Floating down a winding river through valleys of green and snow-capped mountains, you'd think you were living in a dream. But your dream day could be a reality when you elope in Grand Teton National Park! The gorgeous landscapes of Grand Teton National Park are unlike anything you could ever imagine, and if you're thinking about making your wedding day the adventure of a lifetime, this guide is all about planning a Grand Teton elopement.
Here’s what’s in this Grand Teton National Park elopement guide:
- Step 1: Should You Elope in Grand Teton National Park?
- Step 2: Choosing a Date for Your Grand Teton National Park elopement
- Step 3: Finding a Grand Teton National Park Photographer
- Step 4: Grand Teton Elopement Locations
- Step 5: Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Grand Teton National Park
- Step 6: Planning Your Grand Teton National Park Elopement
- Grand Teton Elopement Packages - Ready to Elope?
Should You Elope in Grand Teton National Park?
The hardest thing about planning your Grand Teton elopement might be making the decision to elope! The word "wedding" comes with big expectations and that can be pretty scary, but when you decide to elope, you're putting yourself first. Your wedding day should be all about you, and if you'd rather spend your wedding day whitewater rafting than greeting 150 guests, eloping might be in your future! These days, eloping is less about running off to have a courthouse wedding and more about planning a day that’s all about you and what you love to do together, so when you make that decision to elope, I'll be by your side every step of the way.
Choosing a Date
The next step in planning your elopement will be setting a date. You don’t need to have an exact date in mind yet, but it's nice to have a general idea of what season or experience you'll want to have before you start looking for your elopement vendors. It'll help you, and them, have a better idea of what to expect during your Grand Teton elopement!
A few things to consider when planning your elopement are the weather, crowds, and different activities that each season brings.
Winters in Wyoming are cold and snowy, closing down many of the roads and campgrounds at Grand Teton National Park. Despite the closures, winter can still be a beautiful time to elope! You can strap on some snowshoes or skis for an adventure on your wedding day, and there are fewer people around since a lot of the park is closed.
Early spring is still pretty snowy in the Tetons, so most things don't open up until May 1st, and the park allows ceremonies at a handful of locations starting May 13th. While you can still go enjoy the snow, if you want to wait until it melts, you'll need to plan for later in the spring! It gets crowded around spring break, but you can avoid the crowds by planning for a sunrise or sunset elopement!
The most popular time to elope in Grand Teton National Park is summer. All the trails are typically snow-free by mid-July so you can be sure all the places you want to go are accessible. The weather is perfect for a ceremony, but that also means that lots of tourists visit the park in the summer. To avoid the crowds, you can plan for a sunrise or sunset elopement, or try to plan for a weekday - plus, photographers and videographers are typically more available mid-week!
Fall is a great time for a Grand Teton elopement! Just after the summer crowds die down in mid-September, the weather is still somewhat warm and the trees are just beginning to change colors. The oranges, yellows, and reds of fall add color to the landscape that really makes it pop.
Finding a Grand Teton Elopement Photographer
The next step in planning your elopement is to contact a Grand Teton National Park elopement photographer and videographer. Chances are, you've never planned an elopement before - and that's okay! That's where I come in. Figuring out all the details of an elopement can be overwhelming, so having someone on your side who has planned an elopement before can be really helpful.
As your elopement photographer and videographer, my job begins the moment you book me! From location scouting to permitting, I'll be sure that planning your elopement is smooth sailing.
Grand Teton Elopement Locations
When you elope at Grand Teton National Park, if your elopement includes more than 12 people (including the two of you, your guests, and any vendors), the park has 6 pre-approved locations where you can have your ceremony. Each of them is gorgeous, but the rising popularity of Grand Teton weddings means that they can book up pretty quickly - be sure to apply for a permit early if you would like to say your vows at one of these popular locations:
- Schwabacher Landing
- Mormon Row (North or South)
- Mountain View Turnout
- Glacier View Turnout
- Snake River Overlook
- Colter Bay Swim Beach
But, if you have fewer than 12 people at your elopement, you have some more options for your Grand Teton elopement location! Here’s where you can tie the knot:
- The 6 reserved site-specific ceremony locations listed above
- The paved trails within and surrounding the Jenny Lake visitor plaza at South Jenny Lake
- Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point
- String Lake and Jenny Lake overlook on the one-way road from May 15 to October 15
- Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve
- Park partner facilities (e.g., Murie Ranch, Teton Science School)
- Within proximity of places where weddings are being managed by a chapel or concessioner (e.g., the Chapel of the Transfiguration)
- Park cemeteries
- If a location is behind a gated road, the permittee may have walking access but not vehicle access
Whatever you decide for your ceremony location, remember that you can go elsewhere before or after your ceremony to take photos, too!
Getting Legally Married
After you've thought about where you want to have your ceremony, you'll need to start thinking about what it'll take to get legally married during your Grand Teton National Park elopement. Let's go over permits, fees, and how to get your marriage license!
Grand Teton National Park Wedding Permits
Getting married at Grand Teton National Park requires a little permitting. The park is also in a big revamp process for Special Use Permits so you'll want to double-check their website in case this has changed - don't worry, I can help you figure it out!
You'll either need a Small Dispersed Ceremony Permit or a Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit. The permits are similar, but both have slightly different conditions, so I'll help you figure out what you need to do! The permit fee is $200, which you'll pay when you submit your application. You have up to 30 days before your ceremony to apply for your permit, but don't wait until the last minute! Applications for the year's weddings open up on February 1st of that year, so you'll want to apply early to make sure you can have your first choice for your elopement date. The ceremonies are limited to 1-2 hours depending on what permit you'll apply for, but you can always go take photos elsewhere in the park before or after your ceremony!
If you are having a dispersed ceremony of 12 or fewer people, you'll need a Small Dispersed Ceremony Permit. This allows you to get married practically anywhere in the park, and these ceremonies are limited to one hour.
For weddings with more than 12 people, you'll have to apply for the Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit for one of the 6 pre-approved locations. Site-specific ceremonies are allowed to be up to 2 hours long.
Photography and videography are included in your ceremony permit for the time of your ceremony, but if you take photos before or after your ceremony in the park, you'll need to apply for a Film, Photography and Sound Recording Permit as well. The cost of this permit is $375-$575 depending on the size of your group.
Grand Teton Marriage License
When you elope in Grand Teton National Park, you'll have to get your marriage license in Wyoming to make it official! To get your marriage license, you'll need to bring a filled out copy of Wyoming's Marriage License Questionnaire, your ID, and the $30 application fee to the nearest county clerk's office to pick up your license.
The closest clerk's office to Grand Teton National Park is in Jackson, WY. Since this location is sort of popular with the park nearby, you'll want to make your appointment early and give yourself a little bit of time before your actual ceremony so you don't run into any complications at your appointment.
Once you have your license in hand, you can go get married right away since there's no waiting period in Wyoming! When you sign your license at your ceremony, you'll also need to have an officiant and two witnesses sign your license.
Planning Your Elopement
Your elopement should be an experience that you enjoy, so making sure you’re doing things that make you happy is so important. With so many activities to do in Grand Teton National Park, you're sure to find something that's right up your alley when planning your elopement!
Every couple has a different story, which means no two elopements will look the same. There's no right or wrong way to spend your wedding day, so whatever you choose to do is exactly how it should be! Whether you want to climb the Teton Range, go kayaking on Jackson Lake, or catch a glimpse of some river otters at Oxbow Bend, you're sure to make your day perfect for you!
Grand Teton Elopement Packages - Are You Ready to Elope in Grand Teton National Park?
If you're thinking about eloping in Grand Teton National Park, I want to help turn your dreams into a reality! The day you say "I do" should be as unique as you are - that's why my Grand Teton elopement packages are designed just for you! In addition to capturing every moment that makes your elopement special, I'll be there to help with elopement timelines, finding fun things to do, and more when you elope at the Grand Tetons.
If you want to learn more about my Grand Teton National Park elopement packages, get in touch, and we’ll get started on your elopement adventure!