Joshua Tree and Palm Springs elopement
How to plan your elopement in Joshua Tree National Park
Permits and fees
Let’s start with what is most important before digging into planning your Joshua Tree elopement and in any National Parks in the USA. National Parks, in general, require to have you purchase and apply for a permit. Please note Joshua Tree requires to have an extra permit per vendor. You will have to purchase a permit for your photographer. REMEMBER your photography permit or Wedding permit DOES NOT include the entrance fee you’ll have to pay before entering the park. If you plan on having an Engagement Session or extra Couple photos taken any other day of your trip to Joshua tree. You’ll need to have a permit for that day as well. You can give them a call and ask all the questions you have and make sure you’re prepared before getting in the park.
“All weddings require a Special Park Use Permit regardless of size. The cost of the wedding application is $120.00 and is non-refundable. Additional cost can vary depending on the size of your wedding and location. If you are hiring a professional photographer or cater they are required to obtain a separate Special Use Permit.” Here is the link for you to reach out to Joshua Tree and purchase your permit.
Things to respect while eloping or having a wedding in Joshua Tree National Park
Let’s keep going with respecting the environment you’re planning on visiting. It’s so important for me to keep every single place the way you found them and be respectful of the beauty we have the chance to live in. LEAVE NO TRACE. It is what everybody should do when planning a wedding somewhere. Here is the list you’ll also find on the link I shared above. Wondering why they put this in place? It’s simple they want to preserve the original plants and not introduce any new species to this special desert ecosystem. Be respectful. There are so many ways to have the perfect wedding while still following what they recommend. And don’t forget to share the resources and website with your vendors so everybody is on board and ready to go for your big day.
Items that are permitted for a wedding
The arch must be free-standing
Small table for guest book
Cooler with water
Items not permitted for a wedding
Non-battery powered candles
Any live animals, including doves, butterflies, etc
Picking a ceremony location
My favorite part! When picking a location keep in mind the number of guests you’ll be able to have if you’re not planning an elopement where it is just the two of you. Once your ceremony is over you can travel within the park and have your portrait session anywhere you wish. This is just for your ceremony set up, once you guys have exchanged your vows you can plan a little adventure through the park and have some fun getting epic wedding portraits! If you haven’t visit the park before I know it can feel overwhelming picking a location. Do your research and ask your photographer about where would be best. They’ll be able to recommend the perfect location! For your portrait session. I highly recommend you arrive a few days prior to your elopement and go enjoy what Joshua Tree National Park has to offer and scout a few locations you really love.
Weddings of 25 or less
Hidden Valley Picnic Area (not permitted in March-May)
Quail Springs Picnic Area (not permitted in March-May)
Rattlesnake Picnic Area
Find your Wedding Vendors
Either you want to be minimalistic or go all in. There is one thing you’ll need to do and it’s planning your elopement by choosing your vendor team. They will be the ones putting your vision and dream elopement to life. Here are a few vendors you can start reaching out to:
A photographer duh! Makeup artist and Hairstylist, Florist, Rental Company for your ceremony site, a Caligrapher, Stationery designer. There are so many options for how you could go about it. You can reach out to me anytime and I’ll walk you through your elopement planning from A to Z.
Rent an Airbnb
There are so many amazing and cute Airbnb’s in Joshua Tree town or Twentynine Palms. When I visited Joshua Tree, I was personally staying in Twentynine Palms and Marisa my amazing wedding designer planner and florist was staying in Joshua Tree town. If you’re a trooper you can also plan on staying in the national park and set your tent in one of their campgrounds. Either way, you’ll have the time of your life.
When is the best time to visit Joshua tree, National Park?
Spring and Fall are the ideal seasons for visiting Joshua Tree. If you’re planning on eloping in the Park make sure to pick a weekday and plan around the sun (sunrise or sunset). You’ll avoid the crowd and it will be cooler in the morning and at night. If you do plan on going during the summer (hot season) be prepared to bring on extra water and everything you’ll need to stay hydrated. During the winter, Joshua tree can get a snowfall here and there and it’s absolutely magical. Make sure to bring on extra layers so you don’t freeze out. I personally visited Joshua tree in April during the flower bloom. Check this website out
My extra tips
- There are three entries in Joshua Tree National Park. One in Joshua Tree town called the West Entrance, one in Twenty Nine Palms called the East entrance. There is a road that loops from one entrance to the other and about right in the middle of this loop, you’ll find a road to go through the southern part of the park which looks so different than the rest of it and so worth seeing too!
- Plan on staying a few days. I’m serious. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you won’t want to regret seeing it all! The hikes are super easy and don’t forget to bring on extra water!
- Plan a day trip to Palm springs. It’s only an hour away and worth the visit! You can also plan a day hike in the famous Coachella Valley.
- The trees are all over the place not just in the actual National Park! So go explore the towns and scenery!
- I went in early April and it was right within the amazing Californian flower bloom! The cacti were blooming and flowers were all over the park. A shade of yellow and purple flowers. Absolutely amazing.
- Palm Springs is an hour drive away from Joshua Tree National Park so plan ahead when going in the park.
Best Wedding Venues in Joshua Tree and Palm springs
If you want to have your elopement or intimate wedding in a venue near Joshua Tree National Park and still get the desert vibe you’ve been dreaming about for your wedding here are my top picks for you:
About the Styled Shoot:
Last April Tim and I were about to elope in Yosemite National Park. My first thought was: I should stay longer and visit the places in California I haven’t got a chance to see yet. I contacted Marisa from Tropic of Flower and started to exchange ideas with her on what I was looking for. Little did I know that she was going to set up the most perfect Same-Sex Wedding Styled Shoot ever!! The setup Marisa from Tropic of Flowers put together was beyond all of my expectations. All of the details she had prepared to represent The famous Thelma & Louise movie matched the Joshua Tree desert vibe with perfection. Indeed she used every important part of the movie and re-transcript it through the details of this Joshua Tree Elopement. We had the chance to have Dani and Georgina as our amazing couple to model for us and it was a pure blast. I’m so excited to finally be sharing all of these images with you.
When I lived in California back in 2014-2015 I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to visit Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Well, I don’t know what I was thinking and why the heck did I pass on these two incredible places. I get the hype about both places now and I can’t recommend it enough for couples looking for a desert boho vibe yet modern with its mid-century architecture. Here are a few tips for you if you’re planning on eloping or getting married in Joshua Tree National Park or Palm Springs.
As seen on Junebug Weddings
I could not explain a better way than how Junebug Weddings describe this Joshua Tree Same-Sex wedding!
“Ever wondered what would have happened if Thelma and Louise had abandoned their original plan and decided to elope instead? Well, thanks to the brilliant minds at Tropic of Flowers and the keen eye of Anais Possamai Photography, we don’t have to wonder anymore! This same-sex wedding elopement inspiration took place in the wild desert terrains of Joshua Tree and Palm Springs. It featured an earthy color palette with pops of coral that perfectly matched the overall retro vibe. Between the outfit changes that took the couple from t-shirts and jeans to vintage ensembles to southwest-meets-boho wedding attire, the vintage Thunderbird, and the intimate sweetheart table setup, every single detail of this styled shoot made our hearts skip a beat. If you’ve been looking for fun, fresh, and wildly romantic elopement ideas, this shoot is filled with picture-perfect inspiration!”
Photography – Anais Possamai Photography / Event Planning – Tropic of Flowers / Floral Design – Tropic of Flowers / Cake – Nicole Bakes Cakes / Stationery – Tropic of Flowers / Hair and Makeup Artist – Face by Raymie / Wedding Dress – Grace Loves Lace / Jewelry – Esqueleto, Lauren Wolf Jewelry, and Adeline Jewelry / Rentals – Circa Vintage Rentals / Vintage Thunderbird – Joe’s Classics / Vinty
Other photos from my Californian trip: click here to see this epic Big Sur couple session!