If you want to ditch tradition, weeks of stress, and curating a day for everyone but yourself.
If you want to spend your day being surrounded by epic landscapes and doing something you love with the one you love.
Then eloping is definitely for you!
While we would argue that there is no bad time in Jackson, Wyoming there are definitely busy seasons based on the weather. For avid skiers, Jackson Hole offers prime skiing in December-March/April. If you are thinking of doing a skiing elopement, we recommend checking out Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The resort offers 2,500 acres of skiable terrain and provides access to the backcountry. The heavy snowfall causes the mountains to be accessible only by ski and snowmobile. This limits your location options to staying in the valley unless you want to do an extreme sport on your elopement day. Snowmobiling would allow you to access GTNP and Yellowstone while they are buried in snow. We understand eloping in the winter is not everyone's cup of tea, but for those that want to get married in the winter, we definitely recommend the Jackson area in the winter.
Winter ends around April, but many of the trails within Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) still have snow and are muddy into May. Once June rolls around the temperatures start warming up and the valley comes alive. Jackson has a big tourism industry due to its close proximity to GTNP and Yellowstone. Throughout the summer months of June-September, the temperatures are typically in the 70s during the day and will cool down to high 50s at night.
Once September hits, the aspen leaves start changing, and the mountains usually start getting some snow. Typically the valley floor which is 6,000 feet above sea level, does not get snow until late October/November.
Jackson Hole is known for its dynamic and dramatic landscapes, while wildfires are uncommon in Jackson Hole due to the large amounts of snow they receive, wildfires from California have impacted the visibility of the mountains. This typically doesn't occur until August and September as the ground continues to dry up from the winter snowfall.
Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) is a relatively small park, but it is very popular. This means that certain iconic locations and hikes can be overcrowded with tourists and hikers. GTNP crowds start after Memorial Day, maximize around July 4th, and begin to diminish after school has started. Because it is on the way to Yellowstone when leaving Jackson, many people use GTNP as a pit stop and will stop and hike the shorter trails within the park.
The wilderness areas surrounding GTNP and Jackson offer stunning views and there are usually far less people on the trails. Hiking east of Jackson gets you away from the crowds and will still allow you to have the mountain skyline in view. The backside of GTNP is just as beautiful but far less popular which would get you away from crowds if that is what you are looking for. The final tip to avoiding crowds in Jackson and GTNP is simply deciding to hike a little further than the popular viewpoints.
This area of Wyoming has quite a few lakes, bike trails, simple hikes, and intense treks to satisfy all visitors.
Sunrise or sunset.
What is alpenglow? Alpenglow is the pink/orange hue that is cast on the mountains opposite from where the sun is rising/setting. For example the iconic Teton range turns this gorgeous hue of pink at sunrise. The sun is still low and gorgeous. Sunset has that beautiful golden hour as the sun sets behind the mountain range. If you are on the west side of the Tetons, the sun would rise behind the mountains and the setting sun would cause a beautiful alpenglow.
These are the best times to not only get the best light for stunning pictures but also for avoiding crowds.
Jackson Hole has so many options for locations which can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out where to go. The good thing is, whatever you decide will be so special and beautiful! Western Wyoming has 2 national parks (GTNP & Yellowstone), 8 national forests (including Big Horn, Shoshone, and Briger-Teton, and Caribou-Targee in Idaho), 12 state parks, and so many hidden gems we love to visit.
This guide will cover five of our favorite places in Western Wyoming to help you narrow down what you want on your wedding day.
1. Grand Teton National Park
2. Bridger Teton National Forest
3. Gros Ventre Wilderness
4. Jedediah Smith Wilderness
5. Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Deciding on the kind of Adventure you want for you wedding day will determine what area you want to explore. All of these locations offer beautiful scenery that represent the west perfectly. Eloping in any of these areas will be an adventure in the heart of the land we hold so dear.
Known for its rugged and raw iconic peaks, Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) is a bucket list destination for many. GTNP is located in the Northwestern part of the state, directly below Yellowstone National Park. Around every corner, you will find beautiful views of the mountains, forests, and lakes. GTNP is very accessible by vehicle making it a great place to elope for those who want the views but not the long hike. This also means it is a busy place during the summer. Crowds can be avoided by planning your adventure for early morning, or evening, and by hiking to less popular locations.
Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permits
GTNP has specific locations for ceremonies within the park. These locations are restricted to 25 people and must be reserved via ceremony permit.
A few locations we love are the following:
Mountain View Turnout - easy walk, parking close by, paved path
Colter Bay - parking close by, rocky beach
Snake River Overlook - parking nearby, paved path.
Small Dispersed Ceremony Permits ... more options!
In addition to these accessible ceremony locations which allow up to 25 guests, there is also an option to use the small dispersed ceremony permits. These permits give more freedom with choosing wild locations but restrict the guest count to 12 persons total. (including photographer, videographer, officiant, children, etc.) When filling out the form it is important to completely fill out the permit and include alternate dates & locations in case yours is booked already.
We have spent many hours exploring GTNP so reach out and we can help you find the BEST location to get married!
Read more about Permits Here!
Covering 3.4 million acres of land, Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) is one of the largest intact ecosystems in the lower 48 United States. BTNF contains Gannett peak which is Wyoming's largest peak and over 1,500 lakes that supply the surrounding areas with water throughout the year. This piece of land offers endless adventures for the couple who wants a true wilderness adventure. BTNF on average receives over 600 inches of snowfall annually in higher elevations. Bridger-Teton has over 2,000 miles of hiking trails, and dozens of vehicle-accessible campgrounds. At night temps can drop below freezing at any point during the year. During summer temperatures average between 70-79 degrees, which honestly is perfect elopement temperatures if you ask me!
Because it is a National Forest you do not need a permit for a ceremony involving fewer than 75 people. There is a spot within BTNF that specifically does ceremonies and has a beautiful view of the Teton Mountain Range. This location is called the Wedding Tree and more information can be found here.
Aside from that location specifically there are so many beautiful places to backpack to within BTNF that would make for a spectacular elopement!
The Gros Ventre wilderness is located within the Bridger-Teton National Forest it occupies the location east of Jackson Hole. This range includes the popular Sleeping Indian mountain and offers incredible views of the valley and Grand Teton range to the west.
The 300,000 acres of the Gros Ventre Wilderness are composed of high craggy peaks, glacier-scoured valleys, and rolling sagebrush foothills. This terrain is accessible only via the backcountry making it a serene location for a backpacking elopement.
Jedediah Smith Wilderness is a region northwest of the Teton range. it was established in 1984 and is located within Caribou-Targhee National Forest and borders Grand Teton National Park. Named after Jedediah Strong Smith, a well-educated and energetic mountain man from New York who explored the West in the early 1800s. This wilderness is long and narrow and spans from Yellowstone National Park south to Teton Pass.
One of our favorite hikes in this wilderness is the Table Mountain Trail. It is about 10.7 miles and offers dramatic views of the back of the Teton range.
With an elopement, fewer vendors are incorporated into the wedding day. One vendor many brides usually include is a florists. Whether you want a bouquet, flower crown, or both, these local florists will provide stunning designs that will fit your adventure perfectly.
Rowan & Larch: Bozeman, MT (Gretchen used her for her wedding in Jackson and was not disappointed)
Lily & Co.
Flowers By Chloe
Ok, let's be real.
Your photographer/videographer spends most of your elopement day with you, so you want to make sure you hire one who you like! Not only will they be with you all day, but for adventure elopements, they will also be your guides. Finding someone who is knowledgeable in the outdoors is so important for adventure elopements.
As a photo & video team, we will help you plan your ideal day, and help bring your dream to life. We will guide you on a beautiful, fun adventure for your big day. We will capture the big iconic moments and the little in-between moments.
With Gretchen's wedding photography experience and Robert's landscape/adventure experience, you will be getting the ultimate coverage on your wedding day. You will be getting a gallery of images and a cinematic documentary of your day from two artists who are trained to capture two very different things. The combination of the two is perfect for an adventure elopement.
Planning, guiding, and documenting is our specialty, so let's work together!
Okay, this all sounds great but what makes Rendezvous Elopements different from anyone else who documents elopements.
We have a combined 10 years of experience in the photography industry. Robert has been working on mastering landscapes, adventure, and brand photography. Gretchen has been perfecting timeless wedding photography. In 2021 we decided to join forces. Coupled with our love for the outdoors, Rendezvous was born.
We are a photo and video team specializing in adventure elopements. We believe eloping is such a unique way to get married. We also understand not everyone you love can attend. Offering photo & video bridges the gap between eloping and including loved ones. A video allows those not in attendance to fully experience the day. They can hear the waves crashing against the rocks and hear the emotion in your voice. The combination of photo and video documentation is the perfect way to capture an intimate and epic wedding day.
The park requires a permit for all elopements with a commitment ceremony. Small Dispersed Ceremony Permits are available for wild ceremonies involving fewer than 12 people. Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permits are available for certain locations in the park and have restrictions on the size group you can have. These locations are the following: Schwabacher Landing: 25 people, Mormon Row: 40 people (North) or 25 people (South), Mountain View Turnout: 25 people, Glacier View Turnout: 25 people, Snake River Overlook: 25 people. Colter Bay Beach: 40 people. These specific ceremony locations within the park are restricted between dates of Friday, May 12, 2023, to Sunday, October 15, 2023. For more information, visit the park's website linked above.
In addition to these accessible ceremony locations which allow up to 25 guests, there is also an option to use the small dispersed ceremony permits. These permits give more freedom with choosing wild locations but restrict the guest count to 12 persons total. (including photographer, videographer, officiant, children, etc.) When filling out the form it is important to completely fill out the permit and include alternate dates & locations in case yours is booked already. These ceremonies within the park are restricted between the dates of Sunday, January 1, 2023, through Sunday, December 31, 2023. For more information, visit the park's website here.
Permits to elope in GTNP are due at least 30 days prior to the elopement date. The permit cost is $200 and can be completed using the form on this website. According to the website, it takes about 7-10 business days for a response and acceptance. It is important to secure this permit soon after deciding on your photographer to secure a date & location. We will be accommodating and can discuss alternate dates for you.
Note: Schwabacher Landing is fully reserved for Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permits for 2023
Most national forests do not require permits for weddings and elopements, but good planning and notifying the park manager is a must. If you are planning to camp in the national forest, you will most likely need to reserve your campsite ahead of time.
As far as a marriage license goes, you can obtain a marriage license from the Teton County Clerk's office. Fun Fact: Vincent and Gretchen got married in Jackson Hole and can tell you all about their experience. Thankfully there are no minimum date limits for obtaining a permit in the park. You can get it the same day. You will just need two witnesses (if it's just the two of you, we are happy to sign)
-Sunset elopement with a view of the Tetons
-Sunrise hike from the back of the Tetons
-Hiking to an alpine and taking a dip. (If allowed)
-Picnic in the hills east of JH
-Rafting on the Snake River
-Day hiking to a lake in GTNP
-Hiking from the top of the pass
-Sunrise from the valley floor to catch morning alpenglow
-Backpacking in the Jedadiah Smith Wilderness.