Maine elopement at Jordan Pond in Acadia National park

A Guide to eloping in Maine

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!

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Bride and groom standing at an alpine lake in Maine how to elope in maine

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
bride and groom standing on the edge of a cliff how to elope in Maine

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 on 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

Leave No Trace

Bride and groom during their first look by the ocean how to elope in maine

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?
couple standing on a mountain top kissing at sunset eloping How to elope in Maine

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:

  • 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.

Officiants

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.

Witnesses

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!

Eloping couple standing on the top of Sunday River ski resort in Maine how to elope in maine

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!

Meet your photographer team

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!