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Easiest Places to Elope in the US | Because Eloping Somewhere Gorgeous Should be Easy

Elopements

Easiest Places to Elope in the US for Adventurous Couples

Because finding a gorgeous place to elope legally with ease shouldn’t be hard.

 

Welcome to the most scenic list of the top 5 easiest places to elope in the US for the (semi to full blown) adventurous couple!  The US has so many gorgeous places to seal the deal and elope, but some of them offer a bit of challenge (especially when you consider the legalities of eloping) in actually carrying out the process.

As elopement photographers and guides who offer planning assistance for every couple, we know all too well which states are the easiest places to elope in the US, and we’d love to share them with you!  These 5 states are unmatched in beauty and offer that peace and adventure you might be looking for as you elope!  In all 5 of these states you can choose a “just-us” elopement experience or bring guests along with ease to witness your elopement! First, though, let’s take a look at what makes eloping difficult from time to time!

If you’re planning an elopement, you know some of the challenges of location selection, bringing guests along (if you choose to), obtaining marriage licenses, travel logistics, and finding elopement vendors that you can trust from afar!  We’ve come to bridge that gap for you in showing you the easiest places to elope in the US!  Let’s dig into the top 5 easiest places to elope in the US!

 

Top 5 Easiest Places to Elope in the US:

  • Colorado
  • California
  • Montana
  • Washington State
  • Oregon

 

The Top 5 Easiest Places to Elope in the US:

#1 | Colorado

Legalities:

Colorado is number one on our list of the easiest places to elope in the US because of two words: self solemnization!  This means you can literally marry yourself!  There is no need to worry in finding an officiant for your adventurous elopement in Colorado as you can simply take care of the legalities of officiating yourself!  While you can legally marry yourselves, there is still the option of having someone else officiate if you want!  For example, one of your guests could still officiate, and you could sign the license!

There is still a marriage license involved in the process, but Colorado allows you to take care of the license by signing it yourselves in the place of an officiant.  Fun fact: even your dog can “sign” your marriage license if you decide to bring them along to your elopement, which we think is a great idea! <3

Where to elope in Colorado:

There are more reasons to elope in Colorado aside from it being number one on the list of easiest places to elope in the US, though!  Colorado is the number one state for adventurous elopements in the lower 48 states and this is for so many reasons!  The beauty of this state ranges from high alpine meadows to sand dunes to red rock formations, you name it!  Essentially if there is a type of landscape you want to say your vows next to (besides the ocean of course), Colorado likely has that option!

Think of planning your Colorado elopement like planning your favorite mountain vacation, and you’re off to a good start.  Add your favorite elopement photographer to help plan to the mix, and you’re set for the elopement of a lifetime! -hint, I would love for that to be me, lol- 

Ease of travel in Colorado:

Colorado is also one of the easiest places to elope in the US due to its accessibility in relation to travel!  The Denver airport is a quick trip in and out of most Colorado’s most beautiful elopement locations, making it easy for you and your guests (should you choose to bring any).  Rocky Mountain National Park is within a couple hours, Colorado Springs is an hour and a half, and a lot of Western Colorado elopement locations are within a 3 hour drive!  So no matter where you choose to elope in Colorado, you’ll find travel there simple and painless.

Colorado’s innumerable mountain elopement locations ensure you can elope in the scale of whatever type of adventure you’re planning while still keeping a stellar view!  If you want to hike 10 miles roundtrip on your wedding day, you can!  If you want to hop out of the car quickly at a gorgeous private mountain pass location, you can!  Colorado is steeped in adventurous elopement locations with beautiful views!  You just have to choose how hard you want to work for them.  A lot of them are accessible by car or a moderate hike.  You choose!  Colorado’s possibilities as one of the easiest places to elope in the US is endless, and we’d love to guide you in eloping in Colorado!

couple shares vow during elopement ceremony

#2 | California

Legalities:

California makes it to our list of easiest places to elope in the US for many reasons starting with the legalities!  California allows a different marriage application for couples who claim to be non-religious, and this allows two witnesses to sign your marriage license to make it legal!  All you need to do is bring along two guests (this could be your couple friends, parents, bff’s, some random hikers passing by, etc.) to sign your license.  

Fun fact: two elopement photographers could actually sign your marriage license as well (ahem…. That’s me & Dan-elopement photographers here!), and we’d be honored to help make your elopement ceremony legit in one of the easiest places to elope in the US!

Where to elope in California:

Like Colorado, California is one of the top elopement destinations in the country due to its gorgeous locations not even considering how it’s one of the easiest places to elope in the US.  California allows you to have that gorgeous coastal sunset elopement of your dreams as you feel the seaspray creep onto your skin after every wave crashes!  Big Sur is a great California beach elopement destination for you if you’re into moody beaches, coastal drives, and a relaxing environment to express your vows in.  And Big Sur is just the beginning to a long list of California elopement locations that would be perfect for your elopement!

If beaches aren’t your thing, and you’re looking for gorgeous forests, why not try the Redwoods?  If you want something super unique, how about telling your friends and family you’re eloping in Death Valley National Park?  California knows no limits on elopement locations! 

California also has Channel Islands National Park, which would be perfect if you’re wanting to escape to Hawaii without being in a plane for 12 hours!  This string of islands offers sea life watching opportunities, rugged beaches, and the perfect kayaking location for adventuring around in your kayak on your wedding day!  I can’t think of anything more perfect.

Ease of travel in California:

California is also a hot spot for road trips, so your honeymoon would already basically be planned!  Eloping at either end of the state and working your way to the opposite end on a road trip for your elopement is totally plausible considering the amount of airports in the state of California!  Air travel is fast and easily accessible in California adding another reason it is #2 on our list of the easiest places to elope in the US.

However, if you’re not a road trip kinda person, there are other gorgeous places to elope and honeymoon for an extended period!  Yosemite National Park is a great option for eloping in California, bringing guests along, and spending the week binging out on nature.  It turns out California being one of the easiest places to elope in the US is also one of the most beautiful places to elope in the US.

 

#3 | Montana

Legalities:

Montana is on our list of the easiest places to elope in the US due to its ease in recognizing an officiant.  Simply put, anyone (a parent, friend, etc.) can officiate your ceremony in Montana with a quick online ordination (which we’d love to introduce you to if you’re thinking of eloping there).  As I’ve mentioned before, Dan & I are ordained and could officiate in Montana and meet their legal requirements!  We would just need to find some witnesses to sign, which is never an issue. 🙂

Another reason Montana is number 3 on our list of the easiest places to elope in the US is due to its underdog status.  This state is growing in popularity, but thankfully we are ahead of the curve on this one.  You’ll find fewer crowds than other elopement locations, and we think that is a big win considering the views are equal to or more amazing!!

Where to elope in Montana:

Take the beauty of Alaska, pair it with the accessibility and grandeur of Colorado, and you arrive at Glacier National Park in Montana.  A Glacier National Park elopement is always a great idea when considering Montana as this national park is known as the “hiker’s paradise” and the “Crown of the Continent.”  Those are really big compliments, don’t ya think?!

Glacier National Park has glaciers, alpine lakes, rushing waterfalls, old growth forests, and turquoise blue water features sprinkled throughout the entire park.  Not to mention the Going to the Sun Road in the park has probably 300 potential elopement locations itself that are easily accessible for photos!  If you want something a little more challenging, you could try for an elopement at Avalanche Lake!  This trail takes you through Trail of the Cedars (a Glacier National Park favorite) and alongside Avalanche Creek, so you’ll hear the rush of the creek through your entire hike!

If you want something a little more challenging than Avalanche Lake, we are dying to take an eloping couple to Haystack Butte located on the Highline Trail!  This trail takes you through views that are, frankly, otherworldly and should be high on your list of elopement locations to consider!  Plus you’re guaranteed to see mountain goats… and who doesn’t want something fuzzy, cute, and a little bit intimidating to show up on their wedding day?

An elopement in Montana snuggled up in a mountain cabin should be high on your list of considerations as this park will give you privacy like none other, especially when planning alongside us!  We’ve got some inside tips!

Ease of travel in Montana:

Montana is a big state, but it is one of the easiest places to elope in the US due to the majority of airports being in the western half of the state–conveniently located near some of our favorite elopement locations.

Aside from Glacier National Park, we know some gorgeous locations in the Cabinet and Bitterroot Mountains that are secluded, an easy hike, and perfect for your easy elopement ceremony that we’ve taken couples to!  These locations would easily end up on one of the easiest places to elope in the US for yourself and for guests!

These are just a few reasons why Montana is number 3 on our list of easiest places to elope in the US, and there are many more!

#4 | Washington State

Legalities:

Washington State is a serious contender for being one of the easiest places to elope in the US because of the legality portion!  Like in Montana, an officiant can be recognized through an online religious certification so any guest or your elopement photographer can officiate your wedding!  That’s a really good start!  You’ll just need to find witnesses to sign as well, which is not an issue!

The only reason Washington State is number 4 on our list of the easiest places to elope in the US is it only having one major airport.  Even then, we’re not quite sure if this is such a disadvantage considering the beautiful view on the drive from the airport to any of the vast potential elopement locations!

Where to elope in Washington State:

From Mt. Rainier National Park to North Cascades National Park to Olympic National Park, Washington State has you covered on easily accessible mountain locations!  We can’t state enough the importance of creating time for just you two on your elopement day, and Washington State has everything you could need in terms of accessible views for your guests but a secret added adventure for the two of you later (or earlier) in the day!

Another tip about Washington that makes it one of the easiest places to elope in the US is its availability year round for elopements!  That’s right!  You name a season, and Washington State will do all the decorating for your wedding day in the great outdoors!  Of course, some seasons will require a little more flexibility and some more technical equipment, but an elopement in Washington State is possible at any time of the year.

These are all great options, but we’re off to our last on the list of the easiest places to elope in the US!

 

#5 | Oregon

Legalities:

Oregon has the same legal requirements as Washington State and a lot of other similarities as well!  In fact, I wish the number 4 spot could have two states because Oregon and Washington are really competing neck and neck on being one of the easiest places to elope in the US!

With the trendy vibes of Portland, Oregon traveling into Oregon for your elopement will never be a drag!  No matter your interest, you’ll be able to find local shops and services to fill any down time if you want to stay near the city.

Check out Elope in Oregon for the ultimate guide on how and where to elope in Oregon!

Where to elope in Oregon:

Bend, Oregon is a hot spot for elopements nationwide as well as the Columbia River Gorge located in Oregon.  Let’s not forget the infamous Oregon coast as an option for one of the easiest places to elope in the US!  If you and your partner want a straight mood, we’d recommend Oregon and would love to help guide you along the way.

The sheer innumerable amount of landscapes and biodiversity found within Oregon makes it on list of the easiest places to elope in the US!  You can easily get married legally and easily find the landscape you’re looking for.  Mountains, seaside cliffs, mossy waterfalls, etc. and the legalities of the license only cost from $50-$60 compared to a sharp $67 in Washington State.  Take that $7 and put it towards trail snacks, amirite?!

 

How do I know which of the easiest places to elope in the US to choose? 

When couples reach out to us about choosing their elopement location, we love to help guide them!  But there does need to be a brief disclaimer: you can elope anywhere in the world, even if it’s difficult legally!

 

How do I elope legally anywhere?

That’s a bit of a trick question!  Some couples fall in love with certain destinations that are not one of the easiest places to elope in the US, but they don’t let that stop them!  We’ve seen numerous couples choose to get “legally” married in their home state and save their vows and commitment ceremony for their elopement date!

 We believe vows are the most important of any marriage ceremony or experience.  Signing a piece of paper does not make you aligned with your partner for a lifetime.  You don’t need the US to tell you when and if you’re committed to one another.  You decide how to commit to one another, and you can take care of the legalities before or after your vow ceremony.

We have a whole guide on How To Elope to help navigate the legalities and so much more of any location you choose!  Check it out to learn the fun of planning your adventure elopement while handling all of the legalities too!

couple eloping in montana

Summary and Additional Resources:

Here are the easiest places to elope in the US:

#1 | Colorado 

  • Allows self solemnizing
  • Easier state than most in which to find varying landscape views
  • Proximity to Denver International Airport
  • Easily accessible mountain views for you and any potential guests at your elopement

#2 | California

  • Only requires two witnesses to sign marriage license
  • Offer beaches, mountains, deserts, and old growth forest locations
  • Various airports across the state making multi-city flights seamless if needed

#3 | Montana

  • Recognizes online ordination and only requires two witnesses
  • Easy access to multiple airports to keep travel time down
  • Fewer crowds than most elopement locations but with (oftentimes) better views

#4 | Washington State

  • Recognizes online ordinations and only requires two witnesses
  • Centralized airport to multiple potential elopement locations
  • Easy state to bring guests along to your elopement
  • Perfect for elopements year round

#5 | Oregon

  • Recognizes online ordination and requires two witnesses
  • Centralized airport to multiple potential elopement locations
  • Slightly more cost effective for a marriage license than Washington State

 

Some helpful resources:

Airbnb Elopement | Because an Airbnb elopement in any of the above states would be out of this world!

Eloping in Montana | So you have all you need to know about eloping in the number 3 easiest state to elope in with location info!! (bonus: we’re based here and crazy biased about it’s beauty!)

Best Winter Elopement Locations | Because if you want to elope in 2020, a winter elopement might be perfect for you!

 

 

Hey, it’s us!

We’re Des & Dan! Husband & wife elopement photographers, planners, and officiants! We help couples like you create elopement days full of meaningful details, authentic moments, and creative experiences because we believe you deserve a wedding day where you are truly heard—a wedding day you can truly remember.

We’d love to help in any way you can, so check out our other free planning resources or send us an email by hitting contact! We’d love to hop on the phone and see what you’re envisioning for your elopement day.

You deserve this.

Des & Dan

13 Comments

  1. angela hays

    Stunning locations! Love all of the very helpful info. And that first pic is amazing! Love the light right on them.

    Reply
    • Destinie Fouché

      Thanks Angela!! It was taken in Montana at one of my favorite hidden gems! Love taking couples there for an early morning elopement!

      Reply
  2. Jenn

    This is a SUPER helpful guide for any couples looking for a space to elope where the environment & laws are friendly to outdoor weddings. Thanks for getting this all in one place!

    Reply
    • Destinie Fouché

      You’re so welcome, Jenn!! We love helping our couples figure out the best location for their needs, and oftentimes they want the simplicity so this list was a must!

      Reply
  3. Adriana

    This is such a great guide. I love that you talk a lot about the legal portion of eloping, which often slips our minds! We get so excited about finding locations, planning the best hours, and forget about one of the most important details, the actual getting married part lol. Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Destinie Fouché

      So welcome Adriana! I know, the location scouting is so fun!!! But I also love the mystery of what it takes for a couple’s elopement to be legal in that state! It’s definitely a challenge from state-to-state so this was a fun resource to put out for couples!

      Reply
      • Traci

        Thanks for sharing this helpful info!!!

        Reply
  4. Leah

    Wow, who knew it was so easy to elope in so many places?? What a sweet, thorough resource!

    Reply
    • Destinie Fouché

      I know! The US has so many amazingly gorgeous places that are also easy to get married in! We are stoked to be able to give couples this list so they can elope legally somewhere stellar!

      Reply
  5. Kaci

    This is so helpful, I didn’t know it was so easy to elope in so many places! That is so cool you can solf-solemnize in Colorado or just have one of your guests marry you in other states 🙂 Amazing resource! Thanks for doing all this research on the easiest places to elope. I love this list!

    Reply
    • Destinie Fouché

      Thanks, Kaci! Self-solemnization is a great option, and we love when couples choose that option! However, having a friend/family member officiate you is a pretty sweet deal too! 😉

      Reply
  6. Teresa Woodhull

    This is so helpful, thank you for posting this! I love that you can self solemnize in Colorado, very cool!

    Reply
  7. Marla

    This is such an amazing post full of SO much helpful info!! Thank you for taking the time to lay all of this out!

    Reply

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