How To Elope in Joshua Tree, California • Brei Olivier


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How To Elope in Joshua Tree, California

Joshua Tree is a vast national park in Southern California where two very different desert ecosystems come to a meeting place. The wild landscape, great weather, and an incredibly starry night sky are a few of the reasons people flock to this area of southern California.

Come to see the ever quirky Joshua Trees, a species of yucca unique to the Mojave desert, but you’ll find so much more.

How to elope in Joshua Tree

  1. Choose a location. You can elope in Joshua Tree National Park, somewhere funky in Pioneer Town, an Airbnb, or on BLM land.
  2. Find an elopement photographer (Contact me HERE for a free Joshua Tree elopement consultation!)
  3. We’ll talk about your vision and I’ll lay out everything you need to know from where to stay, to finding reputable vendors, scouting the perfect ceremony spot, and everything else to make your elopement day absolutely incredible.
  4. Secure your marriage certificate and any necessary permits or approvals from your ceremony location.
  5. YOU GET MARRIED AND HAVE THE BEST DAY EVER + I capture it all on film!
  6. You celebrate and bask in the warm glow of newlywed love while I perfect your photo gallery.
  7. Relive your memories again and again through a curated and professionally edited online gallery of full-resolution photographs from your wedding day.

Information For Your Joshua Tree Elopement

Best time of year to get married in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree is located in the Mojave Desert of southern California and is known for being arid and hot, especially during the summer months. The chart below is from the Joshua Tree Visitor’s Guide. You can see that the average high from June-September is quite hot, and I do not recommend a Joshua Tree elopement during those months.

average temperatures and precipitation in Joshua Tree, California

The next weather season to consider in Joshua Tree when planning your elopement or wedding is their windy season. This season is often overlooked and something I didn’t learn about until I personally spent over a year living in the desert of New Mexico, but let me tell you – it is real, and it is most definitely annoying. If you look up average wind speeds during windy season, it’ll tell you something around 10mph. But remember, that’s an average speed over the 24 hours each day.

According to, windy season in Joshua Tree takes place for 4 months, from March-July. I have also been to Joshua Tree during the windy season and while it was not windy every day, it was very windy most days, especially during the evening hours.

Based on these two factors, I’d say the best time to elope in Joshua Tree is September through early November when the average temperatures are around 65-80 degrees.

How do you get to Joshua Tree?

Most people flying into Joshua Tree fly into Palm Springs airport, which is about 50 miles away, or LAX which is roughly 150 miles away.

Should we rent a car?

Yes. Joshua Tree is about an hour away from the nearest airport and the town itself is in a remote region. Renting a car will allow you to have a vehicle to move from location to location. And if you rent a 4×4 vehicle, you can go offroading!

Where should we stay?

There are tons of available AirBnb’s in and around Joshua Tree for your elopement or wedding! You could rent a totally groovy 70s style airstream, an off-grid retreat for you and your guests, a unique mid-century modern home with an outdoor shower, or an upscale adobe home with it’s own pool and epic sunset views.

Camping in Joshua Tree National Park

Or, if you’re the more outdoorsy type, camping in the national park under the stars would be an amazing way to celebrate your elopement! I really liked Indian Cove campground on the north side of the National Park. Here’s more info on the park’s camping options.

Park Fees

$30 entry fee per vehicle per day
Or you can purchase an annual national parks pass for $80, good for 1 year at any national park

elope in Joshua Tree National Park

Do I need a permit to get married in Joshua Tree National Park?

Yes. To legally get married in Joshua Tree National Park you need to request a Special Use Permit, even if you won’t have any guests attending. Make sure you send in your request at least 1 month prior to your desired wedding date.

Your photographer and/or videographer will need their own, separate permit as well.

What can I have at my wedding?

From the National Park website as of July 12, 2021:

Items that are permitted for a wedding
Arch, must be free-standing
Small table for guest book
Cooler with water
Live flowers
Battery-powered candles

Items not permitted for a wedding
Dried flowers
Non-battery powered candles
Any live animals, including doves, butterflies, etc
Smoke Bombs

How do we get a marriage license in Joshua Tree?

You’ll need a marriage license in order to get legally married in Joshua Tree. The fee in San Bernardino County is $89 and you can find the application and relevant information here.

Joshua Tree Elopement Packages

To make sure you have a great desert wedding, I recommend planning for at least a half-day experience. I have Joshua Tree elopement packages starting at 4 hours of coverage. For those who are wanting more of their wedding day story captured, I offer full-day packages or multi-day packages. Contact me here to start planning your elopement or small wedding in Joshua Tree!

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