If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else than within the mountains. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about planning your very own elopement in the mountains. From elopement packages and permits to locations and weather, this guide has it all.
Ultimate Mountain Elopement Checklist
- Choose your mountain elopement location.
- Choose the best time of year to elope (your photographer can help you with this).
- Hire your vendors.
- Apply for your marriage license and permits.
- Book your activities.
- Create your timeline (your photographer can also help you with this).
- Mountain elopement packages.
10 Best Mountain Elopement Locations in the U.S.
North Cascades National Park
You won’t be able to find mountains as big and grand as those found within North Cascades National Park located in Washington State. Home to mountains like Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan make this location hard to beat. Plus, the park offers numerous hiking trails, lookout points, and lush forests. And don’t even get me started on the adorable Airbnbs nearby!
See a complete guide all about how to elope in North Cascades National Park here!
Olympic National Park
One of the most stunning mountain ranges, the Olympic Mountains, can be found in Olympic National Park located in Washington. The variety of scenery this park offers is insane, and the mountain views are incredible, especially during sunrise and sunset.
See an epic Hurricane Ridge elopement here!
See an entire guide about how to elope in Olympic National Park here!
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is probably one of the first locations that come to mind when thinking about mountains. The park itself is huge, making finding a secluded spot very easy. Due to the popularity of the park, I always recommend eloping here during the fall season.
Northern California (my home), is one of the most underrated elopement locations in the U.S.! If you’re wanting an adventure elopement in the mountains, look no further. It’s especially beautiful during the fall months. Being home to Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak makes this place hard to miss.
Check out my Northern California elopement guide!
Check out the elopement pictured here!
Denali National Park
I couldn’t make a mountain elopement guide and not include Alaska. One of the most rugged and wild places is Alaska. Filled with endless mountain ranges, wildlife, and glacial lakes makes this location one of the best. If you want a huge mountain during your elopement, consider checking out Denali National Park!
See an Alaska elopement guide here!
One of the fastest growing states in the U.S., Utah, is home to some of the most beautiful and accessible mountains such as Mount Timpanogos, Desert Peak, and Mount Peale. What’s unique about this area is the variety of mountainous terrain. You can have either a forested mountain area, or a desert one!
San Juan Mountains
The San Juan Mountains are another super underrated location for mountain elopements. Located mainly in Colorado, this location is perfect for couples wanting a true off-the-grid experience. It’s way less popular than places like Rocky Mountain National Park, yet it offers the same stunning views.
Glacier National Park
Located in Montana, Glacier National Park is quickly becoming one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. It’s also very popular for couples wanting an epic mountain elopement. There are numerous hiking trails and mountain views all around the park.
Check out how to elope in Glacier National Park here!
Mount Rainier National Park
Another mountainous area located in Washington State is Mount Rainier National Park. Due to its proximity to Seattle, this national park gets very busy during the summer, which is why I always recommend eloping here during the spring or fall. There are dozens of hiking trails that will take you up close and personal with Mt. Rainier herself.
Check out this awesome Mt. Rainier elopement guide!
Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon that sees millions of visitors each year! There are tons of hiking trails and forested areas to explore around the mountain. Plus, the Airbnbs that are nearby are some of the cutest I’ve ever seen! The area is also covered in forests and waterfalls!
What Time of Year is Best for an Elopement in the Mountains?
While eloping on top of a mountain during any time of the year would be amazing, unfortunately it’s not possible in most locations.
Because mountains are at a higher altitude, they have a short snow-free season. July – September is going to be the best time of year for a mountain elopement. While most people consider June, the trails in these areas are still going to have lots of snow. In some locations, you can stretch that time into the beginning of October. I personally recommend eloping during the end of September. This is the least busy time during the peak season, and the weather is usually still very nice!
If you can, avoid visiting most mountainous locations in the winter. The amount of snow and ice can make getting to these locations very difficult. Plus, being freezing cold on your elopement day is never fun!
Hire Your Vendors
I’m a bit bias, but before you hire any other vendor, be sure to hire a photographer who specializes in elopements. More specifically, hire an elopement photographer who has experience shooting in the mountains. Elopement photographers can be extremely helpful during the planning process. They can let you know what locations are the best, find hidden trails, give great weather insight, let you know about popularity of an area, etc.
After hiring your photographer, consider hiring other vendors to help bring your magical day to life, such as an officiant, planner, hair and makeup artist, florist, cake designer, personal chef, etc.
Get Your Marriage License and Permits
If you’re going to be getting legally married, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license (I can help with this), as well as your special use permit (I can also help with this)!
Depending on where you get married, you’ll need what’s called a “Special Use Permit.” This permit can be obtained, for example, through the national park or forest you’ll be getting married in. This permit essentially grants you permission to have a ceremony on the land. Failure to obtain a permit will result in a fine.
However, don’t be alarmed! Getting the permit is a very easy process. If you’re wanting to know how to get a special use permit, contact your elopement photographer and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Interested in any of the locations I talked about above? I have a guide for almost every mountain location listed that tells you exactly how to obtain a permit! You can view all my elopement resources here.
Mountain Elopement Activity Ideas
One of the best things about the mountains is the amount of activities you can incorporate into your day! I always recommend doing at least one activity that you two love doing together. You can look back in 50 years on your photos and see just how much fun you two had doing something you both love to do.
- Enjoy a mountaintop breakfast picnic while watching the sunrise
- Hike to the top of the peak just before sunset to pop champagne and enjoy some cake
- Go skiing or snowboarding
- Book a nearby campsite to have s’mores and read letters from family
- Hike and camp in an iconic fire lookout
- Hire a personal chef at your Airbnb to cook an intimate dinner with friends and family
- Catch as many waterfalls as you can
- Paddle-board, kayak, or canoe on an alpine lake in the mountains
- Go off-roading
- Take a private helicopter tour and land on an isolated mountain
- Find a local hot springs
- Wait for the sun to go down to stargaze
- Bring your dogs and just enjoy the scenery
Mountain Elopement Timelines
12-Hour Mountain Elopement
- 10:00am – Brianna meets the couple at their Airbnb to photograph their brunch picnic.
- 11:00am – Take a soak in the hot tub before adventuring out for the day.
- 11:30am – Begin getting ready photos, along with detail shots.
- 12:30pm – First look.
- 12:45pm – Leave for a small 2-mile roundtrip hike with family up the mountain trail.
- 1:15pm – Arrive at the location and begin the hike.
- 2:15pm – Begin the mountaintop ceremony, followed with family portraits.
- 3:15pm – Family heads to the Airbnb while the couple explores.
- 4:15pm – Couple hikes back.
- 5:15pm – Leave for dinner at the Airbnb made by a private chef.
- 5:45pm – Enjoy dinner with friends and family.
- 6:45pm – Start a bonfire with s’mores for dessert.
- 8:00pm – Sneak away for sunset portraits, star images, and a private first dance.
- 10:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.
8-Hour Mountain Elopement
- 8:00am – Brianna meets the couple at the mountain trailhead for a ceremony hike.
- 9:30am – Arrive at the top and begin the ceremony, followed by portraits.
- 10:30am – Enjoy a picnic brunch at the top of the mountain with your dogs while reading letters from family.
- 11:30am – Begin the hike back down.
- 1:00pm – Arrive at the trailhead and leave to explore the local mountain town.
- 2:30pm – Head back to the Airbnb for a hot tub soak.
- 3:00pm – Enjoy the hot tub, cake, and a first dance.
- 4:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.
Mountain Elopement Packages
I’m an elopement photographer located in Northern California who specializes in mountain elopements across the U.S. I offer a variety of different packages, all which include planning assistance, to help you have the best elopement experience possible.
Mountain Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in the mountains
- A hands-on elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- personalized elopement locations and questionnaires
- vendor recommendations
- permit assistance
- customized elopement timeline
- activity suggestions
- Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peak images
- Travel fees to ANYWHERE on the West Coast are already included
- Starting at $5,000 for CA, OR, and WA. Starting at $7,000 for anywhere else in the U.S.
- I also offer all-inclusive elopement packages, which takes the planning out of your elopement completely. Check those packages out here.
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.