How to elope in Grand Teton National Park
First off, considering Grand Teton National Park for your elopement is so exciting! From the stunning mountain peaks to the lakes and rivers, it truly is a sight to see. If you haven’t been, prepare your heart. If you have been before, prepare your heart, because every time I see those mountains it’s like the first time. This post has A LOT of info, so as you go through the process feel free to come back to this post for an idea of your next steps!
I think the first step in planning your Grand Teton national park elopement is choosing your photographer. I say this because if you find someone who has shot here before, they will be able to help you with locations and timelines. Having a photographer that you connect with is important as they are one of the only people attending your elopement. You want to find someone who you want to spend a day with, someone you trust to document one of the most important day in your life. I love being able to help couples with planning so the don’t have to figure it all out on their own, so find you a photographer who can help! That’s why I wrote this post, to give info to couples that are badass enough to elope in the Tetons.
Secondly, when do you want to elope?
Pick a season that feels right to you both. I love the diversity of the seasons in the Tetons, so many options and each with its perks.
Travel is trickier, but it’s less busy. Plus you cannot beat those snowcapped mountains and fields. There will be less hiking and the temps can be very low, but if you’re a brave couple and maybe want to ski/snowboard the day after you elope, heck there’s no better time! Imagine waking up, traveling to your ceremony location, and saying your vows as the white peaks turn golden as the sun rises. You spend the rest of the morning exploring, you see moose and the sun warms everything. You head to town for lunch, spend the afternoon on a dogsled trip, and end your wedding day with a drink in a hot tub, warming up from your winter elopement. This timeframe is great because it doesn’t’ fall in the new 1 ceremony per day per location restriction.
Snowcapped mountains, roaring streams, green grass popping up, warmer temps. Not the busiest season and would be able to have a better chance for good weather. Chance of a spring snow or rain, it’s Wyoming after all. You could hike to some stunning spots, we’d be prepared for rain, the moody clouds add drama to the landscape as you hold hand and exchange rings. After your vows you go on a horseback ride, there’s something about seeing the Wild West from the back of a horse, trust me. Finishing the day with wildlife viewing and juicy steak. April to mid May also doesn’t’ fall in the new 1 ceremony per day per location restriction.
Predictable weather, but busier with tourists. If you want a safe time to elope, this would be it. You can camp, hike, relax outside, and just enjoy your time. Picture this. You wake up and look outside your tent to the sun shining. After a breakfast and coffee over a campfire, you pack your bags with wedding attire. We take a hike to one of the most beautiful lakes, away from the majority of people. You help each other get ready, he zips up your dress, you straighten his tie. You share the most intentional promises, just the two of you. We take photos as we hike back down, your actual ceremony is down by the creek. We timed it perfectly, the sun is golden as you get married with your closest 10 people in your life, your family. Everyone shares a toast and heads to an intimate dinner with a private chef. Summer does have the 1 ceremony per location per day, so it’s important to think ahead and make sure you’re applying for your permit ASAP.
Just wow. Is there anything more beautiful than those blue peaks and golden aspens working together? Seriously, if you like a little risk in your life fall is a perfect time to elope. While Fall is stunning when it hits just right, there’s no guarantee there won’t be an early snow. So if you are in love with fall in the mountains but not snow, I’d stick to September. All the photos in this blog post are from a mid September wedding. As you can see, the weather couldn’t make up its mind. The day started out with rain and moody clouds. As everyone arrived for the ceremony at Schwabacher Landing, the skies cleared and the sun popped out. Afterward we explored for photos, the clouds rolled back in with rain. They celebrated with their family back at their vrbo with dancing and a shrimp boil. This timeframe also includes the 1 ceremony per location per day, so it’s important to think ahead and make sure you’re applying for your permit ASAP.
Sit down together, and dream up your elopement day. It does not need to look like any one else’s day. Above all, it’s about you, that’s it. It’s about what’s important to you, and if that’s having an adventure elopement, I’m so excited for you!
Location, that’s your next step
Now we are getting to the fun part! If you’ve never need to the Tetons before, definitely do some research on these locations and pick on that speaks to you! We can always to photos away from this spot, but you’ll need a permit to say your vows and legally get married at a location, more on that in a minute. I like to look at geotags on instagram to get a clear view of the areas in different seasons. Here’s the 6 areas you can choose from for your Grand Teton National Park Elopement.
Mormon Row (North or South)
Mountain View Turnout
Glacier View Turnout
Snake River Overlook
Colter Bay Swim Beach
In addition there are two chapels that do not require permits, but there may be other fees involved, they are the Chapel of Transfiguration and Chapel of the Sacred Heart. Each location has different guest amount limits, so make sure to check the info on the NPS website. Dispersed permits are an option however you cannot have a photographer if you choose that route.
Finally, once you decide on a season and location, talk with your photographer for a date and apply for a permit. Definitely shoot for a weekday elopement. It will be less busy and you’ll have better chances at getting a permit for the area you want. Permits are first come first serve, This process can take a little time, so doing it early is a great idea. You are able to list your ideal date and location, but also an alternative date and location which is great because of the new limitations.
A new thing has bee implemented this year, and that is your photographer has to also have a special use permit. Details on that have not been released so I can’t inform on much besides that is new.
Once your permit is approved, get your travel plans set up and book your other vendors and get to planning all the little details! If you want you can get florals, cake/desert, catering/reservations, hair and makeup artists, and all the things!
Here’s a list of Jackson vendors you can check out.
Cakes – Buttercream Cake Design Co. |
If you aren’t bringing someone that is ordained, here’s a couple places to look for an officiant.
Also you’ll need a marriage license, here’s the link for that.
Where to stay
If you’re into camping: https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/camping.htm
And as always there’s some amazing places on Airbnb.
What to do (besides get married, obvi)
There’s some awesome places to eat, a quick google search will give you all the options and reviews to help decide. There’s also so many activities to look into. For example, skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, hiking, rafting, scenic loop drive, horseback riding, fishing, wildlife viewing, boating, bus tours…you don’t have to be still for a moment if you don’t want to! However if you just want to relax and just take in the views during your time here, it will be time well spent.
I hope this how to elope in Grand Teton National Park post was helpful in your start in planning your epic day! You will have the best day ever surrounded by amazing views, and if you’re on that first step of finding a photographer, I would love the opportunity to chat with you and see if we’d be a good fit to adventure together! You can check out my work here! Want to reach out and chat, fill out my contact form and you’ll hear from me shortly!
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