A Bride and Groom walk through Joshua Tree National Park after their intimate wedding ceremony.

Getting Married in Joshua Tree National Park | Intimate Desert Elopement


November 12, 2022 | Joshua Tree, California | Brittany + Daniel

A Bride and Groom walk through Joshua Tree National Park after their intimate elopement ceremony.

“Truly and simply WOW. Andre and Alyssia shot our engagement, and there was no question they were going to shoot our wedding. We had a small wedding in Joshua Tree with only 20 friends and family, our wedding was small, quick, and minimal. The ceremony was literally 8 minutes and I was so scared the moments I dreamed of would be missed because we kept it all so low key but everything was captured better than I could have dreamed. Nothing was missed, and it all came out so amazing. They met us at the park a few weeks out to have a beer and scout the location with us, which was so fun. And honestly a life saver, having their eye while choosing the location was so insanely helpful and I’m so glad I didn’t do that without them. Day of, Andre & Alyssia kept us on time without ever rushing us. They allowed room for humanness and had coffee with us while we listened to music and started the day. They both remembered things my husband and I forgot or didn’t think of at all. They were detailed and organized, they even dressed to compliment the colors of our wedding. The wedding was small and cheap and cute but the photos , like, again WOW. It’s so insanely gorgeous, detailed and charming. They made the desert setting we chose, that was cold with pointy trees and gray mountains, look romantic and beyond what i thought was possible. The photos are something I’ll truly treasure forever, its more than a review can explain, the photos show the day exactly the way I felt it and it was perfect day. I couldn’t speak more highly or suggest them more.”
– Brittany + Daniel

Nothing beats planning an intimate desert wedding or elopement in Joshua Tree National Park. The best part? We only live less than 2 hours away! So yes, we travel there quite often and it never gets old. With the help of our planning skills and love for nature, we knew how to give our couple the best experience ever. Our couple was a very laid back and fun duo and wanted their special day to be all about what they love and wanted to do. They were not huge on planning a big traditional wedding, so when they reached out to us and said they wanted an intimate desert wedding, we knew the perfect spot for them!

Brittany & Daniel decided to make it a whole weekend of celebration. They checked into their beautiful and unique Airbnb called Mars Garden located just outside of Joshua Tree National Park and near the town. The night before, they hosted a casual gathering for some food and drinks with family and friends at the Joshua Tree Saloon. Such a cool place to grab a beer and a bite to eat, highly recommend visiting!

The day of their wedding, they woke up early and enjoyed sipping on their coffees together on the Airbnb patio. It was a slow morning and they were able to enjoy every moment together, even while getting ready. Once they were all dressed, we did a first look in the backyard surrounded by all the pretty cactus then headed to the park!

They decided to have their ceremony at the Qual Springs Picnic Area around 4pm- this was during the month of November so it was just about an hour before sunset. The sun was so golden and ended up being such a pretty evening! It did get pretty chilly once the sun set behind the mountain but it was expected. Ceremony was a quick 15 minutes followed by family portraits. Then we took them around the area and took their romantic portraits. Once we were done with their portraits and cleaned up the area, they headed back to the Airbnb and ordered pizza from 2 Guys Pie and had a little pizza party with all their family and friends that were staying at the Airbnb. It was such a fun night and we are so happy we got to capture it all!

In case you are stuck and have no clue where to start planning your Joshua Tree Elopement, you’ll find everything you need to know below. Let’s start!

Step One: Pick your date.

When it comes to choosing your date, you want to avoid picking a date that falls under a holiday weekend (spring or fall school breaks). It tends to get very crowded during these times of the year. We recommend choosing a date between the spring and fall months if you are not a huge fan of the scorching heat. The desert tends to be very unpleasant during the summer time. Joshua Tree is our favorite to visit during the months of October-February. Not too hot during the day but the nights do get a bit chilly. Always be prepared and flexible for unexpected weather changes!

Step Two: Apply for a Special Use Permit

Yay! You chose your date! Now it’s time to apply for a permit. A Special Use permit is $120 and allows you to hold a ceremony in certain areas of the park. Depending on the location, how many people will be present and the time of year, there will be certain areas in the park that you can choose from. Make sure to apply for a permit no later than 15 days before your inquired date and no more than 12 months when applying. To apply and read more information on what is permitted and not-permitted for a wedding at Joshua Tree, you can visit their website here!

Step Three: Choose Your Ceremony Location

Once your permit gets approved, you now have to choose a location to hold your ceremony. The park only allows certain areas to hold a wedding so we suggest to try to visit the park before your date, site-see all the spots and pick your favorite one. Here is a list of all the beautiful locations you can choose from if you have less than 35 guests attending:

  • Hidden Valley Picnic Area No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles.
  • Turkey Flats No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles.
  • Cap Rock No more than 25 people total and up to 8 vehicles.
  • Rattlesnake Picnic Area No more than 20 people and 8 vehicles.
  • Quail Springs Picnic Area No more than 15 people and 8 vehicles.
  • Split Rock No more than 15 people and 5 vehicles.
  • Porcupine Wash No more than 12 people and 4 vehicles.
  • Queen Valley Mine Intersection No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles.
  • Lost Horse Parking Lot No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles.
  • Live Oak Picnic Area No more than 5 people and 3 vehicles.

If you are holding a ceremony with 100 guests or less, Indian Cove Amphitheater is your best option. Please note, this area only allows 1 vehicle. You must hire a shuttle for your guest to this location. The park does not provide transportation. (Location not available June 1-August 31)

*This ceremony location took place at Qual Springs Picnic Area at 4pm during the month of November. Couple asked additional permission to bring benches.

A Bride and Groom walk through Joshua Tree National Park after their intimate wedding ceremony.

Step Four: Where to Stay

Joshua Tree offers so many beautiful and unique Airbnbs and lodging! Make sure to check with airbnb hosts if having pictures taken or hosting a post-ceremony dinner at the airbnb is allowed. Some rentals do not allow parties/events or even photography on their property so make sure to check with this before booking anything. Here are some of our favorite stays in Joshua Tree and near by towns!

Step Five: Book Your Vendors

Start by researching vendors who specialize in intimate, desert weddings and have a portfolio that resonates with your aesthetic preferences. Communicate your specific desires and values clearly, seeking vendors who are flexible and willing to personalize their services to reflect your unique love story. By selecting like-minded professionals, you can create a harmonious, authentic celebration that honors both the natural beauty of Joshua Tree and your shared values. When you book us as your photographer and videographer team, you’ll have day one planning and guidance with vendor referrals such as hair & makeup, florist, planners and more.

As you finalize your plans for an unforgettable Joshua Tree elopement, remember that the most important elements are those that reflect your love and commitment to each other. Embrace the natural beauty of the desert, and let it be the stunning backdrop to your intimate celebration. With careful planning, thoughtful vendor selection, and a focus on sustainability, your elopement will not only be a beautiful event but also a meaningful expression of your values and vision. Enjoy every moment of this unique and personal journey, creating memories that will last a lifetime in the magical landscape of Joshua Tree.


We would love to help you plan your Joshua Tree Elopement! Reach out to us if you would love to work with us. We are ready when you are!


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