Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Elopement Guide | Jenn Whalen

December 10, 2022

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Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Elopement Guide

Southern California has the most diverse beautiful landscapes including beaches, mountains, and lakes, two of those being Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead! These two mountain lake escapes are located in the majestic mountains of San Bernardino National Forest less than two hours away from Los Angeles! As a California elopement photographer whose in love with all things mountains, hiking, and nature I can tell you with 100% certainty that it’s the perfect getaway for adventurous couples looking to elope in the great outdoors! There’s no doubt that you’ll want to have a Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead elopement. 

Why You Should have a Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Elopement

What I love most about Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead is the fact that it is amazing year-round!! They are known for their outdoor recreational adventures such as hiking, backpacking, snow skiing, fishing and SO much more! No matter what time of the year you decide to elope you’ll find plenty of things to do and see! 

This brings me into talking about the breathtaking landscape that both Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead share! Their stunning scenery and wildlife will have you in a peaceful serene mindset, one of the many reasons I love it so much for elopements! Every corner you turn you’re surrounded by nature and beautiful locations excellent for exchanging vows and tying the knot. 

Where to Have Your Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead Elopement

Figuring out where you want to elope may be the hardest decision you’ll have to make for your elopement day but it’s one of the most important decisions! Here are a couple of Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead elopement locations you’ll want to check out when planning on where to tie the knot!

Butler Peak

Butler Peak is a fire outlook located between the towns of Green Valley Lake and Fawnskin. It’s the perfect spot if you are looking for a gorgeous lookout point with incredible views of Big Bear Lake as well as the forests. 

Castle Rock Trail

In my opinion, this may be of the most stunning views here at Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead! At Castle Rock, you can see the lake as well as the entirety of the San Bernardino National Forest. Although this is an unforgettable location to elope it does take some leg work. It’s a steep 1.3-mile long hike but it is completely worth it! 

​​Boulder Bay Park 

If you’re looking to tie the knot right on the lake then Boulder Bay Park is the elopement location for you! This park is right on the water consisting of stunning views. Whether you want to tie the knot here or stop by after tying the knot somewhere else it’s a great spot for a picnic and/or a place where you can kayak and paddleboard out to one of the tiny islands!  

Secret Locations

There are many beautiful forested and lake-side locations throughout Big Bear that do not have a google address. A huge reason to hire a Big Bear elopement photographer is having my knowledge to take you around to all my recommended photogenic locations.

Lake Arrowhead

Last but not least, Lake Arrowhead is a must to elope at if you are looking for a quant little village to explore with impressive views and scenery along the lake! 

But keep in mind that there’s very little public access along the lake in Lake Arrowhead. Almost the entire lake has houses built along the shoreline and the lake and beach areas are only accessible via private access. I highly recommend renting a house on VRBO.com or Airbnb right on the lake if you desire to have lake access in Lake Arrowhead.

As an adventure elopement photographer, I like to find my couple’s secret and free spots to elope at. Your elopement location deserves to be unique to you, off the beaten path which I can give recommendations. Everything is personalized and unique to the couple and what their vision is for the day! 

Best time to Elope in Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead

Remember how I said that Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead are amazing year-round? It’s because it is! There really isn’t a “perfect” time to get eloped here because there isn’t a bad time to go! BUT remember that each season does bring different experiences so it depends on what your vision is for your elopement day. 

Winters in Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead are known for their snowy seasons as it’s a popular ski destination, so if you aren’t a big snow person then this might not be the best time for you to elope. Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead in the spring are surprisingly warmer now that the ski season is ending. It’s actually a great time to elope if you are looking to steer clear of the crowds! Two of my favorite seasons to experience Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead in their prime are Summer and Fall! Summer is a great time to experience the hiking that Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead have to offer and Fall is a splendid time to experience the fall foliage. Whenever you decide to have a Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead elopement you won’t be disappointed! 

Note: During winter, you may be required to put chains on your tires in order to drive up the mountain pass depending on the snowfall.

How to Get Legally Married in Big Bear

For many National parks it’s common you’ll need a permit but at the moment Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead don’t require permits as long as it’s on conservatory land, so if you are planning to elope somewhere other than on conservatory land I would recommend double checking on San Bernardino National Forest’s website!

Other than a permit you will need a marriage license! No matter where you decide to get married, marriage licenses are required and need to be obtained in the state you are planning to tie the knot! You can obtain your marriage license in any county and is valid throughout the entire state of California for 90 days. You can find out more information on California’s Department of Public Health for more!

Just as importantly you’ll need an elopement officiant! What’s so great about hiring me as your California elopement photographer is that I am also an ordained officiant which means you get a two-for-one!

Alternative locations for your elopement

Additionally, you might like to consider eloping in Idyllwild, Sequoia National Park, the Eastern Sierras region of California, Mammoth Lakes or Lake Tahoe.

To view an elopement in Idyllwild, click here.

To view my How to Elope in the Eastern Sierras & Mammoth Lakes, click here.

I hope this elopement guide has helped you get started on planning your Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead elopement! If you’re thinking about having an elopement in this majestic location here in Southern California and are looking for a California elopement photographer I’d love to capture your special day! 

Check out my packages and pricing on my website and see more of my work here! 

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From hiking up mountains to running into the ocean, I’m ready to capture your big day just as you imagine it. Let me help you create an experience free of stress and full of what matters most to you. 

I’m your California wedding and elopement photographer turned adventure buddy.

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