Let me guess... you're looking into how to elope in Vermont? Got it. Well, you've come to the right place because we are just that – an elopement photography team covering the beautiful state of Vermont! We've teamed up to write this post, giving you everything you need to know about how to elope in Vermont!
Let's get something important out of the way - What even is an elopement? Eloping is no longer a quick stop to city hall or a flight to Vegas. Nope. Elopements have become a beautiful and intentional decision to celebrate your journey of life together in a meaningful way. You get to throw out the traditions and create a day that feels true to you. And guess what? Eloping in Vermont is freaking epic and is also quite simple. There is an incredible variety of experiences to make your day extra special.
Let's get into how to elope in Vermont.
Let's plan your Vermont Elopement!
People from all over the world get really creative when it comes to their elopement days. With elopements, you can choose to hike to a secluded mountain view or grab your closest 20 family members and friends and have an intimate ceremony in the woods followed by a dinner – or both! The best part about eloping is that there are no rules or ways of doing things. You get to be creative and make it your picture-perfect day.
The Northeast has become an exciting destination for elopements since 2020, and for good reason! With so many couples not wanting a traditional big wedding, New England provides the opportunity to have a more intimate experience in the outdoors. This is the one day that couples get to fully celebrate this next chapter of their lives together, and elopements allow them to be fully present and in the moment with the one they love for the entire day.
How to Elope in Vermont
Elopements are our bread and butter, and we specialize in them for a reason. We love to guide couples into their best days, and Vermont is just such a special place for that to happen. There are a few steps you'll need to take to elope in Vermont. To keep it simple, follow the checklist below.
- Daydream up your day: We have an awesome resource here on how to plan your elopement. Ask yourself - What would be our ideal perfect date? Write down your 10 favorite things then try to figure out how you can combine all of them into one amazing day. It's possible, we promise.
- Book your vendors: If you find your photographer (oh hey!) or an elopement planner first, they can help you throughout the entire elopement planning process. They can also recommend all the other vendors you may need such as florist, hair and makeup artist, officiant, and more.
- Choose your location: Once you have an idea of what you want your day to look like, then you can start looking for locations. (You can find some elopement location ideas for Vermont in this post!)
- Find accommodations: You can find an amazing accommodation for just the two of you, or even somewhere that you can throw a little dinner party after you get married. Try searching sooner than later so that you have several options to explore.
- Gather all the details: You can have it as extravagant or simple as you want. Some details you may want to think about are ceremony set-up, vow books, all of your attire, decor, dinner set-up, etc.
- Make it legal: The most important step is making sure you can really get married! Find out how to get a marriage license and who can officiate (keep reading below!).
How to obtain a marriage license in Vermont
Luckily, it is actually quite simple to elope and get officially married in Vermont. It's just like a wedding – all you need is a marriage license and to have your ceremony authenticated by an ordained officiant. That's it! Other than that, it can be exactly how you want it to be. So let's start with the first thing you need – a marriage license.
Licenses are issued by Vermont town clerks and cost $60. If both parties are Vermont residents, you may go to the town clerk in either of your towns of residence. If just one of you resides in a Vermont town, you must buy the license in that town. The license is valid for 60 days from the date it is issued. During that time, an authorized person must perform your wedding ceremony — otherwise, the license is void. If neither of you is a Vermont resident, you may get the license from any town clerk in the state!
For more information, here is everything you need to know on the Vermont Website.
You both must sign the license and deliver the license to the person who will conduct your wedding ceremony before the marriage can be performed. After the ceremony, the person who performs the ceremony (officiant) will complete the sections concerning the date, location, and officiant information, and sign your license. At that point, the license becomes a marriage certificate. The officiant must return the certificate to the town clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days of the wedding so that your marriage can be officially registered. If the officiant has registered with the Secretary of State as a temporary officiant, a copy of the certificate of authorization issued by the Secretary of State should be attached to the signed certificate and returned to the clerk’s office.
TIP: During the busy season (June-October), Town Clerks can be very busy with marriage licenses. You can get everything done beforehand so you don't have to stress about getting the license on time or not. Don't hesitate to call them and see if there is anything you can do to speed up the process.
Who can officiate your elopement?
A lot of people want to know who can even officiate their wedding, and in some places it can be really strict. Here are the things you need to know to figure out who can officiate your elopement.
Who can officiate your marriage legally:
- A Supreme Court justice, a superior court judge, a district judge, a judge of probate, an assistant judge, a justice of the peace, or an ordained or licensed member of the clergy residing in Vermont can perform your wedding ceremony.
- A clergyperson residing in an adjoining state or country can marry you if his or her church, temple, mosque, or other religious organization lies wholly or partly in Vermont. A clergy member residing in some other state or in Canada can marry you if he or she first obtains a special authorization from the probate court in the district where the marriage will take place.
- Any person who is over the age of 18 may register with the Secretary of State to become a temporary officiant to a marriage (AKA, do you want a friend to do it?!). A person who has filled out the registration form and who has paid the registration fee of $100 will receive a certificate authorizing the person to solemnize a specific Vermont marriage. The individual’s authority to solemnize that marriage will expire at the same time as the corresponding license.
Vermont law does not require witnesses. But if you are planning a religious ceremony, check to see if the religion’s tenets require witnesses.
What to Do at Your Vermont Elopement
Elopement ideas are honestly endless, especially in Vermont. When you start to daydream about what your elopement day could look like, we encourage you to first take a look at your purpose and reason for eloping, and what you want the day to feel like.
Here's how to plan your most memorable elopement.
Here are some questions to ask yourselves:
- Do we want to be somewhere in the outdoors?
- What kind of activities do we love to do together?
- Is there a specific place you enjoy or that is special to you in Vermont?
- What type of food do you typically gravitate towards?
Adventure elopement ideas in Vermont
- Hike up or ski down your favorite mountain (or a new mountain!) together to say your private vows
- Take a boat ride on Lake Champlain
- Go grab creemees (maple soft serve) in the summer heat
- Take a hot air balloon at one of Vermont's hot air balloon festivals
- Head to one of Vermont's beautiful waterfalls and take a swim
As you can see with these examples, the ideas are endless. The best part about eloping is that you can throw out the shoulda, coulda, wouldas. You can create your very own version of a perfect wedding day. There will be no regrets. You can marry your best friend in your dream location with your most favorite people, doing your absolute favorite things. THAT is how you figure out how to create your dream elopement experience. But don't worry, we can help you, too!
How to Choose your Vermont Elopement Location
The fun part about eloping is that it will most likely just be the two of you. OR 10-20 of your closest family and friends. This gives you a wider variety of places you can get married rather than a 100+ person wedding. If you want a more detailed guide on where to elope, we help our couples find exact locations that fit their needs!
Here are a few places where you can elope in Vermont:
A lot of people don't realize this is an option, but if you are eloping and love the outdoors, then why not do it in the Green Mountains?! Fun fact: the name Vermont is actually derived from the two French words "vert" meaning green and "mont" meaning mountain. But they aren't only awe-striking in the summer... they are absolutely stunning in all 4 seasons. In the fall, the leaves begin to turn and everywhere you look, it appears that the mountains are on fire. Shades of red, orange, and yellow as far as the eye can see. And in the winter, every branch hangs heavy, blanketed in fluffy white snow. The Green Mountains are also a bit less crowded than the neighboring New Hampshire White Mountains. They're a great place if you're seeking privacy for your special celebration.
Picture this: it's a beautiful sunny day and we've planned a hike that you've been wanting to do or we take a gondola up your favorite mountain. You two ascend in your hiking gear and then get changed at the top. At the summit, you do a first look, have your intimate ceremony, set up a picnic for dinner, and then watch the sun go down. It is a magical day all around.
By the water
Vermont also has some stunning lakes that make you feel like you're by the ocean, as well as ponds with mountain views, waterfalls and swimming holes, and rivers fit for floating on. There are plenty of summer camps and campgrounds, waterfront parks, and even intimate wedding venues right on the bank if being by the water is important to your relationship.
There are some venues that offer elopement and intimate wedding packages. This could also be a great option, especially if it includes accommodations and an experience to go with it. Remember that you can always have best of both worlds - an intimate wedding AND an elopement. A lot of couples split between two days, and that way they have a day solely about them, then another that is about their loved ones.
If you or your family has a beautiful backyard or you're considering renting a property, then this is also a wonderful option. It could be a place that is meaningful with a lot of space, and you'd be able to do everything in one place. Want some ideas? Check out Michaella and Zachs backyard intimate wedding.
Best Places to Elope in Vermont
Okay, so now you might be wondering WHERE to elope in Vermont! We've compiled a list of the top 7 best places to have an elopement in Vermont! This is just a small preview of what our location guide entails (trust us, there is A LOT). This could be a good place to get you started at least!
- Lake Willoughby
- Warren Falls
- Camel's Hump
- Smuggler's Notch
- Hapgood Pond
We have a more detailed list of Vermont elopement locations with trails and hiking info for our couples! We absolutely love helping our clients choose the right location in the area they want, and it always starts with a location questionnaire. This way, you have a customized list of locations that we feel would be the best options for your day and what you're looking for.
Top Vermont Wedding Venues for an intimate wedding
Not interested in the DIY intimate wedding or elopement? Consider getting married at a small wedding venue! We've compiled a list of the top 5 best places to have an intimate wedding or elopement in Vermont! If you're hoping to have your day at a venue, get our full list of Vermont elopement and intimate wedding venues here!
PLUS we have a list of epic Vermont Airbnbs you might want to consider for your intimate wedding or elopement as well! Whether you use them to just 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! Check out our blog on How to Have an Airbnb Elopement.
Additional Things to Know
Below are some additional things you need to keep in mind when planning your elopement that we feel are really important.
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. Everything you need to know will be there - including contact information!
Finding your *why*: People have different reasons as to why they want to get married, so it makes sense that the type of wedding celebration that would best align with their relationship is going to be different. Finding your why is going to help you fully enjoy the experience of your elopement. It allows you to stay focused on your priorities and explain your plans to your loved ones with confidence.
Real Vermont Wedding Inspiration
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