Elopement in Adirondacks on Mount Jo near Lake Placid New York.

Eloping in New York

Ah NEW YORK - the Empire state of the US. If you've never had a chance to visit the East Coast, you may assume this small state doesn't have much to offer except the famed NYC. While the cityscapes do boast a lot of attractions and lure in plenty of tourists, not as many people get Upstate New York. Beyond the bright lights of Broadway, there lies stunning mountain vistas and valleys lined with forests and lakes alike. Eloping in Upstate New York is a great idea if you want somewhere epic and outdoors just next door to New England!

How to Legally get Married in NY

Getting married in New York is pretty straightforward! All you need to do is:

  • Visit the NY clerk AKA marriage bureau
  • Fill out a simple application form
  • Pay the fee (~$40)
  • Secure your marriage license
  • Wait at least 24 hours prior to the ceremony
  • Say your I do's with a certified officiant
  • Send in the completed marriage certificate

New York elopements require only one witness. But if you wish to have more, you can definitely do that! After signing your paperwork, make a copy and send it to the city clerk. You will receive your marriage certificate within 3 to 7 weeks.

Be sure and read all the facts about getting married in the specific NY county of your choosing. In most cases, you must wait a full 24 hours before your marriage ceremony can be performed unless you obtain a Judicial Waiver. If you're not local to the area, you do have the option of getting your paperwork done at home first, eloping, and then finishing it up once you get home. Some couples choose to get all the legalities done beforehand and then have their elopement be more of a sentimental ceremony to make it official.

When to Elope in Upstate New York

Spring and early Summer serve to be spectacular seasons for getting married in New York, and they tend to be the peak. These beautiful romantic seasons begin in mid-May and last until the beginning of August. They are referred to as “peak wedding seasons” and create the perfect backdrop for your New York elopement. The temperatures are mild, flowers are blooming, and everything is green! However, these may also prove to be the busiest seasons to elope, depending on where you choose. Fall is a personal favorite of ours and can be an incredible time to elope in Upstate New York as the golden hues of Autumn dress the forests and valleys.

Weather in Upstate NY

Spring: A mix of warm/sunny and sold/drizzly days. Mild temperatures (60-70's). Can also be 'mud' season, so keep this in mind when deciding on locations.

Summer: Warmer days are frequent, with temps averaging in the 70-80's. However, it is one of the busiest times of year and can be extremely humid. Consider this when choosing location and attire!

Fall: Temperatures dip to the 50-60's with mostly dry days until snow starts to show up (usually in November). Temps are cooler in the mornings and evenings, so prepare for the cold weather!

Winter: Plenty of cold, snowy days with temps dropping down to the 20's! There are so many amazing winter activities to do in the winter, just make sure to bring extra layers.

Elopement in Adirondacks on Mount Jo near Lake Placid New York.

What to Do at a Upstate New York Elopement

Something I love about elopements is that you can choose to do whatever the heck you want on YOUR DAY! And you can take your time doing it! Cultivating an experience that truly reflects you as a couple can make your wedding day so incredible. And there are so many ways you can do that! From the location to the little details, to the activities you choose to incorporate on your day! Adventure elopements often have some element of hiking involved, but that's not a necessary requirement AND there are tons of other amazing activities you can do on your elopement day:

  1. Hot Air Balloon ride
  2. Boat tour
  3. Wine tasting
  4. Rock Climbing
  5. Kayaking

Plus we offer a detailed list of hiking trail options for your Upstate New York elopement, with varying levels of accessibility and difficulty! You don't have to be a crazy adrenaline junky or experienced outdoorsman to enjoy the beauty of nature on your elopement!

Elopement in Adirondacks on Mount Jo near Lake Placid New York.

Where to Elope in Upstate NY

Upstate New York has some of the most stunning outdoor scenery on the East Coast! With rugged mountain vistas and dozens of forest-lined lakes; there's no shortage of epic elopement locations! No matter what kind of wedding you're looking to plan – an all-day adventure elopement or an intimate weekend wedding getaway with family – we can help you find the best spot!

Upstate New York elopement with family

How to choose your Upstate NY elopement location

Deciding Where to Elope in New York can be tough when there are sooo many incredible locations to choose from! From the classic NYC city elopement to an adventurous elopement in the Adirondack mountains! When planning your celebration, there are a few things to consider in regard to where to elope. Logistically, the options are endless; however, realistically determining where to have your elopement will come down to a few key things. Here are some questions to ask yourself when planning your elopement location:

  • What's your vision?
  • What type of scenery do you want to be surrounded by?
  • Will there be guests present?
  • How far do you want to travel?
  • What season would be most ideal?

Best places to elope in Upstate NY

  1. Catskill Mountains: The Catskills are located in the eastern part of New York and border Massachusetts. A few cute towns located here are Hudson, Woodstock and Bethel. There are some incredible hikes and waterfalls to explore including Kaaterskill Waterfall.
  2. Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks are honestly very similar to the White Mountains. Located in Northeastern New York, this mountain range is absolutely incredible. There are incredible hikes, waterfalls, rivers and lakes. Lastly, this is the home to the popular Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid.
  3. Minnewaska State Park: A State Park located north of NYC, so if you are looking to escape and have an outdoor elopement close by, this could be a great option for you. The Awosting Falls is a beautiful waterfall to have your intimate ceremony.
  4. Watkins Glen State Park: This State park is located in the Finger Lake region of New York, which you can find far west. Here you will find loads of waterfalls, gorges and rivers. If you're looking to have a waterfall elopement in NY, then this will be the place.
  5. Letchworth State Park: Otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the east, Letchworth State Park is filled with canyons, waterfalls, and hiking trails. This is a popular spot for white river rafting, kayaking and swimming. If you're looking for an adventure, head west!

Top Upstate NY Venues for an intimate wedding

Not interested in the DIY intimate wedding or elopement? Consider booking a venue! We've compiled a list of the top 5 best venues to have an intimate wedding or elopement in Upstate New York!

  1. Spruceton Inn (Catskills)
  2. The Woodhouse Lodge (Greenville)
  3. Scribner’s Lodge (Hunter)
  4. Gather Greene (Coxsackie)
  5. Foxfire Mountain House (Mt Tremper)

AND SO MANY MORE on our exclusive client location guide! PLUS we have a list of epic New York Airbnbs you might want to consider for your intimate wedding/elopement as well! Whether you use them to stay the night, get ready, or have the entire celebration there. Renting a private property like an Airbnb or VRBO can be a unique elopement experience!

Additional things you need to know

Permits: Depending on where you are planning to elope, you may need a permit. Every state park is also different. I'd recommend googling the State Park + wedding information. Then everything you need to know will show up - including contact information! As your New York elopement photographer experts we can also help you get the info needed in regards to permits and additional fees!

Leave No Trace: As a true outdoor and world lover, I have to mention Leave No Trace. And I'm assuming since you are here, you love the outdoors too! With many people enjoying the outdoors nowadays (which is AMAZING!), it is also important that we educate ourselves. We want to make sure that we can enjoy the outdoors, and so can our future humans! In simple terms, Leave No Trace is making sure you keep the land as clean and natural as possible. There are seven main principles to follow, so it's a quick read! You can learn about them on the Leave No Trace website here. Make sure to send your family and guests these guidelines as well so everyone is on the same page for your day!

New York Elopement Photography

Convinced that New York is the elopement destination for you? Reach out to book your New York Elopement and Intimate Wedding photographer! So excited to hear about you and your day!!

Adventure elopement photographer team

A New Hampshire + Vermont based adventure elopement and intimate wedding photographer team for the adventurous souls. We specialize in New England and destinations worldwide, empowering you to create the most beautiful, adventurous day and give you the memories you'll be able to look back on for all the years to come.


Share this story