Santa Cruz Channel Islands elopement
Cynthia + Angel wanted an island elopement! They’d considered going abroad, wanting an epic island wedding overlooking the water. They ended up finding the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, not too far from where they live! They’d never been to any of the islands and I was SO STOKED when I got their inquiry! I’d only camped on Santa Cruz island for a couple days, and had always wanted to shoot a wedding there! After my experience shooting elopement photos at Anacapa island (another remote island) I was dying to get back out there!
A lot of people don’t realize that the Channel Islands are a National Park! Going to Catalina is a class and common holiday for Southern Californians. But there are actually 8 islands in total! But the following 6 are the only ones you can visit: Santa Catalina, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Anacapa, and Santa Cruz.
How to Elope on Santa Cruz Island
If you want to plan an elopement on the Channel Islands – it’s not too hard! They don’t even require a Park Entrance fee like all other National parks! The first thing you need to do is book a boat ride to and from the islands after you’ve picked your wedding date that is. The only way to get there is through Island Packers. They offer a variety of boat rides to all of the islands. You could potentially charter a private boat, but that’s something you’d need to research!
The last time I photographed an elopement there, a special use nor photographer’s permit was required. HOWEVER; this depends on each situation. You must contact the Channel Islands National Parks service (via email) and ask. Tell them of your plans (guests, hike, island, date, etc.) And they will let you know if you need to fill out and pay for a permit. That is something each couple is responsible for doing, and must be done well in advance!
There are a variety of hikes on Santa Cruz, however only a couple option that will fit into a day trip. I give each of my clients a run down on the length, intensity, and average time (with photo stops) for those hikes! We do NOT want to miss the only boat ride back, so it’s important to keep track of the time! You can also camp on the island, it is a fun and WILD experience (the wind gets gnarly at night!)
Leave No Trace
This is something I’m super passionate about. As those who love the great outdoors, we are responsible for taking care of the land we are lucky to use. That means following all of the rules (like staying on trail, not bringing in flowers, packing out ALL trash, etc.)
Channel Island Wedding Photographer
I LOVE being able to photograph weddings and elopements on the channel islands. If you’re planning a Catalina wedding, or Anacapa island elopement – I’d love to be there to capture your adventure!