Have you found yourself dreaming of ditching the typical wedding plans? In a post pandemic world, more and more couples seem to be opting for a secluded, intimate, and gorgeous elopement in place of an over the top ceremony. Here’s the top destination places to elope that are sure to get your heart going and dreaming for a simpler special day in nature!
Known for awe inspiring valleys, cliffs, and mountain views, giant sequoia groves, dramatic waterfalls, and clear streams; this little slice of heaven in Central California is definitely one of the top destination places to elope. Yosemite’s natural beauty is all the magic you need for your special day. Be sure to complete the application for the special use permit within 21 days of the ceremony, or up to a year in advance. You’ll need to check out available ceremony locations on the National Parks website to include the specific location on the app, as well as pay the $150 non-refundable fee.
Their website provides a list and descriptions of all possible locations, and highlights what you should consider about each one. This gives you a chance to scout out hikes and imagine what they will be like on the elopement day. You can have the Yosemite experience without making a big hike the day of; in fact you can always leave the larger trails for exploring on the honeymoon. You never want to realize your hiking ability falls short of the trip the day of the elopement, or have a guest experience altitude sickness. Sites are limited to two hour events at all locations, and are first-come-first-served, based on application. So scouting those sites you’re interested in will pay off if you need to find an alternative place or time. You’re limited to booking on weekdays and are not granted permits for holidays.
Currently due to COVID-19, group gatherings are limited to 10 people including wedding permits. As always, be sure to check out specific guidelines to responsibly respect the laws for nature in the park, pack out what you pack in, and tread lightly. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that other hikers may stumble upon your ceremony and are allowed to be in the areas as well. After all the big choices are said and done, to have the opportunity to begin your wedded bliss with your partner in one of the most magnificent parks is worth the memories of any guidelines you take into consideration when planning. No wonder Yosemite is one of the top destination places to elope!
Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island, described sometimes as the “Garden Island” for it’s emerald valleys and tropical rainforests. It’s also known for its gorgeous waterfalls, crystal blue waters, golden and white sand beaches, and majestic mountain cliffs. If you are looking for a magical island elopement Kauai might be the dream location for you and your partner. To elope in Hawaii you need an officiant to commence your ceremony and to apply online for a marriage license to pick up together; however no witnesses are needed. This makes it an even better location for spontaneous elopements, and slightly easier on those planning.
When researching locations be sure to check out the gorgeous and serene beaches, waterfalls, and what rules apply to each area; you may need to apply and pay for a permit for a certain location. The North and South shores as well as the East and West sides of Kauai all hold magical one-of-a-kind dream locations. When imagining what your elopement might look like, if a serene and tropical escape speaks to your soul, be sure to consider Kauai. Trust me, there’s a reason Kauai is one of the top destination places to elope!
For a unique, serene, and underrated location consider northern Michigan’s upper peninsula (U.P.), which holds forests, sand dune shores, cliff views, beaches, and of course views of the great lakes. Be sure to apply for your license 3+ days in advance, and non-residents must apply in the county they intend to marry. Michigan law requires your officiant plus two witnesses who are 18+ to be present at the elopement ceremony. While you may find some sites, such as state parks will require permits for your elopement day, many areas are free and open to the public, leaving a lot of room in your planning. Whether it’s the shores of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior that catch your eye with dunes, beaches, lighthouses, or the forests- there are plenty of hidden gems in Michigan’s U.P. Although it’s more of a hidden gem, the U.P. is definitely one of the top destination places to elope.
Joshua Tree gets its name from the world’s largest Yucca palms, which grows strong despite adverse conditions, is a beautiful symbolism to start off any marriage. A dream elopement here comes with big considerations as there is no cell service throughout the park and weather can change drastically, though it is typically extreme heat in the summer, and ample water will always be your best friend. You’ll need to apply for a marriage license in San Bernardino County and have an officiant to perform the ceremony.
All weddings here require a special park use permit regardless of size, and further permits may be required for photography and catering- be sure to check and apply on the National Parks website. Each available ceremony location has a specific guest and vehicle limit, which may currently be different during COVID-19. There’s also a useful list of items allowed such as arches and live flowers, vs. those not permitted such as drones, bubbles, rice, confetti, and birdseed.
Be sure to check for each specific area, and always be mindful of the natural space and leave no trace. While there may be a few more hoops to jump through for this location, with its desert skies and dramatic trees it is a divine sunset and sunrise location. Joshua Tree is one of the most unique parks for its gorgeous rugged desert landscape scattered with cacti and Joshua Trees, worth every extra precaution you need in planning an elopement in a spot so rugged.
Ready to get married at one of these top destination places to elope?
Ready to book your ticket and fly away for your elopement yet? These locations are all drool worthy dreams, that can easily be wonderful intimate adventures to start your life with your partner. The hardest choice now is deciding which one you will choose to say “I do”. Click here to to inquire about your day!