Elopement in the meadow at Stoney Bottom

The Ultimate Anderson Valley Elopement Guide 

The Ultimate Anderson Valley Elopement Guide. 

As residents of Anderson Valley, owners of a wedding venue in Anderson Valley, and planners who have produced 100+ events, we know a thing or two about this topic.

But even more importantly – we were in your shoes. 10 years before we started Stoney Bottom, we held our small wedding in Anderson Valley because of how serene, beautiful, and unique this area is.

Here’s everything you need to know about having an elopement or micro wedding in Anderson Valley – how to get here, where to stay, tips on what to do during an elopement in Anderson Valley, and so much more.

Elopement in wildflowers at Stoney Bottom in Anderson Valley

Why we think Anderson Valley is the best place to elope in Northern California.

Unlike many of Northern California’s more famous coastal or wine country destinations, Anderson Valley is a hidden gem. Anderson Valley is just 2 hours north of San Francisco and encompasses the towns of Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, and Navarro. Here, you’ll find rolling hills, bucolic countrysides filled with grazing sheep, rows of vineyards, and redwood groves – instead of clogged highways and crowded tasting rooms. Anderson Valley is home to over 95 vineyards and 25+ tasting rooms, including some of the most iconic California wineries like Goldeneye, Roederer, Scharffenberger, and Navarro.

Transportation to Anderson Valley

Anderson Valley is roughly 2 hours north of San Francisco and is fairly remote. You’ll need a car to get here and to navigate around town. The closest airports to Anderson Valley are below. You can rent a car from both of these airports. 

The Best Places to Elope in Anderson Valley

Lesbian couple eloping at Stoney Bottom Inn and Weddings
A black walnut tree with twinkling lights at Stoney Bottom wedding and elopement venue
Stoney Bottom Inn & Weddings 

When it comes to choosing a location for your Anderson Valley elopement, you want to look for more than just a beautiful setting. An elopement package will seriously simplify the wedding planning process for you.

Stoney Bottom is the only wedding venue in Anderson Valley specializing in elopement and micro-wedding packages. All of our elopement and micro-wedding packages include:

  • Your choice of garden settings at Stoney Bottom’s private estate for your ceremony
  • Officiation (ceremony design, optional officiation and witnesses, and filing of your marriage license)
  • Bouquets and boutonnieres
  • A wedding cake 
  • A two-night stay in our onsite accommodations
  • Professional coordination & planning to ensure your day comes together perfectly

Another benefit to eloping at Stoney Bottom is that it’s a private setting. Unlike eloping in a public setting, you don’t need to worry about obtaining permits. Stoney Bottom’s picturesque and private estate offers you the chance to exchange vows surrounded only by those closest to your heart – with no onlookers. 

Hendy Woods

Hendy Woods offers dramatic lighting, bushy ferns, bridges, and some really special redwood trees. Most of the more well-known redwood forests in California are second-growth forests that sprung up after the original trees were logged in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. The redwoods in Hendy are truly old growth and some of the trees are thousands of years old. Note: You’ll want to work with your planner or officiant to get a permit to elope in Hendy Woods.

Redwood trees and path at Hendy Woods
View from an ocean bluff - Anderson Valley Elopement Destinations
Parks, rivers, or beaches

You’ve taken Highway 128 through bucolic Anderson Valley with its hills, vineyards, and meadows full of fluffy sheep. Then you reach Navarro and a change occurs. Suddenly the meadows and vineyards disappear and you enter into Navarro River Redwoods State Park, an 11-mile long “tunnel” of magnificent second-growth redwood trees that spills you out at the mouth of Navarro State Beach where the river meets the ocean. Stop at one of the many turn-outs to appreciate just how gigantic these trees are. This is a beautiful spot for a ceremony.  Note: You’ll want to work with your planner or officiant to get a permit to elope in any public setting.

PRO TIP ON ELOPEMENT SETTINGS: All of Stoney Bottom’s wedding and elopement packages offer the flexibility of having your elopement ceremony anywhere in Anderson Valley or Mendocino. Wake up and get ready in the peaceful tranquility of Stoney Bottom, have your ceremony or take photos wherever you’d like, and come back to Stoney Bottom for a romantic dinner in the gardens!

When Is the Best Time of Year to Elope in Anderson Valley?


April – June is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Anderson Valley. Flowers are in full bloom, the hillsides are green, and the sun is out. The temperatures around this time of year are comfortable in the mornings and evenings, and around 70-75 degrees midday. This is one of our favorite seasons for an outdoor wedding in Anderson Valley.


July – September, Anderson Valley is vibrant and the weather is hotter for longer periods of the day. We recommend holding weddings or elopements earlier in the day or during golden hour when it’s less hot. Anderson Valley will be more populated with tourists and wedding parties from the Bay Area which can make it more challenging to find lodging or a venue for your elopement or small wedding. There are several summer festivals in Anderson Valley like Pinot Fest, Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Beerfest, and the Sierra Nevada Music Festival, which can be a fun add-on to an elopement weekend – as long as you’ve secured a peaceful place to stay. The Mendocino County Fair is in September and makes for a unique elopement photo shoot!


October – November is a gorgeous time of year to elope in Anderson Valley. The foliage is turning colors and the town is quieter than during the summer. The mornings are misty, and afternoons are typically still warm and dry. Lodging is easier to secure, and rates are typically lower. 


November – March we don’t recommend having a big outdoor wedding, but a smaller and shorter elopement ceremony makes a winter wedding in Anderson Valley possible. Yes, temperatures are colder this time of year and many gardens are dormant, but misty landscapes can make for amazing photos. Lodging is easier to secure, and rates are typically lower. 

Stoney Bottom Inn and Weddings Wildflowers Cosmos
Sunflowers at an Anderson Valley Elopement - Stoney Bottom Boonville
Grape Vines - Anderson Valley Elopements - Stoney Bottom
Rosemary plant during sunset at Stoney Bottom Inn and Weddings in Boonville

How To Get a Marriage License in Mendocino County

1. Schedule an appointment with the County Clerk’s office. Call them in advance at (707)-234-6819 to schedule an appointment to receive your marriage license. 

2. Pack a folder with the right documents. Couples will need to complete a marriage application (pdf). A current picture ID is required for each of you and you’ll need to bring $95 for a regular marriage license. If a dissolution has taken place within the last 90 days, you must bring a certified copy of the final dissolution.

3. Attend your appointment. The County Clerk is located at ​​501 Low Gap Road Ukiah, CA 95482. If you’re driving to Anderson Valley from the Bay Area, stay on 101 North to get to Ukiah. After you pick up your marriage license in Ukiah, you can come back “over the hill” to Boonville and Anderson Valley.

Visit the Mendocino County Clerk’s official website for more information. 

Do I Need an Officiant and Witness to Elope in Mendocino County?

Yes, Mendocino County requires you to have two witnesses and an officiant to elope or marry. Stoney Bottom’s team is ordained to officiate weddings in Anderson Valley and ceremony officiation is included in our wedding packages. We can also arrange witnesses if you would like. You can also have friends and family members become ordained to officiate your ceremony for free online.

Do I Need a Permit to Elope?

If you’re having your elopement ceremony in a public space like a state park, you will likely need a special use permit to have a wedding ceremony. That being said, this is dependent on the park you choose, the number of guests you’re bringing, etc. Your officiant or planner should help obtain permits if needed. This is why we recommend having your elopement or micro wedding at a private venue like Stoney Bottom.

Best Places to Stay in Anderson Valley

Stoney Bottom - Anderson Valley lodging - Little House luxury bed and windows

Anderson Valley has many romantic hotels, inns, and Airbnbs. If there were ever an occasion to treat yourself to a beautiful place to rest your head, this is the time! Here are our personal favorites:

Things to Do During Your Anderson Valley Elopement

One of the reasons we adore elopements and smaller weddings is because of the freedom and flexibility it gives each couple on their wedding day. Many couples choose to incorporate and document some sort of special activity on their elopement day, so they can look back and truly remember their wedding day forever. Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

Bride and groom posing in front of a ferris wheel at their anderson valley elopement
  • Photos, photos, photos! You’re not limited on time which allows you to go anywhere and do anything you want. Horseback riding at the beach? Riding a ferris wheel? Both are fair game. We’ll recommend some incredible Anderson Valley photographers who can capture the magic of your elopement.
  • Write a letter to your future selves on the day of your elopement. Write about how you’re feeling and what you did. Save it to open on your anniversary.
  • FaceTime some loved ones to let them know you’re thinking of them
  • Arrange a private yoga class or luxury picnic in the gardens at Stoney Bottom
  • Go on a “bubbles tour” of Anderson Valley wineries that make sparkling wine
  • Purchase yourselves a wedding gift from The Mercantile in Boonville
  • Go horseback riding on the beach
  • Go canoeing or kayaking along the Navarro River, or just enjoy a picnic and swim
  • Attend one of the many festivals Anderson Valley puts on each year like the Pinot Noir Festival, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, or Harvest Tidrick
  • Have a “wreck the dress” photo shoot in the creek at Stoney Bottom
  • Try “forest bathing” in Hendy Woods

Anderson Valley Elopement and Micro Wedding Packages

Founded by a wife + wife team with backgrounds in design and events, Stoney Bottom Inn & Weddings was born out of a shared passion for creating spaces and experiences that make you feel warm inside.

We believe every love story deserves to be celebrated. That’s why we offer a variety of elopement and micro wedding packages that can be customized to build a day that’s uniquely you.

The details of your wedding are in good hands: we’ve planned events from 2-20,000 guests. Whether you want a simple and elegant ceremony or a more elaborate celebration, we’re committed to making your wedding unforgettable.

Bride and groom eloping in the meadow at Stoney Bottom

We’d be honored to bring your dream elopement to life.

Put the details of your elopement into the capable hands of the professional wedding planners at Stoney Bottom.

Experience the Magic
for yourself

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