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The Vow Keeper's Wedding Blog

For All Couples

An Ongoing Series Of Informational And Inspirational Wedding Entries

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How To Plan A Joshua Tree Wedding Or Elopement

The Vow Keeper's Wedding Advice And Helpful Wedding Tips

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Getting Married In Joshua Tree, California


Guide To Planning A Joshua Tree Wedding Or Elopement

In Joshua Tree Or The Beautiful Joshua Tree National Park


How exciting, you have decided to travel to beautiful Joshua Tree to say 

" I Do " for your destination wedding, and experience the magic and beauty of the Mojave Desert.

Joshua Tree National Park is a spiritual place to be joined in marriage. With breathtaking views, astonishing wildlife, and incredible rock formations, what's not to LOVE about The Joshua Tree National Park ?


I have been joining couples in marriage in the park for over 25 years and

even tho I have been there thousands of times, I always see something special and unique unto the desert.  

The Joshua Tree National Park always looks different by each season.

The smell in the air, the variety of light value that shines down upon the rocks and the desert, the flight of the magestic ravens and the howl of the  coyotes in the distance makes it appear different in my eyes.  My experience is different every time I visit, it is unique and special and I never know what to expect.  This is what I LOVE about Joshua Tree and The Joshua Tree National Park.


The desert is a magical and majestic land, which when explored offers individuals a limitless bounty of pure peace and perfection.  The desert will open your heart and cleanse your soul and leave you forever wanting more.


The Vow Keeper has complied a list of the most asked wedding questions by couples planning a wedding or elopement in Joshua Tree and The Joshua Tree National Park.


My hope for every couple, is that you have the most amazing and memorable wedding you could ever imagine to be treasured by you and your guests for years to come.  So let's get started, plan your magical wedding, experience and discover the hidden treasures of our beautiful Mojave Desert.  Enjoy, Explore and be Amazed.

Every Wedding Tells A Story..... What Will Yours Say ?

Warmest Wedding Wishes, The Vow Keeper

Do I Need To Obtain A Permit For A Wedding Or Elopement In Joshua Tree National Park ?

Yes, a wedding park permit is required to have a wedding or elopement.

Special-use permits are required for ALL weddings and elopements regardless of size. The cost of wedding application is $120. and is non-refundable.  


Additional cost can vary depending on the size of your wedding and location. PLEASE NOTE, If you are hiring a professional photographer, caterer, or any additional wedding vendors, all vendors are also required to obtain a separate Special Use wedding permit for their services. This permit is also required for Engagement photos and Wedding Photos.

Do I Need To Obtain Any Additional Permits ?

Yes, you do need to obtain additonal permits for all of your wedding vendors. If you are hiring a professional photographer, caterer, or any additional wedding vendors, all vendors are also required to obtain a separate Special Use wedding permit for their services. This permit is also required for Engagement photos and Wedding Photos.

How Do I Obtain A Joshua Tree National Park Wedding Permit ?

To obtain your Special Use Permit for your wedding or elopement, you will need to complete the NPS Form 10-930 Short Form Application

Special Use Permits Are Non-refundable And The Permit Fee is $120.

For Additional Details Contact

Joshua Tree National Park At (760) 367-5518

Jeannie Wilson

Special Park Use and CUA Permit Coordinator

Joshua Tree National Park

74485 National Park Drive

Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

Permit Office Hours Monday - Friday 7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Closed Saturday And Sunday

Phone: 760-367-5518 Fax: 760-367-5586


How Long Does It Take To Get A Wedding Permit ?

Permit Availability Is Limited.  Apply for your park permit as soon as you know your wedding date, preferred park location and wedding ceremony time.  Also required on your application you will need a back-up second choice for location, ceremony time and date.

Allow 10 business days for your special use permit to process and allow 3 business days for an elopement permit

Please note if a permit is not obtained for this activity you are subject to a Federal Citation fine up to $500.

Special Use Permit Application

And Details For Weddings And Elopements

Are Permits Issued For Any Day Of The Year ?

No, there are permit restrictions.

No permits will be issued on Federal Holidays and NPS free entrance days. No permits will be issued from December 20th to January 1st.

No permits will be issued for the following 2023 Federal Holidays:

     January 1, 2                   June 19                      October 9

     January 16                     July 4, 5                     November 10, 11

     February 20                   August 25                  November 23, 24, 25

     May 29                          September 4               December 24, 25, 26, 31

Do My Guests Have To Pay A Park Entrance Fee ?

Yes, all guests have to pay a Park Entrance Fee.  The Entrance Fee is $30. per vehicle for a 7 day park pass

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Joshua Tree National Park Map

Campgrounds, Hikes, Trailheads And Points Of Interest

What Does The Park Allow For My Wedding Or Elopement ?

Items that are permitted for a wedding

Wedding arch, free standing


Small table for guest book

Cooler with water





Live fresh flowers

Live floral bouquets


Battery-powered candles

What Does The Park NOT ALLOW For My Wedding Or Elopement ?

Items NOT permitted for a wedding

The releasing of live animals, including doves, butterflies, etc or anything that would endanger The Joshua Tree National Park.  Hanging or attaching anything to a tree or bush, or in the ground, and gathering of branches, plants, flowers, or any vegetation.  No climbing on the endangered Joshua Trees


Dried flowers

Pampas grass


Smoke bombs


Colored water tablets

Open flamed candles





Colored sand

Does NOT Permit

Throwing rice

Throwing rose petals

Throwing birdseed

Throwing confetti

Climbing On Joshua Trees

Do I need a marriage license ?

Yes, if you want to be legally joined in marriage you will need a valid California marriage license.

No, if you only want to be symbolically joined in marriage, equivalent to a commitment ceremony.  I join couples regularly in symbolic ceremonies.  Please note, this is NOT a legally binding marriage.

How Do I Obtain A California Marriage License ?

It is very easy to obtain a California Marriage License.  You may obtain your marriage license at any County Marriage License Office in California or from an authorized notary.  There is no wait period, no blood test.  Your marriage license is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and it is valid for you to be joined in marriage anywhere in The State Of California.  For complete marriage license details and information, click on the link.

What Are The Best Months To Have My Wedding In The Park ?

The highly sougth after perfect weather months are September, October, April and May, but truly any month you want to say " I Do " is the best month for you.  The winter months are just a bit colder and the summer months are a lot warmer.  The winter temperatures can drop to 20 F degrees, we can even get snow in the park, the average winter daytime temperature is 45 F to 60 F degrees.  In the summer months, it is very hot between 75 F degrees to over 100 F degrees it is best to have your wedding between sunrise and before 10:30 am or around sunset time, these times are best to beat the summer heat.  Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall with average highs of 85 F degrees and lows around 50 F degrees.

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Can I Bring My Dog With Me ?

Yes, The Joshua Tree National Park does allow dogs, but there are restrictions to where you may take your dog and your dog must be on a 6 foot leash.

Remember To Bring These Items With

You For Your Dog

  • Lots Of Cold Water

  • Ice Cubes In A Cooler

  • Water Bowl

  • Food, Snacks, Treats

  • Poop Bags

  • Dog First Aid Kit

  • Tweezer And Pliers For Pulling Out Cactus Thornes

  • Sunglasses And Hat


  • Blanket

  • Collar, Leash, Identification Tag

  • Jacket To Stay Warm

  • Evaporative Cooling Dog Vest

  • Cold Wet Bandanas

  • Battery Powered Hand Held Fan

  • Hand Held Water Mister Bottle

What Are The Busiest Months For The Park ?

The busiest travel months for the Park is October thru May

When Does The Park Close ?

The Joshua Tree National Park is never closed.

It is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year

Occasionally there are road closures due to flooding from heavy rainfall, and park clousures due to high wind warnings and heavy snowfall.

Is There Shade And Water Available In The Park ?

There is no shade in the park.  There is partial shade from the shadows of the rock formations and limited shade from the Joshua Trees.  The only water that is available is at the West Joshua Tree Entrance of the Park, directly across from the Ranger's station. There is NO water available inside the Park.

Is there anywhere to purchase food, water and gasoline inside the Park ?

Once you enter into The Joshua Tree National Park, there is no food, water, gasoline or any amenities available.  Please come prepared with food, lots of water, a full tank of gasoline, firewood and anything you think you might require to make your visit amazing and enjoyable.

Are There Restrooms In The Park ?

Yes there are outhouses, but NO running water

Does A Wedding Permit Allow Me To Have My Wedding Anywhere In The National Park ?

NO, permits are ONLY granted in Park Approved Wedding Locations.  Permits limit the amount of guests you can have and the number of vehicles allowed.  The Park grants a limited amount of permits for weddings and elopements.  Plan in advance to secure your preferred location.

Joshua Tree National Park Map

Approved Permitted Wedding And Elopement Locations

The Vow Keeper has created a Joshua Tree National Park Map with all the approved permitted wedding locations and points of interest to help you to navigate the park.  It can also be viewed on Google Earth to see the terraine.

Joshua Tree National Park Wedding And Elopement

Approved Permitted Locations

Live Oak Picnic Area

Up to 5 Guests And 3 Vehicles


Live Oak has the largest living

Live Oak Tree in the National Park, this tree is amazing and very special

Split Rock

Up to 15 Guests And 5 Vehicles

Split Rock has beautiful views, large Live Oak trees, expansive and intimate areas and a

massive 110 foot tall split rock

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Hidden Valley Picnic Area

Up To 35 Guests And 8 Vehicles

Hidden Valley has mature Joshua Trees and cactus, expansive fields and large rock formations, with an endless varity to offer

Quail Springs Picnic Area

Up To 15 Guests And 8 Vehicles​

Quail Springs has huge fields of Joshua Trees and cactus

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Cap Rock

Up To 25 Guests And 8 Vehicles

Cap Rock has large Joshua Trees, massive rock backdrops and cactus,  it is the only handicapped approved location and is very easy to walk

Lost Horse Parking Lot

Up To 10 Guests And 5 Vehicles

Lost Horse has stunning rock formations, Joshua Trees, cactus and is a hidden secret

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Queen Valley Mine Intersection

Up To 10 Guests And 5 Vehicles

Turkey Flats

Up To 35 Guests And 8 Vehicles


Porcupine Wash

Up To 12 Guests And 4 Vehicles

Joshua Tree National Park Wedding And Elopement

Approved Permitted Locations For Indian Cove Campground

Indian Cove Amphitheater And Rattlesnake Canyon

Indian Cove Campground And Rattlesnake Canyon Information

To reach Indian Cove Campground, travel east on Hwy 62, also known as Twentynine Palms Highway, travel towards Twentynine Palms, go south on Indian Cove Rd. for 2.7 miles, the road will dead end at The Indian Cove Ranger Station, granting travelers access to this majestic destination of The Joshua Tree National Park.  NO Vehicle Entrance Fee is required for Indian Cove. Enjoy and explore the wonders of our Beautiful Mojave Desert.

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Indian Cove Ranger Station

7299 Indian Cove Rd.

Twentynine Palms, Ca. 92277

(760) 362-4367

Indian Cove Amphitheater

Up To 100 Guests And 1 Vehicle

You Must Provide Shuttle Or Bus Transportation For Your Guests

Into And Out Of

Indian Cove Amphitheater,


No Parking Is Allowed For

Indian Cove Amphitheater

No Entrance Fee Is Required For

Your Guests To Enter Indian Cove

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Additional Fees

Indian Cove Amphitheater Special Use Permit Fee $120.

Plus A $200. Location Fee And For Weddings Of 50 to 100 Guests

An Additional Park Monitor Fee Of $50. Per Hour

You Must Provide Shuttle Or Bus Transportation For Your Guests

Into Indian Cove Amphitheater, There Is NO Parking Available

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Rattlesnake Canyon Picnic Area

At Indian Cove

Up To 20 Guests And 8 Vehicles

Rattlesnake Canyon is a secluded location down a long dirt road, mature cactus and enormous rocks.  


No Entrance Fee is required for your guests to enter Indian Cove

Please Go To Our Instagram @thevowkeeper

For Additional Photos Of Joshua Tree National Park Weddings 

Things To Remember For Your Joshua Tree National Park Wedding

  • There is NO Cell Service inside the Joshua Tree National Park

  • Bring lots of water, cold beverages and food with you

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas

  • Allow additional time to wait in line to gain entrance into the Park

  • There are many entrances into the Park.  The West Joshua Tree entrance is the busiest entrance, sometimes it can take as long as 45 to 60 minutes to reach the Ranger's booth to pay your entrance fee

  • Joshua Tree National Park Entrance Fee is $30. per vehicle for 7 days

  • Holidays and Spring Break allow additional time for holiday traveler and long entrance lines, be prepared for lots of traffic and limited parking

  • Allow additional travel time to reach your destination on time.  The average spped is 35 to 40 mph and there can be lots of traffic and full parking lots that have been closed by the Rangers

  • Bring a printed hard copy of all of your wedding permits with you to provide your documentation to the Ranger's

  • Provide all of this information to your guests

Things To Bring For Your Joshua Tree National Park Wedding

  • Winter months bring a coat, shawl, jacket or sweater with you to stay warm and you can remove your coat just before your ceremony

  • Summer months bring cold bottled water, an umbrella for shade, hand fans, small bottle misters with ice water in them and ice cold bandanas to cool you down from the summer heat, carry these items in an ice cooler

  • Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for summer months

  • The average park elevation is 3000 to 5000 feet and the weather is very unpredictable, it can be very windy and cold

  • Since there is always walking or hiking involved to arrive at your wedding ceremony location, wear flat healed shoes to walk in the sand, and bring your special wedding shoes to change into

  • Bring a cloth to dust off your wedding shoes

  • If your wedding dress has a train or is long in length, bring a pillow case to place your train into to best carry it thru the desert terrain, so not to drag your dress thru the sand and dirt to pick up cactus thorns and desert burrs in your beautiful wedding dress.  Maybe consider buttoning your train into a bustle and then drop your train once you reach your wedding ceremony location

  • Bring your hairbrush and makeup bag with you for any beauty touch ups

  • For your celebration bring a small wedding cake or cupcakes, donuts, plates, napkins, silverware, toasting glasses, champagne and beverages

  • Also bring a some tasty nibbles and treats to eat

Additional Joshua Tree National Park Information

Additional Wedding Planning Information

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