Why Elope in Vermont?
If you’ve found yourself here, chances are you’re thinking about taking the bold step of planning your own elopement adventure! Nowadays many couples find that a large, traditional wedding doesn’t resonate with them and their values and instead, they seek a meaningful and intimate experience that is one of a kind. Trust me when I say, you desire an adventure, a unique day focused solely on the two of you. Say goodbye to the pressures of a grand wedding and embrace the intentionality and significance of an elopement to celebrate your love – choose to elope in Vermont instead!
If you envision an elopement day immersed in nature, relishing farm-to-table cuisine, embracing the beautiful seasons, or being part of a close-knit community, then Vermont is an ideal destination for you. Couples from across the country flock to Vermont to get married for numerous reasons; the lush green mountains, breathtaking summer sunsets, serene lakes and rivers, and renowned ski resorts make it an unparalleled choice.
When it comes to planning a Vermont adventure elopement, the possibilities are endless! You can choose to exchange vows in a local state park or on a tranquil beach or embark on an exhilarating hike up Mount Mansfield (the highest peak in Vermont) to witness a magical sunset. For inspiration, take a look at my blog post, “Eight of the Best Places to Elope in Vermont.” If you’re planning a small celebration with guests, I recommend renting an Airbnb, cabin, or lodging as a home base for your loved ones. Numerous inns and lodges offer affordable and flexible Vermont elopement packages tailored for intimate weddings!
Why Plan a Vermont Elopement?
Vermont is such an incredible place to plan an elopement – known for its natural beauty, breathtaking seasons, and ample opportunities for adventure, it might be just the perfect place for you and your partner! Here’s a quick summary of what makes the decision to elope in Vermont so special, but check out more details in my other blog here.
Amazing Natural Beauty and Stunning Seasons
Vermont’s abundant natural beauty sets the stage for an unforgettable elopement that will be etched in your memories forever. When you fly into Burlington, the state’s sole international airport, you’ll get a breathtaking aerial view of Lake Champlain. Stretching from the northern tip of the Vermont-Montreal border to Ticonderoga, New York, this expansive lake adds to the allure of the region. Whether you’re captivated by the majestic mountains, serene lakes, or your favorite state park, Vermont offers an array of options for your adventurous elopement.
Plus, the seasons of Vermont always make you feel like you’re the main character in a Hallmark movie – whether you and your partner love the slopes during winter or prefer the tranquility of kayaking on the water in the summer, infusing your elopement day with your favorite seasonal activities will create cherished and unforgettable moments.
Unlimited Hiking Opportunities For Your Vermont Elopement
Exploring the Green Mountains by hiking is an experience that will stay with you, and if it’s an activity you enjoy together, you can incorporate your favorite Vermont day hike into your elopement itinerary. You can opt for an easy or moderate hike, such as Stowe Pinnacle, or challenge yourselves with more demanding trails like Camel’s Hump or Mount Mansfield. If you plan to spend half a day or a few hours hiking during your Vermont elopement, it’s essential to collaborate with a photographer who is familiar with the trails. Take into account factors like parking availability, practicing Leave No Trace principles, wearing appropriate footwear, and packing necessary supplies. Careful planning ensures a seamless and enjoyable hiking experience on your special day.
Incredible Vermont Wedding Vendors
We have the most amazing Vermont wedding vendors that will make your elopement experience unforgettable. From videographers to florists, hair, makeup, and more – we’ve got an amazing network of kick-ass vendors to bring your whole vision to life.
When to Elope in Vermont
Best Time of Year for a Vermont Elopement
Without a doubt, summer holds a special place in my heart for those who elope in Vermont, and for good reason! The extended daylight hours, refreshing rivers, and the emergence of lush greenery and vibrant wildflowers in the mountains make it an enchanting season. Then fall transforms Vermont into a paradise for leaf lovers, as the hills explode with a breathtaking tapestry of oranges, reds, and yellows. And let’s not overlook the serene beauty of winter in Vermont, where a pristine blanket of white snow covers the landscape.
To avoid the bustling crowds, consider planning your elopement during the off-season, typically spanning from May to October, when tourism is at its peak in Vermont.
Best Time of Day and Week
To ensure a more secluded elopement experience, I advise opting for a weekday elopement between Tuesday and Thursday, avoiding the influx of tourists during long weekends. Alternatively, consider the magic of a sunset elopement. By choosing this time of day, you have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning surroundings without the crowds and you also get to witness the extraordinary beauty of a Vermont sunrise.
5 Epic Areas for a Vermont Elopement
There are so many amazing areas to choose from when you decide to elope in Vermont. But here are just a few of my top locations. Also, check out this Vermont Elopement Google Map to see each area more clearly.
1. Burlington Elopement
Burlington International Airport (BTV) is likely where you’ll fly into if you’re flying directly to Vermont. With tons of restaurants and accessibility to some beautiful spots, Burlington is a thriving city and a fun place to elope! Hotel Vermont is a great spot right in the city for your stay (and it’s dog-friendly!) or you can consider getting a hotel or an Airbnb in Burlington which makes it easy to get to some fun areas like Lone Rock Point, Church St., and the Lake Champlain waterfront. There are tons of great restaurants along Church St. and it’s fun afternoon or evening to walk or bike around this area. Check out this beautiful Burlington elopement that I photographed here.
Burlington Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Start your elopement adventure by arriving in Burlington, Vermont. Check into a charming bed and breakfast or a cozy boutique hotel in the heart of the city like Hotel Vermont. Take some time to explore downtown Burlington, known for its vibrant atmosphere and picturesque waterfront. Enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the local farm-to-table restaurants like Hen of the Wood, savoring the delicious flavors of Vermont’s culinary scene.
Day 2 – Spend the morning taking a stroll through the vibrant Church Street Marketplace, where you can find unique shops and boutiques to add those finishing touches to your special day. Then get ready for your ceremony and have an enchanted “first look”.
As the sun begins to set, head to your chosen location for the private ceremony. Whether it’s overlooking the serene Lake Champlain, in a picturesque park, or within a historic venue, exchange your vows in an intimate and meaningful setting. Take beautiful photos to capture the precious moments of your ceremony.
Day 3 – On your final day in Burlington, take some time to relax and celebrate your newlywed status. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in bed or venture out to a local café for a delightful brunch. Consider exploring the scenic beauty of Shelburne Farms, a historic working farm with stunning gardens and walking trails. Indulge in a couples’ massage or spa treatment to unwind and pamper yourselves. End the day with a romantic dinner.
2. Stowe / Waterbury Elopement
Stowe is just an hour north of Burlington, known for its epic skiing and beautiful hikes along Mt. Mansfield. Waterbury is just a bit south of Stowe and has great spots for an elopement with its picturesque town. This area is one of the most visited spots in Vermont and a popular wedding destination because of its Ski Resorts, breweries and restaurants, and tons of Airbnbs and hotels. It could just be the perfect place for you if you’re choosing to elope in Vermont!
Check out these galleries from some recent elopements photographed in the Stowe area:
Stowe Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Begin your Stowe elopement adventure by arriving in this charming Vermont town. Check into a cozy inn, rustic cabin, or boutique hotel nestled amidst the stunning natural landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque streets of Stowe Village, exploring the quaint shops, art galleries, and local boutiques. Enjoy a romantic dinner at one of the renowned restaurants in town, savoring the flavors of Vermont.
Day 2 – Start the day by indulging in a delicious breakfast at a local café, fueling up for the excitement ahead. Take this time to prepare for your ceremony by getting ready together or with the help of a professional hair and makeup artist. Capture some pre-ceremony photos in the scenic surroundings of Stowe, whether it’s amidst the lush green mountains or near a cascading waterfall.
As the day unfolds, make your way to a breathtaking outdoor location for your private ceremony. Stowe offers a plethora of picturesque spots, such as Trapp Family Lodge, Moss Glen Falls, or the summit of Mount Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont. Exchange vows in the embrace of nature, surrounded by the beauty of the mountains and the serenity of the landscape.
After the ceremony, celebrate your union with a romantic dinner at one of Stowe’s exquisite restaurants. Whether it’s a candlelit dinner in a charming inn or a table with a mountain view, savor a delectable meal paired with locally crafted wines. Toast to your love and the beginning of your new journey together.
Day 3 – Embrace the natural wonders of Stowe on your final day. If you’re an adventurous couple, embark on an outdoor activity that resonates with you. Explore the hiking trails of Mount Mansfield or take a scenic bike ride along the Stowe Recreation Path. Alternatively, enjoy a serene kayaking or canoeing experience on the nearby rivers and lakes. These outdoor adventures will not only create unforgettable memories but also showcase the beauty of the landscapes when you elope in Vermont.
3. Northeast Kingdom Elopement
Northeast Vermont is a region that captivates with its natural beauty and charming small towns. Explore the area and you’ll discover highlights in places like Jay, Montgomery, and Westmore. Jay is known for its stunning Jay Peak Resort, a year-round destination offering skiing and snowboarding in winter and a host of outdoor activities during the warmer months. Montgomery, with its picturesque village and idyllic countryside, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and fishing in its surrounding forests and rivers. Westmore is home to the renowned Lake Willoughby, often referred to as the “Lucerne of America.” This sparkling lake is flanked by towering cliffs, providing a picturesque setting for boating, swimming, and hiking. The area’s serene beauty, outdoor adventures, and welcoming communities make the Northeast Kingdom a delightful destination for an elopement. This area is more remote, so you might have to rely more on Airbnbs and Inns when planning an elopement.
Check out these galleries from some recent elopements photographed in the Northeast Kingdom area:
Jay Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Begin your exciting elopement in Jay, Vermont by arriving in this picturesque town. Check into a cozy cabin or a charming bed and breakfast surrounded by the natural beauty of the Green Mountains. Take a walk through the town and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Enjoy a romantic dinner at a local restaurant, and talk about the exciting day ahead.
Day 2 – Wake up early to see the beautiful sunrise with the mountain backdrop. Then spend the morning preparing for your ceremony, whether it’s getting ready together or with the assistance of a professional hair and makeup artist. Write each other love letters that you can give one another before the ceremony to make the day even more special. Capture some pre-ceremony photos in the scenic surroundings of Jay, taking advantage of the stunning mountain views.
As the day unfolds, make your way to a beautiful outdoor location for your private ceremony. Jay offers a variety of idyllic spots, such as Jay Peak Resort or the serene forests and meadows nearby. Exchange vows in the presence of nature’s splendor, surrounded by the tranquility and majesty of the mountains. Take beautiful photos in this incredible location. After the ceremony, celebrate your love with a romantic dinner at a local restaurant and toast to your new life together.
Day 3 – On your final day in Jay, embrace the outdoor adventures that the region has to offer. Explore the trails of Jay Peak Resort and enjoy activities such as hiking, mountain biking, or taking a scenic chairlift ride to soak in the breathtaking views. If you’re visiting during the winter season, engage in snowboarding or skiing on the slopes of Jay Peak. Immerse yourselves in the natural wonders of the area and create unforgettable memories together.
4. Central Vermont Elopement
If you choose to elope in Vermont, you may want to consider the central region – it’s brimming with charm, natural beauty, and vibrant communities. From the serene town of Ripton to the lively ski resort of Killington and the historic village of Woodstock, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Ripton, nestled in the Green Mountains, offers a peaceful retreat with its scenic landscapes and access to the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the poetry of this renowned writer. Killington is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly during the winter months when its slopes beckon skiers and snowboarders from near and far. In the summer, the area transforms into a playground for hikers, mountain bikers, and golfers. Woodstock, often considered one of Vermont’s prettiest towns, exudes charm with its picturesque streets lined with historic buildings, quaint shops, and fine dining establishments. The Woodstock Village Green and the Billings Farm & Museum are popular attractions that showcase the area’s rich history and rural heritage. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a taste of New England’s small-town charm, Central Vermont offers an array of experiences that will leave you enchanted.
Check out these galleries from some recent elopements photographed in the Central Vermont area:
Woodstock Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Begin your enchanting elopement in Woodstock, Vermont by arriving in this charming New England town. Check into a cozy inn or a historic bed and breakfast, immersing yourselves in the quaint beauty of the village. Take a stroll along the charming streets, lined with classic white-steepled churches, boutique shops, and art galleries. Enjoy a romantic dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 – Spend the morning preparing for your ceremony, playing music and getting ready together, dancing, and taking sweet getting-ready photos. Capture some more pre-ceremony images in the picturesque surroundings of Woodstock, utilizing the charming village scenery as your backdrop.
As the day progresses, make your way to a scenic outdoor location for your private ceremony. Woodstock offers a variety of idyllic spots, such as the Woodstock Village Green, Billings Farm & Museum, or the serene forests and meadows nearby. Exchange your vows in the embrace of nature’s beauty, surrounded by the tranquility and charm of Vermont. Take epic photos in this picturesque area. After the ceremony, celebrate your love with a romantic dinner at one of the local charming and intimate spots.
Day 3 – On your final day in Woodstock, take the time to explore the town and immerse yourselves in its rich history and natural wonders. Visit the Billings Farm & Museum to learn about Vermont’s agricultural heritage, or explore the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park with its serene trails and picturesque landscapes. Stroll along the Ottauquechee River or embark on a romantic hike in the nearby Quechee Gorge. Discover the local art scene by visiting the galleries and studios in town, or indulge in some retail therapy at the unique boutiques and antique shops.
5. Southern Vermont Elopement
Southern Vermont offers a charming blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant communities. The region is home to the picturesque town of Manchester, known for its idyllic village, scenic landscapes, and world-class shopping. Manchester is also a gateway to outdoor adventures, with nearby opportunities for hiking, fly fishing, and exploring the stunning Equinox Mountain. Further south, the town of Bennington beckons with its historical significance and cultural attractions. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape surrounded by nature or a cultural experience steeped in history, Southern Vermont offers a delightful and diverse destination for exploration and discovery.
Check out these galleries from some recent elopements photographed in the Southern Vermont area:
Manchester Elopement Itinerary
Day 1 – Begin your romantic elopement getaway by arriving in the charming town of Manchester, Vermont. Check into a cozy bed and breakfast or a luxurious inn, where you’ll be greeted with warm hospitality. Take a walk through the picturesque streets of Manchester Village, exploring the quaint shops, art galleries, and historic landmarks. Enjoy a delightful dinner at a local restaurant, indulging in the farm-to-table cuisine that Vermont is known for.
Day 2 – Spend the morning preparing for your ceremony separately and have a surprise first look. Take some pre-ceremony photos in the scenic surroundings of Manchester, capturing the beauty of the town as a backdrop.
As the day progresses, make your way to a picturesque outdoor location for your private ceremony. Manchester offers a variety of enchanting spots, such as Equinox Pond, Hildene (the Lincoln Family Home), or the Equinox Resort & Spa gardens. Exchange your vows in the embrace of nature, surrounded by the tranquility and beauty of Vermont’s landscapes and take beautiful pictures. After the ceremony, celebrate your love with a romantic dinner at one of Manchester’s renowned restaurants.
Day 3 – On your final day in Manchester, take the time to explore the area and enjoy the attractions it has to offer. Visit the American Museum of Fly Fishing to learn about the rich history of fly fishing or take a scenic drive along the historic Route 7A, admiring the idyllic landscapes and charming villages. If you’re outdoor enthusiasts, consider embarking on a hike in the nearby Green Mountains or enjoying a leisurely bike ride along the local trails.
In the afternoon, find a peaceful spot to relax and reflect on your elopement experience. Indulge in a couples’ massage or unwind in the serene setting of a nearby park or garden. Take the time to write love letters to each other, expressing your feelings and gratitude for this special moment in your lives. Cherish the quiet moments together before heading back to reality.
Legal Requirements for Eloping in Vermont
Planning to elope in Vermont requires adhering to certain legal requirements to ensure that your marriage is legally recognized. Here are some important aspects to consider:
- Marriage License: In order to legally elope in Vermont, the couple must obtain a marriage license. The process typically begins by visiting the town clerk’s office in any Vermont municipality. Both partners must appear in person and provide certain documents, including valid identification such as a driver’s license or passport. It’s important to note that Vermont does not require a waiting period or a blood test for obtaining a marriage license, making it an appealing choice for couples seeking a quick and hassle-free wedding. However, a marriage license cannot be issued through the mail, and you cannot be married by a proxy. You can download a copy of the marriage license application here and have it ready for the town clerk before you arrive at their office.
- Age Requirements: Additionally, couples must be at least 18 years old to marry without parental consent. However, individuals who are 16 or 17 years old can still marry with the consent of a parent or guardian. Same-sex couples have enjoyed marriage equality in Vermont since 2009, and all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, can legally elope and have their marriage recognized in the state.
- Timing: Once the marriage license is obtained, couples have 60 days to solemnize their marriage in Vermont. The ceremony can take place anywhere within the state, from scenic outdoor locations to cozy venues or even private residences. It’s worth noting that Vermont recognizes both religious and secular ceremonies as legally valid, giving couples the freedom to customize their elopement to reflect their personal beliefs and preferences.
- Officiant: The couple must pick an officiant – who can be a judge, justice of the peace, or an ordained minister. If the officiant has registered with the Secretary of State as a temporary officiant, a copy of the certificate of authorization issued by the Secretary of State should be attached to the signed certificate and returned to the clerk’s office. (PS – Did you know, I’m not only an elopement photographer but an ordained officiant as well!)
- Marriage Certificate: After the ceremony, the couple and their officiant must sign the marriage license. The officiant is responsible for returning the license to the town clerk’s office within 10 days to complete the legal registration process. Once the license is recorded, the couple can obtain a certified copy of their marriage certificate as proof of their legal union.
In summary, choosing to elope in Vermont requires obtaining a marriage license from the town clerk’s office, meeting the age requirements, and having a ceremony conducted by an authorized officiant. By fulfilling these legal requirements, couples can enjoy a memorable and legally recognized elopement in the beautiful state of Vermont, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime!
Your Vermont Elopement Photographer
Amelia Marie Photography specializes in guiding adventurous couples to plan and photograph their perfect elopement day. If you’re ready to pull the plug and plan the most epic, fun, and – dare I say – badass elopement celebration, contact me today to get started on bringing your elopement vision to life!