National Park elopement

If you’re thinking about having a National Park elopement or wedding, this is going to be a great place for you to figure out everything you’ll need to consider for you day! National Parks are filled with beautiful locations that can host an absolutely jaw dropping ceremony. These types of wedding days can also be a lot of fun, and a unique experience.

With that being said, let’s chat about National Park elopements

What is a National Park Elopement

A National Park elopement is when a couple chooses to have their ceremony within a National Park, this also normally includes some kind of celebration in the park. The celebration factor can look different from couple to couple. Elopements are super personalized experiences, and each one is a bit different. However, the flow of the day for each elopement normally includes a ceremony, a celebration, food and drinks, and sometimes guests as well.

Difference Between National Park Elopement and Wedding

A National Park elopement would probably look like the couple, and maybe a few guests, exploring different trails, waterfalls, mountain tops, etc. Possibly an intimate picnic after a ceremony, cocktails at a campsite, you name it. A wedding would more than likely be placed at an actual venue. This would just mean that exploring the park isn’t really a huge part of the day.

A National Park big wedding would likely have a more “traditional” wedding feel, despite being in the park. An elopement would be more of a unique experience with flexibility to spend the day wherever and however you want.

Can I Have Guests at a National Park Elopement

Yes! Most elopements are under 25 guests. This is primarily because elopements are really focused on the couple, and once you have more than 25 guests, you’re usually focusing on their experience over yours. That being said, you can still have more guests than that at a National Park elopement.

A National Park wedding might even look like 75-100 people. You would just need to find the right space and location to accommodate them.

Cost of Eloping at a National Park

The cost of eloping in a National Park varies, the special use permit is $50-$300 to be legally allowed to have your wedding there. However, the rest is really up to you. Most couples on average spend between $5000-$20,000 on their elopements or intimate weddings.

This can include flights, lodging, vendors, wedding attire, food and drinks, florals, and anything extra you might want to include.

National Park elopement

Do I need a Permit for a National Park Elopement?

Yes, you’ll need a permit to elope in a National Park. Permits aren’t one size fits all, you have to get the correct permit through the National Park where your wedding will take place. The process for applying for a permit is similar, but each has their own rules and regulations.

This can pertain to guest count, where you’re allowed to have your ceremony, if you’re allowed to have decor, and many other things. So make sure to find the correct information before making your plans. This is something I do for my eloping couples when they hire me for their wedding day.

How To Elope in a National Park

Eloping in a National Park follows the same steps are planning most elopements. If you want to read my thorough guide on this, click here! So, for now, here are the main steps to consider:

  • Choose your location
  • Hire your elopement photographer
  • Decide on guest count
  • Finalize elopement location
  • Hire vendors
  • Choose day-of activities
  • Make a timeline
  • Secure permits

How to Choose a National Park for Your Wedding

The main things to consider when choosing what National Park you want to be in for your wedding will be landscape, weather, and traffic. If you know you love the desert scenery, Joshua Tree or Arches National Park would be a great choice. For big mountains, you could consider Mt. Rainier or Cascades National Park. Decide what type of scenery is most important to you and decide from there.

Next, consider weather. If you really want to avoid rainy days, locations in the desert, high desert, or with low rain-fall averages will be a good choice. You can find all of this out with a simple google search.

Finally, consider the traffic of the parks. If you want privacy, extremely busy parks such as Yosemite might not be a great choice. Although, there are hidden gem locations in all the parks. An experienced elopement photographer will be able to help you find these places. Nevertheless, there will still be busy roads and visitor centers. Consider all of this to find the best National Park elopement location for you.

The Best National Park Wedding Venues

Some parks have actual venues, and others have locations where there is enough room for guests to gather and you can get a special use permit for. My lists will include a variation of natural areas, as well as locations with structures such as hotels for National Park weddings and elopements.

Grand Teton National Park

This National Park is located in Wyoming. Easily some of the most gorgeous mountain views and alpine lakes I’ve ever seen. Also known for it’s vibrant wildflowers and wildlife. Nearby is the gorgeous little town of Jackson Hole. A perfect location for lodging before and after your National Park wedding.

Grand Teton Wedding Venues:

  • Schwabacher’s Landing
  • Chapel of Transfiguration
  • Jackson Lake Lodge
  • The Wedding Tree
National park wedding venue

Yellowstone National Park

This National Park is located in Wyoming, and partially in Montana. It’s also located on top of a volcanic hot spot, providing some of the most famous and colorful hot springs. That aside, this park has many incredible views, mountains, and lakes.

Yellowstone National Park Wedding Venues:

  • Lamar Valley
  • Yellowstone Falls
  • Hayden Valley
  • Yellowstone Lake

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a true wilderness area located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Famous for it’s “going to the sun road” and incredible mountains. This location has stunning high-elevation wildflowers, and a lot of wildlife. However, remember to carry bear spray! Glacier has a mix of amazing locations that would work well for a National Park elopement OR intimate wedding

Glacier National Park Wedding Venues

  • Lake McDonald
  • St. Mary Lake
  • Many Glacier Hotel
  • Fish Creek Amphitheater
  • Sun Point

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park is located in Washington State. A stunning snow-capped peak surrounded by meadows, wildflowers, alpine lakes, and waterfalls. This National Park elopement location is one of the most magical on the list, and a personal favorite of mine. This is another park that is filled with wildlife, so remember to bring bear spray!

Mt. Rainier National Park Wedding Venues

  • Reflection Lake
  • Tipsoo Lake
  • Paradise Inn
  • Tolmie Peak

Pro Tip: These are some common locations in Mt. Rainier National Park that allows guests, although, there are many options that are “hidden gems” with more of a “nature as your venue” vibe.

National park wedding venue

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a rainforest area located in Washington State. This park is specail because you can easily visit so many diverse landscapes. This includes the mountains of Hurricane Ridge, The Hoh Rainforest, and rocky shorelines such as Shi Shi Beach.

Olympic National Park Wedding Venues

  • Nature Bridge
  • Hoh Rainforest
  • Crescent Lake
  • Hurricane Ridge
  • Ruby Lake

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National park is located in Southern Oregon. It’s know for being a massive a deep lake formed by a collapsed volcano. This park is so much more than just the lake, surrounded by dense forest, hot springs, and waterfalls. There’s endless areas to explore here. Some being popular, but many being hidden gems.

Crater Lake National Park Wedding Venues

  • Rim Drive
  • Discovery Point
  • Toketee Falls
  • Watchman Peak
National park wedding venue

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park in California has became a popular elopement and wedding destination. This is a desert scape filled with “Joshua Trees,” a tree that only grows in this specific region of the world. Also apart of why this park is so popular amongst tourists. That being said, Joshua Tree is quite popular. But there’s plenty of BLM land nearby with gorgeous views and Joshua Trees, but no crowds.

Joshua Tree National Park Wedding Venues

  • Rimrock Ranch
  • The Ruin Venue
  • Rasta Rita
  • Le Chacuel

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in the United States. Located in California, this National Park is filled with unique and stunning sites, such as El, Capitan and Half Dome. This is a very busy park, however, 90% of the park remains unexplored by visitors. That being said, there’s a ton of hidden gem locations in the park to find privacy for an elopement if you do a bit of research.

Yosemite National Park Wedding Venues

  • Yosemite Valley Lodge
  • Cascade Picnic Area
  • Taft Point
  • Glacier Point
  • Tenaya Lake
  • The Yosemite Valley Chapel
National park wedding venue

Sequoia National Park

Love big trees? Sequoia National Park is filled with the massive trees creating a dense forest. This is another popular park, however, there are plenty of locations to visit that have less tourism. There are even trees with massive holes in them, big enough to get inside of and say your vows in.

Sequoia National Park Wedding Venues

  • Giant Forest Museum Patio
  • Lost Grove
  • Panoramic Point
  • Halstead Meadow
  • Sunset Rock
  • Crescent Meadow

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is located in Southern California. This is one of the hottest places in the world, and know for it’s colorful rocks, sand dunes, as well as the salt flats in the bad water basin. This park really looks and feels otherworldly. I would recommend not coming here in the heat of summer. A spring or fall elopement is a great option for this locations.

Death Valley National Park Wedding Venues

  • Mesquite Sand Dunes
  • Artist’s Palette
  • Mosaic Canyon
  • Darwin Falls
  • The Oasis at Death Valley
National park wedding venue

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located in Moab, Utah. A colorful and hot desert scape filled with naturally formed massive arches. These are some of the most unique structures I’ve ever seen and provide a stunning natural National Park wedding venue for couples get married outdoors. However, my absolute favorite arch actually isn’t in the park. It’s called Corona arch, and is just a short hike with with less foot traffic.

Arches National Park Wedding Venues

  • La Sal Mountains Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point
  • Sand Dune Arch
  • Delicate Arch
  • Double Arch
  • Devils Garden Amphitheater
National park wedding venue

Grand Canyon National Park

Finally, one of the most famous National Parks in the world, The Grand Canyon located in Arizona. Wether you want to have a ceremony at a viewpoint, or actually explore within The Grand Canyon, there is a lot of absolutely stunning views and experiences to be had in this incredible location

Grand Canyon National Park Wedding Venues

  • Shoshone Point
  • Moran Point
  • Lipan Point
  • Rim Worship Site
  • Granduer Point
  • Prima Point
National park wedding venue

Rocky Mountains National Park

Rocky Mountains National Park is located in Colorado, known for its rugged peaks, alpine lakes, and colorful landscape. This is a stunning location, however it receives a lot of foot traffic. However, there’s always options such as eloping in the nearby National Forest, or searching for less trafficked hikes! There are plenty of easy hikes that can provide stunning views with more privacy.

Rocky Mountain National Park Wedding Venues

  • 3m Curve
  • Sprague Lake
  • Bear Lake
  • Hidden Valley
  • Lilly Lake
  • Copeland Lake

Where Can I Elope Other Than a National Park?

If the idea of following the rules and regulations for a National Park seems overwhelming, or you don’t want to deal with the traffic of one, there are other options. Most National Parks are surrounded by National Forest. These forests generally have a lot of the same terrain and landscapes as National Parks. Although, the permit system is generally a lot easier with less rules, and they’re a lot less crowded.

Not only that, but if you can’t imagine eloping without your pup, then you’re in for a treat. Dogs are allowed in National Forests. Whereas, they are not allowed in National Parks.

National Park wedding

National Park Elopement Packages

Eopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Washington, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

National Park elopement packages starting at $5800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Intimate weddings