California is a place that we’ve all known about since we were kids. It’s where the stars live and where big movies were made. As we grew up, we learned about the beautiful beaches of Big Sur, the winding Pacific Coast Highway that travels through all those Instagram-worthy locations, and of course the national parks of Yosemite, Sequoia, and Joshua Tree (just to name a few!)
California has the perfect mix of beach, desert, boho, chic, elegant, mountain, rural, and Tuscan feels. That’s why it’s the perfect place to host your elopement or destination wedding. So read out to learn about the best AirBnB wedding locations in California.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about California wedding laws.
California Wedding Law Requirements:
You have to be 18 years old.
You will both need to pick up the certificate in person with valid IDs.
Your license needs to be mailed in within 10 days of your ceremony.
You need at least 1 witness.
Any resident or non-resident can apply and receive a marriage license.
You need to request copies and pay for them when mailing the license in (otherwise you won’t receive a copy).
Okay, that’s great! Now let’s move on to the AirBnB wedding locations, right?
Well, first let me break a few things down for you.
Whether you’re a California resident or just visiting, you need to know a few things about this blog. I’ve broken it down into two types of weddings. First, we have destination weddings and later we have elopements. I will explain both of them and split the stays between the two definitions.
What is a destination wedding?
According to The Knot, a destination wedding is a wedding hosted in a vacation like setting where guests travel and stay in that location for a set time and celebrate with the couple there. I think of destination weddings as larger than elopements. These can range from 15 guests and up and work through a more traditional wedding approach.
The locations I’ve chosen to highlight in this section are perfect destination wedding stops because they host around 15-16 people, which means you can invite your most important people to your wedding and all stay together. These AirBnB wedding venues are in amazing super beautiful places throughout California such as Carmel, Monterey, and Napa Valley.
One of the best things about choosing to have a destination wedding is that you’re avoiding the high cost rental of a venue because the location is the venue. A typical Los Angeles reception venue can cost anywhere from $6000 to $16000 for just one night and that doesn’t include much else.
So here are my top choices for destination wedding venues. Whether you want to share your nuptials in the space provided or would rather share them nearby on the beach or in the foothills, you cannot go wrong with these wedding AirBnBs.
The Best AirBnB Wedding Spots for Destination Weddings
The Malibu Garden Estate is located conveniently in Malibu, California. It’s the perfect place to blast Malibu by Kim Petras or Malibu by Hole your entire week staying there. At around $3000 a night with the ability to host up to 16 guests, this is the perfect stop in SoCal for your destination wedding.
Check out this AirBnb!
If you’d prefer to get married on the beach, you’ll need to get a special permit from LA County. Here’s a link.
If you’re looking for amazing food in Malibu look no further:
This wedding AirBnB is perfect for elopements or destination weddings. Located a 1.5 hours south of San Francisco, this AirBnB has it all. Literally! Up to 30 guests at your wedding event, 18 of which can be housed in the BnB. What drew me to this location was that they have chairs, tables, lights, and wine barrels all ready for you to use at your elopement or destination wedding. That makes this the perfect AirBnB wedding venue.
Check out this Wedding AirBnB.
Along with the included amenities, they also provide a wedding venue planner to help decorate the space, provide restrooms for your guests, and even give you a complimentary wedding cake! They also include breakfast each morning for you and all your guests and have connections to a BBQ and Taco truck that you can host at your wedding which to me sounds PERFECT!
Chateau Carmel, located in Carmel, California, is the perfect location for couples who want a European destination wedding in Italy, without the costs or hassle of flying to Europe.
Carmel is just north of Los Angeles and has that amazing super upscale feel about it. Just minutes from the ocean, this is another ideal location if you want to get married either at the AirBnB or on the beach, you’ve got options.
Here’s a list of fun things to do when in Carmel!
Check out this wedding AirBnB
This idyllic location is set farther inland in California in Lake Tahoe, California. Lake Tahoe, located in Northeast California on the border of Nevada, is a ski and tourist location that draws a crowd all year long. Instead of the beach vibes you’d get of Coastal California, they’re traded in for pine, mountains, and a gorgeous view of Lake Tahoe.
For those wanting a larger group for their destination wedding, this location can host up to 30 people but requires a week reservation for events on site. (Of course you could just easily get a permit here and get married on Tahoe public lands!).
It seems all year is a good time to visit Tahoe but if you’re keen on water adventures, come in the warmer months of May-September and if you fancy skiing, the winter months will work best for you!
Check out this AirBnB!
Here’s a little gallery of other amazing destination wedding AirBnBs as well!
The Best AirBnB Wedding Elopement Locations
Elopement weddings, according to Simply Eloped are small weddings held in unconventional locations with an intimate (if any) guest list, a focus on the couple, and a non-traditional approach to wedding nuptials.
Long gone are the days of when eloping meant to just run away and secretly do it without telling anyone. Many people choose to elope today for different reasons whether it be cost, planning, stress, or just the desire to shake things up a bit. (Check out this elopement in the Las Vegas Desert!)
For me, I believe that elopements are the most badass thing a couple can do. Two people are literally shaking centuries of tradition up and standing up for themselves by choosing to refocus the day on themselves.
Many times, wedding planning can turn into very stressful situations. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to YOUR wedding but you know what they say about opinions. So why not skip the drama and elope instead?
My girl, Sam Starns, says in her amazing book, Elope Your Life, that there are many ways to choose to elope while also informing people and also not entirely excluding them from the excitement.
You can livestream your elopement
Host a back-home reception or dinner where everyone celebrates you
Hire a videographer and photographer to document your elopement before, during, and after
There are a ton of ways to allow people to be involved without inviting 150 people to your elopement.
Here are some amazing elopement AirBnB wedding stays perfect for your intimate California elopement.
Have you ever dreamt about having a truly intimate elopement ceremony surrounding by the beautiful and rugged desert? Here’s you’re chance! Located 3 hours northeast of LA and 3.5 hours west of Las Vegas, this truly is a unique spot to elope. Just a few minutes outside of Ridgecrest, California, there are hotels, modern amenities, and places to eat just 15 minutes away.
While it would just be you two spending the night in this beautiful space, being surrounded by hundreds of acres of nothing truly gives you the privacy you may be looking for after your elopement.
What’s even better is that if you want to visit Vegas afterward, it’s just a 3.5 hour drive down the road and we all know Vegas is a fun place to stop for all sorts of fun. Check out this blog full of Vegas attractions.
Just minutes outside of the beautiful, Joshua Tree National Park, this location can host intimate elopements and small weddings. While it’s not ideal for a whole group of people to crash at, you can inquire with the owner about hosting your elopement there.
I love the desert because it has such a unique feel and vibe. It appears empty but really, it’s full of life but because its a tough place to live in, few have settled in it. Imagine being able to spend your nights with your partner, newly married, in that beautiful hot tub with a billion stars overhead.
Another perk of getting married on this private property is that you won’t need any special permits to be married within the National Park. But if you wanted to get married there, here’s a link to the permit and request page! (It’s only $120 for the permit!)
Check out this Joshua Tree Elopement AirBnB.
Located on the other side of the Napa Valley is the Sonoma Valley, rich with wine, culture, and lots of great places to eat. Imagine flying into San Franscico or Oakland and taking an hour drive north to some of the most beautiful rolling hills you’ve seen. And growing on those hills? Well, it’s grapes of course! And California is known for its amazing grapes and even more known for it’s delicatable wines.
Check out this Sonoma Elopement AirBnB!
This location is great for small groups of people but can host a few others as well if you’re looking to share your elopement space for a few days! Just minutes from the beach and of course wineries, this wedding and elopement AirBnB is a great choice for those looking for something intimate, tasteful, and tasty!
If you’re looking for an alternative to a backyard wedding, northern California has a treat for you! Their beaches, unlike those of SoCal, are more rugged, secluded, and best of all, far less crowded! Just a few miles to the west lies the Sonoma Coast and with it, plenty of beautiful places to share nuptials.
This place, Sengled Falls, has a seasonal waterfall and at low tide, would allow you and your partner to meet there to share your elopement wedding vows by the ocean.
This final stop is located near Big Sur, California. It’s a cozy little cottage that would be an ideal place to spend some quiet evenings with your newly or soon to be married partner.
For elopements, I love the idea of some sort of cozy and intimate spot that just the two of you can share in. Of course, if you want the beautiful stretches of beach, they’re just a few minutes away and you’re also close to wineries near Carmel, California.
Be sure to check out this cozy cottage elopement AirBnB.
If you do plan to get married at Big Sur, you’ll need to apply for a permit, pay the fees, and be sure to do so 30 days + in advance. You’ll also need liability insurance for $1,000,000 (easily done through your own insurance agency and costs are minimal). Here’s a link to all the information you’ll need for that!
If you have other locations you’d like to see on this list, drop a comment below! I would love to also invite you to check out our inclusive elopement package that creates an inclusive elopement option for you so you don’t have to. Check it out here!
I’ve also created a list of other locations you might consider as well. Check them out in the link below! All the links for AirBnB are affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you book through it. We always appreciate you booking through our links as it costs you nothing and it helps keep our business and dreams alive!
Are you ready to say yes to your new adventure with your destination wedding or elopement? If so, send me a message today and we can chat!