Why Should You Elope in Grand Teton National Park?
The real question is, why not have your elopement in Grand Teton National Park! It’s truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet and there’s tons to do in the surrounding area. The Tetons are spectacular, the wildlife is super abundant (moose, elk, deer, bears, you name it), and the town of Jackson is a treat to explore and located super close to the park. Not to mention Yellowstone is right around the corner as well.
With this guide, we’ll include all of the information you need to elope in Grand Teton National Park – from how to apply for a permit, to awesome ceremony locations, and a few timeline examples as well!
Step 1 – Choose Your Season
While gorgeous, spring in Grand Teton National Park can be snowy and frigid. Snow typically doesn’t completely melt in the valley until late May through early June, with some of the hiking trails further up not melting until July. That being said, it’s definitely still possible to have your elopement in this time period (just be prepared to bring lots of extra warm clothes, some blankets, and maybe even some snowshoes). The snow-covered Tetons are stunning in the spring but you’re going to need to be prepared to face some cold conditions.
The summer-time is when things really start moving for the wedding scene in Grand Teton National Park. The snow has melted, the wildflowers are blooming, and the air temps are nice and warm. The summer elopement and wedding period in the Jackson Hole area typically lasts from mid-June through the end of August. Outside of the fall season, these three months are the most popular months for couples to elope in the park. Your chances of dodging crummy weather are higher and most vendors in the area will be in full operation by this time.
In our opinion, the fall is the best time to elope in Grand Teton National Park. The fall colors are absolutely stunning (some of the best in the country), the wildlife viewing opportunities are at their highest, the air is nice and crisp, and the lighting for photo and video is sublime. Theres truly just something special about fall in the Jackson Hole Area. If there’s one place and time we’d want to be stuck in forever it would be Mid-September through Mid-October in Grand Teton National Park. That being said, this is a popular time for many couples to decide to elope in the park, so if you have your eyes set on this time period we recommend booking everything pretty far in advance.
Keep in mind that wildfires in the summer can happen, and this can sometimes lead to smoke into the Jackson Hole area into September. While it doesn’t happen every summer it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Once the calendar hits November, things slow down a lot in the park. Snow begins to become the norm, the temps get back to being icy, and there’s a lot less visitors to the park. As was the case with the spring-time, while it may not be ideal to elope here in the winter it’s definitely possible with some extra precautions. These precautions being lots of warm clothes, blankets, snowshoes, and a love of cold weather.
Step 2 – Choose your Location
One of the best parts of eloping in Grand Teton National Park is getting to choose your location. There’s some awesome spots in the park to elope, and we’ve gathered a collection of the best of the best below.
Schwabacher Landing is one of the most popular spots to elope in the park. There’s a great tree-surrounded ceremony area that provides good privacy and a beautiful tree-framed view of the Tetons.
Mormon Row is another one of the most popular spots to elope in the park. It provides a great unobstructed view of the entire range and a beautiful golden-brown field surrounding the area.
The Wedding Tree
The Wedding Tree has become one of the most popular spots over the last few years. It’s on top of a hill with a gorgeous tree-framed view of the Tetons. It’s a little more difficult to have a bigger group here, but still possible.
Glacier View Turnout
One of the lesser-used locations for elopement ceremonies, but certainly a great option. A little more difficult to have a lot of privacy here but it provides a great view of the Tetons and easy accessibility.
Taggart Lake is more catered to smaller groups (12 people or less) and is also a great option for bridal photos after your ceremony at a different location. It involves a 1.6 mile hike up so isn’t for everybody but the view is awesome.
Mountain View Turnout
Another lesser-used spot but a great option nonetheless. A little difficult to have total privacy and doesn’t offer the typical view of the Teton Range but it can definitely be a good backup option should every other spot be booked.
We’ve provided a map below so you can see where each spot is located and access more information if needed.
Step 3 – Secure your Permit
If you’re set on a Grand Teton National Park elopement you’re going to need to apply for a permit through the National Parks Service website. You can go to their website to see all of the detailed information, but here’s a condensed rundown for now:
- Applications require at least a 30 day notice from the date of the elopement.
- There are two types of locations: Reserved Site Specific Ceremonies and Small Dispersed Ceremonies
- Reserved Site Specific Ceremony locations include: Schwabacher Landing, Mormon Row, Mountain View Turnout, Glacier View Turnout, Snake River Overlook, and Colter Bay Swim Beach.
- These Reserved Site Specific Ceremony locations allow up to 25-40 total people (depending on the location) and are able to be reserved for 2 hours from May 12th – October 15th. Outside of this period, you can still reserve them but they become 1 hour reservations for up to 12 people total.
- There is only one elopement allowed per day at each of the locations, and only 60 total elopements allowed per year at each location (book early!)
- The Small Dispersed Ceremony locations include spots like Taggart Lake and any other spot that you could possibly have an elopement, but there is a list of prohibited locations (see their website for the list of prohibited locations).
- These Small Dispersed Ceremony permits are available for January 1st – December 31st and allow up to 12 total people. These are only 1 hour maximum reservations, and there is only one elopement allowed per day at each location. From May 12th – October 15th you are unable to reserve as a Small Dispersed Ceremony in any of the Reserved Site Specific Ceremony locations, but outside of that time frame you’re able to do that.
- There is a $200 fee to secure your permit.
- Weekend dates book up quick so for the best shot at securing a location we highly recommend considering a week day. This will also increase the odds that your favorite vendors are available for your date.
- The Wedding Tree is a whole different process since it is outside of the National Park boundary and you can reserve it for all the way up to 5 hours. That whole process is run through Friends of the Bridger-Teton and here’s a link to their page with all of the needed information and here’s a link to our in-depth overview of The Wedding Tree.
The permit process can be daunting at first glance, but if you decide to book with us to capture photo and video for your day we’re able to walk you through the entire process and assist you in securing your permit.
Step 4 – Book your Vendors
After choosing your date, your preferred location, and looking into the permit process, it’s time to book all of your vendors! Here’s a list of vendors that will help make your day go smoothly and efficiently:
- Photo and Video Team – Your elopement will only last one day, but photos and videos from your day will last forever and are the best way to share the day with family and friends that weren’t in attendance. Investing in a photographer and videographer that are the right fit for you and are familiar with the area is an investment that 99% of all couples that elope end up making (or wishing they made). We are Lauren and Matt (Intimate Adventures Media) and we capture photo and video for elopements in Grand Teton National Park. We would love to chat and see if we would be the right fit to capture your big day! You can contact us here and comb through the rest of our site to check out some of our work and learn more about us.
- Planner – Hiring a planner or booking a photo/video team that assists with the entire planning process is a good call to make for your elopement. They can help with building your timeline, decisions regarding what you wear on your day, choosing a location, and can help connect you with other vendors that you’ll need for your day. We provide all of our couples with a 90 page guide that covers everything they need to know from head to toe, and we provide extensive planning and timeline assistance.
- Hair and Makeup – It’s important to book hair and makeup artists for your day should you decide to not do it yourself, and there’s certainly plenty of options in the Jackson Hole Area. Two of our personal favorites are Tanya Crocker and Beauty by Autym. They offer great elopement hair and makeup packages and are some of the best in the area.
- Dress and Suit – You’re going to need a dress and a suit of course, and there’s countless options for purchasing these. Local bridal and menswear shops, online boutiques, Etsy, you name it.
- Florist – We think that adding a floral touch to your day can be a great idea. If it’s an elopement with just the two of you we recommend checking out options in Jackson Hole, Etsy, or BloomsURent.
- Officiant – There’s numerous options when it comes to your officiant. You can either: hire an officiant, have one of your family members or close friends do it (they can easily get ordained), or check to make sure your photographer/videographer provides that in their packages. Most photographers and videographers in the area are ordained and can sign off on your marriage license. With this last option, most couples are not led through a wedding ceremony script and instead say their vows to each other and then have their first kiss. Your photographer or videographer can then sign the marriage license after your personal ceremony.
Step 5 – Book your Travel and Lodging
Once you have your vendors in order it’s time to book your travel and lodging! It’s really important to book your travel and lodging ASAP because although there’s lots of options for lodging in Jackson Hole, things can book up quickly for the busy seasons. Here’s a great directory for lodging in the Jackson Hole area that will give you a good starting point.
Try to book lodging that’s within good proximity to the location you’d like to elope at (preferably within 30-45 minutes), and keep in mind that you’ll likely be getting ready wherever you’re staying so try to make sure there will be good interior lighting or natural lighting (this is ideal for photo and video and your hair and makeup artists will appreciate it as well).
Step 6 – Make your Appointment to Get Your Marriage License
The process of getting married in Wyoming is pretty easy, but it’s important to make a reservation for the county clerk’s office to get your license. One of our couples told us that the county clerk told them he signed 30 marriage licenses in one day, so it’s very clear the county clerk’s office is a hopping place during the peak season. If you are getting married in Jackson Hole, you will need to set up your appointment with the Teton County Clerk’s office to obtain your marriage license.
- Call ahead to the county clerk’s office that you plan to obtain your marriage license at.
- Plan to bring your driver’s license or passport, social security numbers, and 30$ in cash, and expect an extra charge if paying with credit card.
- Fill out the Marriage License Questionnaire before heading into the office.
- Both of you must be present when obtaining your license from the Recorder’s office.
- There is no waiting period in the State of Wyoming, 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 County Clerks’s office you received it at by either mailing it in or dropping it off.
Here’s a link to the county page with all of the detailed information
Step 7 – Elope!
Congratulations, you decided to do one of the coolest things there is: elope in Grand Teton National Park! Your elopement day will arrive before you know it, and with an awesome collection of vendors the day will go super smooth and hopefully the stress will be in your vendors’ hands and you and your partner can simply be in the moment and tie the knot.
Curious about what your elopement day may look like? Here are a few Grand Teton National Park Elopement timeline examples. We like to stress that timelines don’t need to be followed strictly on the dot, and that they’re more of a rough structure of the day to keep things moving and generally on time.
2 Hour Elopement Timeline Example
- 5:30 pm – Media team meets you at your airbnb or hotel to capture finishing getting ready images
- 6:00 pm – Drive to the ceremony location
- 6:15 pm – Ceremony begins and you get to marry your best friend
- 6:45 pm – Take some bridal photos and videos
- 7:15 pm – Have your first dance and celebrate with a champagne pop
- 7:30 – Photo/Video coverage ends
6 Hour Elopement Timeline Example
- 2:00 pm – Media team arrives at your airbnb or hotel to capture finishing getting ready images
- 2:30 pm – Drive to Taggart Lake Trailhead
- 3:00 pm – Hike up to the Lake
- 3:45 pm – Arrive at the lake and get ready for your ceremony
- 4:00 pm – Ceremony begins and you get to marry your best friend
- 4:30 pm – Take a few bridal photos and videos
- 5:00 pm – Have your first dance and celebrate with a champagne pop
- 5:30 pm – Have a picnic on the shore of the lake and eat dinner
- 6:30 pm – Hike back down to the trailhead
- 7:15 pm – Drive to Mormon Row
- 7:30 pm – Take some epic sunset bridal photos and videos at Mormon Row
- 8:00 pm – Photo/Video Coverage ends
12 Hour Elopement Timeline Example
- 8:00 am – Media team arrives at your airbnb or hotel
- 8:30 am – Drive to horseback riding outfitter
- 9:00 am – You, your families and close friends, and your media team horseback ride to a remote lake in the Tetons
- 10:30 am – Arrive at the lake and take some photo and video with your families
- 11:00 am – Have a lunch picnic at the lake
- 12:00 pm – Ride back down to the trailhead
- 1:30 pm – Hair and Makeup artists arrive at your airbnb or hotel and you both start getting ready
- 3:30 pm – Media team captures finishing getting ready shots
- 4:00 pm – Drive to Schwabacher Landing
- 4:30 pm – You and your families arrive at Schwabacher Landing
- 5:00 pm – Ceremony begins and you get to marry your best friend
- 5:30 pm – Family photos
- 6:00 pm – Take bridal photos and videos with an epic Teton backdrop
- 6:30 pm – Head to a restaurant or venue to have your reception with your families and close friends
- 8:00 pm – Photo/Video Coverage ends and everyone continues to dance the night away
These are just some examples of what your day could look like. The number of possibilities when eloping are truly endless. You get to craft your day into exactly what you want, with who you want.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this complete guide to eloping in Grand Teton National Park. Should you decide to book us to capture photo and video for your day we provide you with a 90 page guide that goes way more in-depth than this guide, and we provide extensive planning and timeline assistance.
We absolutely love capturing elopements in GTNP and getting to spend time with couples on arguably one of the best days of their life. We’ve had the honor of capturing some truly awesome couples and we typically end up being friends with our couples at the end of their day, rather than just a photographer and videographer, and we love what we do.
Are you still looking for an Elopement Photographer and Videographer Team?
We’re Matt and Lauren and we capture photo and video for weddings and elopements in Jackson Hole, and we’d love to capture your day as well! You can reach out to us here to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call to chat and see if we’re the right fit for you and your partner’s day. Feel free to check out the rest of our site to see some of our work and learn more about us as well.