Why Should You Elope in Idaho?
The real question is, why not elope in Idaho? Idaho has quickly become one of the fastest growing states, but not many people know that it is home to thousands of nature’s most beautiful and unknown alpine lakes and mountains. Eloping in Idaho will give you a much higher chance of solitude and intimacy on your elopement day too. If you are looking for stunning mountain views, vast wilderness, countless lakes and activities, then Idaho is the place for you to elope!
With this guide, I made sure to include all of the information you need to elope in Idaho from how to apply for a marriage license, best locations to elope, and a few Idaho elopement packages!
When is the Best Time to Elope in Idaho?
June – August
Summer is the the most ideal time to elope in Idaho. Summer time elopements typically include lots of hiking, camping, boat rides, and fun in the sun. The wildflowers are blooming, everything is green, and the snow finally melts off the high mountain peaks. Sometimes the snowpack can still be pretty significant in June and early July in the high mountains depending on the year, but it usually promises warmer weather and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Keep in mind that August can sometimes be smoky depending on the amount of wildfires that may be within the area.
September – October
Fall is our favorite month for elopements in Idaho. Depending on the location you choose, fall can begin as early as September, or roll into mid October. The reason fall is our favorite season to elope in Idaho is because of the crisp air, beautiful golden colors, and solitude that the cooler temps can bring. The only weather you may run into is an early snow storm, but other than that you can almost always count on great weather.
November – February
In our opinion (and statistically), this is one of the coldest periods to elope in Idaho. Stanley, ID is known to be one of the coldest places in the lower 48 during the winter, oftentimes having multiple days below zero. The winter is cold wherever you go, but it is possible to escape the far-below freezing temps by opting to stay closer to Boise. Winter elopements are most ideal for those who love snow and winter activities (or snuggling up in a cabin in the woods).
March – May
This is the most variable season in Idaho. In our time in Idaho, we have either experienced this time of year to be warm (70-90s) with limited precipitation or pretty chilly (35-60) with snow and rain constantly. Chances are if you choose to plan your elopement in Idaho in the spring, you might run into some kind of weather.
LOOKING FOR A PHOTO/VIDEO TEAM FOR YOUR ELOPEMENT? WE’RE MATT AND LAUREN AND WE SHOOT ELOPEMENTS IN IDAHO AND WYOMING
Best Places to Elope in Idaho
While we can’t give out all of our super top secret locations for elopements, we are more than happy to share the best places to elope in Idaho with you, in a general sense. These locations are to get your planning juices flowing so you have an idea of the type of adventure you want. If you are looking for an in-depth guide on the best place to elope in Idaho, you’ve come to the right place.
Stanley will always and forever be our favorite elopement location in Idaho. It is extremely accessible, and offers dozens of incredible alpine lakes and peaks to explore within a few hours time. It also has plenty of drive up locations and venues with 360 degree mountain views! Not only does Stanley give you direct access to the Sawtooth Mountains, but it also is the gateway to the White Cloud Mountains directly east of town.
Sun Valley, ID
About an hour south of Stanley is Sun Valley, ID. Known to be a luxury ski town in the winter, Sun Valley is a popular vacation spot for adventure goers and snow lovers, especially if you are looking to ski down the mountain after your ceremony. Just outside of this little ski town sits the Pioneer Mountains. The Pioneer Mountains are the perfect place to find seclusion and views all in one. This area is much better known for their hikes to beautiful spots, but it also offers shorter hikes than the Sawtooths and White Clouds to get to beautiful locations.
McCall is a lake and mountain town located about 2 hours north of Boise, ID. It’s a popular tourist destination over the summer, making it best to get married here on a weekday or in the off-season. McCall is also stunning in the winter time, and has two ski resorts within 30 minutes of each other with amazing views and tons of terrain. Over the summer, elopements to smaller alpine lakes are even more stunning with blooming wildflowers and beautiful drive up locations.
Sandpoint, ID is a hidden gem in Idaho. Most folks tend to lean in towards southern Idaho, mainly because of accessibility. Northern Idaho is home to hundreds of lakes and mountains, cozying up to the border of Canada, and only about 2 hours from Glacier National Park, making it the best location if you are planning to do a big road trip around Northern Idaho, Montana, and Canada. Some of the highlighted places near Sandpoint are Hunt Lake, Picnic Point, and Lake Pend Oreille, along with Kanisksu National Forest.
While Boise, ID may not be the first thought that comes to mind for many due to being a city, it is actually one of the most accessible areas in Idaho mainly due to having an international airport within minutes of the mountains. In Boise, there are at least a dozen places to elope within an hour of downtown. You can head to Bogus Basin, our local mountain and hike or ski around to find the perfect ceremony location. Lucky Peak, Swan Falls, and the Owyhee Canyon all offer amazing canyon views with rivers and lakes that you can spend the day at. Keep in mind these locations have little to no water in them during the winter seasons. Lastly, there is Bruneau Sand Dunes, home to one of the tallest single sand dunes in North America.
Island Park, ID
Tucked away into the eastern side of Idaho sits a beautiful little town called Island Park. This is the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, but has gained popularity for its beautiful scenery, rivers, and tiny house rental cabins, making it the perfect nature get away. Not only is Yellowstone only an hour away, but Island Park is also close to HENRY’S LAKE STATE PARK and the SNAKE RIVER, making it the perfect summer and fall elopement destination.
Victor / Swan Valley, ID
Victor and Swan Valley are the gateways to Grand Teton National Park. This makes it the perfect place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Jackson Hole, but still have amazing views and nature with a few minutes of driving. The Idaho side of the Teton Range includes epic views and hikes like Table Mountain (a challenging excursion) with views that make it all worth it. In Swan Valley, you can fish the Snake River, go hiking to Falls Creek waterfall, and more. Grand Targhee Mountain Resort is also only about a 30 minute drive from Victor, making it the perfect location for a winter elopement as well.
How to get a Marriage License in Idaho
The process of getting married in Idaho is super simple, making it one of the easiest states in the US to get married in. Check out the steps below on how to obtain your marriage license.
- Call ahead to the Recorder’s Office that you plan to obtain your marriage license at. There is a good chance you may need to make an appointment ahead of time.
- Fill out your Idaho marriage application HERE. (Note you can only apply ahead of time in Ada County).
- Plan to bring your driver’s license or passport, social security numbers, and 30$ in cash (sometimes more if you are applying on a Saturday).
- Both of you must be present when obtaining your license from the Recorder’s office
- There is no waiting period in the State of Idaho, so once you receive your license, you can get married! Your license expires one year after you apply for your license.
- After your ceremony, return the signed license back to the Recorder’s office you received it at by either mailing it in or dropping it off.
Do I need an officiant or witnesses to get married in Idaho?
In order to elope or get married in Idaho, you need an officiant and that’s it! No witnesses are required in order to make your marriage legal in the state of Idaho.
How much does it cost to elope in Idaho?
Honestly, it can cost you as much as you want it to cost! According to the Knot Wedding Website, the average wedding in 2019 in Idaho was $16,000 which is about half of what it costs to get married in other states! Because everyone has different budgets, here are a few different ideas of what you can do for your Idaho elopement with different budgets.
- Plane Tickets/ Travel ($500)
- Marriage License ($30)
- One Week of Lodging ($1500)
- Photographer ($7000)
- Videographer ($5000)
- Florals ($500)
- Dress and extras ($3000)
- Hair and Makeup ($500)
- Suit and extras ($500)
- Private Chef ($300)
- 4 hour Boat Rental ($400)
- Plane Tickets/ Travel ($500)
- Marriage License ($30)
- 4 nights of Lodging ($700)
- Photographer ($5000)
- Videographer ($3000)
- Floral Rentals ($200)
- Dress and extras ($1500)
- Hair and Makeup ($250)
- Suit and extras ($500)
- Private Chef ($300)
- Activity Rental ($200)
Total : $12,180
- Plane Tickets/ Travel ($500)
- Marriage License ($30)
- 2 nights of Lodging/camping ($300)
- Photographer ($3000)
- DIY Florals ($60)
- Dress and extras ($500)
- DIY Hair and Makeup ($0)
- Suit and extras ($300)
Total : $4,690
Keep in mind that these are just ideas of what your Idaho elopement costs can look like, depending on your budget. Choose your top 3 priorities, and then rest will fall into place.
Idaho Elopement Checklist
Find your photo/video team
There are not very many photographers in Idaho that specialize in elopements and micro weddings, so it’s important to find the ones that do. Most knowledgeable and professional elopement photographers are experts in their field. We know the best locations, how to capture our couples artfully and tastefully, and also just give an epic experience. Your Idaho elopement photographer should offer location scouting, vendor recommendations, planning assistance, and should make you feel like you are taken care of on your elopement day. In most cases your media team are the only other people there with you on your day, so you want to make sure they will do a great job.
Choose a general location
Once you choose your media team, you should chat with them about the general locations you are interested in. From there, they can give you the best recommendations on specific locations. If you already know exactly where you want to elope, then let your vendors know right away!
Book your lodging, travel, and activities
Once you have a confirmed date with your vendors, it’s time to start booking your lodging, travel, and more! Lodging is always a very important thing to book right away, as things can sell out very quickly, especially in small mountain towns. If you are flying into Idaho, the 3 best airports to fly into are Boise International Airport or Idaho Falls/Jackson Hole Airport if you plan on getting married in the lower half of the state. Spokane Airport in Washington is the best airport if you plan on getting married in Northern Idaho.
Apply for your marriage license
This is one of the most important pieces of planning. Without a marriage license, you technically can’t make your elopement day your legal wedding day, but some couples decide to do this and just have a commitment ceremony rather than a legal ceremony.
Get married and enjoy eloping in Idaho!
Idaho is truly one of the best kept secrets in the US. You have done all the hard work to get here, and now it’s time to enjoy your Idaho elopement!
Curious about what your photographer coverage could look like on your elopement day? Here are a few Idaho Elopement Timeline examples.
2 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 5:30 pm – Media team meets you at your hotel to capture finishing getting ready images
- 6:15 pm – Ceremony at an overlook of the mountains begins
- 6:45 pm – Go paddle-boarding in your wedding attire at Redfish Lake
- 7:15 pm – Have your first dance and take couples photos on the lake
- 7:30 – Photo coverage ends
6 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 5:00 am – Meet media team at trailhead and begin your trek to an alpine lake
- 7:00 am – Finish getting into wedding attire and prepare for your first look and ceremony
- 8:00 am – Relax by the lake and read letters from family and friends
- 8:30 am – Have your first dance
- 8:45 am – Take a few structured bridal photos
- 9:00 am – Head back down the mountain
- 10:45 am – Finish your coverage at the local hot springs to soak your tired muscles
- 11 am – Photo + Video coverage ends
12 Hour Elopement Timeline
- 7:00am – Getting ready pictures in an Airbnb in town
- 8:00am – Drive to first location
- 8:30am – Begin your 2 mile hike to ceremony location
- 9:30am – Get dressed into wedding attire for your first look and ceremony
- 11:00am – Summit the mountain peak over the ceremony location
- 12:15pm – Take couples photos at the top and have a picnic enjoying the views
- 12:45pm – Start your hike down back to town
- 4:15pm – Arrive back in town, head to the the hot springs to enjoy some wine and relax
- 5:30pm – Head back to your cabin where dinner from a private chef is awaiting you
- 6:20pm – Head to the fire pit and make s’mores with your love and watch the sunset / take a few final couples photos together
- 7:00pm – Photo + Video coverage ends
Idaho Elopement Ideas
- Hike to an alpine lake
- Go on a plane ride to a backcountry airstrip in the mountains
- Whitewater rafting
- Go on a pontoon boat
- Rent a paddle board or jetski
- Go backpacking in the Sawtooth mountains
- Soak in hot springs (did you know Idaho is home to the highest number of soakable hot springs in the country?)
- Go in a 4×4 vehicle to beautiful overlooks
- Summit a mountain peak
- Fish in one of Idaho’s many lakes or rivers
- Stargazing (Idaho is the only dark sky reserve in the lower 48)
- Sand boarding
- Snowboarding or Skiing
- Snowshoeing and cross country skiing
Idaho Elopement Photography and Videography Packages
Did we convince you to elope in Idaho yet? We sure hope so! Matt and I are the Idaho elopement photographer and videographer team who want to make all of your elopement hopes and dreams come true! We help couples plan elopements all over Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, and more! We would love to chat more about how we can best serve you, so feel free to check out our pricing HERE, and reach out for more information HERE while planning your elopement!
We want to hike up to an alpine lake, do we have to hike all the way up in our wedding attire?
Absolutely not! For most hiking elopements, most of our couples choose to pack their wedding attire up and hike it up the mountain with them. This makes the process so much easier, and basically allows our couples some time to freshen up once we get to the location. Choosing lightweight and flowy fabrics for your wedding attire is our best recommendation for hiking elopements to help with natural unconstricted movement.
What is the best day of the week to elope?
Any day! For the most part, we strongly recommend weekdays. There are typically less people in most locations, and more of your must-have vendors will be available. Plus lodging and booking activities can be easier on weekdays too!
HEY! WE'RE LAUREN AND MATT, A JACKSON HOLE ELOPEMENT AND WEDDING PHOTO + VIDEO TEAM