And for others, something simpler, more scaled-down, and in an entirely foreign destination is in order. While what it means to elope has evolved over the years, these days, people most often use the term to describe the latter. The marriage ceremony is small—sometimes with just the couple in attendance—and it happens away from where the couple lives.
The number one question we get from couples interested in eloping is, “where do we elope?” Deciding where to elope involves thinking about what type of adventure you want to go on and what scenery you both love. Since we feature hundreds of elopements worldwide, we found it necessary to detail which spots are the best places to elope worldwide.
All these places are gorgeous to plan your elopement, and we are sure you and your partner will have an amazing time at one of our top locations. From gorgeous cascading waterfalls in the mountains to black sand beaches and caves, we have got it all under our best places to elope list! Pro tip: if you team up with an elopement vendor on our site, they’ll give you some awesome suggestions to avoid the crowds!
Table of Contents
- 1 FAQs About Wedding Venue
- 2 Where Is The Easiest Place To Elope?
- 3 Does It Matter Where You Elope?
- 4 What Is An Elopement Risk?
- 5 What Is A Quick Wedding Called?
- 6 How Do You Elope Fast?
- 6.1 Iceland
- 6.2 Isle Of Skye
- 6.3 Santorini, Greece
- 6.4 Harbour Island, Bahamas
- 6.5 Maui
- 6.6 Greenough, Montana
- 6.7 Grand Cayman
- 6.8 Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
- 6.9 Las Vegas
- 6.10 Vancouver Island
- 6.11 Washington, D.C.
- 6.12 Bora Bora
- 6.13 Palm Springs
- 6.14 Joshua Tree
- 6.15 Promise Ridge
- 6.16 Chugach Mountains
- 6.17 Big Sur
- 6.18 New River Gorge National Park
- 6.19 Dunluce Castle
- 6.20 Tulum
- 6.21 San Francisco City Hall
- 6.22 Collective Vail
- 7 Conclusion
FAQs About Wedding Venue
- Washington State.
Don’t worry about it if you want to have your elopement day in a state or country that requires witnesses, but you want to spend the day with just your love. Choose to have your elopement day wherever and however you want and deal with the legalities and logistics at home.
Elopement is defined as a patient who leaves the hospital when doing so may present an imminent threat to the patient’s health or safety because of legal status or because the patient has been deemed too ill or impaired to make a reasoned decision to leave.
Elopement refers to a marriage conducted in a sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving a hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved to get married without parental approval.
- Check the Law.
- Book Your Travel and Find Your Vendors.
- Plan the Ceremony.
- Throw a Post-Elopement Party.
- Send Those Announcements.
- Do: Prepare Yourself for Family and Close Friends’ Reactions.
- Don’t: Forget to Take Care of All the Legal Details.
- Do: Hire a Local Planner, Photographer, and Videographer.
Iceland provides the ultimate fantasy wedding with out-of-this-world scenery. It includes everything from gorgeous waterfalls with rainbows in their mist to jet black sand beaches, soaring mountains, hot springs and even the Northern Lights. The hardest decision you’ll have to make with so many stunning landscapes is narrowing down that ideal spot to say your vows. You could even get married in front of an elf church if you wanted to. It’s hard to beat the extraordinary scenery in this country. A five-and-a-half-hour flight from New York, this remote Nordic island offers a rich variety of otherworldly topography: black sand beaches, beautiful waterfalls, rolling green hills, glaciers and hot springs, even gurgling lava. The remoteness of most of these natural destinations only amplifies your union’s spiritual aspect, but don’t fret about planning—it’s not hard to find an elopement service to help you coordinate the trip. Afterwards, relax with a room at the new Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, which grants you private access to Iceland’s most famous tourist destination.
Isle Of Skye
If you’re a couple that loves outdoor adventure, the Isle of Skye is another great fantasy-like spot. Home to some of the world’s most magnificent scenery, Scotland offers many delights, but the Isle of Skye is of legendary proportions. The lush green mountains are dotted with unique rock formations. The northern peninsula of Trotternish, underlain by basalt rock, leads to a vast collection of spectacular rock features like the Old Man of Storr, the island’s most important iconic spot. The cerulean-hued fairy pools, the seashell-strewn beaches and cascading waterfalls that plunge to the turquoise sea below make for an amazing backdrop for a wedding.
Santorini is a bucket list travel destination renowned for its blue-domed churches. These whitewashed homes spill down the rim of its ancient volcanic crater, sapphire sea and jaw-dropping sunsets, making it a no-brainer for many couples who wish to wed. It also boasts some exceptional beaches, including black, red and white sand, and has a magical kind of light that makes for especially gorgeous wedding photographs. You might choose to tie the knot just before dusk as the sun dips below the watery horizon, splashing an array of colours across the Aegean, then enjoy a romantic stay at one of Santorini’s top hotels.
Harbour Island, Bahamas
A few things are more romantic than a wedding on a beautiful pink sand beach. On Harbour Island in the Bahamas, you can sink your toes into powdery pink sands at the edge of a crystal clear, brilliant blue sea as you say your “I dos.” This three-mile long stretch of sand that’s consistently rated as one of the five most stunning beaches on Earth offers plenty of room for guests. You’ll also find idyllic honeymoon cottages for the ultimate newlywed Retreat.
The ultra-soft golden sands, striking cerulean waters, swaying palm trees and awe-inspiring sunsets at Makena Cove Beach make Maui one of the most breathtaking. Located on Maui, which tends to get less rain than the other Hawaiian islands and fewer visitors on the beach, particularly in the early morning hours or at sunset, it’s one of the best destinations for a dream wedding. The small, walled-in cove also offers a dramatic combination of sand, surf and rocks that make for some fabulous wedding photos, though it’s best for a more intimate ceremony due to space limitations. Afterwards, enjoy the romantic atmosphere at Maui’s top honeymoon resorts.
If you’re the type of couple who enjoys being immersed in the mountain wilderness, you might want to head off the beaten path to Montana. The Resort at Paws Up features ultra-luxe vacation homes and upscale glamping for the bride and groom and their guests. In addition, the property offers an elopement package that includes a ceremony and a private carriage ride, a gourmet dinner with Champagne, a spa treatment for the newlyweds and a wedding cake. After the wedding, this wilderness sanctuary offers the chance to spend an hour, day or even a week on horseback, cast your line into world-class fly fishing waters for cutthroat trout and indulge in heavenly in-room spa treatments.
Grand Cayman is home to Seven Mile Beach, a stunning champagne-coloured stretch of sand lined with palms and Casuarina trees. A variety of accommodations are offered right here along the strikingly blue-hued sea. Named the top beach globally by U.S. News Travel, it offers a romantic ambience to go along with its incredible scenery and opportunities to get out on the water together. Enjoy snorkelling with friendly stingrays at Stingray City, windsurfing, parasailing, etc.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Inspired by the Romanesque Revival, Neuschwanstein Castle is a grand masterpiece of 19th-century architecture and one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Set on a Bavarian hilltop overlooking the mountains and enjoying glorious sunsets, it’s hard to find a perfect setting for a wedding ceremony. However, it offers the chance to experience modern-day fairy-tale, as the castle is said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle and Disney World’s Cinderella castle. It also offers wedding packages, including a Bavarian horse and carriage ride through the valley, a candlelit dinner, and more.
Think again if you think of Sin City solely as a seedy place to get a quickie marriage. Yes, it’s incredibly easy to obtain and use a Nevada marriage license—and Elvis officiants and drive-through wedding chapels aren’t for everyone—but the city is also full of top-notch dining options and excellent outdoorsy activities beyond the Strip, and amazing portrait backdrops around every turn. (Our favourites? The Neon Museum and Seven Magic Mountains.) The point is: You don’t have to be a night owl to elope in Las Vegas, though it, of course, certainly doesn’t hurt!
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle holed up on this secluded island in British Columbia when they first moved to North America, and its rugged natural beauty is high on the list. You and your beloved can exchange vows amongst ancient Douglas firs and cedars in Avatar Grove, then spend the night in a private cabin. After that, you should devote the rest of your visit to adventures in the great outdoors (think: hiking, river packrafting, hot springs, even surfing) and a few nights overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a luxury lodge in Tofino.
With world-class museums, alleyways covered in colourful street art, and a whole cadre of monuments, our nation’s capital offers plenty of picturesque nooks and crannies filled with historical significance, perfect for a private elopement. (Bonus: If you truly want a wedding that’s “just us two,” D.C. is one of the few places that legally recognizes self-uniting marriages, so you don’t even need an officiant present to wed.) Afterwards, hightail it to one of Virginia’s nearby romantic honeymoon resorts for a little post-wedding R&R.
Halfway between Australia and South America, in the South Pacific lies French Polynesia. Honeymooners have long flocked to this small island chain for white sand beaches and bungalows situated directly above the clear blue waters, and it’s a just-as-excellent elopement locale for couples searching for the ultimate tropical island vibe. So make like this couple and boat to a private beach for a ceremony steeped in Polynesian tradition.
If you love mid-century design, good hotels, and hot weather, there’s not a better elopement spot than Palm Springs. This SoCal desert town is perfect for fun-loving couples who aren’t afraid to add a little colour to their elopement décor—and maybe even jump into a pool fully clothed post-ceremony.
When COVID upended their plans for a celestial-themed Manhattan wedding, Victoria Abraham and Chris Malone sought out an environment as opposite as possible from the concrete jungle for their elopement ceremony. Located two hours inland from Los Angeles in Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park includes almost 800,000 acres of the Mojave Desert that provides the not-quite-of-this-world spirit the duo had initially hoped to capture in their celebration. “The park looks like it belongs on a different planet—the rock formations, Joshua trees, and the way the light changes the colours of the park are just incredibly stunning and otherworldly,” Abraham says. “The whole area also has this very peaceful, relaxed, special energy.”
For city-dwellers in Philadelphia and New York City, Promise Ridge is a secret elopement spot near Stroudsburg in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania that gets you out into the middle of the woods without travelling too far from home. Celebrant Alisa Tongg conducts heartfelt elopements and micro weddings in front of a foliage-filled wall and has recently added a covered pavilion in case of rain.
“Alaska is one of our favourite places for elopements because of how wild and untamed it feels,” says adventure photographer Abbi Hearn of The Hearnes Adventure Photography. “We love when our couples decide to take a helicopter or ski plane out to the Chugach Mountains to land on a glacier because the scenery is stunning. Glaciers change every season, sometimes even weekly, so what we see or experience will always feel new and unique to the exact time and place, which I think is a beautiful detail for a meaningful wedding day.”
The central coast of California is known for misty seaside cliffs and soaring redwood trees—both of which make stunning backdrops for a West Coast elopement. But, no matter which setting you choose, after you say your vows en Plein air, travel along Highway 1 to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where the walkable streets, Spanish-inspired architecture, and luxurious cottage-like lodging offer the perfect setting for a quiet honeymoon.
New River Gorge National Park
The newest national park in the United States is West Virginia’s New River Gorge. Adventure sports enthusiasts have long loved the gorge for white water rafting and rock climbing. Still, now East Coast elopers are also flocking to the area to exchange vows against the backdrop of the New River Gorge Bridge, which is the third-highest bridge in the country. (Book a bridge walk before or after the ceremony and cross all 3,030 feet via catwalk.) While Fayetteville is the closest nearby town, the General Lewis Inn in Lewisburg is an especially charming spot to spend your wedding night.
Does it get any more fairy tale than rolling green hills, rocky cliffs, and ancient castle ruins? If that’s what your romantic dreams are made of, consider eloping to Ireland. The northern countryside offers beautiful views every way you turn, and Dunluce Castle, located on the Causeway Coast, makes for a stunning medieval backdrop.
When COVID thwarted Vanessa Aguirre’s plans to elope under a waterfall in Bali, she and now-husband Jake instead turned to the clear Caribbean waters of this popular destination on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. With cool hotels, a thriving wellness culture, and super-buzzy restaurants—not to mention gorgeous beaches and diving cenotes nearby—the town is especially popular with the influencer set, but that doesn’t detract from the warm-weather romance it offers for smaller wedding ceremonies.
San Francisco City Hall
“When you think of a courthouse wedding, you might picture a drab civic building for efficient, non-romantic nuptials. San Francisco City Hall is far from that!” says photographer Sonya Cruel, who wed there herself. “For about a $100 fee to the city, you can get married in a beautiful Beaux Arts-style building with a grand staircase, rotunda, and gilded architectural features.” With features like that, it’s no surprise the government building—often considered one of the most beautiful in the country—is now an elopement destination for couples from far outside the San Fran area.
The state of Colorado recognizes self solemnization, which means you don’t need an officiant present for a wedding within its borders legally. That legal loophole makes running off to the mountains to elope infinitely easier. As country singer Shelly Fairchild and bride Deborah DeLoach demonstrate, Collective Vail makes it infinitely more enjoyable. After an onsite ceremony, you can wander the ranch for portraits and then stay the night in some of the most luxe glamping accommodations in the country.
So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable elopement destination that will make your wedding dreams come true, consider one of these amazing places. Keep in mind that some of these spots are a little harder to get to than others, so do your research before booking! Have you eloped, or are you considering eloping?