I love helping my couples plan elopements. I usually end up helping a handful of couples each year plan their elopements. It is one of the things I love the most as a type 2 on the ennegram test (the helper). I just put out a blog post on how to plan an elopement. However, I love helping couples explore their dream destinations all over the United States. Here are 12 of my favorite spots in the United States that I would suggest to anyone looking for a destination elopement. Most of these locations you will need a permit to get married on but it is worth it(national parks for sure you need one). For your reception I recommend an airbnb or asking the parks, places listed below if small receptions would be allowed.
1. Joshua Tree National Park, California: My favorite park because of the desert light, open space and beautiful cacti as far as the eye can see. My favorite spot here to photograph in is Indian cove. It is also a spot you can get married in. This spot for sure requires permits to get married as well as have a photographer. There are plenty of trendy airbnb’s with great light to rent in the area too.
2. Saguaro National Park, Arizona: Another park with dreamy light and cacti. This one provides more of a pop of color with vibrant cacti and warmer sunset tones. You can also find amazing airbnb’s close by. You will need a permit here as well.
3. Yosemite National Park, California: So you may start seeing a trend. I love national parks. I think they are probably the prettiest places to elope to since its all untouched nature surrounding you. As with all national parks you will need a permit. Favorite spot: Glacier/Taft point area and Tuolumne meadows. There are cabins in the park or glamping tents nearby you could stay in (autocamp).
4. Monument Valley, Arizona: You need to call ahead and see their regulations but I can assure you its stunning no matter where they say you can elope. For this location it is in the middle of nowhere so I would ask them about doing a picnic there outdoors with your small group for the reception.
5. Flagstaff, Arizona. This place is one of my favorite cities in the US. In fall it looks like its from a hallmark movie. I love the mountain views and forest’s that Flagstaff has to offer. I love Coconino National Forest. Call ahead to see their rules and regulations. Book an airbnb and have dinner back at your place. The amazing part about having dinner at your place is that you can decorate the day before just how you want it.
6. Great Sand Dunes, Colorado: This place is truly in the middle of nowhere. We did not see anything for hours on the road until we got here but honestly, that is the beauty of it. Expanisve areas of sand with epic mountain views behind you. This is a place where I would plan a picnic for dinner and set up a cute little spot with a view. You also could just plan on having a long drive back and doing dinner on the way back at your favorite restraunt or food truck in Colorado.
7. Glacier National Park, Montana: This park looks like it could be a place in New Zealand or a place in the movie Frozen. It is dreamy and one place I cannot wait to visit someday. This place you would need to hike a little to get some epic mountain and lake views for your elopement but it would be worth it. Again, another spot for a picnic reception or stopping at a place nearby after to eat.
8. White Sands National Park, New Mexico. If you want more expansive sand dunes with a warmer temperature this is your park! It is stunning and has amazing light! I would rent an airbnb nearby for your reception and just do the ceremony outside as it can get pretty warm or cold depending on the season you choose.
9. Olympic National Park, Washington: One of the prettiest parks I have ever seen and we only saw the outside of the park. I always tell Eli if we were to live anywhere else in the US I would want it to be around this park or Mt. Rainer. Such beautiful mountain views, ocean views and meadows. Like all the other parks check permits. I would find a beautiful spot for the ceremony in the park and picnic in or if you can drive in rent a cute table and decorate it. No need to go overboard but the little touches can make it feel more special and look amazing on camera too!
10. Zion National Park, Utah: I have been to Arches and only have seen this national park online but it already blows me away. I would suggest doing part ceremony here and reception back at an airbnb just due to how warm it can get in summer/fall here.
11. Badlands National Park, South Dakota: Another dream national park of mine to visit. It has neutral colors and
12. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming: Probably the highest on my bucket list to shoot at so if you elope here and hire me I will give you a great deal (for the first couple that writes me). Literally could do the ceremony with mountain range behind you and then a airbnb thats close by and could get dinner shots and first dances still with the beautiful mountain range and meadows nearby.