Here is a step-by-step guide that makes learning how to elope in Maine a bit easier!
Close your eyes and imagine your perfect day. Where would you be, who would be there with you, what would you do? Now imagine getting married on that same day! This is all about you two and no one else so make decisions in line with who you are! My favorite thing about elopements is the freedom it gives couples to celebrate their wedding day however they choose! I also realize that can be extremely overwhelming, so I made this blog post to outline how to elope in Maine to help make planning your Maine elopement just a little bit easier!
Overview of How to Elope in Maine
- Here is a step-by-step guide that makes learning how to elope in Maine a bit easier!
- Step One: Choose a Place to Elope in Maine
- Step Two: Decide on the Size of your Wedding
- Step Three: Permits and Leave No Trace
- Step Four: Pick a Place to Stay
- Step Five: Make Your Marriage Legal
- Step Six: Have The Best Day Ever!
- Now that you know how to elope in Maine, let's start planning the elopement of your dreams!
Your elopement photographer will help you with this process a ton! If you haven’t already chosen the photographer, start thinking about it now. It will make your planning process go much smoother.
Step One: Choose a Place to Elope in Maine
The best part about eloping is the freedom to choose anywhere to have your ceremony, and the best part about eloping in Maine is the huge variety of stunning locations to choose from! Make sure to choose a location that speaks to you. Imagine yourself during your ceremony about to say your vows, where do you want to be? Once you get a rough idea of what kind of scenery you want to be surrounded by, it's time to find some specific spots!
Here are a few of my favorite elopement locations around Maine:
- Acadia National Park (here is a blog post about my favorite ceremony spots in the park!)
- Baxter State Park
- Grafton Notch State Park
- Reid State Park
- Carrabassett Valley
- Portland Headlight
- Higgins Beach
- Portland Old Port
Step Two: Decide on the Size of your Wedding
Go back to that idea of your perfect day. Who do you want to be with on your wedding day? For some, it's just you and your partner. For others that means a crowd of your friends and family. Not all elopements are the same. There isn’t a strict guideline you have to follow for what your wedding day looks like! This is something that is decided by you and only you. Don’t let outside pressure determine what your wedding day looks like or it won’t feel authentic to you.
“Just Us” Elopements
An elopement with just the two of you is perfect if you're looking for an epic adventure, or something super intimate. It gives you the freedom to go almost anywhere and do almost anything! If you imagine yourself hiking out to a remote location, this is likely the best option!
Family + Friends
Bringing your family and friends can also be an epic adventure! There are so many amazing elopement spots around Maine that require little to no hiking and have some insane views! There are so many ways you can include guests into your elopement day. It's important to keep in mind though that the more people invited, the more limited your location choices are.
Can’t Decide? Don’t!
Want alone time with just you and your partner, but also time to celebrate with your guests? That's totally possible too! You can easily have an intimate ceremony alone where you exchange private vows AND have a larger ceremony with your guests for your elopement. Or invite your friends and family to join after the ceremony for a fun reception and dinner!
Step Three: Permits and Leave No Trace
Once you have an idea of how many people you want on your wedding day, you can start finding locations! This is one of the most daunting aspects of eloping in Maine, but it's actually really simple. Most locations will have guest number limitations so make sure to check for rules and permits on the location website. If it's just you two, most locations don't require permits but make sure to double-check. Most areas will have all the rules listed on their websites, Acadia, for example, has all wedding rules listed here: https://www.nps.gov/acad/planyourvisit/weddings.htm
In Acadia National Park, permits are required for any wedding ceremonies with more than 10 people total. Most permit applications need to be sent out at least 2 weeks before your ceremony date. But, the sooner you apply the better, so once you decide on a location and date, apply ASAP to guarantee approval. Some areas will also require photography permits, so make sure to let your photographer know so they can get the necessary permits as well!
Leave No Trace
When eloping in the outdoors, especially in state and National Parks it's important to educate yourself on Leave No Trace policies. This blog post outlines the best practices for leaving no trace on your wedding day! Leave No Trace guidelines help to protect the ecosystems in the area you're exploring! More information on Leave No Trace can be found here and many parks also have specific guidelines on their websites.
Step Four: Pick a Place to Stay
When picking where to stay, go back to your vision of your elopement day. Do you picture yourself hosting friends and family for a fun reception? Or do you imagine just you and your partner hanging out after your Maine elopement? Find a place that can accommodate that vision.
Try to find a place no more than 30 minutes away from your ceremony site to make travel on the day a bit easier. After a full day of wedding festivities and adventuring, you don't want to drive too far back to your place. I recommend Airbnb.com to find a beautiful, and often times less expensive, house to stay in, giving yourself an entire place to yourself instead of just a hotel room. I've found that when couples rent cabins or houses rather than hotel rooms, they have more freedom on their wedding day to relax and include items that make it more personal.
Things to think about when finding the perfect rental:
- How far is it from your ceremony site?
- Can it accommodate all of your guests after your ceremony?
- Does it include everything you want?
- Does it have a fire-pit? (I mean who doesn't want to end a long day in the mountains with a nice fire and some drinks?)
- If you're planning on bringing your pets, is it animal friendly?
- What is the parking situation? Can it fit everyone's cars?
Step Five: Make Your Marriage Legal
This is the most important aspect of eloping in Maine! You don't want to get all the way through your amazing elopement and then realize it's not even legal. Thankful Maine makes this process pretty simple and your elopement photographer can definitely help you through this process in case you get confused.
How to get a Marriage License in Maine:
All of the specifics can be found here but this is a quick run-down. Marriage licenses are issued at a town or city hall,
- Maine Residents: you should apply at the town office where at least one of you is a resident. If you are residents of different Maine towns, you both may apply in one town or the other - you do not need to apply separately in each town.
- If one is from out of state, then both of you should apply in the town where one holds residency.
- Out of State: You may apply in any Maine town office. It does not need to be the same town where you plan to be married.
The marriage license is valid for 90 days and can only be used within the State of Maine. The person performing the ceremony is responsible for filing the marriage certificate with the town office that issued the marriage license.
The following individuals are authorized to perform marriages in Maine:
- Ordained ministers of the gospel (if you want a ceremony with just you two, most elopement photographers are ordained through the Universal Life Church, including us!)
- A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary, or ecclesiastical body
- Judges or justices (residents of Maine only)
- Lawyers admitted to the Maine Bar (residents of Maine only)
- Maine Notaries - Search for Maine Notaries by Location or Name
Most town halls will also provide a list of trusted officiants to make finding one a bit easier.
The ceremony must be witnessed by at least two people other than the officiant, and signed by the couple, the officiant, and witnesses.
- You can opt to do this before your elopement date. Have your best friends or family members sign as witnesses for your date beforehand. That way you can celebrate your wedding the day of and not have to stress about paperwork.
- If you are planning an elopement with just two of you, the photographers (Ryan and I) can sign as witnesses!
- It is also super easy to find hikers or visitors at locations who are willing to sign as a witness!
Step Six: Have The Best Day Ever!
Now that you know how to elope in Maine, you can easily go through and find everything you need to make your day go smoothly! Don't forget, this day is all about you, and you can decide to do anything you want to.
Fun things to think about including on your wedding day:
- Find vendors that support your vision for your day! (If you need assistance finding vendors ask your elopement photographer! I personally love to help couples find other vendors to make sure their day is perfect).
- Think about what will elevate your elopement experience. A few popular vendors to include are a hair and makeup artist, florist, private chef or caterer, and a videographer. Make sure whoever you hire is 100% on board with your vision for your wedding day. Not all vendors are familiar with elopements so make sure to communicate with them beforehand and check if they are a good fit.
- Think about your perfect day. Who would be there? What would you do? What are you and your partner's favorite activities to do together? Think about including some super specific and personal activities on your wedding day!
Now that you know how to elope in Maine, let's start planning the elopement of your dreams!
MEET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER TEAM
Hey, We're Bridget & Ryan!
Adventurers turned adventure elopement photographers specializing in national park and hiking elopements! We help couples craft a wedding day that feels authentic to them in a meaningful and epic location. Life's an adventure, let's make your wedding one too!
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