Mammoth Lakes elopement

Mammoth Lakes is a gorgeous and diverse elopement location. With mountains, hot springs, and endless lakes at beautiful locations, this is an incredible spot for an intimate ceremony. This Mammoth Lakes elopement guide is going to cover how to elope at Mammoth Lakes as well as some of my favorite Mammoth Lakes elopement locations!

Where is Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes is located in Central California close to the border of Nevada. To get to Mammoth Lakes from out of state, you can fly into Mammoth Yosemite airport, which is 20 minutes away. Alternatively, you can fly into the Bishop airport and from there it’s a 45 minute drive.

When to Elope in Mammoth Lakes

The best time to elope in Mammoth Lakes is late summer through fall. Normally, summer can be crowded in these stunning locations. However, Mammoth Lakes remains a lot less crowded than nearby areas such as Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. This makes it a great location for summer elopements. If you want to really avoid crowds, you can consider a fall elopement before the snow starts to fall! Except chilly nights during the fall.

Mammoth Lakes is accessible year round. However, during the winter a lot of roads are inaccessible, so make sure to do you research before getting set on a spot that can’t be accessed in this season. Lastly, winter runs very late in Mammoth. So, May and June might feel like a warm perfect month, but there can still be a lot of snowfall both on trails and sometimes the roads.

Mammoth Lakes Wedding Permit

You will need to apply for a special use permit to have an elopement in Mammoth Lakes. It will depend on the location, some locations you don’t need a permit at all, and other locations require a permit that costs $250. Once you decide on your elopement location, make sure to check in with the forest service there and apply for the correct one! This is something I do for all of my eloping couples.

How to Get a Marriage License in Mammoth Lakes

To get a marriage license in Mammoth Lakes, you’ll need to apply online through Mono County. You can find that link here. After that, you’ll both have to appear in person to receive your marriage license. Finally, you pay the $66 fee and you’re all set for your elopement in Mammoth Lakes!

How to Elope in Mammoth Lakes

You plan a Mammoth Lakes elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Mammoth Lakes elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not want to drive or forest roads, and others will be apt to altitude sickness. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Mammoth Lakes elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and location. There are rainy seasons, dry seasons, and even seasons that you THINK would be warm, but can still be snowy and cold in the mountains. So, when you’re doing that research, you’ll already want to have in mind what kind of weather you want.


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching Mammoth Lakes elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couples through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of Mammoth Lakes elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you need any event rentals? Do you want a friend or family to officiate, or do you want to hire an officiant? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef? Or a picnic vendor to set up something at your Mammoth Lakes ceremony location?

Figure out what extra services you may want, and hire your vendors in advance!


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks website, or National Forest/BLM website.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $150 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a mountain top
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Helicopter tour (landing on glaciers, mountains, etc)
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sightseeing
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Visiting hot springs
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event.”

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list

Lodging in Mammoth Lakes

Lodging for elopements can be incredibly important. Since you aren’t using a traditional venue, this will be your space for getting ready, possibly a first look, and some couples even use it as a way to host intimate receptions after their ceremony and elopement activities. That being said, there’s a lot to consider. You’ll want to make sure your lodging location isn’t far from your elopement ceremony location, as well as make sure it has good lighting if you want good getting ready photos. Finally, you’ll also want to make sure you’re allowed to host something small for guests if that’s something you’re looking to do.

My favorite option for this is generally vacation rentals such as Airbnbs. However, hotels, rental cabins, and resorts can be a good choice as well. Especially if you’re eloping solo, or don’t want to host an intimate reception at your space. Here are some amazing lodging options near Mammoth lakes:

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Mammoth Lakes

A marriage license costs $66, and a permit costs around $250, so it costs around $316.00 to elope in Mammoth Lakes. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Mammoth Lakes elopement

Mammoth Lakes Elopement Locations

There are an absolute ton of Mammoth Lakes elopement locations. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. I make customized lists for my clients, but here is a ton of locations to get you brainstorming!

Hot Creek

Mammoth Lakes elopement location

Hot creek is a stunning and unique Mammoth Lakes elopement location. A hot spring feeds into a creek with mountain views in the background. This is a short 1.6 mile hike that isn’t too challenging, and comes with incredible views. You can also go into the hot creek if you want to include hot springs into your elopement day!

Convict Lake

This stunning Mammoth Lakes elopement location is a perfect spot for couples who don’t want to do a huge hike. It’s a short 2.5 loop, and you don’t need to do the whole thing to see these stunning views. It’s also wheelchair accessible if you have a wheelchair with terrain tires.

McLeod Lake

This crystal clear lake is a gorgeous Mammoth Lakes elopement location. It’s 1.8 miles with a little over 300 feet of elevation gain. A perfect location for couples who want stunning views but don’t want their hike to take up their entire day.

TJ Lake

Mammoth Lakes elopement location

Another easy hike to a jaw-dropping Mammoth Lakes elopement location. Tj Lake is only a 1.5 mile hike with beautiful views the entire time. There are less crowds earlier in the day, so consider having a semi-early ceremony for this beautiful location if you want some privacy.

Horse Tail Falls

Mammoth Lakes elopement location

Horse Tail Falls is a bit more challenging of a hike, but great for couples who want to spend the majority of their day outside exploring. The waterfall will be flowing the heaviest around June when all of the snow is melting.

June Lake

Mammoth Lakes elopement location

June Lake is a stunning Mammoth Lakes elopement location with a bunch of different hikes nearby. You can go to the gorgeous rainbow falls, or do a loop around the lake. Theres a ton of options here and they’re all completely gorgeous. You can check out a list of hikes here.

Lake George

Mammoth Lakes elopement location

One of my favorite Mammoth Lakes elopement locations. The lake itself is clear and beautiful, but I can’t get over the unique mountain views you get at this location. This is an easy 1.5 mile loop that makes it perfect for a ceremony with guests and easily getting gorgeous photos in multiple locations around the lake.

Minaret Vista

You can’t beat getting views like this with just a 2.6 mile hike. And don’t worry, there’s only 200 feet of elevation gain. This Mammoth Lakes elopement location is near June Lake, and would make for a perfect sunset photo location. It’s close by to other locations on this list, and could easily be a stunning ceremony spot, or just added into the day as a stop.

Mammoth Lakes Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Californai, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Mammoth Lakes elopement packages starting at $5800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Mammoth Lakes elopement

Ready to Elope in Mammoth Lakes?

This Mammoth Lakes elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your California elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Intimate weddings