Where to Elope on Catalina Island, CA

So, you and your partner have decided to take a plunge into the sometimes-obscure world of elopement. It takes a daring, forward-thinking duo to mark the beginning of the rest of their lives together in such a non-traditional way. That being said, it’s only fitting that the experience should be something that is one-of-a-kind and impossible to forget. But places like Paris, France and Yellowstone National Park are examples of some of the many overrated places where matrimonial-like situations occur; however, there is one alternative location that is by all means a hidden gem – Santa Catalina Island.

Situated off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island, also known as Catalina Island (or even just Catalina), is a rocky, beachy getaway within the bounds of Los Angeles County that is the perfect choice for just about anybody. Marilyn Monroe lived in the island’s only city, Avalon, with her first husband back in the 1940’s, which accentuates the rustically romantic nature of the spot. It has a rich history originated by Pacific-indigenous peoples which is still felt today, thanks to the efforts of the Catalina Island Conservatory.

See, chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. (ring a bell?) is the mastermind behind the development of Catalina’s booming tourism industry and for good reason; before being tamed, the area was mostly used for smuggling, hunting, and gold-digging. More troubling, the land was in constant struggle, with countries like Mexico and the United States fighting for the land against European invaders. Luckily, today, Santa Catalina stands proudly as wonderfully beautiful and the prime location for lovers looking to lock it in.

Four Locations To Elope on Catalina Island:

Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden

1400 Avalon Can Rd, Avalon, CA 90704

When you enter, you are surrounded by cactus and tropical dessert plants in every direction you walk in, yet when you go straight back, you are able clim up a stairway that transports you into older world with mosaic tiles and a view unlike any other.

You can view their pricing and permit related info here.

Catalina Casino

1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704

When you first get off your ferry to Catalina, this is the first building you see - or if you've been to the infamous Catalina Wine Mixer, you'll definitely recognize it. It is perfect to have your ceremony, get pictures downtown and on the beach! The casino has plenty of space to hold a large wedding party, or even a large reception after you elope intimately.

You can locate their website here to find out their availability!

Cliffside Elopement

This requires a photographer who knows of this hidden gem.

This is one of the most beautiful outlooks of the entire bay. While this may not fit an entire wedding, it is perfect for just the two of you. This spot is definitely a "first come, first serve" location. You could have your florist set up your arrangement, set up any other little details (we did area rugs), and then do your ceremony. It was intimate, and perfect, and it focused solely on the couple and their love./

Backside of Shark Harbor

Shark Harbor, California 90704

To reach the backside of Catalina Island, you will have to purchase the annual permit - and lord, I am glad we did! This involves a long windy road (which you may get to see some bison!) and some climbing to get to the perfect location here, but it was all worth it in the end. This offers you a private beach and rock formations to climb on and get the coolest of pictures.

So, South Catalina Island, if you haven’t figured it out, is a standout setting for any elopement. The eloping experience is so much more sentimental than a standard, traditional wedding and SCI captures that concept in full. Just take a look at the photos and you won’t be able to deny it!

Looking for other elopements? Check below:

To hire Christina Hernandez Artistry for your elopement, packages (including travel) start at $5000. Submit an inquiry here.

All Photographs were taken by Christina Hernandez Artistry.

My Own Elopement in The Valley of Fire, NV.

interracial couple elopement valley of fire Nevada

When Wesley proposed in the middle of COVID we originally wanted to run away, just the two of us, somewhere picturesque. I mean, look at the two of us; he proposed by sneaking us into a park that overlooked the NYC skyline (this was when parks were shut down due to COVID in New Jersey). Yet, our families pushed for a traditional venue. We looked at two venues and ended up booking the second one which was an alpaca rescue. Throughout the wedding process it only became more stressful and further from our vision.

Pre-Wedding

At a certain point, we decided to elope so the day was more about us than all the family. We went from May 2022 to eloping on our four year anniversary, December first 2021. We fell in love with the red rocks of the Valley of Fire in Nevada.

I did the research on elopement packages and stumbled upon Cactus + Lace (insta@/@cactusandlaceweddings) which is an all women team of photographers and planners. We did book them and they were very open with communication throughout the whole process. For the first time, I felt at ease. For a fraction of the cost, we were able to do exactly what we wanted to do.

We invited a few friends and family and my own company’s videographer. My mother’s best friend, Lisa, booked us a room at the Aria Resort & Casino with the most beautiful view of the strip and the city. All together, there was ten of us flown in for our elopement!

The night before the wedding, Wes, Me, My Mom, and Lisa had some slamming Mexican food from Nacho Daddy not too far from the hotel - the vegan options were amazing and the margaritas were delicious! Wes and I went back to the hotel room and set our alarm for seven am.

Wedding Day: Getting Ready

gothic wedding details dr martens flower headpiece rings on lace dress

We woke up and both realized - we needed to write our vows! He got to work immediately and I took a bit longer to regain consciousness before my shower. Brian + Joe (our friends and groomsmen) picked Wesley up and they got ready at their airbnb. My mother, Tiffany, Sarah, + Danielle (my friends and bridesmaids) arrived and so did hair + makeup and our getting ready photographer!

I just wanted to say, my makeup has never, ever looked better than on my wedding day and it did not budge once (even when I cried hysterically after our vows). My hair was perfect and lasted for several days after that day in which we did a photo session with a local photographer the day after.

While my dad or sister could not make it due to health issues and what not, I am forever grateful I had this moment with my mother. Growing up I gave my mom so many issues due to being mentally ill, refusing help, and being unmedicated. Nowadays, I can confidently say she's my rock, my best friend, and my biggest fan. I would of never gotten to be where I am at without her.

mother of bride and bride look at each other

A Quick Shoutout to My Gals

I am also so blessed that I have had my closest friends (minus two) come and supported me through out this entire process. When I had a fallout with my best friend (who was going to be my Maid of Honor), Tiffany took over and made sure everything went smoothly. She became my officiant, made sure we looked cute, and did the damn thing. Danielle is my chaotic friend who we had to edit out a lot of things she said that was picked up on the mics. She is an amazing time wherever we go, has an amazing aura, and always brightens my day. Sarah is my hot mom friend that does not tolerate bullshit. Loyal to the end, and has a laugh that is rather maniacal but is rather contagious. Y'all are the absolute best.

Although Darian + Maryanne could not physically be there, I would never get to where I am at through this entire process. Darian, you are my absolute best friend (since we were five!) and I love you more than anything in the world. Maryanne, you give me the bad bitch energy I always needed to thrive and made me confident in everything I do. Forever loving you both SO much.

I did not have real friends for the longest of time and having you all makes life truly amazing. I love each and everyone of you. Thank you for giving me undying support through my relationship, the planning process, and everything in between.

And to their Boyfriends

They also brought their boyfriends so that Wes could have some people behind him since neither his friends or family could make it. The hard truth about eloping or having a destination wedding is that not everyone will come. Sometimes the excuses are valid, but a lot of the time people just do not give the same support to you, as you would them.

Shoutout to Brian, Joe, and my videographer, Jake, for keeping the bro-vibes real and giving Wes support. Also shoutout again to Brian + Joe for always offering to drive, that was super dope of y'all.

bride takes iphone selfie

First Look

groom in burgandy suit waits for first look at the neon museum las vegas nevada

We did our first look at the Neon Museum. It is the coolest little outdoor museum of retired neon signs (hence the name). I obviously got there first with ALL my bridal party and mom/Lisa since Wes runs on his own time. I got to explore and kick dirt around in my boots, checking out all the cool signs. Wes arrives and its time to do THE BIG REVEAL!

I do not know why I felt so anxious walking to Wesley, but the nerves definitely kick in with a mixture of excitement. This is our moment, the one we have been waiting for, and it happens in a matter of minutes. To calm the nerves, I stare directly at him as I walk and do not put my focus anywhere else.

After we got some couple’s portraits done, we had everyone else come in, look around, and take pictures with us! Then we got back inside the SUV, and both finished writing our vows on the way to the ceremony.

bride looks at groom during first look

Ceremony

Then it was time to get married.

You can watch the ceremony below:

The wonderful thing about eloping is that the focus is on you as a couple. We were surrounded by everyone who was genuinely happy for us. I could feel the love and support around us.

All-inclusive Planning: Cactus and Lace Weddings @cactusandlaceweddings

Location: Valley of Fire – Seven Sisters @valley.of.fire

Portrait Location: Las Vegas Neon Museum @theneonmuseumlasvegas

Officiant: Amanda Monk of Jubilee Occasions @jubilee_occasions_

Desserts: Caked Las Vegas @cakedlasvegas

Florals: The Front Porch Flowers @thefrontporchflowers

Hair and Makeup: Ruby Finch Salon @rubyfinchsalon

Photography: Kayla Doty and Amanda Monk of Cactus and Lace Weddings

Videography: Christina Hernandez Artistry

After the elopement, we went to Hank’s Fine Steaks and Martini Bar. Surprisingly, this was one of the more vegan friendly spots on the strip and the drinks were delicious. I had mushroom risotto which was to die for. We drank and ate and had a great night. We stayed out a bit in the casino after, but went back to the hotel room.

A Weekend in Vegas

untitled image

The next day, we met up with a local photographer, Jenni (insta@/jenniphoto.co) who did a photo session of us on the Fremont Experience! We woke up at 6 am to be able to catch sunrise and it was well worth it because our pictures came out AMAZING. She was such a sweet individual, and had us doing the cutest prompts. She was so personable and knew of the best spots - I totally recommend her for anyone looking for a session!

After a nap, the group of us went to and experienced OMEGA MART, which is one of the coolest art installations in Las Vegas. I totally recommend going - you can literally spend hours there, figuring out all the hidden secrets. After, we went to the Seven Magic Mountains and enjoyed the 76 degree weather.

The last few days we ate, drank, went to a boxing match and enjoyed our time together until we flew home. Marrying my best friend was absolutely perfect in every way - eloping was so much more amazing then we ever expected and if we had unlimited funds and could redo it, we would do the exact same over again.

Want to see elopements I've done? Check these bad boys out:
PSA: I'll hop on a plane, anytime, anywhere.

Lush Floral Extravagant Brooklyn Elopement | Adam + Adam.

What happens when two Adams fall in love? They run away to The Pink Moon in Brooklyn, NY, to have a lavish elopement. The Pink Moon (insta@/thepinkmoonbk) is a gorgeous venue in the heart of Brooklyn (located at 478 3RD AVENUE) - its brick wall, the greenery, the murals bring a uniqueness to this intimate venue. The owner, renowned florist, Rebecca Shepherd, created this venue after spending a decade in the wedding floral business, to offer a special, intimate place for events, weddings, and collaborations.

Gay Couple Rings and Invitation detail shot

Their Love Story.

They met through the Philadelphia theatre community and over the years, they became friends. But what really pushed it to the next level? We can thank everyone's favorite Prince Charming, Shrek, for that. They both became involved in the production of "Shrek: The Musical" at the Walnut Street Theatre that their friendship blossomed and they even took it a step further. The Pandemic approached and this gave the ultimate test to their relationship. But they prevailed, able to grow further as friends and as individuals. "Having Adam by my side through all matters of uncertainty has been a lifesaver...I wake up every morning, look over and see his face, and I smile.I don't think there's been a day in the past three years that I haven't woke up smiling because of him. I consider myself lucky. Very very lucky." They have such a beautiful, authentic connection that blows others away.

The Details

Eloping does not mean you cannot have a gorgeous celebration for the beginning of your marriage. Elopement means the wedding is focused on the couple versus all the guests/the party. Often when picturing elopements, you envision running away into the mountains (I literally did this), but that is not always the case. Adam + Adam decided to go all out with their closest friends and family at this chic venue. The conundrum is often thinking elopements are just the couple, but often it just has to be some sort of intimate number less than twenty five.

Shoutout to some local vendors:

Dolce and Gelato Catering
Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design
Film Cars NY
Julissa Beauty

The Moments Leading Up

When I showed my husband the photos of this elopement, he said, "those are the two best looking guys". I mean - c'mon, do you see them? They both look incredible. They both went with very natural looks with just some concealer for the lack of sleep they got leading up to this moment.

groom getting makeup done by makeup artist

First Look

gay couple first look wedding

Portraits

gay couple greet guests at reception

gay couple Brooklyn New York City taxi

gay couple run across Brooklyn New York City street

A Sweet End to the Day

They did get a gelato cart to celebrate with more than just a cake! Not only was it a cute detail of their day but it was absolutely delicious.

Cheers to both Adams on eloping, and thank you so much for letting me document it. It was such a beautiful day to witness.

ice cream wedding vendor