Real Catalina Island Elopement


March 23, 2022
Words by Jessie Allen
Photos courtesy of Parallel33 Photography

Betsy and Kazu’s elopement on Catalina Island was a true testament to the power of love and the beauty of simplicity. The couple chose to forego the traditional big wedding and instead opted for an intimate ceremony on the stunning island off the coast of California. Their elopement was a reminder that sometimes, the most meaningful moments in life are the ones that are shared intimately with those who matter most. Join us as we take a closer look at Betsy and Kazu’s enchanting elopement on Catalina Island and the romance that unfolded amidst the island’s natural beauty through the lens of their photographer, Bree of Parallel33 Photography.

Betsy and Kazu met in college at USD, then spent four years doing long-distance while she moved back to Indiana for nursing school. Finally, she decided “enough is enough,” and that she needed to move back to be with Kazu. They just bought a house and moved in together two weeks before they eloped!

Betsy and Kazu reached out to me a couple of weeks before they were planning on eloping on Catalina Island! They had a loose plan and a dream of eloping with just their closest people and having an adventure-filled day.

For those who don’t know, Santa Catalina Island is a tiny island just an hour offshore of LA/Orange County in California. It’s perfect for weekend getaways and unique weddings! Being a super adventurous person myself, and loving laid-back days like this, I was so excited! After doing a ton of research and dreaming of the perfect day, we came up with an awesome elopement plan.

We planned the day around their favorite things about the island. Betsy absolutely loved the nature and sunset vibes and adored the architecture unique to Avalon, the main “city” on the island.

“Catalina seemed the perfect location with warm weather and the gorgeous town of Avalon that almost gives you the feel of being in another country,” the couple says.

They booked me for a four-hour package, where we could go on real adventures and capture their love around the island without the stress of a strict timeline. They decided to get ready at their hotel (sentimental moments captured, of course) after a pizza lunch on the roof with family. We headed up top to the rooftop for some epic photos overlooking the city and the water! They stayed at The Avalon Hotel, and I highly recommend staying at a hotel with a roof so you can take amazing photos there!

We rented a golf cart (customary while on Catalina) and cruised around to capture the culture of the city! Without spoiling too many of my secrets and locations, we hit some main spots and some secret corners around Avalon like the Hotel St. Lauren, the Casino, and Main street.

Betsy also brought a huge floppy hat to match the beach vacation vibes. Her mom also created a makeshift bouquet made with flowers from the Vons on the island! Although the island is small, there are ways to make it exactly like a normal wedding if you choose to!

Then, when we were ready to get them hitched, we headed to a secluded viewpoint with the most gorgeous views of the city. (Here’s a secret: get married an hour and a half before sunset for the perfect lighting like this during your ceremony!)

They celebrated a super quick ceremony and we took some photos with everyone there. Finally, we ended the day with some more photos down by the beach before I set back off to the mainland on the ferry. They celebrated into the night with their family at a restaurant and after-party on the hotel roof. Peep the moon over the water for a perfect end to a perfect day!

“Having a small party made it very intimate. It took away the pressure of entertaining guests, making rounds to everyone and worrying about planning details,” the couple says.

Vendors: Photographer/Planner: Parallel33 Photography; Flowers/Cake: Vons
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