How to Elope in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

As a Coeur d'Alene local, I am so excited to talk about how to elope in Coeur d'Alene, ID and provide this elopement planning guide! I specialize in adventurous elopements, but Coeur d'Alene would also be perfect for a downtown, urban elopement setting.

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If you haven't heard what an elopement is, in short, they are experience based wedding days, where you include things that are important to you as a couple so that your wedding day isn't stressful and it's literally the best day ever! You can have around 20 people there with you, so it's still an intimate setting, but you still have those you love most there with you, or you can elope just with just the two of you! Elopements have no rules, so you can make your day out however you want!


For example, if you love to hike with your dog in your free time, many couples hike to a gorgeous spot to say their vows and get married out in nature with their fur baby. Or if you love to kayak, why not kayak in the evening in your wedding attire to make some fun memories while doing what you love most?


Basically, elopements make it so you actually remember the wedding day you had and it's not just a blur of being rushed, and it's not about appeasing guests, some of which you may not really talk to, and who wants to say heartfelt vows in front of someone you don't really know? Most of the time when you hire an elopement specific photographer (like me!), we are so much more than photographers and we take the time to get to know you as a couple so we can help you plan out your most epic day. Another reason why I love writing out these helpful planning resources for you on this blog! You can read more about eloping here.

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So if you're interested in eloping in Coeur d'Alene, here's what I'll go over in this blog post:

  • How to Apply for an Idaho Marriage License and How it Works for Adventure Elopements & Officiant Information

  • Venues in Coeur d'Alene that are Perfect for a Post-Elopement Reception

  • The Best Places to Eat in Town

  • Breathtaking Places to Stay

  • Activities in Coeur d'Alene for your Adventure Elopement


How to Apply for an Idaho Marriage License

Located in downtown Coeur d'Alene, there is an administrative building that you can obtain your license at. First, you'll have to appear in person together at a county recorder's office to get your marriage license. You should bring about $30 cash with you to cover the fees. It may be more expensive on the weekend, so going during a weekday is best!


You will need two forms of identification, your SSN plus another form for proof of identity and age, such as your driver's license. You can also bring a state-issued identification card, a passport, or your birth certificate. I brought as many documents as I could to mine just in case.


You don't have to be a resident of Idaho to obtain an Idaho marriage license, but the ceremony must be preformed in Idaho. There is no waiting period on the license, so you can get married the same day! This is perfect if you traveled here to elope, because it can be done all in the same day if needed! There is also no expiration date on the license, though it should be used within the year. Both parties must read an AIDS information sheet and sign the Marriage License Affidavit.


Blood tests and witnesses are not required. If you chose to elope somewhere more private, this is great as well because we don't need to ask other random hikers, for example, to sign the license for you. In other states where witnesses are required, people who elope on a mountaintop usually ask the hikers they run into to sign as their witnesses! This is also super nice if it's just the two of you eloping alone, without guests.


Officiant Information

Now that you have your marriage license, you need an officiant to make it, well, official! An authorized clergy member, judge, or other designated official must perform the ceremony. Now, there's a couple options. First, you can pick from a list of people to officiate. If it's religious, there is a designated official for that. Or, if you would prefer to have someone closer to you officiate, they can become ordained online if they so choose.


The other way you can do this is to have an actual legal ceremony, either at a venue or courthouse, with guests or not, and at a later date go up in the mountains (or your choice of location) for vows and photos, and basically have a commitment ceremony. Then, you will be able to read your vows privately to each other, without anyone else present.


Venues in Coeur d'Alene Perfect for a Post-Elopement Celebration

If you want the privacy and the day to be just about the two of you, but you also want to include your friends and family, this is a great way to solve that problem. You can have your elopement day with just you and your other half, and then later you can have a reception. This is the best way to get the best of both worlds! I just created a blog post about the top 10 mountain wedding venues in North Idaho just for this option of a reception at a later time! Coeur d'Alene has great options like the Hagadone Event Center, Elk Point, and Lake Coeur d'Alene Cruises. Click the link above to read it!


  • If you want to elope during the winter season in Idaho, I've got you! I have this blog post all about planning a winter elopement in Idaho. From the best places to elope in the winter in Idaho, to the best wedding dresses, activities and ways to stay warm, I've got you covered!


Coeur d'Alene is a great central point to all of Northern Idaho, so if you stay in Coeur d'Alene, all the surrounding areas are great places for your elopement, like Priest Lake, Wallace, and Lake Pend Oreille. I have an Idaho Elopement Guide available exclusively to my couples who book me that goes in depth on all my favorite pre-scouted places and hikes in Idaho, perfect for an elopement.

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Places to Eat

There is no shortage of amazing places to eat in CDA! Check out The Village at Riverstone for some good places to eat. Here are some popular options and local favorites.

  • Cedars Floating Restaurant

  • The Coeur d'Alene Resort - Dockside, Beverly's, Tito's

  • Wolf Lodge

  • Anthony's

  • Bardenay's

  • Le Peep

  • Meltz


Places to Stay

Coeur d'Alene offers plenty of great places to stay. Besides the well-known hotels, here's a few places locally that are more "one of a kind" and would make a perfect place to stay and would make for some beautiful getting ready photos for your elopement!


Local Places:

  • One Lakeside

  • The Coeur d'Alene Resort

  • Blackwell Hotel

  • The Roosevelt Inn

Here's some Airbnb's available near Coeur d'Alene as well! These are few that I found on the first page!

And some VRBO's in Coeur d'Alene


Activities to Include for Your Elopement

Lake Coeur d'Alene is known as the Playground of the Pacific Northwest, and for good reason! There are so many activities available to make your day unique. Like these:

  • Ziplining

  • Parasailing

  • Cruise boat tours

  • Hiking, mountain biking, swimming, boating, fishing, etc

  • Paddle boarding, jet skiing, and boat rentals

  • Walking the world's longest floating boardwalk

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Imagine starting off your elopement day with waking up in a wooded cabin Airbnb. You take your time getting ready while sipping your favorite coffee and eating a delicious breakfast by Le Peep. Then we drive to a nearby mountain location of your choosing for your first look, bridals, and ceremony. We enjoy being out in nature doing whatever makes you the most happy and excited! Maybe a hike, or parasailing, or ziplining! Or something more relaxed like taking a boat ride with the boat you rented, and you go swimming or fishing! We then come back into town and eat a delicious dinner at The Coeur d'Alene Resort (and get the best dessert, a.k.a a Gooey). Lastly you do a sunset swim in Lake Coeur d'Alene (or wake surf in your bridal attire like this couple did) to finish off your day. If that sounded like a fun, relaxed yet memorable wedding day, well then eloping is for you!


Here's one of my favorite days, an elopement on the Coeur d'Alene River. They got ready in cabins, had their ceremony by the river, and they still included some traditions they liked, like having a cake cutting! Afterward, we ventured out to an awesome trail and we took some bridals. The bride went barefoot as she crossed a small creek. They had their son with them, and it was all so special!


I specialize in helping you create the most memorable and meaningful day of your life for your wedding day! If this sounds like the way you want to get married, contact me here! I am currently offering 15% off all my North Idaho elopement packages before the end of 2021, so be sure to book me while I have this deal going! You can use this deal and get your day booked for 2022 as well!


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