The Ultimate Guide To Your 2022-23 Grand Teton Elopement

bride and groom standing near the wedding tree for their grand teton elopement hugging each other taken by adrian wayment photo

Congrats on being engaged!!! Now comes the fun part. Planning your elopement in the most beautiful place in the world (I might be biased ;). In this guide to your Grand Teton elopement, I’ll run you through all the necessary permits, how much they cost, where to get them, etc. We will also discuss the best vendor recs that I have for someone coming to GTNP from out of town. I get it! You’ve never done this before and need some help, which is why I’m here. If you’re still on the hunt for a fun, outgoing, adventurous elopement photographer, look no further. I’m your girl! I love nothing more than adventuring with two people in love and taking epic photos in some beautiful scenery. Fill out this form and let’s get your date on my calendar. Let’s get to the guide!

 

 

Grand Teton Elopement Permit

First things first! Let’s talk about permits. Just as a heads-up, Schwabacher Landing is fully reserved for Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permits for 2022. You’ll need to select another location if you apply for a 2022 permit. Don’t delay for 2023 if you’re considering this location! There are alternative locations and dates if Schwabacher Landing was the spot you had your eye on. A Special Use Permit non-refundable processing fee of $200 is due upon application. Elopement permits for 2023 will be available mid-November 2022.

Special Use Permits are issued for two different types of wedding or commitment ceremonies. The first is a Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit (for more than 12 people) and the second is a Small Dispersed Ceremony Permit (less than 12 people). Go to the GTNP website to see which one best fits your needs. After you’ve decided which type of permit you are applying for and your desired location, then you’ll complete the Special Use Application. Email the completed application to grte_visitor_services@nps.gov no less than 30 days prior to the event. Make sure you include all the info that they ask for, or they won’t process your application. It’s all on the website linked above if you want to double-check that you have included everything they ask for. Next, you’ll pay the $200 fee electronically. The requested primary or alternative location and/or date on a Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony permit will not be held until the payment is received. Lastly, you’ll wait for a Grand Teton employee to email you a permit, in which you’ll review and send back within 7 days. Make sure you have a printed copy of the final draft of the permit on site during the event.

 

 

Permit Conditions and Regulations

  1. Grand Teton National Park does not permit exclusive use of any area. This means that there will be normal visitor activity during your ceremony (we can almost always avoid this, though, depending on the time of day and day of the week!). Ceremony sites in Grand Teton National Park are located in areas that are open to the public. All locations are outdoors and rustic in nature without protection from the weather. We’ll discuss what to expect when it comes to weather later on in this guide.
  2. Because Grand Teton is an outdoor and natural environment where the priorities include protecting the park’s natural resources while allowing all visitors to enjoy the park, only small, simple, undecorated ceremonies are permitted. You’re probably okay with this if you’re wanting to elope and keep things simple!
  3. Your ceremony may be monitored by a National Park Service employee or designee to ensure compliance with all conditions of this permit.
  4. Harassment of wildlife (regardless of size) is strictly prohibited. In any instance, we will wait until animals have naturally moved off trails or roads to continue photos/the ceremony. I’ve seen wildlife multiple times while taking photos, and it can be super scary. Staying calm and following these regulations will keep you safe.
  5. Entrance fees apply to all wedding participants and guests that pass through an entrance gate.

For more permit conditions and regulations, check out GTNP website.

 

bride and groom next to each other with the teton mountains in the background taken by grand teton elopement photographer adrian wayment photo

Locations For Your Grand Teton Elopement

Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit Locations

If you have more than 12 guests, weddings/elopements in GTNP cannot take place outside the six areas listed below (with the Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit). However, we can take portraits in other areas of the park after the ceremony. The wedding party, children, officiant, and photographer(s) are included in the group count. There are six site-specific ceremony locations that permits are provided for with the Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony Permit. The max capacity for all these locations is 25 guests, besides Colter Bay and Mormon Row North. The max capacity at those two locations is 40 guests. The locations are:

  • Schwabacher Landing – one of the most popular locations in GTNP, but for good reason. You’ll find the most beautiful river where you can see the mountain range’s reflection in the water, along with lots of trees and meadows and wildlife. It’s beautiful.
  • Mormon Row (North or South) – a historic site in the park with wide open views of the Tetons. Can be busy with tourists, but again, people can be avoided if you have the ceremony at the right time.
  • Mountain View Turnout – my personal favorite. If you’re looking for more privacy, this is your place. It’s very underrated, and I love the view of the Tetons that you get from Mountain View Turnout.
  • Glacier View Turnout – also very underrated, but a little more popular than Mountain View Turnout. Another beautiful view of the Tetons.
  • Snake River Overlook – this location is also gorgeous, but you’ll have a small granite wall in all of your photos. If you’re okay with this, then it’s no big deal.
  • Colter Bay Swim Beach – I love this spot for a unique stop in the park. With a bit more privacy, this location is dreamy!

You can’t go wrong, no matter where you choose to say your vows for your Grand Teton elopement. Let me know if you have any questions at all about any of these gorgeous spots.

 

Small Dispersed Ceremony Permit Locations

For the Small Dispersed Ceremony Permit (less than 12 guests), you can elope anywhere in the park, aside from the following locations:

  • Reserved Site-Specific Ceremony locations (the six locations listed above)
  • The paved trails within and surrounding the Jenny Lake visitor plaza at South Jenny Lake
  • Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point
  • String Lake and Jenny Lake overlook on the one-way road from May 15 to October 15
  • Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (LSR)
  • Concessioner land assignments (exception for weddings sold/catered by Concessioners in assigned facilities in accordance with their contract)
  • Park partner facilities (e.g., Murie Ranch, Teton Science School)
  • Within proximity of places where weddings are being managed by a chapel or concessioner (e.g., the Chapel of the Transfiguration)
  • Park cemeteries
  • If a location is behind a gated road, the permittee may have walking access but not vehicle access.

 

bride and groom at their jackson hole wedding holding each other next to their getaway car taken by grand teton elopement photographer adrian wayment photo

 

Leave No Trace

Let’s be good stewards of this gorgeous land that we have access to. Real quick, let’s discuss a few helpful things to consider as you plan your outdoor wedding day, to keep the amazing location you’ll say your vows looking beautiful for years to come. We have a huge privilege of being able to access such amazing public lands (National Parks, State Parks, National Forests, Wilderness Areas, BLM lands, etc) as a backdrop for committing your lives to each other. Instead of paying $5-20k+ for a wedding venue, public lands give us the gift of the best venue in the world, for nearly free. With that, comes the responsibility for all of us to keep that venue looking amazing, so you two can come back to that spot in 10, 20, or 50 years, and for it to still look and feel the same as when you said your vows there. 

So as I come alongside you and help you plan your day, I’m excited to keep in mind how lucky we are to have such a beautiful planet—I have the best job in the world, and I can’t wait to help you two create a beautiful outdoor wedding day that’s as kind to the planet, as it is to us. First off, what is Leave No Trace? Simply put, Leave No Trace is a set of ethics & best practices we should follow to enjoy and protect the outdoors at the same time. Leave No Trace has a set of 7 minimum-impact principles, that help guide our decisions when we’re outside.

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of other Visitors

 

I’ve created a guide for all my clients to use when it comes to eloping outdoors. It’s extremely helpful and allows for all of us to have the BEST day, while also protecting our natural world for future visitors. By reducing our impact as we visit, photograph, and celebrate outdoors, we can protect these places we love! You don’t have to limit your celebration to reduce your impact. The guide will help you each step of the way as you plan, prepare, and finally get married somewhere beautiful!

 

 

Your Wyoming Marriage License

In Teton County (Jackson Hole), there are a few things you’ll need to know before trying to obtain a marriage license. First, call 307-733-4430 to make an appointment before going to their office. Walk-ins are not welcome. Second, couples must appear in person, be 18 years of age or older, and present a picture ID (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID, School ID). Next, Couples should complete a Marriage License Questionnaire (PDF) and bring it, along with their photo ID, to the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a Marriage License. Last, be prepared to pay $30 cash or $31.50 if you’re using a card for the license fee. That’s it! Not quite as strenuous as the permit 😉

bride and groom exploring grand teton national park after their elopement with photographer adrian wayment photo

 

Vendors For Your Grand Teton Elopement

Luckily, hiring vendors for an elopement is much less stressful than hiring vendors for a full wedding day. To elope in Wyoming, you must have 2 witnesses and an officiant. I can be one of your witnesses and another vendor can also be a witness! If you’d like a family member or friend to be your officiant, they can do so for free by becoming ordained through this link here. It takes no more than 5 minutes and can transform your whole elopement by making it a much more intimate experience. If it’s in your budget, I’d highly recommend hiring an elopement planner. They can help with permits, vendor contracts, locations and more! Some of my favorites are Elope Jackson and Destination Jackson Hole. If you’re looking for an officiant, check out this list. Lastly, for some gorgeous florals to top off the whole look, consider Plush Floral, Flowers By Chloe or Jackson Hole Flower Company.

 

 

Weather For Your Grand Teton Elopement

The weather in the Tetons can go from one extreme to the other in a matter of minutes. It’s important to be prepared and plan ahead (just like Leave No Trace says!) especially when it comes to weather.

Spring (March-May)

Spring in the Tetons still feels like winter to me. Definitely expect snow and rain and cloud cover over the Tetons for a good chunk of spring. Trails are still closed with snow remaining on them usually until late May. If you don’t mind the chilly weather, you can definitely do a spring elopement or wedding. Just expect the unexpected when it comes to weather and like I said above, be prepared.

Summer (June-August)

Summer brings beautiful weather, wildflowers and lots of people to the Tetons! If you plan ahead well enough in advance, you can still have a great summer elopement or wedding in the Tetons. It would definitely be best to plan the ceremony for a weekday at sunrise. This will greatly lessen the chance of tourists being present for your ceremony. Prices in Jackson Hole are higher this time of year because of the influx of people, but if that doesn’t matter to you, then let’s do it! Town Square in Jackson usually has tons of people and hard to find parking spots, but if we’re staying out towards the Tetons, we can make the best of it.

Fall (September-November)

If you want the most beautiful fall colors and a good chance of seeing wildlife, having your Grand Teton elopement in the fall will be your best bet. The beauty stops me in my tracks every time. There are less people and the prices aren’t quite as high as they are in the summer. There are tons of perks to having your elopement in the fall, just be prepared for inclement weather as we get in to October and November.

Winter (December-February)

If you like snow, then you’ll love the Tetons in the winter. The park is really quiet during winter, however there is tons of skiing going on in and around Jackson Hole. The prices elevate again during this time of year so be prepared for that.

bride and groom in the pine trees at stringhead lake after their grand teton elopement taken by adrian wayment photo

 

Places To Stay Near Grand Teton National Park

When you’re looking for an airport to fly into, you have a few options! Consider either the Jackson Hole airport, Idaho Falls, ID (less than 2 hours away) or Salt Lake City, UT (4.5 hours). As far as places to stay, the options are almost limit-less. When visiting the park, most people stay in Jackson Hole. Whether you want a true outdoor adventure, like staying in GTNP at a campsite or lodge, or want something more luxurious, we’ve got it all. There are some gorgeous Airbnb options in Jackson Hole as well as the option to stay somewhere outdoors in the park, such as Jenny Lake Campground or Colter Bay Campground. I can give more recs if needed!

 

 

Activities To Do During Your Teton Stay

During your stay in Jackson Hole or GTNP, there is so much to do!

  • Explore the shops in Town Square, get some ice cream from Moo’s (my favorite) and eat your way through this cute little town.
  • Visit the National Wildlife Art Museum and watch the elk at the national elk refuge.
  • Do the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive and stop at Jenny Lake Overlook for a super pretty view of the lake and Tetons.
  • Hike to Hidden Falls next to Jenny Lake.
  • Go canoing or kayaking on Jenny Lake.
  • Ride the Gondola at Teton Village (not in GTNP but only a short drive away!)

 

engaged couple exploring colter bay during their engagement session with jackson hole enagement photographer adrian wayment photo

Grand Teton Elopement Photography Packages

Every wedding is unique, which means that every elopement photography package is unique. Pricing depends on the amount of coverage you’re looking for and other factors that we’ll discuss when you inquire. A few things you’ll receive when you hire me as your adventure elopement photographer:

  • A personalized elopement timeline
  • Personalized elopement location recommendations
  • Help with permits, wedding license, and vendor recs
  • Online gallery with full resolution images
  • Personal print release

 

To inquire about pricing, fill out this form! I’m so stoked to adventure with you and your love in GTNP and again, congrats!!!!!