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.
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.
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!
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.