For a lot of couples, America’s National Parks offer the perfect backdrop for an elopement. There are a total of 60 National Parks in the US, with California, Utah, Alaska and Colorado having the most number of parks each. For New England couples that don’t want to make the cross-country trip, the list is much smaller. In fact, the closest National Park by car from Boston is about 5 hours away. If you’re a New Englander considering an elopement, consider Acadia! Let’s dive in with 10 tips for eloping in Acadia!
1. The nation’s first sunrise: during certain times of the year Cadillac Mountain is where you can catch the first sunrise in all of the US!
2. With spectacular views come spectacular crowds. You may find hundreds of people here during sunrise and sunset hours. So if you would rather have your ceremony at a more private spot, the summit might not be for you. Or consider a weekday. For our bridal portrait session we were able to find an awesome spot just a few yards from the summit, which allowed us total privacy, but the same spectacular views.
3. Wedding parties under 10 people do not need a permit for a wedding ceremony. This is great, specially if you don’t have a lot of time to plan (most parks require a minimum of 3 weeks for permit responses).
4. Applying for a permit is $50. This is nonrefundable. The permit is in addition to the park entrance fee, which is usually valid for 7 days and can be purchased online.
5. Ideal time of the year for a wedding is any time really, but do keep in mind that some roads, museums and campgrounds are closed during winter.
6. On the day of your elopement, allow for a full day at the park with a lunch break in the middle where you can go back to your hotel or AirBnB to freshen up. Sunrises and sunsets provide the best lighting, so we recommend that you hold your ceremony at one of those times. There are pros and cons to both options, which we will cover at a later blog post, but we recommend starting at dawn and ending just before nightfall.
7. Obtaining a Maine marriage license if you’re out of state is pretty easy, but you should call ahead and get all the information you need. This website offers some great information around obtaining a marriage license in Maine. Important: while Maine is one of the handful of states that allows self-uniting marriage, there are some rules around this and only those of certain faith are actually exempt from needing an officiant.
8. Many couples like to have a friend or family member be the officiant at their wedding. If you don’t have that option, you should inquire at the clerk’s office about a list of officiants that may be interested in performing your marriage at the park.
9. Don’t have a friend that can come or can’t find an officiant? A lot of couples will get married at their local city hall and then hold a symbolic ceremony at the park.
10. Respect nature. Leave no trace. As with any other protected land, Acadia is still a National Park and as with any National Parks there are definitely restrictions for what you can and cannot do. We suggest you visit Acadia’s official website and contact them for any questions.