San Diego Courthouse Wedding Alternative:

Mini Elopements

have you been thinking about a San Diego courthouse wedding but want something more...


✓ Stylish




✓ Personalized




✓ Outdoorsy




✓ Beautiful




✓ Emotional




✓ & Epic?

join me for a mini elopement in

san diego!

Just like the San Diego courthouse, I’m offering weekday bookings to have a beautiful outdoor ceremony in the most epic of spots!

What does a mini elopement look like?

Your 2 hour mini elopement will look like this:


▶︎▶︎ 30 minutes of amazing photos to get you two warmed up to the camera. I'll give you fun games & silly prompts to bring out natural laughter and help you feel comfortable in no time!


▶︎▶︎ 30 Minute self uniting ceremony. It's just the two of you among an incredible San Diego backdrop, ready to commit yourselves to each other for life. You'll lead yourselves through your personalized vows, exchange of rings, and your first kiss.


All your tears, giggles, and special moments will be captured.


▶︎▶︎ 30 minutes of group photos of all those you brought along. Get big group shots but also cuddle-y one-on-one photos with your closest people.


▶︎▶︎ 30 minutes of “just married” photos! Emotions are high and the excitement is very real! This is a great time to get dreamy photos of you two laughing, cuddling up, and enjoying the captivating scenery.


▶︎▶︎ Closing & official paperwork. I sign your marriage license as the officiant (I’m ordained!) to make it all legal. We part ways and you two enjoy the rest of your night as newlyweds!


when & where?

Just like a San Diego courthouse wedding, weekday dates (Monday-Thursday) will be available all year round! Get in touch to chat potential open dates for your mini elopement!


You get to choose your own location for your photos! Here are a few popular locations that are so much better than the San Diego Courthouse for your wedding day:

Sunset Cliffs

Balboa Park

La Jolla

The Mini Elopement Package


  • Photography coverage
    • 2 hours of photography coverage
    • A fun photo experience where you'll feel comfortable in front of the camera in no time
    • Just like a San Diego Courthouse wedding, book a weekday, Monday-Thursday only, date (get in touch to find available dates)
    • Available to book up to 3 months in advance
    • Available during evening hours for the best lighting and gorgeous sunsets
    • Available in San Diego County or Orange County, California
  • Location Lookbook of dreamy places to elope as alternatives to a San Diego Courthouse Wedding
    • Learn all the gorgeous spots in San Diego or Laguna Beach to get married as well as info on how to obtain your permit if needed
  • Pre-planned timeline options for your ease:
    • 30 min for first look + ice breaker portraits
    • 30 min for your ceremony
    • 30 min for group photos
    • 30 min for sunset couples portraits
  • Officiant signature to help you have the wedding of your dreams
    • Skip the stuffy courthouse room and say your vows in the beauty of nature --we'll sign to make it legal (read more in the FAQ section)
    • Options to have a self-uniting ceremony or have a friend/family member read your script
  • 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
    • 100 edited digital images delivered within two months of your date to relive your vows and touching moments 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




What is a self-uniting ceremony?


A self-uniting ceremony is one where you two lead yourselves through reading your vows, exchanging rings, and going in for your first kiss! You will stand up at the "alter" just the two of you and your photographer will not speak during your ceremony --only capture all the special moments as you commit your lives to each other. This type of ceremony is so fun because it allows you to get married with beautiful backdrops, save money by not hiring a professional officiant, and keeps this moment private between you two.


Alternatively, you can write a script and ask a friend or family member to read it and perform your ceremony. Either way, at the end of the night, your photographer will sign your marriage license as the officiant to make your union legal.



Are you LGBTQ+ friendly?


Absolutely! You are welcome and celebrated here!





Yes! Guests can stand around your ceremony site (or bring chairs of their own) and witness your union. They will also be invited in for group photos after the ceremony!





You’re not alone - many couples feel this way before working with us! After a decade of working with couples, we’ve developed fun ways to get you feeling comfortable in no time! Your W&F photographer will have loads of silly games and funny activities to help you two have fun together, rather than stress about getting your photo taken. You’ll have so much fun - promise!


Not convinced? Check out our loads of reviews from "awkward" couples, just like you!





The State of California requires one witness and someone ordained to sign your marriage license.

  1. As soon as you book your Mini Elopement, schedule your appointment with the county office to pick up your marriage license and bring it to your Mini Elopement
  2. You will perform a self-uniting ceremony (or have a friend read), exchange rings, and share your personal vows with one another.
  3. After, I can sign as your officiant as I’m ordained with the Universal Life Church.
  4. The State of California also requires one witness's signature. If you bring any guests, they can serve as witnesses. If you do not have a witness present, we can ask someone off the street.
  5. Mail your marriage license back to the county within 10 days of your elopement to make it all official!



Can I book more than one mini elopement session back to back?


It sounds to me like you’re looking for one of my Full-Day Adventure Elopement experiences! While my Mini Elopements are a wonderful courthouse alternative, I truly love creating and capturing custom full-day adventures for eloping couples! We can visit your favorite locations and fill the day with fun + meaningful activities. Check out the Full Day Elopement Experience!



What all do we need?


While you only truly need yourselves, here is a list of ideas to help you prepare: wedding outfits + accessories, rings, vow books, marriage license, and water + snacks. You’ll have access to a curated guide to help you prepare for your day and give you fun ideas!


Feel free to make this your own!



How do we book our mini Elopement?


  1. Get in touch with the month or timeframe you're looking to elope (contact form below)
  2. Book a call to chat about your mini elopement and get a chance to ask questions. This is also a time when we can find an available date on our calendar that works for the two of you!
  3. Once a date is selected, we will send you a booking link that will guide you through signing your contract electronically and paying your 50% retainer. The last 50% will be due 1 week after your elopement date. Payment plans can be arranged upon request.

Hi, I'm Joni

I'm known for my constant laughter, flowy dresses, and free-spirited travel habits. As an ENFP, spontaneity, surprises, and meeting new people makes me feel the most alive--I think I've landed in the right job! My warm, bubbly personality is guaranteed to make you feel relaxed and confident on your wedding day!


I'm passionate about the environment, veganism, having experiences over things, and ordering dessert. I love classic rock (The Doors, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac), zero waste living, and music festivals.

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]