Ultimate Guide on How to Elope in Grand Teton National Park

How to Have an Elopement in Grand Teton National Park

Originally published on January 15, 2020 / Last updated on March 3, 2022

So you’re considering getting married to one another by eloping in Grand Teton National Park?! You’ve come to the right place. As a photographer that specializes in capturing elopements throughout the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana – I can assure you that Grand Teton is one of the most breathtaking locations for your day! From an abundance of wildlife to breathtaking adventures all around, this national park will take your breath away just like it has taken mine away time and time again.

A couple exchanging vows during their Grand Teton elopement at Schwabacher's Landing.

Things to Think About as You Begin Planning Your Elopement

Although this step may seem silly to some, I highly recommend taking the time to think and be conscious about the answers to the following questions before starting the next steps of planning your Grand Teton National Park elopement. The answers may feel super obvious to you, it helps so much to have thought more consciously about them – or even better, have written down these answers on paper or on the notes app on your phone. It will also help you stay grounded throughout the planning process and help you create an elopement day that’s true to you!

  • PWhat aspects of eloping make you feel most excited?
  • PWhat about a more traditional wedding didn’t feel true to the two of you and your relationship?
  • PWhat drew you in on choosing Grand Teton National Park as the location for your elopement?
  • PWhen you initially think of your Grand Teton National Park elopement day, what words come to mind? What do you picture the two of you doing? What kind of landscapes were you drawn to when researching this location online?
A couple smiling at eachother during their elopement in Grand Teton.

Tips and FAQs for Planning Your Trip to Grand Teton National Park

What airport should we fly into?

You’ll fly into Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) located in Jackson, Wyoming which is a super quick drive to Grand Teton National Park and the neighboring town of Jackson Hole. The airlines that you’ll want to look in year-round are American Airlines, Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines. Frontier and Allegiant also offer flights to Jackson Hole in the summer as well!

What time of year should we elope in Grand Teton?

I think the answer to this question varies greatly based on your interests and the activities you’d like to include during your trip to elope in Wyoming!

Summer in Grand Teton

Summer is a beautiful time to visit if you’re looking to take advantage of a variety of summer activities during your visit to Grand Teton National Park such as hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, etc. The weather is also super moderate (especially from June to July) – it’s rarely unbearably hot and we’ve always experienced perfectly cool nights and early mornings during our visits. If you’re someone who really loves hiking, the chance of encountering unmelted snow in the backcountry is far less during mid-to-late July.

Fall in Grand Teton

Arguably my favorite time to visit Grand Teton National Park is during the fall – the vibrant colors of the leaves are remarkable. My favorite time to visit to get the best photos with the changing foliage is late September to early October. Although, fall in the mountains can bring unpredictable weather, I’m a sucker for moody photos that this time of year can bring!

Winter in Grand Teton

If you’re both really into winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling – then winter is obviously the time for you to visit and thrive. Not as much of the park is accessible, but that doesn’t mean that beautiful views are out of reach. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located in the area and there are also unique activities such as dog sledding tours and vintage sleigh rides.

Where should we stay near Grand Teton National Park?

Places to Stay in Grand Teton National Park

Campgrounds in Grand Teton
Although you can’t really go wrong with choosing a campground in Grand Teton, I’ve always loved staying at Gros Ventre Campground. It’s within walking distance of the Gross Ventre River and, although I never saw one when I visited, it’s super common for campers to see moose during their stay here! The Jenny Lake Campground is another really beautiful option but I’ve never managed to snag a campsite there during one of my visits!

Lodging in Grand Teton
During the summer, if you’re able to plan enough in advance to snag lodging within the park, I would highly recommend that experience for your Grand Teton elopement. Some of the lodging options inside the park are Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, and Signal Mountain Lodge. Even if it’s just for the night of your elopement, there’s something magical about being able to step outside and being right in front of some of the most magnificent mountainscapes you’ve ever witnessed.

Lodging near Grand Teton National Park

Lodging in Jackson, Wyoming 
Outside of the park, my husband and I really enjoyed our stay at Wyoming Inn Jackson Hole for one of our anniversaries. We were able to walk to dinner and it was a relatively quick drive into the park, which didn’t make the sunrise wake-up feel as early! Some other notable places located downtown and within walking distance of endless shopping and restaurants are Parkway Inn, Mountain Modern Motel, and Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa.

Airbnb / VRBO
When you’re looking into Airbnbs or VRBOs in the area, I highly recommend double checking where they are and how long it’ll take you to get to Jackson or Grand Teton. Although there are definitely options around Jackson and in nearby towns like Wilson, many of the listings you’ll see are right over Teton Pass in Driggs and Victor. These towns are about an hour away from Grand Teton which is still totally do-able, but good to have in mind when planning!

Luxury Resort: Amangani Wyoming
If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind, luxury experience to celebrate your elopement, look no further than a stay at Amangani in Jackson Wyoming. Not only is there a stunning pool with breathtaking views of the Tetons, but there’s also a spa and on-site dining to really help you feel pampered leading up to your elopement day. They also offer a variety of guided adventures from wildlife tours, hot air balloon rides, and horseback rides.

A couple running hand-in-hand through an open field after having their wedding in Grand Teton National Park.

Planning Your Wedding or Elopement in Grand Teton

How much does it cost to get married at Grand Teton National Park?

Absolutely great question! Aside from the cost of your marriage license and special use permit, there are a lot of different things that may factor into your budget as a whole for your elopement or wedding in Grand Teton. I wrote a whole blog post (linked here) detailing the cost of eloping and I think it will be really helpful for you!

Tips for Choosing a Grand Teton elopement photographer

When planning your elopement day in Grand Teton National Park, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a game-changer it is to find an experienced photographer! The rules and regulations surrounding weddings in the park and being an approved vendor in the park are extensive and it’s worth finding someone who is an expert to guide you through.

It’s also so important that you connect with your elopement photographer on a personal level as well. Think about it – they’re not just isn’t another vendor at your wedding where 100+ other people will be in attendance. They’re essentially third-wheeling one of the most important days of your life, helping you plan an experience that dreams are made of, and capturing it all for you to treasure for years to come.

When helping couples plan their elopement in Grand Teton National Park (or anywhere I travel), it’s really important for me to get on the phone with them from the start so that they understand who I am, what I offer, and how I am here to serve them on such a special and intimate day. It also really means a lot for me to ask them questions and better understand what they envision for their elopement day to create something that’s unique to who they are as a couple, rather than a cookie-cutter day that could be anyone’s!

What are your Grand Teton elopement packages?

You can learn more about the experience of working with me and my Grand Teton National Park elopement packages on my experience and pricing page. Please feel free to contact me and I’ll send over a pricing guide and give you all of the details about how I can serve you to craft the elopement of your dreams.

Where can we have our ceremony in Grand Teton?

The approved ceremony sites in Grand Teton National Park include Schwabacher Landing, Mormon Row, Mountain View Turnout, Glacier View Turnout, Snake River Overlook, and Colter Bay Swim Area. Dispersed ceremonies with less than 12 guests are permitted outside of these locations and you can see more information about this on the park’s wedding and commitment ceremony page.

There are also two chapels located within Grand Teton National Park, St. Johns Episcopal Church and Chapel of the Sacred Heart. Having your ceremony at either of these locations does not require a permit from Grand Teton National Park but may include fees from those chapels.

Do we need an ordained minister for our ceremony? What about witnesses?

In the state of Wyoming, you do need an ordained minister as well as 2 witnesses to sign your marriage license. There are many local officiants that can help craft a beautiful ceremony for you, one of my favorites is Cindy Dahlin with Jackson Hole Wedding Ceremonies.

If you’re traveling to Grand Teton to elope just the two of you and won’t have any witnesses present, I’m able to sign as a witness as your elopement photographer, and sometimes officiants have friends they can bring along to act as one of the two witnesses as well.

How many guests can we have at our ceremony?

The two ceremony sites that can accommodate up to 40 people are Mormon Row (North) and Colter Bay Swim Beach. The remaining permitted ceremony sites allow up to 25 guests.

In my experience as an elopement photographer, if you have above 25 guests and/or you’re considering having a mini-reception or celebration following, it really is worthwhile to switch gears and find a Jackson Wyoming wedding venue to accommodate your ceremony and celebration. This will resemble a micro wedding a bit more but I promise it will make things so much easier! Many couples will do this and split their photography coverage and the day after their wedding, we’ll venture into Grand Teton for those breathtaking elopement-style photos that probably made you fall in love with having a Grand Teton wedding to begin with!

Some local wedding venues in Jackson worth checking out are: National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Moose Creek Ranch, and Grand Targhee Resort.

Do we need to obtain a permit to have a wedding ceremony in Grand Teton?

Yes, you do. As of March of 2022 when this post was last updated, the special use permit for ceremonies is $200. I always encourage submitting your permit as soon as possible, but the park requests a minimum of 30 days to process your request. More information on the wedding permit process in Grand Teton can be found on their website linked here.

How do we get our Wyoming marriage license?

It’s super easy to acquire a marriage license prior to your official wedding day. When this post was updated in March of 2022, the Teton County office requests that you schedule an appointment to obtain your marriage license. They’re only open Monday through Friday, so be sure to plan accordingly based on what you have planned for the rest of your trip.

The Teton County official website breaks it down into super easy steps, so you know exactly what to make sure you bring with you on your trip in order to make the process go as smoothly as possible. There is no waiting period and your marriage license is able to be used for up to 1 year and costs just $30 to obtain.

Let’s Plan Your Grand Teton Elopement

I would love to be the photographer and right-hand-woman to help you have the elopement of your dreams in Grand Teton National Park. Please reach out via my contact page and check out my experience page for more information!