The moment is here — he has finally proposed (or maybe you did!) and now the two of you are trying to decide on the best location for your wedding. A traditional wedding ceremony isn’t a good fit and you’re looking to plan a small scale elopement wedding that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
Whatever the reason you’ve settled on eloping, you’re probably wondering which elopement location is best for you as a couple. No need to worry! We have compiled a list of our favorite elopement ceremony locations, both in and outside of the United States.
We'll take you from the beaches, forests, and most scenic locations in the Caribbean to the mountain ranges and national parks of the U.S. Whether you’re looking for a private ceremony on the beach, a backdrop of waterfalls, or a desert landscape - it’s all in here. So keep reading, and you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
Picture: The Over-The-Water Chapel at Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica, the perfect location for an elopement wedding on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
Just an hour flight from U.S. shores, Jamaica is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands to share your vows and seal the deal with your partner. This laidback paradise is filled with luscious rainforests, majestic waterfalls and stunning beaches.
There are many luxurious all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica as well, which cater specifically to couples and can make your wedding feel like something out of a dream.
As part of your Jamaican escape, not only will you two be able to tie the knot, the island is also a great honeymoon destination. Fall in love all over again experience some of the most incredible points of interest in Jamaica, like the world-famous Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios and the sprawling Seven Mile Beach in Negril.
Expert tip: Get a free wedding when you stay three nights or longer at any Sandals Resort in the Caribbean (includes a free wedding planner!) and check out these amazing wedding venues to get a taste of what Jamaica has to offer for couples who are looking to elope.
This national park in Southern California spans more than 800,000 acres and is a short distance away from Palm Springs. If you and your partner love everything about the outdoors, such as hiking, camping, and exploring, then you will definitely love to get married at this location. It would be a representation of your love for nature and everything that it offers, and also give you the chance to explore this vast landscape.
One of the main attractions at the Joshua Tree National Park is in the name itself: Joshua trees. The name of this tree has biblical origins and was given to it in the 1800s by Mormons who stumbled upon it during their travels. Now, Joshua trees are a major tourist attraction at this national park. If you’ve been imagining a wedding at a unique outdoor location, you may want to consider the Joshua Tree National Park. Make sure you check out the rules beforehand, such as what guidelines on which permits are needed for the wedding and photography.
Picture: Looking for beach elopement? There’s no better place than the dreamy beach located at Beaches Turks & Caicos all-inclusive resort.
An exotic paradise located on a short two-hour flight from U.S. shores, Turks & Caicos is famous for its turquoise waters and the white sandy beaches. Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales is just one of the picturesque locations this territory is known for. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and its beach has captured many awards, including the World Travel Award for “Leading Beach Destination”. Grace Bay is about 3 miles long and it is surrounded by Leeward Beach and Bight Beach.
Grace Bay Beach is truly beautiful and pristine, making it an ideal backdrop for a destination wedding or elopement. This unique elopement location is perfect for a dreamy beach wedding. The pictures will be amazing!
Picture: Sandals Grande St. Lucian is one of the most romantic locations for a one-of-a-kind elopement in the Caribbean.
Saint Lucia is a mountainous island filled with mystery and allure, making it one of the most romantic locations for an elopement wedding. This Caribbean island effectively combines adventure, history, romance, and pleasure.
When in Saint Lucia, there are many activities you and your spouse will be able to enjoy together once your marriage is sealed. You can visit the world’s only drive-in volcano in Soufriere, and climb the famous Pitons and take a dip at the rejuvenating mud baths. Afterward, you can explore the rainforests or beaches on the island. Snorkeling in Saint Lucia is amazing, if an underwater adventure appeals to you.
Overall, Saint Lucia is an amazing island to have combine your elopement wedding with an adventurous and laidback honeymoon.
Yosemite National Park is another great option for couples looking for an adventurous elopement. With rich wildlife and an impressive landscape, you’ll have lots of photo opportunities at this national park and you’ll be free to explore as well. At Yosemite National Park, couples can choose from several different wedding locations, including the Bridalveil Fall, Cascades Picnic Area, and the Cathedral Beach Picnic Area.
The Yosemite National Park is popular and tends to get quite busy. As such, this park operates on a first come, first served basis. Essentially the first couple through the door gets to use the best spot first, so if you have a preference, ensure that you come at a good time and have everything ready for the ceremony. You should also look into acquiring the necessary permits, both for you and your elopement photographer.
Picture: The powder-white sand beach at Sandals Royal Bahamian creates a dreamy backdrop for an intimate elopement wedding ceremony.
The charm of The Bahamas can bring your wedding dreams to life. The Bahamas has won the World Travel Awards title of “Leading Wedding Destination” multiple times, and for good reason. With more than 700 islands and close to 3,000 cays, this territory offers a variety of picturesque wedding spots to choose from.
All-inclusive resorts in The Bahamas offer tons of scenic elopement locations and the resort’s wedding teams will help you plan the perfect day for you and your future spouse.
After the wedding, feel free to stick around and enjoy the islands as there are lots of things to do in The Bahamas. Snorkel with turtles, feed rock iguanas and nurse sharks or swim with the pigs. Of course, no trip to The Bahamas is complete without some beach-hopping, so make some time to enjoy popular beaches like Cable Beach and Love Beach.
Kokee State Park occupies more than 4,345 acres of land, north of Waimea Canyon in Kauai. This park is found in a forested area and is situated on a plateau that is more than 3,000 feet above sea level. You will get to see all the native flora and fauna this state park has to offer and you are free to explore any of the many hiking trails. These trails lead to spectacular views of the valleys of the North Shore and there are many locations that would make an excellent setting for your wedding. During your trip, you can go exploring, camping, fishing, and pig hunting. Before you leave, stop by the Kokee Natural History Museum to get all the information you need about the park, its history, and its hiking trails.
Nestled in the Elk Mountains in Aspen, Colorado are the twin peaks known as the Maroon Bells. These peaks stand at 14,000 feet tall and a nearby lake reflects the rich vegetation in this mountainous terrain. The spectacular scenery at this location can serve as the perfect backdrop for a wedding. This venue is best suited to couples seeking a small wedding that’s very intimate, as only about 50 people are allowed in the rental space.
Adventurous couples can also take advantage of this location which has hiking trails that are even suitable for beginners. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is quite manageable, while the Maroon Creek Trail is longer. The Crater Lake Trail has a rockier landscape, is more demanding, and is best suited to the fit and experienced hiker. A trek along any of these trails is made worthwhile as you’ll be rewarded with even more breathtaking views.
Like many other Caribbean countries, this tropical island in the southern Caribbean is known for its scenery, beautiful beaches, and year-round great weather. However, unlike the others, Grenada is also known as the “Spice Island” due to its production of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and mace.
Grenada’s spicy history, friendly people, warm weather, and fantastic sights make it a fantastic elopement location. Tie the knot at parks like the Hyde Park Tropical Garden, which is one of the island’s hidden gems. This is a great outdoor wedding location already equipped with a reception area for the afterparty.
Or, if you are looking to get married with ocean waves lapping at your feet, Grand Anse Beach creates a beautiful backdrop for an intimate ceremony. All-inclusive resorts in Grenada are also a great option for elopement ceremonies as wedding packages will include a free wedding planner who will help you set up the wedding of your dreams on this Caribbean island.
A brief ferry ride from Rhode Island will take you to this small yet beautiful island just off its coast. Block Island has 17 miles of beach to explore, island tours, and tasty local cuisine that you can try during your elopement vacation. As a popular wedding destination, couples looking to get married here don’t need to worry about anything — venue, catering, music, photography —you name it, all of these can be taken care of right there on the island.
The Berkshires are a mountainous territory that has become popular thanks to its outdoor activities and its performance centers, which offer a range of cultural showcases. Located in western Massachusetts, the Berkshires' hilly terrain is quite beautiful and just right for an elopement ceremony. It is particularly beautiful at certain times of the year, like in the summer and the fall when the vegetation becomes more vibrant. During your time at the Berkshires, you might also want to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum where you can view the work of the renowned illustrator who used his talents to tell America’s history.
Expert tip: Want to find out more about elopement wedding? Read our post that answers the question ‘what is eloping?’ and explores the most common reasons couples choose to elope.
Red Rocks Park is true to its name as the sandstones found at this national park are indeed red. Two of these rock formations, “Ship Rock” and “Creation Rock”, are said to be taller than the Niagara Falls in New York. Either formation would make a really cool photo opportunity, especially after a wedding.
The Red Rocks Park also has trails suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Outside of weddings, many people come to the park to get fit by climbing the steep steps of the amphitheater or to simply relax with some yoga and meditation. Though this park has a range of activities to offer, during the months of November-March, things are a bit slower and couples can enjoy a cozy wedding and private photoshoot.
Sedona is yet another location that has red, rocky sandstone formations that create majestic views perfect for your elopement day. The green vegetation certainly helps as well and couples are usually in favor of Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock as the ideal place to say “I do.”
Sedona is also known as a popular site for spiritual enlightenment. The blend of services offered, such as yoga, massages, and salon treatments, are sure to help you to relax and feel centered. In fact, partaking in any one of these activities would be a great way to start off your life with your spouse.
More than 394,000 acres of land is occupied by the vast Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington. This area can be accessed via more than 600 trails, where hikers will find hundreds of lakes, mountain pods, and rugged formations. Several of the peaks are usually covered in snow and the entire scene is breathtaking, making it a lovely location for an elopement or any other wedding ceremony.
Couples will enjoy the view of the blue lake waters against the mountainous terrain and can choose from a variety of different hikes. The trek to Snow Lake is an exciting one, and the Denny Creek Trail to Keekwulee Falls is easy to traverse and perfect for families wishing to camp afterward. The beauty and boundless adventure possible in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness will, without a doubt, seal the moment for both of you as newlyweds.
The dormant volcano of Mount Tabor can be found in Portland, Oregon, along with a national park situated in the same area. The summit of this volcano is big and grassy and a great spot to host an outdoor wedding. Any photos taken would capture images of Portland, the park, and, if you’re lucky, the setting sun too!
A wedding at Mount Tabor Park will have an easy-going ambiance that will help keep everyone in good spirits. After you two exchange vows, you can have your celebration right there at the park with your loved ones. Before the end of your trip, you can even hike through the park, go cycling or even host a barbeque together.
Along the Atlantic borders of the United States lies the Acadia National Park. This national treasure contains some of the tallest headlands in the area and its beauty has turned it into one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. Any chance to get married at a location like this should be taken advantage of. Prior approval is needed in order for activities and other events to take place and weddings require about ten days' notice for the permit to use any of the 12 locations to be issued.
A two-hour drive out of New York City will take you to another mountainous region in the U.S. There are many ceremony sites to choose from, including Foreland Catskill, a timber-styled building that once housed a mill. The Kaaterskill Falls is another option. The waterfall here cascades from about 260 feet and is sure to make a lovely background for your wedding pictures.
There are other activities to do in the Catskills, such as visiting the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, which was once the home of the renowned artist. Then, you can begin to explore Catskill Park which covers four counties and more than 700,000 acres. It is free and open to the public to traverse through the trails, lakes, and mountains at this location.
Phew… that was a lot, but certainly worth it when searching for just the right elopement location. Now that you have read about different places you can visit to elope with your partner, you’re probably wondering what it entails to have a wedding in a foreign country.
Although it varies from place to place, you can expect to need the following documents:
● Original birth certificates
● Valid passports
● Valid marriage license
● Proof of divorce (if either party was married previously)
Before you are able to get married in any particular country or state, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license from the governing body. Once you and your partner have decided on the country and the venue, find out what the regulations are. Some countries only require three days to process a marriage license, while others may need as many as ten working days.
For some destinations you need an officiant, so be sure to get one secured long before the ceremony. Some destinations require one or two witnesses whereas others do not. Do your research and find out all you need to know.
If for whatever reason, you are having trouble getting a marriage license, you can also consider getting married in your home country and having a symbolic ceremony in another country to culminate the process.
Rest assured your chosen elopement venue is likely to have successfully married hundreds of couples from the U.S. in the past, so they’ll be able to help you every step along the way!
Picture: The perfect wedding should blend seamlessly into the perfect honeymoon! You can share this surreal view of the ocean from the Over-the-Water Villas at Sandals Royal Caribbean to celebrate your union.
There are so many possibilities for your elopement wedding, but the perfect location should reflect who you are as a couple. Active couples may love the idea of getting married on one of many scenic hiking trails, and nature-loving couples may be considering the lush landscape of a national park for their wedding venue. While important considerations like the size of your wedding party also need to be taken into account, your elopement wedding location should be a place that makes your wedding feel like a dream. The warm sandy beaches of the Caribbean are not only ideal for a fairytale wedding, but they also give you the option to jump straight into a romantic honeymoon.
Once you are familiar with some of the most spectacular elopement locations in and around the U.S., you can start making arrangements. Whether you’ll combine your elopement with a Caribbean honeymoon, or prefer to get married with one of the most stunning national parks as a backdrop is up to you. Just make it a day to remember!
Expert tip: Sandals all-inclusive resorts are adults-only and specifically designed with couples in mind - ideal for elopements. Sandals' experienced wedding team will guide you through the process of setting up the perfect wedding day, at no additional cost. The best part? Your honeymoon starts the day after, and all food and cocktails are always included, always unlimited! A great way to start your life together.