September 10, 2021
From Hawaii to Denali, I’ve got so many places on my bucket list where I want to photograph elopements. Don’t get me wrong – I’m absolutely obsessed with my home here in the PNW. But your girl’s got dreams. So here are 5 incredible places to elope that you need to consider for your elopement! (And please hire me to come along and photograph it – thanks in advance)
With each location, I’ve included some ideas of what you could do with your elopement there, as well as a few specific spots to consider. Full disclosure: I haven’t been to all of these locations, but that’s why you’re hiring a pro – because I know what I’m doing and how to plan + photograph an incredible elopement at a totally new-to-me place!
1. Why you should elope in Alaska / Denali National Park
Oh man, Alaska has got to be in the top few of my elopement bucket list locations. If you follow me, you probably already love beautiful mountain landscapes like the ones here in the PNW. Alaska brings that to a whole new level.
From glaciers to mountains to lakes, Alaskan landscapes are the type that will make you feel tiny. Miniscule. Not important. Which is my favorite – who doesn’t want to say their vows in the middle of the most epic mountain range that leaves them completely breathless?
Where to elope in Alaska
It’s hard to narrow it down, but I’ve picked three incredible national parks that Alaska has to offer, for you to consider for your elopement. There are so many more amazing opportunities across the state that you can look into, but hopefully, these three will get your ideas flowing!
Eloping in Denali National Park would be absolutely WILD. Mt. Denali is actually North America’s highest mountain, making it an undeniably incredible spot to say your vows. The park is full of the most insane mountain views, green meadows, wildflowers, rolling hills, tons of wildlife, lakes, you name it. It has it all.
The park is located north of Anchorage, and provides awesome campgrounds for you to stay at on the days surrounding your elopement!
Sitka National Historic Park is in – you guessed it – Sitka. Specifically, on the west coast of Baranof Island (which Sitka encompasses). It’s Alaska’s oldest national park, and actually “preserves the battle site of invading Russian traders and indigenous Tlingit,” according to the National Parks Org website! Pretty interesting, yeah? I’m super passionate about learning the history of locations I visit, so it’s super cool that this national park commemorates the 1804 Battle of Sitka. National parks weren’t just established for tourists to visit!
This park is super beautiful in a totally different way than other parks you might think of when you think of Alaska: it’s got tons of stunning, tall green trees and totem poles, as well as the classic views of beautiful mountain ranges. You can say your vows under the trees, then head out near the water to watch the sunset over the mountains. Pretty dang hard to beat, if you ask me.
Finally, I wanted to mention the Kenai Fjords National Park, which is located southeast of Kenai and way south of Anchorage. This park has an incredible rocky coastline, bright blue glaciers, and the coolest rock formations in the water. It’s a seriously insane spot to visit and would make for the most awesome elopement location!
Alaska elopement ideas
Let’s get creative and start thinking outside of the box as far as elopement ideas go! Here are a few ideas for an Alaska elopement to get you starting to dream.
- Go camping inside Denali National Park after saying your vows in front of the mountains
- Go kayaking in the Kenai Fjords at sunrise
- Take a helicopter tour to the top of a mountain or glacier
- Go dogsledding the day after your elopement
2. Yosemite elopement inspiration
Yosemite had to be included on this list – a classic, incredible adventure elopement destination. I’d absolutely love to photograph an elopement at Yosemite National Park – the sunsets, rock formations, and views are to die for.
Where to elope in Yosemite National Park
If your elopement will have under 11 people (total – including you, your guests, and your vendors), you won’t need to follow Yosemite’s Permitted Ceremony Locations list.
Yosemite is strict on permits (for good reason), so any elopement I photograph there will always be following Leave No Trace principles & we’ll get all the necessary permits.
The locations below are all on Yosemite’s permitted ceremony list, but if you have under 11 people, we can explore other locations in the park as we go!
Bridalveil Fall trail is an easy 0.5-mile walk to the base of a beautiful waterfall that would be a stunning backdrop for a vow exchange.
This beach area provides stunning views from just outside of the park and offers a beautiful meadow & water that would be an amazing spot to tie the knot!
Lower Yosemite Falls is a beautiful spot for a wedding ceremony where you can look up at the amazing rock formations the park provides. It’s got tall green trees, and is an easy 1-mile loop walk!
Yosemite elopement ideas
- Book a luxury stay with Autocamp Yosemite for your time in the park
- Hike to Taft Point at sunrise
- Go camping inside the park and sleep under the stars after saying your vows
- Rent a bike to ride around the park & explore
- Go rafting along the Merced River at sunset
3. Monument Valley elopement ideas
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a freaking DREAM of mine to visit. I cannot even fathom how beautiful it would be in person and how epic of an elopement location it would be.
It’s located on the Arizona-Utah border, and you’ve probably seen photos of it before: filled with rich red rocks & sand, sandstone buttes, and overall unreal views & landscape everywhere you look. You’ll feel tiny in this massive desert landscape – which is the best feeling when you’re out in nature, in my opinion.
You’ll need a specific permit for any groups over 5 – so if it’s just you two, your officiant, and me (your photographer), you’ll be good to go. If you’ll have more people, you’ll need to get a Special Use Permit.
This is definitely the place to elope for any desert lovers: drive through the park to find the perfect elopement spot, say your vows along the side of the road, bring a picnic, and find more activities to include that you’ll love. More ideas are below for you!
Monument Valley elopement ideas
- Book a horseback riding tour for the morning of your elopement, or literally ride off into the sunset
- Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the land from a native Navajo guide
- Go camping inside the park after we take photos of you two under the stars
- Book a fun 4×4 tour around the park to do the day after your elopement
4. Hawaii elopement ideas
Hawaii had to be on my list – I’d love to get back to Hawaii and photograph a Kauai elopement or elopement in Oahu.
Kauai is full of incredible landscapes, from painted hills to lush green mountains to white-sand beaches & more. Oahu has more city life in Honolulu, if that’s what you’re looking for, along with amazing forests, mountains, & beaches. They’re two totally different islands with different vibes, so I wanted to give you a couple of location ideas for both!
Where to elope in Kauai
A big disclaimer, first: Waimea Canyon is not a location you should be holding your ceremony at. It’s considered a sacred area by the locals, so rather than actually holding a wedding here, it’s a great place for taking photos afterward as long as we go to a spot that’s permitted & accessible.
Waimea Canyon has got to be one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever seen photos of – and that says a lot, being that it’s in a really dang beautiful state. It’s got views of colorful cliffs and waterfalls that are pretty unreal. Doing a post-ceremony session here in your elopement attire would be amazing!
Hanalei Bay lies on the north shore of the island and is a super beautiful beach, perfect for a Hawaii beach wedding or elopement. You can stay at the Hanalei Bay Resort and even hold your intimate wedding through them!
The resort is the perfect place for a dreamy Hawaii wedding, with green grass & Kauai’s lush mountains in the background, and the beach right next to you. Plus the palm trees everywhere, of course. This is definitely a place to consider for a Kauai elopement/wedding, especially if you’d like to hold it at a resort that you can also stay at!
Where to elope in Oahu
You may recognize Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden – that’s because it’s actually one of the locations where Jurassic Park was filmed, fun fact! And for good reason. It’s freaking stunning, with those classic lush green mountains everywhere, green grass, tall green trees – basically a botanical garden full of dreamy greens and healthy plant life.
To have a wedding ceremony here, you’ll need to get a permit and choose from one of the 5 garden sites where ceremonies are permitted. Each site is super beautiful and provides an incredible backdrop for your to say your vows at!
Kualoa Ranch is another Jurassic Park filming location, often visited by tourists and a popular Oahu wedding venue. The ranch has multiple different wedding ceremony sites, ranging from gardens with ocean views to spots right at the base of Hawaii’s lush green mountain ranges. This is a seriously dreamy destination for an Oahu wedding or Oahu elopement, and since it’s an actual wedding venue, the ranch provides great packages for you to choose from.
Hawaii elopement ideas
- Take a catamaran tour of Kaneohe Bay (Oahu)
- Go ziplining in the canopy the day after your elopement
- Go horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch after you say your vows (Oahu)
- Start your elopement day off with a sunrise hike in Kauai
- Go snorkeling the day before your elopement to de-stress
5. Get married in Vermont in the fall
Finally, I wanted to include a location in the northeastern part of the US that I’m dying to visit in the fall: Vermont. If you’re dreaming of a fall wedding or a fall elopement, Vermont is the place to go. Peak foliage colors happen from late September through early-mid October!
With insane forests that explode with colors in the autumn season, you won’t have trouble finding a beautiful spot to tie the knot. Below are some venues & locations you definitely need to consider for a Vermont elopement in the fall!
Where to have your Vermont wedding or elopemnt
This venue provides multiple stunning ceremony sites, with stunning views of the Green Mountains & calm views of the water. It’s perfect for intimate weddings & gives you a wonderful place to stay once you tie the knot, too. The resort is on the northern border of the state, southeast of Montreal!
This is a super beautiful lodge that’s located a bit south of Jay Peak Resort and is a super stunning luxury ski resort. The resort has multiple ceremony sites to choose from, depending on the vibe you’re going for. The outdoor terraces are perfect for a fall elopement since you’ll want to see the stunning views & colors of Mount Mansfield!
If you’d prefer a lakeside elopement rather than eloping at a lodge/resort, Lake Willoughby is an incredible option to consider. The lake is located in Westmore, in the northeastern part of Vermont. It’s an absolutely stunning lake surrounded by foliage (the Willoughby State Forest), and with views of Mt. Pisgah in the distance. The trees surrounding this lake look pretty dang unreal in the fall!
This is the perfect place if you want to say your vows by the water, nestled among tons of trees and beautiful scenery.
Vermont elopement ideas
The fall season already provides so many amazing opportunities for fun activities – here are some you could include in your elopement that would be a blast!
- Rent a bike & ride along the Burlington Greenway
- Visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill for some genuine hard cider & yummy food
- Go for a swim in Lake Champlain after you say your vows
- Go on a hike in the Green Mountains at sunrise
- Visit Holbrook State Park & find a hike to do at sunset
And that wraps up my 5 bucket list elopement locations! These 5 places to elope are absolutely incredible for so many reasons, and every location has so dang much to offer. If you’ve been convinced & are dying to elope at one of these spots, reach out to me here and let’s start planning your destination elopement experience. I’m so ready!
If you loved this blog post, you’ll definitely love all the elopement resources & real-life elopement inspiration I’ve got on my blog. Check out all of my most recent blog posts here!