March 13, 2023

Location Guides, Resources

How to have a Carmel-by-the-sea and Monterey Elopement

Coastal elopements are like no other, especially in the Bay Area! What’s so great about having a Carmel-by-the-sea or Monterey elopement is the fact that everything is centrally located, there’s so much to do, and see, and places to stay! Not only that but Carmel-by-the-sea and Monterey are known for their breathtaking scenery. It’s the perfect location for a California destination elopement near the coastline! 

Imagine eloping on seaside cliffs or pristine beaches while spotting whales or sea otters. A truly unforgettable and incredible experience! Aside from the lush and dramatic scenery, you’ll also experience a plethora of fun-filled activities from kayaking to hiking. And you can’t forget about the delicious award-winning food and wine that the coastline has to offer! 

If this sounds like your dream elopement makes sure to keep reading this blog on how to have a Carmel-by-the-sea and Monterey Elopement for elopement locations and more! 

Carmel and Monterey Elopement Locations 

Carmel and Monterey are a dreamland of beaches with SO many to choose from whether you are planning an intimate wedding or “just us” elopement you’ll surely find one that encapsulates your vision. As a local California elopement photographer, I have a few favorites that are great for your special day!

Carmel River State Beach

Carmel River State Beach is a great elopement location for a more intimate private setting. It’s South of Carmel and is a mile-long beach that provides panoramic views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as well as rockscapes that are a perfect backdrop for photos! 

Plus, Carmel River State Beach also allows dogs! Many beaches in both Carmel and Monterey allow dogs so if you have any dogs make sure to check out California State Parks website for more information!

Carmel City Beach

Carmel beach is one of the most iconic beaches on California’s Central Coast. This beach is large enough to have both an intimate wedding as well as a “just us” elopement. Keep in mind that during the summer on sunny days, this beach can be packed full of tourists but it’s so large that you shouldn’t have an issue finding your own space. You can even venture further down North or South closer to Ocean Avenue and find even more space for your elopement. If you head North you’ll be heading closer to Pebble Beach and if you head South you’ll head closer to Carmel oceanfront, either way, you’ll have a great beach elopement location. 

Another great thing about Carmel City Beach is that you don’t need a permit to elope here even with a larger party as it allows up to 100 people!

Lover’s Point

Lover’s Point is owned and managed by the city of Pacific Grove and is popular for both elopements and intimate weddings. It’s located at the end of 17th street and is 4.4 acres. It offers a free beach venue and has a stunning overlook. But keep in mind that when the high tide comes around the beach disappears. 

Also, if you decide to have a simple elopement with no chairs, arches, etc. you can forego the permit process, but if you are thinking of having a more formal intimate wedding you may need a permit. 

Garrapata State Beach 

Garrapata State Beach is just a few miles south of the city of Monterey and offers a gorgeous white sand beach with a multitude of beautiful rock formations. Not only that but, it also has vast views out to the pacific and has two miles of beachfront. Not only that but, it provides coastal hiking where there is an easy beach and coastal trail access directly off Hwy 1. Most of my couples love to head here at the end of the day for a romantic ending during sunset. Although, remember that permits are required for elopement ceremonies at this state park where you can only have 25 guests max on the coastal side of the park.

Monterey Wedding Venues

While there are many elopement locations out in nature in both Monterey and Carmel there are also some incredible hotels/Inns and venues that Monterey and Carmel have to offer for intimate weddings and elopements. These same hotels and Inns are also great places to stay while you’re visiting for your Monterey elopement. 

  1. The Barns at Cooper Molera
  2. Colton Hall
  3. Memory Garden 
  4. Wave Street Studios
  5. Club Del Monte
  6. The Club at Pasadera
  7. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
  8. Old Monterey Inn
  9. Asilomar Conference Ground
  10. Point Pinos Lighthouse

Carmel Wedding Venues



The Hyatt here in Carmel is a great hotel for intimate weddings and elopements with its stunning views of the oceans and coastline. This specific hotel also has access to Carmel River State Beach so if you decide to have your elopement ceremony here you can stay at this hotel for the night! 

La Playa

La Playa is a breathtaking hotel with its Mediterranean style and greenery all over, from cypress trees to overgrown flower-filled walkways on their terrace. It is also right in the heart of the beach and streets of Carmel. 

Mission Ranch

Mission Ranch is perfect if you are looking for a wide range of places to elope at. They offer patios, fields, and barns. They also provide you with getting-ready cottages that are surrounded by lots of trees and greenery.

The Hotel Carmel 


L’Auberge is one of the finest hotels in downtown Carmel offering luxury suites, breathtaking courtyards, and an in-house Michelin star restaurant. Keep in mind this hotel is on the pricier side, but you get what you pay for! 


  1. The Vagabond House 
  2. Cypress Inn 

Whether you choose to have a Carmel-by-the-sea or Monterey elopement make sure to always look into permits ahead of time to ensure that where ever you choose to have your elopement ceremony you are prepared in advance. In conclusion, both Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea are gorgeous places to elope and are centrally located for just about everything so make sure to check out local food and drink spots as well as all the activities around town! 

But if you aren’t sure what to see or where to go you’ll have me as your Carmel and Monterey elopement photographer and guide! I would love to capture your special day amongst epic backgrounds and provide you with the best experience possible! Contact me through my website to get started! 

For more coastline elopements read Brooke and Jason’s Big Sur blog

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 The Ultimate Planning Elopement Guide & Checklist

Feeling inspired and want to know how to plan your elopement? I've created a helpful guide and checklist to plan the elopement of your dreams in 5 easy steps.  

Elopement Guide

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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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