How to Get Married in Palm Springs

Written by Whitney Teal
Photo: Gideon Photography

Palm Springs is still Southern California’s best-kept secret when it comes to destination wedding locations. If you’re on the fence about getting married in Palm Springs, just do it! Tucked away in the Palm Desert, the town is relatively sleepy, but full of modern, spacious wedding venues— including Old Hollywood homes you can totally rent for wedding ceremonies— with access to a plethora of world-class wedding vendors from all parts of Southern California. The region is perfect for couples who want to treat their guests to mountainous views, bohemian glamour and tons of sunshine.

Find out what you need to know as you plan your desert wedding, from scouting the perfect Palm Springs wedding venues to securing a marriage license!

The Basics

Before Palm Springs was the hip resort town full of Instagrammable sights it is today, it was a sleepy enclave whose claim to fame was being driving distance from both Los Angeles and San Diego. When Frank Sinatra purchased the famous Twin Palms home in 1947, many other Golden Age Hollywood stars followed suit. Now, hip hotels and eateries make the city a favorite destination for those living in California and beyond. The many regal private estates, decked out with palatial swimming pools and sick views of the desert, are popular for destination wedding planners. Among LGBTQ couples, Palm Springs has a special significance. Riverside County, wherein Palm Springs is one of several banner locations, has one of the highest concentrations of married gay couples in the United States.

The Perfect Venue

First things first: Palm Springs wedding venues will dictate a lot of decisions as you plan your nuptials, so it’s best to make this one of the first items you mark on your wedding planning checklist. While most couples getting married in Palm Springs will have a date in mind, maybe an anniversary or holiday weekend, go into your venue search with some flexibility as your perfect venue might be booked on that exact day, but available another day or another weekend. Venues in Palm Springs run the gamut from traditional hotels to private homes. Think about your needs and your wedding vision when deciding. Things like how many wedding guests you’re expecting to the type of aesthetic you’re drawn to will factor into the venue you choose.

Hotels: Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort or a hotel complete with a gorgeous courtyard, Palm Springs wedding venues don’t disappoint.

Private estates: Most Palm Springs weddings take place at a privately owned mansion. These homes are ideal for couples who want a more intimate wedding. Depending on the size of the home, these wedding venues can also double as venues for the rehearsal dinner and accommodations for the wedding party.

Old Hollywood homes: The legacy of the Rat Pack and its environs is part of the appeal of Palm Springs, so why not channel that in your upcoming nuptials? The former homes of everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elizabeth Taylor have been transformed into glamorous rentals perfectly suited for weddings.

  • Twin Palms, otherwise known simply as “The Sinatra House,” is full of Old Hollywood glamour and lore. It was home to the tumultuous marriage of crooner Sinatra and his second wife, movie star Ava Gardner, and is the crown jewel of the Movie Colony neighborhood. Learn more about Twin Palms »

  • The Lucy House is just across the Palm Desert in La Quinta — the better for this former home of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to spread out! A five-bedroom ranch-style home with gorgeous stucco and lush greenery, this spacious estate is one of the most popular. Learn more about Lucy House »

Weather

Like the rest of Southern California, Palm Springs has a desert climate with moderate temperatures nearly year-round. The summer months of June, July, August and September are sweltering, with highs easily reaching triple digits, so this is considered the “off-season” for getting married in Palm Springs. Just about every month in fall, winter and spring are fair game with pleasant highs in the 70s and 80s, but the desert nights can be pretty chilly, especially in December and January. Here are the average temperatures:

palm springs weather chart

Dates to Avoid

  • Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Friday, April 13 to Sunday, April 15, 2018 and Friday, April 20 to Sunday, April 22, 2018: This once-exclusive music festival went mainstream nearly a decade ago, and it will only keep growing. Held over the course of two weekends, festival goers crowd the Coachella Valley and nearby hotels — including those in Palm Springs — to experience Top 40 music acts like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar. Tickets sell out just about a year in advance, so avoid this weekend as lodging will be nearly impossible to secure for your wedding guests.

  • Palm Springs International Film Festival, Tuesday, Jan. 2 to Monday, Jan. 15, 2018: After almost 30 years, this popular festival draws nearly 137,000 visitors to Riverside County each year. Palm Springs is a resort town with limited hotels, resorts and other accommodations, so avoid these dates so your guests won’t have trouble booking affordable rooms.

Accommodations

There’s plenty to choose from as you prepare for your destination wedding in Palm Springs. Make it easy on your guests with a room block at your wedding venue or one of the nearby hotels or resorts. If you’re planning to rent a private estate for your wedding, you’ll likely need to reserve it for the entire weekend, so consider offering it up to your close family or members of the wedding party to save on wedding expenses.

Marriage License

It won’t do to plan a Palm Springs wedding and forget the California marriage requirements! Luckily, marriages in the Golden State are pretty easy. You don’t need to reside in California to be issued a state license, but both partners do need to bring in an acceptable form of identification, like a driver’s license, passport or green card. There isn’t a required wait time, but the license will expire after 90 days. You’ll also need at least one witness, however your license can be signed up by to two witnesses.

Palm Springs Inspiration

Ready to start planning your Palm Springs wedding? Check out these gorgeous weddings.