Throughout history, we have seen rise of elopements during tough periods and time after time, we’ve watched love come out stronger than ever. During the Great Depression, couples eloped out on necessity. There was not enough money for elaborate parties. Then, during World War II, couples rushed to get married without a large wedding because they weren’t sure what the future held if their love was going to make it back home safe. The coronavirus is creating the same sense of necessity and forcing a rise in elopements. However, 2020 is different, now eloping is the biggest trend of the year and we don’t expect elopements to go away anything soon. If you’re planning an elopement because of covid-19, because of budget, or simply because you want too, we’ve gathered the most unique and rare elopement ceremony locations in Sacramento, Napa, and Tahoe. 2020 is the year of starting NEW trends, something you won’t find on Pinterest until you make it happen!
Without restrictions of large guests counts, you can consider getting married on a boat, a train, or even in a treehouse!
A note from Dee and Kris: This list is of fun ideas. If you are interested in pursuing an elopement with one of our suggestions, please continue to research their rules and regulations and obtain any necessary permits. Due to the rapidly changing government restrictions in response to covid-19, please confirm that your elopement location is open and available for a special event.
This peaceful and secluded countryside vineyard in Napa the ideal location for couples who want a relaxing weekend getaway. If you’re looking for an intimate elopement or a micro-wedding, Carneros Resort and Spa is the tranquil retreat you need!
Carneros Resort and Spa offers two different elopement packages, a traditional elopement for only the couple, and a micro-wedding package for up to 18 guests. Each package includes an incredible ceremony location, a bridal bouquet, a solo guitarist, hors d’oeuvres, and more! For elopement packages, this resort provides one of the best.
We love the idea of creating a romantic getaway the weekend of your elopement. This resort and spa is a great place to do so! They offer romantic cottages with private backyards that will leave you wanting to stay all week. Additional amenities include 3 full service restaurants, two pools, a luxury spa, and complimentary bicycles.
The Napa Valley wine train is one of our favorite ideas on this list of Northern California elopement ideas. This vintage train is a collection of railcars from the North Coast Limited and the Northern Pacific Atlantic Express trains built in 1915. Now, the railcars transport passages on the ultimate luxurious experience.
The wine train’s elopement package includes a multi-course meal in one of their two dinner railcars, an officiant, a bottle of wine and day of coordination. Then, embark on your luxurious train adventure on one of the wine trains many train ride packages. Choose from a dinner or lunch experience, a winery tour stop, or an estate tour.
South Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular destination elopement locations, but what if you want to take to the next level by getting married ON Lake Tahoe? You always see those luxurious boats cruises on the lake, but did you know you can get married on one? Yes, you can! The Lake Tahoe Bleu Wave offers tons of wedding options, but if you’re looking to elope on a boat, we think their public cruise ceremony will be perfect for you! Their 70 ft yacht features a climate controlled indoor quarters and large party bow. Plus, the offer a full service bar, perfect for the post wedding toast!
This convenient package offers two tickets on their daily cruise and the opportunity to say your vows on the bow of the ship overlooking the crystal blue waters. If you’re looking for a mico-wedding option, the Bleu Wave Cruise offers private tours for up to 47 passengers.
State and National Parks can be tricky to get married in due to the special event permits that are required. Some places, like Emerald Bay are worth the extra hassle. The location offers incredible views directly from the parking lot, which makes it easy if you have a few guests with you. Known for its emerald waters that differ from the Tahoe blue waters, this location is the perfect mix of lake and mountains. The overlook is extremely popular, and there isn’t a ton of space so be prepared for light crowds.
The Tahoe Beach Retreat and Lodge is located right on the sandy beach of Lake Tahoe and it the perfect location for a beach elopement. The hotel has private access to the beach which makes it super easy to have a private lake side elopement ceremony and time of year. Go bare foot in the sand for a quiet ceremony with a full view of the gorgeous blue water.
After your elopement, the resort offers tons of activities like volleyball, jet ski rentals, paddle boarding, hiking, and even has a beach side tiki bar! During the summer, the resort hosts epic luaus with an authentic Kalua pork dinner and hula dancers. It will be an experience you’ll never forget!
Camp Richardson is a campground/resort that sit right on the edge of Lake Tahoe. This spot literally has everything you could possibly ask for, including: tent camping, RV parking, a historic hotel, a general store, a famous restaurant, and MORE! For couples who want that campground vibe with a lake view, you’re going to love Camp Richardson. Say your vows around the campfire, on the sandy beach, or in front of one of their rustic cabins. Then after you are officially husband and wife, head over to the Beacon Bar & Grill for their famous Rum Runners.
For many people, Camp Richardson is a tradition because of its rich history in Lake Tahoe. Originally, the camp was build to cater towards people who were “weary of the city.” And since the day they open, they have strived towards avoiding commercialism and staying true to their family values. This gem is is a great place to host a small mirco-wedding or elopement in South Lake Tahoe.
Dee and Kris can make any courthouse look incredible, but one of our favorite options is San Francisco City Hall. This incredible location offers iconic photography options. Starting with the exterior, the Neo-classical design complete with a 307 foot dome and 2 city blocks worth of incredible design allows for endless spots for beautiful romance pictures after your ceremony! If you love those adorable pictures of the bride and groom bursting through the door with their arms up celebrating their marriage, City Hall is a picture-perfect location for you!
The Mayor’s Balcony is one for the most popular locations for a small ceremony or elopement. This second floor rotunda overlook can seat up to 40 people and features a an exquisite look over the entire building. Access to this balcony is included in their one-hour wedding package, perfect for an elopement!
San Francisco City Hall is a great location for couples who are looking for a traditional court house wedding with that “WOW!” factor. Please note, you must obtain your marriage license in the county were you reside and provide your own officiant for the one hour wedding package mentioned above.
If you love the idea of eloping on a boat, we have another option just for you! The Hornblower Cruise is a delightful ride through the San Fransisco Bay, perfect for couples who want the boat and city vibes.
The Hornblower provides easy and simple elopement packages that include 30 minutes of private yacht time for your ceremony performed by an ordained captain of the ship plus champagne and a meal on the cruise! They offer both a brunch and dinner cruise and you’ll have the perfect window seat to view all the sites of the city from the bay!
Arguably one of the most incredible views of San Francisco can be viewed from Cavallo Point. They are located right at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and features perfectly manicure lawns, a stunning view of the bridge and a romantic place to stay after your vows!
This luxury venue offers one of the best elopement packages in Northern California. Complete with a private ceremony space for up to 20 people, a single-tierd wedding cake, complimentary wedding night suite, and a spa treatment for both the bride and groom!
Located in the Marina District of San Francisco, The Palace of Fine Arts is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable structures. The main attraction of the park is the 162 foot open rotunda that was rebuilt between 1964- 1974. The Roman/Greek inspired architecture was intended to evoke the ruins of ancient Rome while also providing a space for the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in 1915.
If you choose to get married in the center of the rotunda, you’ll need to make a reservation (as soon as a year in advance) as well as obtain any necessary permits through the San Francisco Park District.
Another option, is to say your vows on the law facing the structure. The breathtaking view of the lagoon and the Palace of Fine Arts is incredible! Your ceremony pictures will be unique and you’ll have the opportunity to spend the day exploring the city.
Yosemite National Park is probably one of the most popular locations for an adventure elopement. It offers iconic views that are unforgettable and with easy access from Sacramento it makes for a wonderful elopement weekend getaway! There are so many special places to elope, including Yosemite Valley, Sentinel Bridge, and Glacier Point which all offer incredible views of Half Dome.
Yosemite is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California so be prepared for it to get busy! We recommend planning an early morning or off season elopement if possible to avoid large crowds.
All National Parks require a special event/photography permit that you’ll need to obtain before we can do your elopement in the park. As photographers we want to be as respectful to our National Parks, please visit the park’s website for all restrictions and regulations.
Located in the heart of Yosemite Valley lies a little New England style chapel. The chapel can seat up to 125 people but is also a beautiful spot for an elopement. The church offers traditional Protestant weddings but you are also allowed to bring your own minister or non-denominational officiant.
The small wooded chapel was built in 1879 offers impressive views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. For nature lovers who want a church elopement, this chapel is perfect!
If you are looking for a unique view for your elopement, we suggest checking out some properties on Airbnb! Northern California has thousands of available places to stay and tons of variety when it comes to the “look” you want for you vows. When looking for the perfect elopement airbnb, we suggest looking for properties that offer a beautiful outdoor property so that we have lots of options for beautiful backdrops for your pictures.
Our favorite part of Airbnb’s website is the filter options for unique properties. Simply navigate to their “More Filters” option and take a look at the “Unique Stays.” You can find any kind of home you can dream, including: tiny homes, campers, farm houses, and even castles! You’ll get one of a kind opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.
Airbnb hosts set their own rules and restrictions, so please confirm that elopement ceremonies are permitted at your location.
For our couples who are looking to elope in a camping and outdoor setting, we LOVE this treehouse amongst the redwood trees located in the Bay Area. This unique treehouse sits 80 feet in the trees and is accessible by pirate latter and suspension bridge! With picture perfect view, this place is definitely worthy checking out for your airbnb elopement. The host also mentions that the treehouse is an easy walk to the Spirit Zen Center and a short drive to Point Reyes National Seashore.
If you’re looking for a farmhouse elopement, check out Hidden Falls Farmhouse in Auburn. This renovated red farmhouse is decorated with classic farm decor, including white distressed walls, cow patterned cushions, a family sized farmhouse table and a pellet stove! The real beautiful about the Hidden Falls Farmhouse is the beautiful property. Right outside the home is a calm creek with a bridge that leads to green pastures and lovely sunset views. You will have countless options for the perfect locations to say your “I Dos” and tons of places for your romance pictures!
For our hipster couples, check out this brightly colored Vintage Caravan in Oakland! This adorable space is located in a big yard with chickens and is only 25 minutes from the city. This little trailer even has a fun little history, it used to be a food truck for Katie Cupcake in Arizona, how fun is that?! The property isn’t very big, but if you’re looking for a hipster styled wedding, this is a fun place to check out.