Tips for Eloping in a National Park
If you are an adventurous couple who loves to enjoy the open space and fresh air then eloping in a national park might be for you! Whether you enjoy hiking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing or having some s’mores by a campfire your day is all about you and you bet you can incorporate whatever it is you enjoy about the outdoors into your special day. Some of the most beautiful landscapes are found in national parks in the U.S. so here are some Tips for Eloping In A National Park!
National Park Elopement Permits
There can be so many questions surrounding the logistics of getting married in a national park. Most of the National Parks in the States allow you to elope and get married in the park, but there’s always going to be a special use permit that you will have to pay for and the price ranges from $50 to $300. Even if you are keeping it as simple as possible it is ALWAYS a good idea to get that permit. Don’t you think it would be pretty terrible to get stopped in the middle of a ceremony and be asked to leave and not be able to celebrate the way you planned?! It sure would be!
So, if you want to elope in a national park be sure to apply for a permit months in advance. You can get it as quickly as 3 weeks, but be sure to give yourself plenty of time as they will most likely take longer and it’s better to get it done with.
For example, Yosemite allows you to schedule permits a little over a year in advance. Parks like Yosemite get a lot of applications and have designated areas for ceremonies that book up fast! It’s your responsibility to apply and purchase the permit as soon as you can.
NATIONAL PARK RESTRICTIONS
You can usually only have a max of 50 people allowed to attend your wedding, but there are a few parks that allow more. There are also restrictions and props, chairs, pets, etc. If there are certain things that you would like to do that aren’t allowed in a National Park don’t forget to check out State Parks or a national forest, because those tend to have fewer restrictions.
When it comes to your ceremony location a lot of national parks have designated areas that they are allowed to be performed at. You’ll be able to hike and to go anywhere else you want for pictures before or after, but be sure to check the official national park website to see if they have restrictions on where ceremonies can be performed.
Planning Your Elopement Day
I am the biggest advocate for all day elopements! Your elopement day is a day that deserves to be captured from beginning to end! It’s a day that you will celebrate for the rest of your lives and you should be able to look back on your day and remember it like it was yesterday. When you think about it it’s common and expected that anybody who has a traditional wedding will have their photographer there for 8-12 hours. Why should elopements be any different?! They shouldn’t!
As an Elopement Photographer I work closely with my couples to help plan out all the logistics and details of their day! . One thing to remember is that it’s not an 8 hour photo shoot. You definitely won’t be standing there and posing for 8 hours! That wouldn’t be fun or anyone. It’s all about documenting your day and having an unforgettable experience on your one of the most important days of your life!
As far as choosing a time for your elopement it’s very wise to have your ceremony at sunset or sunrise–especially when eloping in a national park! Depending on the location and which national park you decide to elope in, sunset can still be fairly busy. In that cases like this sunrise is the best choice to have a more private and intimate ceremony!
BEING PREPARED ON YOUR ELOPEMENT DAY
You definitely want to be prepared for anything when you elope in a national park! If you are eloping towards the end of the year be sure to have a raincoat and jacket to stay warm. If you are going on a hiking elopement be sure to bring a change of clothes and then when you get to where you want to say your vows or start your adventure you can change into your elopement attire! If you are doing a lot of walking or hiking then definitely wear your hiking boots or comfortable shoes.
NATIONAL PARK LOCATION SCOUTING
I love to location scout and find new and cool places for my couples! Part what I do for my couples is location scouting and finding the perfect spot for the two of you! Some couples already know where they want to get married and others don’t. If you are eloping in a national park that you have been to before try choosing a location that you two love or even choosing a new spot that you can both explore for the first time together! You can also get inspiration and ideas for your day through Instagram or Pinterest.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ELOPEMENT DAY
Elopements are an extremely meaningful and intentional way of getting married. They allow for more intimate moments, more adventure and allow you to get married exactly how you without having to worry about pleasing every single person during your reception. So, just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you deserve any less than someone who is having a traditional wedding! If you think about it someone who has a traditional wedding typically won’t settle for less than eight hours of coverage on their wedding day. They want their full day documented so that they can look back on their wedding day and remember it like it was yesterday.
Why should elopements be any different? They shouldn’t!! This is still YOUR wedding day. This is the day that the two of you will look back on and celebrate for the rest of your lives. You deserve to have a full experience on your elopement day. You deserve to be able to look back and remember your entire day like it was yesterday, because I believe your elopement matters. Elopements aren’t just about pretty pictures. They’re about the entire experience you have on arguably the most important day of your life! You deserve to have that experience.