Here is a step-by-step guide that makes learning how to elope in New Hampshire 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! Your wedding day is just about you and your partner, 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 New Hampshire to help make planning your New Hampshire elopement just a little bit easier!
Overview of How to Elope in New Hampshire
- Here is a step-by-step guide that makes learning how to elope in New Hampshire a bit easier!
- Step One: Choose your New Hampshire Elopement Location
- 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 New Hampshire Elopement Legal
- Step Six: Have the Best Day Ever!
- Now that you know How to Elope in New Hampshire, 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 your New Hampshire Elopement Location
Choosing where to elope in New Hampshire can be overwhelming! The best part about eloping is the freedom to choose anywhere to have your ceremony, and the best part about eloping in New Hampshire is the huge variety of stunning locations to choose from. The downside is that sometimes it can feel like there are too many options. If you already have your elopement photographer booked, they can help you a lot with this process by providing ideas and recommendations.
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 some very popular New Hampshire elopement locations.
Where to Elope in New Hampshire:
- Cathedral Ledge
- Franconia Notch State Park
- Mount Washington
- Pinkham Notch
- Lake Winnepasake
- Kancamagus Highway
- Crawford Notch State Park
- White Mountain National Forest
Step Two: Decide on the size of your Wedding
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, so 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 specific locations! This is one of the most daunting aspects of eloping in New Hampshire, but it’s actually really simple. Some 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. Areas will have all the rules listed on their websites, the White Mountains, for example, have all wedding rules listed here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemountain/passes-permits/event-commercial#weddings
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 New Hampshire elopement? Find a place that can accommodate that vision.
Try to find a place no more than 45 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 or VRBO.com to find a beautiful, and often times less expensive, house to stay in. 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.
Tips for Finding the Best Place to Stay in New Hampshire:
- 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 New Hampshire Elopement Legal
This is the most important aspect of eloping in New Hampshire! You don’t want to get all the way through your amazing elopement and then realize it’s not even legal. Thankful New Hampshire makes this process pretty simple and your elopement photographer can always help you through this process in case you get confused.
All you need is your marriage license and an officiant to make your marriage legal!
HOW TO GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE IN New Hampshire:
All of the specifics can be found here but this is a quick run-down. Marriage licenses can be applied for at a town or city hall anywhere in the state, regardless of where you live. In order to apply for it:
- Both parties must be present to complete the marriage license application unless one of the parties is in the military and is unable to make it to New Hampshire
- Applicants must bring a document that proves their identity and age such as a driver’s license, non-drivers ID, or passport
The marriage license is valid for 90 days and can only be used within the State of New Hampshire. 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 New Hampshire:
- A Justice of the Peace commissioned in the State of New Hampshire
- Any minister of the gospel in New Hampshire who has been ordained according to the usage of his or her denomination, who resides in New Hampshire and is in regular standing with the denomination.
- Any minister who resides outside of New Hampshire, but has a pastoral charge wholly or partly in New Hampshire, if the marriage is performed within his/her parish.
- Any member of the clergy who is not ordained but is engaged in the services of the religious body to which he or she belongs and resides in New Hampshire, - after being licensed by the Secretary of State.
- By any minister who resides outside of New Hampshire - after being licensed by the Secretary of State.
- The secretary of state may issue a special license to an individual residing out of state who is authorized or licensed by law to perform marriages in such individual's state of residence, authorizing him or her in a special case to marry a couple within the state.
Most town halls will also provide a list of trusted officiants to make finding one a bit easier.
Step Six: Have the Best Day Ever!
Now that you know how to elope in New Hampshire, you can now 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 New Hampshire Elopement:
- 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 New Hampshire, Let's Start Planning the Elopement of your Dreams!
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