If you are an outdoor enthusiast or you call New England home, you should absolutely consider New Hampshire when planning your elopement. NH is the adventurer’s wonderland and is home to multiple national parks and state parks, as well as Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. Combine that with the countless historic small towns and a small (but beautiful) coastline, and you have an ideal elopement destination!
So, why New Hampshire?
New Hampshire may not be the hottest elopement destination, but the state definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. One of New Hampshire’s nicknames is “the Switzerland of America,” and for good reason! NH has seemingly never-ending mountain ranges, forests, lakes and rivers to explore. Here you will get the full range of seasons, each offering a unique elopement experience. New Hampshire is known for its beautiful fall foliage, so if you’re looking for a picturesque autumn wedding, New Hampshire should be at the top of your list! Plus, New Hampshire, and the Northeast in general, is a highly underrated elopement destination. Here you can have all the benefits of a mountain, forest or beach wedding, without the high costs and overcrowding of West Coast destinations.
Ready to elope in New Hampshire? Read on to discover the three steps you should take to get the planning started.
I recommend settling on an exact location first. That way, you’ll be able to quickly narrow down your list of photographers, vendors, accommodation and places to eat based on the location you choose. There are so many unique and gorgeous places in New Hampshire that it may be a hard decision to make! Below are a few of my recommendations to check out:
- Kancamangus Highway: This is a great destination for couples who want to elope in the great outdoors. The Kancamangus Highway is a 34 mile stretch of scenic mountain views that goes straight through the White Mountain National Forest. It’s an ideal location for an autumn wedding because of the amazing fall foliage! You will find dozens of campgrounds, mountain towns and hiking trails along the route, and any of them would make for a great spot to elope!
- The NH Coast: While the coast of New Hampshire is small (it only takes about 35 minutes to get from the south to north end), you will find so many amazing towns and beaches here. If you’re looking for a summer beach wedding, check out any of the towns along Ocean Blvd, like Hampton Beach or Portsmouth.
- North Conway: This town is nestled in the White Mountains, so it makes a great option for couples who want some beautiful mountain backdrops, but don’t want to hike up a mountain to get to them. This is a skiing town, so there are plenty of inns and small venues to choose from.
There are so many other areas of New Hampshire to choose from for your elopement, like places in the Lakes Region and the seemingly countless state parks. But I’ve gotta save the good stuff for my clients! If you are looking for more specific location information, you can always send me a message!
- Marriage License
Thankfully, getting a marriage license in New Hampshire is a really easy process. All you need is a form of identification, a form of citizenship, and $50 for the license fee. You can go to any city or town clerk in the state, regardless of the location of your ceremony.
Once you receive your license, you’re good to go! There is no waiting period after receiving your license in New Hampshire, so if you’re coming from out of state, you could get your license the day before (or even day of, if you’re willing to mill around the county clerk’s office on the big day) to save on the hassle of multiple trips. The license will be valid for 90 days.
- The small details
Now that you have a rough outline of your elopement day, it’s time to plan all of the little things! The main things you should consider are:
- Vendors: Because a photographer can help you find other vendors and plan out your shooting schedule, they should definitely be the first vendor you book. Then you can find florists, stylists, caterers or chefs, if that’s something you’re looking for!
- An officiant: You will need to find a licensed officiant in the state of New Hampshire to solemnize the marriage. You can find officiants through a quick Google search, or I can give you my top recommendations!
- Accommodation: Are you and your partner looking for a luxury experience at a 5-star inn? Is your idea of a perfect wedding night spent roughing it by a campfire in the mountains? Do you need a hotel to accommodate multiple guests? Regardless of what your plans are, make sure you have a place to stay lined up ahead of time.
- Attire: What you decide to wear is entirely up to personal preference, but I recommend choosing some sensible footwear if you plan on eloping out in nature. If you’re planning on eloping at the top of a mountain, definitely be prepared to get a little dirty (honestly, that’s half the fun, and makes for really cool photos!) And don’t forget to prepare for some cold weather if you elope in winter or fall!
- Food: Are you reserving a table at a high-end restaurant as a “reception,” or are you grabbing some sandwiches on your way to the hiking trail? No matter what you choose, make sure you have it set up in your schedule for the day.
- Activities: Your elopement doesn’t just have to be a one day affair. You can turn it into a whole weekend with fun activities like hiking in the White Mountains, relaxing on the beach in Portsmouth, or horseback riding through the forest.
I know, this part of the process can be kind of overwhelming. But it’s so important to nail down all of these details ahead of time, so you can spend your elopement day basking in the joy rather than stressing out. That’s why I include a timeline guide and questionnaire in all of my packages. I will use the timeline we create to guide you seamlessly through your day. The beauty of eloping is that you get to do things exactly the way you want to, and I’m here to help you have the elopement of your dreams, every step of the way!
Hi, I’m Beatriz, a Northeast native and experienced elopement photographer. I would love to help you plan the elopement you’ve always imagined! I’m committed to helping couples say I do the way they’ve always wanted to, while documenting it along the way. Ready to get started?