what an elopement day in the redwoods could look like, here are some sample timelines!

Redwood 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 Drive to ceremony spot at Redwoods National Park

3:30 Picnic lunch 

5:00 Nature walk to ceremony spot

5:30 Ceremony

6:00 Photos with family

6:30 Family goes back to cabin, couple takes photos

8:00 Drive back to cabin for dinner & toasts

“Just Us” Redwoods Camping Elopement

9:00 Get to campsite

10:00 Set up glamping tent

12:00 Hair and makeup begins

2:00 Change into ceremony attire

2:30 First look & photos at campsite

3:30 Drive to ceremony spot

4:30 Ceremony

5:00 Champagne pop & picnic lunch 

7:00 Couples photos

8:30 Return to campsite for dinner & s’mores

W&F Tip!

Chat up an expert

A lot of factors go into making the perfect elopement timeline – lighting, driving time, adding extra time to ensure a stress free day, and more! So make sure you hire an elopement expert who will help you craft a timeline that’s personalized for you and your day, and includes everything you need for a laid back day where you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Alternatives to a California Redwoods Elopement

If you love the forest scenery and the towering redwood trees, but aren’t sure if it’s just right, here are some other ideas for similar elopement locations!

Oregon Redwoods

While redwood trees are most common in California, did you know that you can also see these majestic giants up north? On the southern coast of Oregon, there are a few spots where you can explore redwood groves! Brookings and Gold Beach have the best places to see the redwoods, so consider the Oregon Coast for your elopement location.

Sequoia National Park

The Sequoia trees are similar to Redwoods – they’re huge! The main difference is that the Redwoods are close to the coast, while Sequoia trees thrive in subalpine regions of California. The best place to see Sequoias is in Sequoia National Park, and when you explore here, you can see mountain views too!

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is another great place to see Sequoia trees, so if you’re looking for scenery similar to the redwoods, definitely check this one out. The park is one of the most iconic elopement destinations, and offers some of the most amazing mountain landscapes!

The Cost of Eloping in the Redwoods

Elopement budgets can vary a ton, so when you create your own, consider what’s important to you, and what you want to prioritize on your day! Remember that the value of your wedding doesn’t come from how much money you spend – it comes from planning a unique, personal experience that you’ll remember forever. Here are a few things to consider when you make a budget for your redwoods elopement!

  • 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 $200-600.
  • 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 $4000 – $20,000

W&F Tip!

You’ll never regret investing in good photos

Photography is usually one of the biggest expenses for an elopement, but it really is an investment! You’re investing in your memories, and being able to look back on your photos and see the entire story of your day. You’re also investing in the experience – an experienced redwoods elopement photographer will double as your guide and planning assistant, helping you with every part of the day!

Redwoods Elopement Packages – Ready to Elope Wild & Free?

We want to make sure your wedding day is stress free, fun, and full of love and laughter! With our redwoods elopement packages, you get location scouting, recommendations for places to stay and elopement vendors in the area, help with permits, a custom elopement timeline, and more. Anything you need to plan the perfect day, we’ve got you covered!

Redwoods Elopement Packages Include:

  • Photography coverage
    • Options from 6 hours to 2-days of photography coverage with Joni, who has over 13 years of experience
    • Photographer’s travel covered to your destination
    • A fun photo experience where you’ll feel comfortable in front of the camera in no time and have all of your special moments captured
  • Location Lookbooks to show you ceremony and portrait spots for the dreamiest photos 
  • Creative timeline design to make everything flow perfectly on your day
  • Exclusive planning tools to help you design the best day
    • Our helpful magazine + a self-paced planning checklist to guide you through designing your elopement from start to finish 
    • Questionnaires for us to get to know you and your unique vision    
    • Vendor Lookbooks to build your dream team 
    • Alternative reception ideas for those looking to celebrate out-of-the-box  
    • Sustainability and Leave No Trace education for a wedding day you can feel good about 
  • Officiant signature for self-uniting ceremonies
  • Amazing photos + free downloads
    • 3-5 sneak peek images within one week of your day so you can share your gorgeous portraits with friends and family right away 
    • Your full story in hundreds of edited digital images delivered within two months to relive the entire adventure over and over again 
    • Your own personal gallery to share your images with family and friends 
    • Free high-resolution digital downloads for everyone (no paying per photo or per download!) 
    • Printing rights to all photos 
    • Access to professional quality prints, wall art, magazines, and albums conveniently available for purchase a la carte right inside your gallery

Elopement packages start at $7200

Contact us if you’re ready to elope Wild & Free, and let’s get to work on your once-in-a-lifetime 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]