Your California Elopement Guide for a Palm Springs Elopement

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Elopements in Palm Springs are perfect for those couples looking for a funky and colorful elopement. Offering something very unique in terms of landscapes and backdrops, plus the atmosphere is dreamy with its desert and mountains! You really can’t go wrong.

For those couples looking for adventure and a carefree vibe, this place is for you!

Along with fun and good vibes comes careful planning, so to help you, here is your California elopement guide for a Palm Springs elopement. 

Everything you Need to Know to Plan Your Palm Springs Elopement

Choose your guests – if any!

This is significant because planning an elopement with just the two of you differs from planning an elopement with the two of you and a few guests.

Once you’ve determined your guest count, it will help you choose your elopement ceremony location, whether you want an intimate dinner at a restaurant or a reception with your closest friends and family at an Airbnb or hotel, and so on. 

Or, if you prefer it to a completely intimate Palm Springs elopement, then do that!

Best time of year to elope in Palm Springs

Early Spring or Winter are the best times of year for your elopement in Palm Springs. 

February to April and October to November tend to have great weather too.

June through August are extremely hot months.

May and September are risky as they can be extremely hot or mild, depending on the time of year.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend having your Palm Springs elopement during the summer as temperatures range from 105 to 120 degrees – making the whole thing less enjoyable.

A couple, standing together and holding hands, just after their Palm Springs elopement

Where to elope in Palm Springs

Moorten Botanical Gardens

Moorten Botanical Gardens offers a funky, fun, and colorful atmosphere, with a lot of plants.

This area is ideal for couples who appreciate nature – with lots of greenery and colorful plants around that fill you with joy and make for gorgeous elopement photos.

The investment is $1000 for up to 20 guests and 2 hours of renting the grounds.

Indian Canyons

Indian Canyons offers epic views of Palm Springs’ classic canyons, mountains, and palm trees – everything that Palm Springs is about – the perfect backdrop for your photos, that will tell the story of your elopement location.

Admission is $12 per adult and the space is typically open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tram cart that travels over 2.5 miles along Chino Canyon’s breathtaking cliffs. It takes passengers to Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

The entire journey takes about 10 minutes. There are two restaurants, decks to enjoy the view, a museum, two documentary theatres, a gift shop, and over 50 miles of hiking trails once you arrive at the mountain station, which is located at an elevation of 8,516 feet.

During the months of November to March, you can be relaxing by the pool in Palm Springs with 80+ degree weather and then just a few minutes later be at the top of the aerial tramway where it’s 45 degrees and there’s snow on the ground – pretty wild, right?

The aerial tramway costs $36.00 to use. You can purchase tickets in advance, or when you arrive.

A view of the pine trees and grass at the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park in Palm Springs
The view at the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park, which is a stark contrast to the desert landscape at the bottom of the mountain!


If you plan to make the most of your Palm Springs elopement then you’ll want a lovely place to stay, right? So, here are some pretty cool stays (hotels and Airbnbs) that I can suggest:

Get your marriage license

For you to be able to have a Palm Springs elopement, you need a marriage license. 

Riverside County Clerk’s Office is easily accessible in the nearby Palm Desert. Monday – Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. (excluding holidays), the Clerk’s office issues public and civil marriage licenses.

Appointments are not required for public marriage licenses, but couples are advised to apply online or in person ahead of time. Licenses are valid for 90 days. Appointments for civil ceremonies are required and can be made by calling (760) 863-7490.

You must meet the following requirements to obtain a marriage license:

  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old.
  • Each of your parents’ names and birthplaces, including your mother’s maiden name.
  • You and your partner: full names, addresses, birth dates and places.
  • To obtain a marriage license, both parties must come into the office together.
  • Both parties need to have valid, up-to-date photo identification – it must be issued by the government. Examples include a state-issued driver’s license or identification card, a military identification card, a green card, a naturalization certificate, and a passport.

A public marriage license costs $90.00. And, in order for your ceremony to be legally binding, you must have one witness and a Palm Springs wedding officiant.

Elope on a weekday

I always recommend that couples elope on a weekday to avoid crowds! Weekends are busier everywhere, so finding a secluded spot during the week is easier.

Another way to avoid crowds is to plan your Palm Springs elopement ceremony during sunset and sunrise as it is the best for avoiding crowds, and what is a better time to say your vows than when the sun comes up or goes down, with no one else around?

Perfect if you ask me and gorgeous colors for your elopement photography!

a couple snuggle together in a downtown alley just after their Palm Springs elopement

Choose your elopement activities 

Planning your elopement should be about tailoring it to the two of you and your relationship – so plan an unforgettable experience! Think about what would truly make this the best day of your life, whether it’s something the two of you enjoy doing together or something new you want to try. It’s all about the two of you, no one else. 

Go Hiking 

There are many great hikes in the Palm Springs area, and because of the desert landscape, most of them are fairly flat, allowing you to see beautiful scenery without exerting yourself too much. 

You can hike and explore the unique trees and boulder formations at Joshua Tree National Park, or go somewhere more remote.

Take a Jeep Tour

You can drive your own car, rent a 4×4, or take a Jeep tour of the desert’s less-travelled roads! It’s an incredible way to explore without having to walk, and you’ll be able to see some of Palm Springs’ most incredible, remote scenery.


Palm Springs remote desert location means that the night sky is absolutely incredible! I can’t think of anything more magical than ending your elopement day looking at the most amazing stars you’ve ever seen if you head out to the desert.

The best way to re-wind for an adventurous day. 

Palm Springs elopement photographer

Your Palm Springs elopement photographer will capture your day from beginning to end. As one myself, I love joining couples on their unique adventures – whether it involves hiking, dancing, star gazing or a desert walk – whatever it is, I love an adventure! 

I truly believe that you should get to know your photographer first, so it feels like you have a friend with you and so they understand your vision.

As a documentary photographer, I capture all of the fun, emotional, and wild moments that happen during your Palm Springs elopement, and couples always appreciate the fact they have the memories to look back on – and to show family and friends who didn’t attend their elopement!

I know Palm Springs well so I can recommend all of the best photo opportunities.

Are you ready to plan your Palm Springs elopement?

Now you have your California elopement guide for a Palm Springs Elopement, you can plan all of the important aspects that will create the elopement of your dreams. 

For more tips when planning an elopement, check out our ‘How to Plan an Elopement Wedding That You Loveblog post!

Want to inquire about your Palm Springs elopement photographer? I’d love to chat.

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