Joshua Tree National Park Engagement Session


Lauren & Fuad’s Joshua Tree National Park Engagement Session

How to Elope in Josh Tree National Park

It was back to Joshua Tree National Park to capture Lauren and Fuad’s engagement session! They drove from San Diego and I from Phoenix to meet at this ever stunning desert. These two are set to have a romantic backyard wedding in September and that backyard being the Outer Bank! Where is the Outer Banks you ask??? Welp, in my good ole’ home state! I was super excited to get Lauren’s email with all the details of their wedding. Fuad used to vacation their with family growing up, while Lauren has never been but is super excited. The Outer Banks holds a special place for me, as a kid we used to vacation there a lot and in college I made it a personal goal to climb all of the Outer Bank’s light houses prior to graduating. Needless to say, I am pretty excited to head back there and capture these two’s special day!!

Their engagement session could not have come at a better time with me heading out soon for Van Life and their eight year anniversary coming up the following week! While these two have both called San Diego their home for nine years and met there they actually grew up not to far from each other! They are also from back East, but from Maryland. They also both went to school in Virginia to start their IT careers, crazy small world!! Fate finally brought them together though on the West coast and now their enjoying beach life together.

It was great getting to know Lauren and Fuad better during our session. Lauren and I chatted cameras and photography as she enjoys taking photos of friends, Fuad, travel and more. Fuad and I enjoyed chatting about golf considering the day after our session was the final round of the PGA Championship. I shared stories of being on the road photographing with the PGA of America and he shared stories of some the “hot” names he’s had a chance to golf with while living in San Diego. I asked if they had ever heard of my favorite restaurant, Kettner Exchange and turns out the live not to far from it! I am telling you if you are ever in the San Diego area, you must go eat here or have a cocktail! It also turns out that Lauren and I share a huge love for Iceland too! As we wrapped things up we of course had to take some photos with their pup, Buster! He was the cutest Boston Terrier and a natural pro in front of the camera!!

It was really a great session connecting with these two, scrambling over the rocks at Joshua Tree and taking in a killer sunset before we drove away in the light of the full moon. Joshua Tree will never will cease to amaze me with its golden light and quiet blue hour. It’s a truly special place for any hiker, climber or couple to have their engagement session or elopement. If you’d like to read more about the logistics of booking a session here keep on scrolling :)


How to Elope in Joshua Tree

If you wish to have your engagement session or to elope in Joshua Tree you will need to pull special use permits. This may sound scary, but do not let it stray you away from booking at this beautiful place! The permit process is simple and the rangers are super helpful. You will need to speak directly with ranger, Jeannie, to pull your permit. Her email address is You can always visit the parks website for exact information and contact to the ranger in charge of issuing permits. For an engagement session you want to pull your permit at least one to two weeks out just you can have time to get everything squared away. For an elopement, I would try to get your permit at least two weeks out. During peak season at the park always try to do things earlier than usual! Also the permit office is currently going to be closed for the month of June this year.

If you are wanting to get married in Joshua Tree, but with guests you can still do this. If you have more than 25 guests you can use the Indian Cove Amphitheater for your ceremony. For any elopements with less than that on their website you will find a list of specific locations you are permitted to have the ceremony. Afterwards you can take photos of just the two of you almost anywhere within the park.

As always with elopements in the great outdoors you want to practice Leave No Trace principals, but this is a National Park so you also need to obey any of there specific regulations. Avoid locations that have been closed and stay on the trail. Also on their permitting site you will find a list of items not allowed at your elopement or engagement session. Some of these items include things like bird seed, bubbles, drones and more. They also lay out things you can have at your elopement like a free standing arch and champagne!

When planning your elopement in Joshua Tree you want to consider where you want to stay. If you plan to camp in the park, which I recommend since the park is vast and can take some time to travel to different locations within it and then you get the whole experience that the park has to offer, you need to book your camp site at least 1-3 months out. This park’s camp sites stay full and book out way in advance. There are also a lot of really beautiful Airbnb’s near by in the town of Joshua Tree you can consider. Most of the park is out of cell range, so if you do have any guests or an officiant you want to make sure that they know exactly where to meet you ahead of time. Also note if you plan to have your fur baby with you as well that there are many restrictions on where your pups can be and they must stay leashed. The most ideal months to elope in Joshua Tree based on weather are March, April, May, late September, October and early November.

Legally speaking Joshua Tree National Park is in California. Therefore, you will need an officiant to legally get married and one witness. You can have two witnesses sign your marriage documentation if you wise though. You will need to obtain your marriage license by the local clerk’s office.

Want to see more??? Check out this Joshua Tree Elopement!



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If you are looking for an elopement photographer to capture your big day in the park that’s passionate about this place, reach out! I would love to help you in planning and documenting your elopement. <3