Having been born and raised here in Idaho, let me just tell you how perfect Idaho is for elopements! Most people don't consider Idaho for their elopement, but this state has so many hidden gems that will suit any adventure elopement! There also won't be as many crowds for spots just as pretty as the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Idaho is definitely perfect if you love outdoor adventures and you want to incorporate that into your elopement!
Here's how you can elope in this gorgeous gem state!
Pick Your Location & Time of Year
The first step you'll want to complete when eloping anywhere is choosing your location. Some questions you can ask yourself to help you find the answer to this question are: What are my favorite outdoor activities? What time of year do I prefer to be outside? Do I want family and friends there, or do we want it just us? If you're having guests, does it need to be a location that's easily accessed, or are they willing to hike?
Questions like these can help you pick out a location, or at least get an idea. When you reach out to your photographer, it helps to give them a general location that you're thinking about eloping in so we can send you the proper pricing guide. But if you are open to any ideas, that's totally fine too! We would love to help you find the location of your dreams!
Idaho has lots of variety, and mountains! What do you envision your day looking like? Hiking to an alpine lake, or adventuring around in a cedar forest that resembles the redwoods? Or maybe get married under the falling snow?
Time of year also plays a part in Idaho, since we get all 4 seasons. We get gorgeous fall colors, and snow usually doesn't melt in the mountains until June or July depending on elevation. We get stunning wildflowers in the mountains as well around the end of June and July. We get snow also, so a winter wonderland elopement is also an option. Or if you want gorgeous fall colors in the mountains, September into early October is ideal, before it snows. No matter what season you crave, Idaho has great spots for you to consider since it has a little bit of everything!
Check out this blog post on the best places in Idaho for your adventure elopement to get some location ideas! And more blog posts:
How to Elope in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Planning Your Elopement in Farragut State Park
Ultimate Planning Guide for Eloping in McCall, Idaho
Ultimate Planning Guide for Eloping in Stanley, Idaho
Pick an Elopement Specific Photographer
Once you've narrowed down your ideas, reach out to a photographer who specializes in adventure elopements. Traditional wedding photographers and elopement photographers are quite different. I used to shoot traditional weddings, so I know most photographers of traditional weddings basically just show up as any other vendor does and does their job. Not much pre-planning is involved except writing a timeline and getting a shot list.
Now with elopements, I take so much more time planning! I help my couple plan out their day, as well as location scout. I research permits for them, provide free elopement planning resources on my blog, help them with any questions they have, and so much more! I want to get to know my couple and talk to them about their day before they even book. Us elopement photographers are so passionate about what we do and we care so much for our couples! We aren't just a vendor that shows up and leaves and never talks again. We help you plan a day around your interests, and provide ideas based off of what you told us! We are you biggest supporter of your elopement!
So yes, find yourself a photographer who specializes in elopements! If you are interested in hiring me for your elopement, click here to contact me! I would love to show you some of the hidden gems Idaho has to offer!
Book Your Lodging and Other Vendors
Woo, you just booked your elopement photographer! Now the fun starts! Now you'll want to find a place to stay at the location you ended up picking, whether that's an adorable Airbnb or a fun cabin, or even a campsite. Idaho has lots of gorgeous Airbnb's like wooded cabins, yurts, a-frames, and places to stay right on one of our many lakes. You'll want to book in advance, especially if you're eloping in a popular tourist time in a more popular location. For example, in the Sawtooth's, their June and summer schedules book up super fast, so you'll want to book as soon as you're able to get a decent place to stay.
When picking accommodations, keep in mind if you want some indoor getting ready photos, pick a place with good window light for the best photos! Or find a place with a cute porch or deck for detail photos as well, or if you're wanting a mini reception afterwards, book a place that will accommodate your guests comfortably.
Moving onto vendors for your elopement, you'll also want to reach out to them as soon as possible. If they're popular, they'll book out real fast, so reach out as soon as possible. But here's some vendors that you might want to book for your elopement: florist, videographer, an officiant, food or dessert, and hair and/or makeup artists. If you're eloping in a small mountain town in Idaho like McCall, Wallace, or Stanley, you will most likely have to book vendors from bigger towns like Boise and Coeur d'Alene.
If looking for vendors stresses you out, I can research them for you! I provide a list of vendors for the location of your elopement, helping make your day as stress free as possible!
Day of Elopement Packing and Gear List
As your day approaches, you'll probably start to wonder what the little things are that you need to bring with! If you're renting gear, you can pick it up when you arrive on location. If you're gonna hike, you'll start gathering up your basic gear - check out this list of gear to bring for your adventure elopement!
Here's a quick day of checklist of things to not forget as well:
-Cell phone and car charger/portable charger
-Food and water
-Any remaining payments for vendors
-Bluetooth speaker for music
-Anything you want incorporated in photos
Marriage License Info
Here's how you can obtain your marriage license in the state of Idaho. 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 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.
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:
You can pick from a list of people to officiate. If it's religious, there is a designated official for that.
If you would prefer to have someone closer to you officiate, they can become ordained online if they so choose.
The last way you can do this is to have an actual legal ceremony, either with guests or not, and at a later date, go up in the mountains (or your choice of location) for vows and photos. Then, you will be able to read your vows privately to each other, without anyone else present. As the photographer, I have a longer lens that will allow me to not be right in your faces, so I can still capture the moment while giving you space.
I hope this post on how to elope in Idaho helps you in planning your elopement in this state! If you want some more visual inspiration on Idaho elopements, here's some of my favorite spots in Idaho!
Couples Session in the Mountains with Wildflowers
Farragut State Park Bridals at Sunset
Mountain Bridals on Lake Pend Oreille
Winter Wonderland Elopement in McCall
If you're interested in booking me for your adventure elopement in Idaho, contact me here!
"Memories made in the mountains stay in our hearts forever."