How to Elope in the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Mountains are a sprawling, 5,000 square mile region in New York. With incredible mountain views, dozens of lakes for swimming or kayaking, and hundreds of trails to hike, it is a wonderland for couples looking for an adventurous elopement. 

Why elope in the Adirondacks?

Are you considering an elopement or small wedding in the North East? If so, the Adirondacks should be at the top of your destination list! It may not be the wedding location that’s dominating your Instagram feed, but the Adirondacks are truly a hidden gem! 

Who the Adirondacks are perfect for:

  • Northeasterners who don’t want to travel far for a scenic mountain wedding.
  • Anyone looking to elope somewhere other than destinations like Colorado, Utah, or the Pacific Northwest.
  • Couples looking for a peaceful, private, and beautiful wedding day.

If you’re already sold on the Adirondacks, here’s how to make your wedding as special as you’ve always imagined. 

Dream Big, Plan Small

The Adirondacks provide a crazy variety of options for couples looking to elope. I’ll give you two options to compare, but there really is no limit to what you can do! If you can dream it up, we can probably make it happen. 

Option 1: The Intimate Wedding

If you’re looking for a wedding with the freedom of an elopement, but you still want a handful of family and friends to be present, an intimate wedding would be perfect for you! The Adirondacks have no shortage of charming inns, fancy hotels, and large family-style Airbnbs to host all of your guests. Most of the inns and hotels in the Adirondacks have ample space for a private, personal ceremony right on the property, and some have incredible lakeside or mountain views! If you were hoping for a ceremony out in the middle of nature, there is an abundance of easy walking paths or hiking trails that you and all of your guests could embark on. 

Option #2: The Epic Elopement

Is it your dream to hike up a mountain with your love and seal the deal surrounded by insane views? Or maybe you two want to say your vows on the porch of a cabin in the middle of the woods, because the idea of saying all of that in front of a crowd makes you want to barf? The Adirondacks are perfect for that. There is soooo much to explore in the Adirondacks, and tons of private settings to choose from. You can find dozens of possible trails that lead to amazing mountain ranges or lakeside beaches, ranging from ridiculously easy to a bit more challenging (but definitely worth the hard work)! 

If you came here looking for specific recommendations, I save the good stuff for my clients! No matter what you and your partner are dreaming up, I can give you the ideal destinations, tips, and vendors to make your day exactly what you’ve envisioned. Reach out if you have any questions!

The Nitty Gritty – marriage license, officiant, witnesses, and permits 

Now for all the not-so-fun stuff. Thankfully, obtaining a marriage license is pretty easy in New York! You can apply for your marriage license at any town or city clerk in New York state. Here are a couple of license-related things to keep in mind: 

  • There is a 24-hour waiting period after you get your license. So if you are traveling from out of state, be sure to arrive at least a day in advance to account for that! 
  • You need to bring proof of age, like a birth certificate, and proof of identity, like a passport or driver’s license with you to the county clerk. 
  • The license is valid for 60 days from the date it is issued.
  • It costs $40. 
  • There are different requirements for getting your license in NYC, so be sure to check for those if you plan on getting your license there. 
  • You will need a licensed officiant to conduct the wedding and at least one witness. 

Lastly, permits are not required in Adirondack Park yet, but they are being considered as of June 2020. In order to keep the Adirondacks wild and free for all, please remember to practice Leave No Trace principles during your visit!

Last Minute Considerations

So, you’ve booked a place to stay, you have your marriage license (or you’re prepared to get it), you have your dream location picked out, and you’ve picked out all of your vendors. You’re ready, yay! But just in case, here are a few things you might want to consider if you haven’t already. 

  1. Comfortable wedding attire. When trying on dresses or suits, do all sorts of weird things in the dressing room to make sure you’ll feel comfortable potentially hiking up a mountain. Sit on the ground, wiggle around, do the splits if you feel like it. Just make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. And don’t forget proper footwear (i.e. hiking boots) and warm weather gear if you’re getting hitched in fall or winter! I highly advise against wearing heels, unless it’s for a few photos. 
  2. Food! Remember, the beauty of eloping is that you can do whatever the heck you want! You don’t have to eat dry chicken and green beans made by a catering company (unless you’re into that). Whether it’s a mini wedding cake and a bottle of champagne you share after summiting a mountain, a four-course meal prepared by a private chef in your Airbnb, or a restaurant that can accommodate your small guest list, make sure you do your food research. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, let me know and I can give you some options! 
  3. Make a trip out of it. Your wedding doesn’t just have to be a one-day thing. There are all kinds of exciting excursions you can take with your boo to turn your special day into a special weekend. You can kayak on Lake Placid, attempt an aerial adventure course, go sightseeing by seaplane near Long Lake, and so much more. 

Want my help planning your elopement in the Adirondacks?

As a longtime resident of the Northeast, an avid adventurer, and a seasoned elopement photographer, I can help you plan your day from start to finish. Reach out to me here or send an email to to get the process started!