Promotional Image: A couple kissing as the sun sets between their faces, with the text: Planning your Elopement in the Gold Country".Having a big wedding isn’t for everyone, but neither is simply running off to the courthouse. Eloping doesn’t have to be last minute, and even the most casual elopements require some planning ahead. If you’re interested in eloping with a little more dazzle—especially right here in the Gold Country—here is a handy checklist to help you get an idea of how to plan your elopement.

1) Marriage license:

This is probably the least romantic item on this checklist (who wants to do paperwork on their wedding day?) but it’s still a vital first step. Each state and county have their own marriage license laws and fees, so it’s a good idea to look up what you will need to do in order to obtain one.

(If you are a Calaveras County resident, you can find more information on how to obtain a marriage license from the Clerk Recorder office at the Calaveras County Government Center in San Andreas at 754-6372.)

2) Location:

Where do you want to elope? A rolling vineyard? An old barn? In the middle of the woods? At the Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn, we have a lush, green outdoor garden venue that is perfect for an elopement.

An outdoor brick patio featuring white round banquet tables, and taller "standing" tables with decorative centerpieces. The house's porch area can be seen in the background.

The Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn has a lush garden that is perfect for an elopement.

3) Bare-minimum-must-haves:

Before you tie the knot, write down a list of the bare-minimum-must-haves you want for your elopement. Do you want to dress up for your elopement with a wedding gown and tuxedo? Or keep it low-key with a nice cotton dress and button-down shirt and jeans? Bouquet or no bouquet? Rings? Who’s officiating? Photos or no photos? If you bring your camera or even your smart phone, our staff will gladly take photos for you, although we do recommend that you hire a professional wedding photographer.

4) After saying “I do”:

You can make your elopement as casual or glamorous as you’d like, but you still need to have an idea of what you want to happen following your elopement. Do you want to celebrate your new marriage with a quiet dinner for two or invite close family and friends to a small reception?

Either way, the Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn does gourmet catering and has the option of indoor and outdoor seating. A delicious dinner can be prepared for you and your new life partner right here, served out on the patio under the stars, with softly-lit tea lights draped over you, casting a romantic ambiance.

outdoor setting on patio in front of white cottage building, round tables set for event with white linens, red runners, candles, green lawn in foreground with bright flower arrangement on high table, trees in background

Consider hosting a small reception to celebrate your elopement here at the Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn.

Maybe you want to have a private ceremony, and then celebrate with a big reception at a later date that’s open to many friends and family members. The Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn can do that, too! We can host a large group of people. Feel free to contact us to find out how many guests we can accommodate or ask about other accommodations we offer for larger parties. Love a good barbecue? Chef Jim has niche specialty for barrel cooking, too, so you can have a hot, smokin’ barbecue for your reception if you’d like.

white round tables set for event with white linens, red runners, candles, in room with barn style peak ceiling, beige walls

The Dunbar House Bed & Breakfast Inn also offers a charming indoor venue to host your reception in.

That’s it! Just four simple steps to help you with your elopement planning.

If you are interested in eloping with us, call (209) 728-2897 or email


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