As the next installment of our elopement guide series, we have our Carmel Valley elopement guide! I’m admittedly biased because my home base is right here Carmel Valley after moving from the East Coast to the West. The big move was a period of uncertainty for myself and my career- but I’ve gotten to meet some of the loveliest couples, friends, and local vendors because of it! I don’t regret it for a second! That’s why I want to lessen the uncertainty around your special day and make your Carmel elopement one for the ages!
If you’ve read up on my other guide for Big Sur, you already know the drill. Keep scrolling for a local Carmel elopement photographer’s list of gorgeous venues to have your elopement at, fun things to do while you’re here in the area, tips on all things travel and wedding attire, and your dream team of vendors to make your wedding day a reality!
Twelve Venues For Your Carmel Valley Elopement
While of course, this Carmel Valley elopement guide speaks to my elopement couples, the following venues you’ll see below are also perfect for bigger weddings. During this time, that may not be on your radar, but if it is, I’m confident you’ll still be able to walk away from this guide more prepared than before you found it!
The first location is Quail Lodge, which is a grand golf club area that has spectacular mountain views! They have lovely rooms to stay in (quail not included) and private patios that overlook the pond. Their bridges cross over rivers too which is one of my favorite things for wedding photography!
Tehama Golf Club | Among This Carmel Valley Elopement Guide’s Top Picks!
A more private and exclusive option is the Tehama Golf Club– the very same Tehama Golf Club that’s owned by Clint Eastwood! They have beautiful courtyards to wander around in and getting-ready rooms for all your special day preparations. There are also local AirBnBs that you can stay at that are very close to the venue, though I love staying on the grounds for their stunning 360-degree views!
For my couples seeking a truly romantic venue, I wholeheartedly recommend Folktale Winery as your charming, old-castle-inspired venue. There are several fairy-tail elopement spots to choose from: the main building, the rose garden, the barrel rooms, the courtyard, and more! I’m personally very fond of the rose garden for that extra romantic and classical touch!
The Holly Farm
I love photographing in lush greenery so naturally I adore The Holly Farm. It’s a well hidden venue overgrown like a beautiful jungle from another continent! If you’re looking for an escape to nature for your elopement, The Holly Farm is a lovely leafy choice!
Carmel Valley Ranch
Now, right next door to me at The Cottage (where I work!) is Carmel Valley Ranch. Their elopement packages include staying at the hotel and they have a yoga platform that doubles as a patio for ceremonies- heck, it could be both during your time there! The Overlook also features valley views that are sure to impress.
Bernardus Lodge And Spa | Among This Carmel Valley Elopement Guide’s Top Picks!
This might just be my number one or number two favorite spot- Bernardus Lodge and Spa! Their driveways are lined with lavender and they have gardens of seasonal flowers- plus their vineyards are just as beautiful. This is also a popular venue for proposals. I adore photographing both proposals and elopements here!
Los Laureles Lodge
Los Laureles Lodge’s white picket fence is the most darling thing! The stairway is surrounded by tall shoots of flowers that make it such a pretty spot to elope.
I photograph at Gardener Ranch ALL the time and I love every occasion I’m there! It’s right up against the mountains and their entrance is lined with trees. There’s also this one BIG and BEAUTIFUL tree that couples love being married under! My personal favorite spot on the venue is the pool and lawn that has this handmade, artfully designed archway entry. Gardener Ranch also has the cutest bridal and groom cottages available too for elopements!
Joyce Winery & Corkscrew Cafe
The next elopement venue is Joyce Winery which is a charming garden and patio located right behind Corkscrew Cafe. It’s tucked away behind overgrown trees that make it look like the vegetation is covering up the stone walls of the building! Since Joyce Winery is attached to the restaurant, it’s perfect for wining and dining afterward!
I have to stress that Cowgirl Winery has the most adorable little black kitty- oh and it’s right across the street from Corkscrew Cafe! Everything’s very centrally located here in Carmel. True to its name, it’s got such a rustic and charming feel about it with its red wooden walls and vineyards for your elopement.
If you know California weddings, then you might also know that Holman Ranch is one of THE top locations to get married at so it’s only fitting to include it in our Carmel Valley elopement guide! To me, a big seller of the venue is their breathtaking views. Because they’re higher up on the mountain, you get vast and deep sweeps of the valley below- perfect for weddings big and small! The enclosed courtyards and private suites only add to the very exclusive nature of this venue.
Finally, to close off the venues with a truly historic and famous venue, we have Stonepine Estate! They’re a HUGE mansion on lots of acreage and it’s such a magnificent hidden gem (well, maybe not hidden because it’s so big!). It feels like walking in the 1960’s, especially in one of their sitting rooms that I just adore because of the light pink rug with flowers and the marble fireplace with initials on it. Definitely a wonderful pick as your elopement venue!
On that note, all these elopement venue locations are really all these venues are super close to The Cottage. I’d love to meet you and have you drop in for cookies and champagne, and we can talk about all the details of your wedding. Plus, the tactile experience of being able to see your photos right in front of you and see the frames they’ll go in is something I find can’t be overlooked!
Carmel Valley Elopement Guide | Nearby Fun For Everyone
Other than having your elopement here, Carmel also offers lots of activities for couples to do while in the area. For my day hikers and runners, I suggest heading over to Garland Ranch Regional Park. There’s rivers lined with willow trees that are cool and refreshing to dip your feet into while you’re there! I’m personally really fond of this awesome incline hike at Inspiration Point in Palo Corona Regional Park. It’s so rewarding to get to the top and oversee Carmel and the ocean!
I also recommend Baja Cantina for less physically demanding activities- that is, the best tacos and margaritas in Carmel! They also host a community car show every Thursday evening. Fun fact, I LOVE car shows- especially ones that feature antique vintage automobiles! So if your elopement has you in Carmel during a Thursday, I encourage you to check it out!
For my flower pickers and blueberry muffin lovers, I love spending afternoons at Earthbound Farm. They have homemade blueberry muffins at their cafe and are a great spot for having lunch too! Earthbound Farm, Baja Cantina, a few other spots here in this elopement guide are also featured in my food and drink guide for Carmel!
If Carmel Valley Village is known for one thing in particular, it’s for being the loveliest little wine town with lots of locations to do tours and tastings at! There are so many awesome local businesses from coffeeshops to street artists as well.
Carmel Valley Elopement Guide | All Things Travel, Wedding and Miscellaneous Tips
Weather wise, I would advise bringing layers to prepare for the different temperatures. There’s more sun in the Valley and more clouds by the sea, so you’ll want a mix of sweaters and swimsuits while you’re here. Because we’re in such close proximity to everything, it’s totally doable (and HIGHLY recommended) that you make the most of your stay in Carmel. Take the weekend to explore Big Sur and Carmel By The Sea, which is only 15 minutes away, with wine tasting, beach trips, and visiting the Monterey brewing companies!
If you’re eloping in the Valley especially, you have access to PLENTY of locations for local elopement photography because of how centralized we are here. As an expert in the area, ask your friendly neighborhood Amandarose for help and advice! I’d be more than delighted to make your time in Carmel the best it can be and then some!
Carmel Valley Elopement Guide | Vendors
This Carmel Valley elopement guide strongly believes that when it comes to intimate elopements and small weddings, a strong vendor team is absolutely essential! I wholeheartedly recommend these amazing people and their businesses. Together, we’ll all make your special day one for the ages from the officiant, to the florist, your hair and makeup artists, and the arguably best part of the day: cake! Oh, and for your local Carmel elopement photographer? I have the perfect person for you!
Hair & Makeup:
- The Hair + Makeup Company
- Makeup by Katerina Michelle
- Beauty by M (Madison)
- Face Forward Bridals
- Kim Larson Bridal Makeup & Hairstyling
Photographer: Me! AGS Photo Art
And that concludes this Carmel Valley elopement guide! I hope you found the series helpful in planning your special day! For any additional inquiries, I’m more than happy to assist. Contact me here!