I'm a little bit biased, but I can't think of anywhere that's more beautiful or magical to tie the knot than in front of the Tetons. They are my favorite mountains in the whole world, and make a truly magical setting for your wedding day. Here's a few things to keep in mind when getting married in Jackson Hole or Grand Teton National Park!
I don't mean to burst the bubble for those of you who want a traditional, quick elopement, but there is a park permit that is super necessary if you want to get married in GTNP. The process itself takes at least 3 weeks, and I recommend starting even earlier than that if possible. You do not need a permit if you want to have your ceremony at The Chapel of Transfiguration, The Chapel of the Sacred Heart, or a concession facility. Both chapels are on private property, and there's no park fee for either of those locations. Want to risk it? You can, but what if you got fined or asked to leave on your wedding day because you didn't get a permit? One of the perks of booking me is access to my location list--I have plenty of spots both inside and outside the park with stunning views of the Tetons!
PARK REQUIREMENTS & WHAT TO EXPECT
Grand Teton National Park has very specific and strict rules & regulations on what is allowed for weddings in the park--and because of the surge in national park weddings, they're enforcing those rules more strongly than before.
This is Wyoming, and the weather can be very unpredictable! I've seen snow on random days year round (like mid-July), and you never know what's going to happen. The good news is that weather makes for beautiful photos, and it's best to just roll with it! You're here for a memorable, meaningful experience of your love, and that's all that matters! I always keep about 10 clear umbrellas in my gear kit just in case!
Most of the park closes down from November-June, so if you want a May wedding, be prepared for alternate locations that aren't inside the park itself! It snows so much here that it would be impossible to get to (let alone for the rangers to maintain for the safety of tourists) some of the park's most iconic spots. That's partly what makes the summers so breathtaking! Don't be afraid to explore an early fall wedding--you'll have a lot more variety! If you're willing to snow shoe or cross country ski in the winter, you have more access to some seriously cool locations. Your photographer will know where you're able to go and when--and that's exactly why a local photographer is so important!
This is a tiny mountain town, and even with all the tourists, expect vendors like florists and hair and makeup artists to book out months (sometimes even 6 months-a year!) in advance. It's a good idea to plan ahead to get the best of the best!
If you're getting married in the park, you (and all guests!) will need to buy a parks pass for the day to attend! It's best to carpool if possible so you don't have to pay as many entrance fees, and don't have to all worry about finding parking!
You will need a wedding license, at least one day in advance! For more requirements, click here.
WYOMING WEDDING REQUIREMENTS
In Wyoming, you need to be married by 1 officiant with 2 witnesses present. Fear not, elopers! We have so many options! You two can get legally married before or after your time with your photographer (making what's photographed purely ceremonial), and I (or my husband) are happy to act as witnesses. Honestly, a lot of times I just pull a couple of hikers off the trail to act as witnesses. They're pretty much always happy and excited to be a part of your ceremony and it makes for an amazing story!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Choosing a local photographer is more important than I can say for a variety of reasons. By choosing a local photographer, you're making sure that:
- They know the ins and outs of park requirements so your wedding day has no hiccups.
- They know the best places to go that won't be crawling with tourists.
- They understand Wyoming lighting--on some summer days, sunset is at 9PM. This can make what would be a "normal" ceremony time elsewhere have harsh, unflattering lighting. Don't be afraid to roll with it! And if you can, allow your photographer 2 possible days in case the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse!
And also, if you want an adventurous Teton elopement or intimate wedding, make sure you find an adventurous Teton photographer! I'm very willing to hike pretty much anywhere you want to go, but not everyone might be. Be open and honest about your expectations!