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Everything you need to know to elope in Grand Teton National Park

November 25, 2020

Filed in: Articles

So you’ve seen all the amazing photos from Grand Teton elopements and are ready to start planning, but you don’t know where to start…eek!

Thats where I come in.

Growing up in Wyoming, Jackson Hole has been my special place for as long as I can remember. Some of my biggest life decisions have been made while hiking in the Tetons. I’ve shot countless times there over the years and know it like the back of my hand.

(Link to my National Park intimate wedding/elopement package HERE.)

What airport do I fly into for Jackson Hole and Grand Teton NP? You’ll want to fly into Jackson Hole airport.

Where should I stay? There are plenty of places to stay, ranging from lodges within the park, campgrounds, a KOA, to beautiful hotels downtown, cute little quirky inns, and of course a wide selection of AirBnBs. Downtown Jackson is about 20 minutes from the park and has no shortage of yummy places to eat and lots of places to shop all within walking distance from each other. Another option is to stay in Teton Village, which is right at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It’s got a fun atmosphere with activities all year round like biking, snowboarding, alpine coasters, bungee trampolines, etc. Be careful when searching for lodging- Victor and Driggs Idaho pop up a lot and are wonderful places to stay, but please be aware that it is at least a 45 minute drive through the pass and to the park from those areas.

Do we need a marriage license? Yes! You’ll want to attain a marriage license from Teton County. You will need to make an appointment to do this. There is no waiting period, but you both HAVE to appear in person to attain it. Be aware that they are only open Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm. With COVID-19 craziness, I think it would be smart to double check their hours by calling them before planning anything. You can get more info about this from the county’s official site HERE.

If we want to get married inside the park, do we need a permit? Also yes! You’ll need a special use permit. It’s really not too hard to attain one, but you’ll want to do it as far in advance as possible to make sure you can get the spot you want on the day you want. The permit is $200 and you’ll need to get it no later than 2 weeks in advance. You can find more info HERE!

What if we are planning this last second and can’t get a permit for inside the park? Don’t sweat it! There is PLENTY of BLM and National Forest Service land in the area, and I know a ton of beautiful spots. We can do your ceremony outside the park and always move into it for some pictures afterward as well!

Do we need witnesses? Sure do! In Wyoming you need two witnesses. This wont be an issue if you’re eloping with a small group of people, but if it’s just the two of you, I can be one and we can snag a tourist or person nearby to be the other. Easy peasy.

What if we want to get married in one of the park’s chapels? The park has two chapels- The Chapel of the Sacred Heart, and the Chapel of Transfiguration. Both are stunning and rustic. I fancy Chapel of the Sacred heart. It’s a beautiful, rustic, cabin church right on Jackson Lake. I’ve shot weddings there before and it was amazing. To get married in one of the chapels, you DON’T need a special use permit, but you WILL need to contact the chapel directly to work out a day and see what their price is.

Chapel of the Transfiguration
c/o St. John’s Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 1690
Jackson, WY 83001

Chapel of the Sacred Heart
c/o Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church
P.O. Box 992
Jackson, WY 83001

What time of year is best to elope in Grand Teton? In my opinion, Summer and Fall are the best time. From the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in mid-late June, to the gorgeous fall foliage that starts in September and goes through the beginning of October. The weather is more predictable, and you’ll be comfortable with the temperature. The trails and roads are all open and there are countless possibilities for locations and activities! Winter is its own thing in Jackson, and is beautiful in its own right. World class skiing and snowboarding is right at your doorstep and you can always count on a fresh blanket of snow. Be warned though, the road that runs through Grand Teton NP closes at the Taggart Lake Trailhead and that really isn’t too far into the park. Wyoming is a very windy state in the Winter, and you’ll need to be prepared for below 0 temps with the windchill and several feet of snow. I’d say anything after mid October is a gamble and the iconic Tetons are often hid under cloud cover that time of year.

I feel stressed about finding vendors in the area, do you have any recommendations? Oh definitely! I am more than happy to help you find venues, florists, HAMU artists, catering, and more. I have several favorites!

Any other info we should know? 1)Grand Teton is near and dear to my heart and I can’t wait to photograph you in it! Please be considerate of the land and make sure you don’t bring birdseed, confetti, or sparklers to the wedding. Bubbles are a phenomenal replacement and photograph so well! Pack it in, pack it out, and leave it better than you found it. 2) There is TONS of wildlife in the area. Be respectful in the area, and its not a bad idea to pack some bear spray if you choose a location off the beaten path.

Any other questions? Please feel free to reach out to me any time! I’m here for more than just to photograph your big day. I’m here to be your friend as well as guide and help you plan the entire process! Also, don’t forget about the National Park Package that I offer 🙂

Also, remember- eloping doesn’t always have to mean just you and your honey. Many elopements include immediate family, but usually stay under 20 people.

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