The Best Places to Elope in the Bay Area

More and more, couples in the Bay Area and beyond are choosing elopement over traditional weddings. No matter what a couple’s reason is for eloping, there’s absolutely no reason for an elopement to be any less special than a big traditional wedding.

There are so many beautiful, scenic, and downright magical places to choose from for your Bay Area elopement. Here are a few of our favorite spots to consider for you and your loves special, scaled back day.

Gelareh and Sam in front of San Francisco City Hall before their minimony

San Francisco City Hall

This is an obvious choice for any couple looking to elope. However, San Francisco City Hall is a on a whole different level. This, dare we say, grandiose space is full of gorgeous architecture, breathtakingly spacious, and has lots of beautiful marble. The sweeping staircase is a must for couple’s photos. Also, just about every space where the public is allowed is immaculate and picturesque. Couples have lots of options from small and intimate to large, all day events.

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Big Sur Elopement

If natural beauty is your thing, Big Sur is an exceptional spot for Bay Area elopement seekers. Stunning beaches, awe inspiring Redwoods, pristine parks and quaint hotels and inns are all perfect places to elope. In fact, many of the hotels and inns offer a variety of elopement packages. It’s a lovely place to elope, and an even better place to return to do celebrate anniversaries for years to come!


Romantic Bay Area Beach Elopement

Who doesn’t love the thought of a romantic, intimate, barefoot sunset elopement? No matter the beach you’re interested in around the bay area, all you’ll need is a permit from the city, county or state that manages that beach. You’ll need to book at least a month in advance for most beaches. Also, weekdays are usually the best option to avoid crowds. Permit cost can vary depending on the size of your wedding, which is great for couples on a budget. Be sure to hire a good professional wedding photographer to capture your elopement during that gorgeous golden hour, too!

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Carmel By The Sea

If you’re looking for a sweet beach town to make a weekend out of your elopement, Carmel by the Sea is the perfect place. Some of our favorite places include the Sanctuary beach resort, Old Whaling Station Historic Adobe and Gardens, Bernardus Lodge and Spa, the Barns at Cooper Molera, and Los Laureles Lodge.


Cozy Redwood Forest Elopement

There is nothing like the majestic beauty of a towering redwood forest. For the mystic at heart, eloping in a verdant stand of beautiful redwoods is nothing short of magical. Our favorite redwood parks to elope in include Joaquin Miller Park, Reinhart Redwood Park in the East Bay Regional Park District, and the Hoover Redwood Grove at Golden Gate Park.


Intimate Bay Area Backyard Wedding and Trendy Front Stoop Elopement Ceremonies

With venues booked solid after over a year of reschedule and postponed weddings, backyards and front stoops are a life saver. If you’re lucky enough to have your own yard, great! Alternatively, if you have parents, family, or friends with a lovely yard and willingness to host, you’re in business! Can’t find an elopement worthy backyard? Another great option is the front stoop of a house. A couples of steps is all you need for a makeshift altar. This sweet elopement trend is a prime example of people making the best out of uncertain and challenging times. Love always finds a way.

sonoma county wedding photos

Vacation Rental’s in Napa, Sonoma, and Beyond

Scenic areas like Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Barbara, or even as far north as Sea Ranch or Mendocino are great options for a weekend getaway elopement for Bay Area couples. Vacation rentals are a great choice when traditional venues are a no-go due to budget or logistical concerns. You can have an intimate, cozy elopement at a well maintained vacation rental in a scenic setting. As an added bonus, you can celebrate your nuptials with a mini honeymoon before returning home.

San Francisco Botanical Garden Elopement Photos

San Francisco Botanical Garden

For all you Bay Area couples out there that have turned your homes into veritable verdant houseplant jungles, there will be no better place for your elopement than the San Francisco Botanical Garden. This lush 55 acre garden is bursting with plant life and offers breathtaking backdrops for your elopement ceremony.


Bay Area Beauty: The Conservatory of Flowers

The Bay Area gem is an excellent choice for the flower loving couple looking to elope. Originally built in 1879, this site has a storied history include it’s destruction in a fire and reconstruction in 1883. Today, the Conservatory of Flowers boasts aquatic plants, lowland and highland tropic plants, potted plants, and spectacular orchids inside the greenhouse. The outside grounds are similarly stunning with various other flower and tree species.


Marin Headlands For the Nature Loving Couple

For those seeking a breath taking scenic backgrounds with glittering ocean views, the Marin Headlands check all the boxes. The natural beauty of the headlands is perfect for nature loving Bay Area couples looking to elope. Picture standing on a seaside cliff at golden hour, the Pacific ocean rolling and sparkling below. There couldn’t a more magical setting for an elopement in our book.

cline cellars wedding photography

Romantic Bay Area Winery Elopement

Wine loving couples looking to elope should consider one of the many beautiful wineries in and around the Bay Area. With peaceful and stunning grounds, serene cellars, and even expansive mountain views, wineries are an effortlessly beautiful places to elope. Our favorites include CADE Winery, Trentadue Winery, Hans Fahden Vineyards, Beltane Ranch, and Annadel Estate Winery.


No matter what your elopement style just remember this: no matter where or how you choose to get married, there is no wrong way to start your marriage with the person you love. You’ve gotten through rough patches. You’ve learned to compromise, communicate, and not leave your dirty socks on the floor. In the end, you’re there for the marriage, not the wedding. Cheers!


Like what you see? Contact us at Apollo Fotografie for pricing and availability.



Click below to see our recent elopement photography:

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Breanne & Noah’s Backyard Elopement

Starr & Michael’s San Rafael Elopement

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