Tips On Eloping In Napa Valley

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bride and groom walking through a vineyard in napa valley wearing a fedora and floral headband

You’ve just gotten engaged and everything is wonderful. No, fabulous! Perfect, even. Until you remember you’ve got a wedding to plan. Photographers, and caterers, and venues, oh my! It’s enough to make even Dorothy do a 180 on that yellow brick road. But don’t start clicking your heels just yet. We’ve got you covered with some helpful tips on planning a stress-free, romantic elopement in Napa Valley so you and your partner can focus on what’s really important: each other.

Napa couple at vineyard

Photo Credit || onelove photography

The 411 On Eloping

So, what does eloping really mean? Elopement is when you and your spouse-to-be decide that instead of a big wedding ceremony and reception, you’d rather have an intimate or entirely private marriage and celebration. Many couples also include a few close friends and family (although, strictly speaking, if your guest lists tops 10 invitees, we’re not sure that still qualifies as an elopement).

There are lots of reasons why brides and grooms choose to do this and you’ve undoubtedly got your own. The idea of throwing a huge event might be overwhelming, traditional Napa weddings might be too big for your budget or just not your thing, you may want something more intimate or something totally different, this may be your second wedding…the list goes on and on. Whatever your reason for deciding on an elopement in Napa Valley, you certainly don’t have to sacrifice style and romance in order to have the intimate wedding you desire. 

elopement groom in vest and hat and bride with a flower headband and colorful bouquet

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

wine barrel with colorful floral arrangement in napa valley

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

elopement ceremony in front of wine barrels with colorful flowers. bride and groom wearing a floral headband and fedora

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

License to Wed

If you’re over 18, all you have to do is show up (i.e., no appointment necessary) to the Napa County Recorder-County Clerk office between 8 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. on a weekday with a government issued ID, completed marriage license application, and a payment for $83 (via cash, card, or check). Yes, it really is that easy.

Once you’ve obtained your marriage license, you’ll have 90 days to say “I do” in a ceremony anywhere in California. If you’d rather go ahead and have your ceremony at the county office when you pick up your license, there is an additional $50 fee, and you will need to make an appointment either between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. or between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Having A Witness

California laws require that you only need one witness on hand for your intimate ceremony, not including the wedding officiant. So whether it’s a close friend, family member, your photographer, or the guy that cleans your gutters, all you need is one person to witness your elopement in Napa.

Planning An Elopement in Napa

Just because you’re holding an intimate ceremony with only your S.O. by your side (or a few friends and family members) doesn’t mean that you should forego the celebration. Napa wedding planners are used to seeing couples travel to this stunning region for a quick elopement and many would love to offer their services. Planners like Run Away With Me actually specialize in catering for elopements and can help you and your partner plan a small shindig to celebrate your new life as newlyweds. Run Away With Me can help you find a photographer, venue, officiant, and whatever else you might need to say a low-key “I do” in Napa Valley.

bride and groom in napa outside with bride looking at the camera

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

bride holding a colorful bouquet of flowers in a hay field

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

bride and groom looking into each others eyes in a hay field

Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie

Simple doesn’t have to mean sacrifice and you can’t go wrong with a wedding of any size in California’s Napa Valley. And remember, you and your partner can still create a Zola registry even if you decide to elope. So what are you waiting for?

Featured Photo Credit || Apollo Fotografie


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