The Ultimate Mountain Elopement Guide For Your Dream Elopement
The Best Mountain Elopement Packages In The US
Are you thinking about getting married in the mountains but have no idea where to start? Well, mountain elopement packages have become popular for most couples looking for an adventure on their big day. Here is what you need to know about eloping in the mountains and how to pick the best mountain elopement package for you in the US.
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How To Prepare For A Mountain Elopement
Choose Your Location
First, you need to choose the correct location. There are a few things to consider when looking for the proper mountain for your elopement ceremony.
• The Hiking Level – Do you want to hike for a long distance and wear your wedding clothes at the top of the mountain? Do you prefer a short walk off the road with a beautiful view? Depending on the mountain location you choose, you will have different levels of accessibility. Choose whatever place you want, depending on your preferences.
• Types Of Scenery – What is your favorite mountain scenery? Whether you are looking for mountains in the background, forests, wildflowers, rolling hills, massive cliffs, or valleys, there are always perfect mountain elopement packages with the right type of scenery.
• Popularity Of The Location – If a location is very accessible, it will be pretty popular. Therefore, if you want to avoid a massive crowd on your elopement, you should opt for a less popular mountain destination.
Choosing The Right Date
Once you have found the correct destination for your wedding, the next step is choosing the right time to do it. At first, this might seem easy and obvious, but you can’t select any date of the year because of the climate in the mountains. Keep in mind that at those high altitudes, the summers are very short. Of course, every mountain destination will have varying seasons depending on the location so check into it before choosing your date.
The best time to elope in the mountains is from July to September. The weather is optimal at this time, and the snow is limited. At higher elevations, you should expect to find some snow on the hiking trails in June, so some of the trails will be less accessible. Also, some roads might be closed for the early summer season.
On the other hand, some mountain destinations have shorter fall seasons. As such, there might be unexpected snowfall at any time when the weather gets colder. However, if you want a snowy elopement in the mountains, you should opt for January to March.
Finding Specific Locations And Applying For Permits
Once you have identified your elopement date and location, you need to whittle down the details. You need to find the specific location for your elopement ceremony and get the permits required. For instance, if you choose to get married in national and state parks or any other type of public land, you will need permits.
That’s why you need to do your research. Also, some of the popular parks have specific locations for elopement ceremonies, and they might be impacted by the guest count. Take all this into account when looking at a specific location for your mountain elopement to avoid any hassles on the big day.
Choose Your Elopement Activities
The best thing about having an elopement over a traditional wedding is the fact that you can do anything during your special day. You can fill the day with things that make you happy. When looking for the best elopement activities, you should consider the activities you both love. You should consider hiking, backpacking, off-road exploration, outdoor picnics, and much more.
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Finding Local Vendors And Lodging
Once you know what to do on your elopement day, you can start booking local vendors and accommodation. You should think about hiring a photographer, officiant, florist, videographer, hair and makeup artist, planner, and caterer. You can choose the most important ones for your elopement ceremony without worrying about the budget.
Your Elopement Guests
You need to think about who to bring to your mountain elopement ceremony. If you have always wanted to have your closest friends and family on your big day, you should include them in your elopement. Of course, you need to choose a more accessible location if you plan to bring guests to your mountain elopement ceremony. However, there are other ways to include them, such as follows.
• Video call them when you are getting ready for your elopement.
• Have a separate ceremony in an area that’s more accessible, and then you can hike with your partner to the other location alone.
• You can elope with your partner and have a big post-elopement party at home where you can include everyone else.
• You can have a traditional wedding ceremony and exchange your vows on a mountain during your honeymoon period.
• Bring a few friends and family members to the mountain top for your elopement.
Simply put, you need to choose whatever makes you happy.
Create A Proper Timeline
Depending on the specific location for your mountain elopement, there is a lot to plan for the day besides the ceremony. You need to factor in the moments as you get ready and haven’t seen each other yet. Also, when you get to see each other for the first time and when you exchange vows. Therefore, you need to create a proper timeline that can be brought alive by videography and photography for your elopement ceremony.
Where can you elope in the mountains? Mountain Elopement Packages
North Cascades National Park, Washington
The best time to plan an elopement in the North Cascades National Park is between mid-July and early October. The national park is located at a higher elevation, so there is a lot of snow. You need to apply for the national park permit and the marriage license in Washington before having your elopement ceremony here.
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The best locations for your elopement ceremony include the following.
• Artist Point – Here, you can enjoy stunning views of flowering meadows, alpine lakes, and panoramic mountain views. It’s a drive-up location, so you can always include your family in the elopement effortlessly. Of course, it’s pretty popular, but you can always look for the private trails and enjoy an intimate elopement ceremony.
• Washington Pass Overlook – Here, you can enjoy the most spectacular views of the Liberty Bell Peaks. It’s also a drive-up location and has a wheelchair-accessible small loop trail. Therefore, if you plan to bring your grandparents or elderly relatives, it’s easy to do so.
• Stehekin – It is a remote mountain town only accessible by seaplane, boat, horseback, or hiking. It’s the perfect elopement spot for couples who are also planning their honeymoon. You can try out any of the numerous activities after your elopement ceremony and have a fantastic time with your partner. It’s the ultimate adventure for a newlywed couple.
When applying for a wedding permit at the North Cascades National Park, you need to do the following.
• Fill out an application for special park uses.
• Visit the official website and fill a special use permit and pay $50. You can sign the draft permit and get an official wedding permit for the North Cascade National Park.
Note that you can apply for the permit up to a year before your elopement day. They need about 4 weeks to process, so it’s prudent to apply earlier. As for the marriage license, you can’t get married on the same day as the license because there is a 3-day waiting period. The marriage license will be valid for 60 days and costs $69. You can apply for the marriage license in any county in Washington and return it before 60 days to the specific county where you applied for it.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
It comes with a gorgeous landscape that makes any elopement journey to Alaska magical. Even better, you can enjoy various adventures such as mountaineering, kayaking, and fishing. The vastness of the Fjords will always be memorable, and it’s the best place to spend your big day.
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If you choose Kenai Fjords National Park for your elopement ceremony, you should expect to pay for the following.
• The marriage license fee is $60.
• Hiring a photographer costs about $4,000 to $10,000, depending on who you choose to hire.
• Miscellaneous vendors such as hair and makeup, florals, and the local adventure gear might cost $2,000 to $3,000.
• Charting a private boat, helicopter or plane might cost about $10,000.
Mt Rainier National Park, Washington
The best time to elope is from the end of July to the start of September. There will be minimal rain/cloudy days compared to the rest of the months. You can plan your elopement ceremony in this mountain renowned for the wildflowers. Of course, you cannot run through the wildflowers, pick them or lay down on them since they take years to grow back. However, they will make the best background for your photos.
KATIE ROJAN – WWW.KATIEBERGPHOTO.COM
Some of the best elopement spots in Mount Rainier include the following.
• Mount Fremont Lookout Trail – You can enjoy the panoramic views on your special day and an unforgettable hike. It’s an ideal place to take your elopement photos and videos to share with friends and family.
• Skyline Trail/Panorama Point – It is located in the Paradise region. It is renowned for wildflower views and multiple terrains. It’s the best trail where you can get everything you want from the national park.
• Tolmie Peak Hike – It’s a challenging hike but not impossible. It’s the perfect elopement destination for couples looking for some adventure on their big day. Here, you can enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset. It’s also the best place for taking photos of your big day.
Suppose you want to have your elopement ceremony in Mount Rainier National Park. In that case, you need to apply for a wedding permit. Of course, you have to choose the specific place you want to elope in the park. The various mountain elopement packages depend on how many guests you want to bring to the park. For example:
• If you bring 1 to 12 guests, you can use any location in the park for your elopement ceremony.
• If there are 13 to 24 participants, you are not allowed to use the primitive locations. However, you are welcome to use the predetermined locations.
• If there will be 25 to 60 participants, you can only use the campground amphitheaters and roadside locations.
• If there are more than 60 guests, you can only use the campground amphitheaters.
Note that the elopement ceremony should not affect any of the other activities in the park. Note that the outdoor areas will not be closed off during the elopement ceremony. Also, you are not allowed to throw rice or confetti during the elopement ceremony.
As for the marriage license, you can choose to legalize your wedding on your elopement day or have a simple and symbolic ceremony. However, suppose you want to legalize your marriage during the actual elopement ceremony. In that case, you should have 2 witnesses and an officiant who should sign the license. Remember, you need a 3-day waiting period for the license to become active.
You can get to Mount Rainier for your elopement ceremony by plane or by car. Make sure you have the directions to the park so you will not get lost.
Other Mountain Elopement Locations To Consider
Besides the above 3 locations, you can also choose any of the following destinations.
• Stowe in Vermont
• Mount Bachelor in Oregon
• Columbia River Gorge in Oregon
• Breckenridge in Colorado (check out these 20 Colorado wedding venues 2021, if you would love to get married there)
• Mt. Hood in Oregon (for more inspiration, check out these amazing wedding venues in Oregon)
• Mt. Shasta in California (for more inspiration, check out these amazing elopement packages California in 21/22)
• Glacier National Park in Montana
• Yosemite in California (for more information, check out this epic Yosemite National Park wedding or this amazing Yosemite wedding)
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Congratulations on your upcoming elopement ceremony. If you choose to get married in the mountains, make sure you are prepared. Start planning at least months before the elopement day. If you prefer an elopement ceremony over a large wedding, choose any of the mountain elopement destinations and have a private affair with the love of your life. Take your time to research the best destination and have the most unforgettable moments. If you are not quite sure about the mountains as a wedding location, check out these 101 Most Epic & Best Places To Elope in 2022.