Choosing the perfect location for your elopement is a big deal! It's the spot you and your partner start your new lives together. Many couples choose the location that resonates with them personally.
Your elopement location can be a place the two of you visited often, or it can be an unexplored place that you want to discover together as a new adventure into your new marriage. Whatever horizon calls your name, consider these logistical steps to finding an epic elopement spot you'll both love!
Imagine Your Day and Ask the Right Questions
Asking the right questions will help you choose the best place to elope. What would your elopement day look like if there were no boundaries? Make use of all your senses when you imagine. Forget about what is possible and simply dream and imagine your day together.
What does this location mean to us?
Are you between canyons in the desert and your feet bare while playing with the desert sand beneath you?
Are you on top of a mountain you just hiked, staring out above a beautiful glowing lake?
Will it be just you and your partner, or do you have a few of your closest family members with you? Remember that your guests will need to hike or travel with you to the destination.
Are you doing something spontaneous and adventurous, exploring a new place together, or doing your favorite adventure activity?
Do you want to keep it local or travel somewhere new?
Resources to Utilize
Utilize all the resources available to you. There are websites and books on all the national parks in the country. You can start here! You can find maps, information about pricing, views, and activities in the area. Don't be afraid to contact the parks directly for any questions.
All Trails will help you find locations based on your needs - pet-friendly ones and the ones with the best views that other visitors reviewed.
Social media is another excellent resource to get real experiences from other couples. They have been through it before, so you can expect authentic feedback on the places that interest you. Join location-based and eloping couples Facebook groups to connect.
Google Earth Pro can show you all the unexplored places. Although it will take some time to sit and research each area, make it a fun activity exploring a virtual earth with your partner.
What are your and your partner's favorite things to do? There are different activities for every location and season. You can choose to discover the different lakes and secret waterfalls of Minnesota or get mesmerized by the red rock formations of the Grand Canyon.
Plan a hot air balloon ride and toast with champagne to your union 3,000 feet in the air. You might want to explore hiking trails, or if you're a foodie, schedule time with a private chef and learn all about local cuisine. The opportunities are endless!
Can You Legally Get Married in That Spot?
Once you have found your elopement location, always research event permits on the park's website. If the specific park doesn't give you clear instructions, call or email them for more information.
Each state will have different guidelines in terms of applying for your marriage license. Most will have you apply and file the license in the county in which you get married. They each also have different rules on how many witnesses you need and how soon you will need to get married after receiving your license.
Visit Your Elopement Location Beforehand
Visit the location beforehand, if possible, to ensure it is precisely where you want to elope, and it gives you an idea of what to expect on the day. While there can still be changes to your day, such as unpredictable weather and road closures, keeping yourself updated will give you peace of mind.
It's important to research and keep an open mind about the perfect elopement location. Keep in mind that you might need to give one of these three things up.
Beautiful views - best views/blocked views.
Accessibility – short and easy to get there.
Seclusion - having the place to yourself/crowds.
Take time researching the perfect elopement location and have fun doing it. Utilize the various online resources available to you and evaluate who you and your partner are as a couple. Choose the off-season to avoid high tourist areas so you can enjoy some privacy.
In the end, the most important thing is that you both absolutely love the place you are getting married in, so much so that you want to plan to revisit it in the future.
Want some location inspiration? Check out this emotional Arches National Park Elopement.