What if I told you there was a place you could elope with jagged mountain peaks reaching over 12,000 feet tall, natural hot springs, and is easy to escape from crowds. Would you be surprised if I told you I just described Idaho?

Drastically underrated, Idaho is home to epic scenery and is a perfect location to elope if you’re looking for nature, solitude, and an easy wedding experience! Because Idaho doesn’t require witnesses and you can get married the same day you receive your marriage license, the Gem State is one of the easiest states to get married in!

This guide will walk you through how to plan you adventurous elopement in Idaho. From the best time of year to elope here to the best elopement locations in the Gem State, you’ll be equipped to bring your adventurous wedding in Idaho to life!

Before we dive in, allow me to introduce myself.

I’m Tiana, An Elopement Photographer Based Out Of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho!

As an Idaho resident, I want to tell you just about beautiful this state is. Like seriously, we have some pretty stunning landscapes! I’m so grateful to call this beautiful state home, and I can’t wait to share it’s beauty with you!

I wrote this guide to help couples like you learn everything you need to plan the perfect elopement here in Idaho. If you find yourself needing a little extra help planning your elopement (and someone to document your day!), I would love to help you! Reach out and let’s work together!

Why Elope in Idaho?

If you haven’t had the privilege of visiting Idaho yet, you might be surprised to hear that it has more to offer than farmland. Did you know that Idaho is home to a canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon? And that there’s mountains over 12,000 ft. tall in this state? Yep! There’s a lot more here to experience than just potatoes!

Here are my top reasons Idaho is the perfect place to elope!

Seclusion

If you’re looking for somewhere that is private and secluded, Idaho is filled with endless options to escape crowds and surround yourself with nothing but nature for miles and miles.

Unique & Diverse Landscapes

Did you know that Idaho is home to a canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon, a waterfall taller than Niagara Falls, and 40% of the state is National Forest land? Idaho has some amazing landscapes and a whole lot more to offer than potatoes.

Year-Round Access

Whether you dream of getting married in the middle of summer or in a winter wonderland Idaho has a range of outdoor activities available all year round with a strong outdoors culture. From hiking and mountain biking in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, adventure is available all year round in The Gem State.

Frequently Asked Questions about Eloping in Idaho

Have questions about eloping in Idaho? I’ve got answers!

How Much Does It Cost To Elope In Idaho?

The average wedding cost in the United States is approximately $30k, but the average cost of weddings in Idaho is only $19k, however the average couples spend on an elopement is between $5k-$15k.

Is Idaho Easy To Get Married In?

Yes, Idaho is very easy to get married in! There is no waiting period once you receive your license and this state doesn’t require any witnesses, making it perfect for couples that want to get married with only their officiant and photographer there!

What Do You Need To Get Married In Idaho?

You will need to obtain a marriage license. To get a marriage license you and your partner will need your social security numbers (or I.D. from your home country if you reside outside of the U.S.), proof of identity and age, and approximately $30 cash.

How to apply for your Idaho marriage license is discussed further on this this guide. Click here to jump there >>

Do You Need Witnesses To Get Married In Idaho?

Idaho does not require any witnesses to get married. The only person required to be present is your officiant.

Who Can Legally Marry You In Idaho?

Your officiant can be a judge, clergy member, an ordained friend or family member, or even your photographer! As long as they are legally ordained, you can be married by just about anyone.

Do You Need To Be An Idaho Resident To Get Married Here?

No, you do not need to be a resident of Idaho to get married here. You will need to obtain a marriage license from the county in Idaho that you want to get married in, but you do not need to be an Idaho resident.

How to Elope in Idaho

  1. Choose a ceremony location
  2. Pick an elopement date
  3. Hire an Idaho elopement photographer
  4. Apply for your marriage license and any necessary permits
  5. Plan your Idaho elopement day
  6. Have an epic elopement in Idaho!

Choose A Location For Your Idaho Elopement

One of the first big decisions you’ll need to make is to decide where you want to elope. If you’re working with an elopement photographer that also helps with planning, then you can ask them for guidance in this area.

Take a moment with your partner and envision your day. What kind of scenery do you want to be surrounded by as you share your vows? Do you want to include some exciting activities in your day like a hike or would you rather keep it simple? Keep these things in mind when choosing a location.

If you’re looking for inspiration and help narrowing your location down, I’ve got you!

The Best Elopement Locations In Idaho

  1. Stanley
  2. Sandpoint
  3. McCall
  4. Coeur d’Alene
  5. Priest Lake

Stanley

If you want to elope somewhere with epic mountain views, then Stanley is the place! Situated in south-central Idaho, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area is over 765,000 acres with 3 mountain ranges with peaks over 11,000 ft. high. It contains over 750 miles of hiking trails and more than 300 lakes. With its jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and wildflower meadows, the Sawtooth Mountains are a stunning sight.

Best Locations To Elope In Stanley

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Stanley

While Stanley is accessible year round, the best time of year to elope here is June through early October if you want the most access to the mountains. The area is very popular in the peak of summer, so if avoiding crowds is important for your elopement, stick to the shoulder seasons.

Where To Stay Near Stanley

Permit Information

You’ll need to apply for a Special Use Permit for your elopement if your ceremony location takes place within the Sawtooth National Forest.

Getting To Stanley

The two closest airports to Stanley are the Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Sun Valley and the Boise Airport (BOI). While the drive from Sun Valley is only 1.5 hours to Stanley, compared to the almost 3 hour drive from Boise, airfare can be a bit pricey for flights into Friedman Memorial Airport.

Tips For Eloping In Stanley

Book your accommodations early if you plan on eloping in the Summer! Hotels and lodges book up quickly in this area, so it’s best to book as soon as possible.

I also recommend choosing a weekday and either a sunrise or sunset ceremony for your elopement to avoid crowds in the summertime.

Check out my full guide to eloping in Stanley!


Sandpoint

Sandpoint is one of North Idaho’s charming lake towns. Sitting on lake Pend Oreille (pronounced pon-der-ay), this area is filled with beautiful and remote elopement locations!

Best Locations To Elope In Sandpoint

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Sandpoint

Summer through early October is the best time of year to elope in Sandpoint, but if you love the snow, December through March is perfect!

Where To Stay Near Sandpoint

Permit Information

If you opt for a more remote elopement location in one of North Idaho’s National Forests, you’ll need to apply for a Special Use Permit for your elopement. But there’s no special permit needed for weddings in Farragut State Park or Round Lake State Park!

Getting To Sandpoint

Sandpoint is a 1 hour drive from Coeur d’Alene, and a 1.5 hour drive from the Spokane International Airport (GEG) if you need to fly to the area.

Tips For Eloping In Sandpoint

Farragut State Park is an amazing elopement location! The park has 2 day use areas that you can reserve for your elopement, which I highly recommend if you plan on bringing guests with you to have your own space for the day.


McCall

McCall sits on the southern shores of Payette Lake in west-central Idaho, offering beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains for elopements. Sitting on the lakes shores is Ponderosa State Park, named for its old growth forest of Ponderosa Pines sitting at 150 feet tall, and a great location for weddings of a variety of sizes!

Best Locations To Elope In McCall

Best Time Of Year To Elope In McCall

Late spring through early Autumn is the best time to elope in McCall for sunny weather and snow free trails.

Where To Stay Near McCall

Permit Information

A permit may be required if you decide to elope in Payette National Forest, you may need to apply for an Event Permit for your day.

Getting To McCall

McCall is located off of Highway 55, about a 2.5 hour drive from Boise.

Tips For Eloping In McCall

Opt for a week day elopement or the shoulder months to avoid crowds. McCall is a very popular destination in the summer, so if seclusion is important you need to plan appropriately.


Coeur d’Alene

At the heart of North Idaho, on the lake of the same name, sits the town Coeur d’Alene. It is a popular destination for weddings of all sizes for couples around the world. Known for its natural beauty and small town charm, Coeur d’Alene is close to several National Forests, ski resorts, and has easy access to the surrounding mountains for year-round recreation opportunities, making it the perfect elopement location for adventurous couples.

Best Locations To Elope In Coeur D’Alene

  • Tubbs Hill
  • The Coeur d’Alene National Forest

Check out this list of the best elopement locations in North Idaho.

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Coeur D’Alene

July through September will give you the best, warmest weather, but if you’re looking for snow, January through March is your best bet!

Where To Stay Near Coeur D’Alene

Permit Information

A permit will be required if you decide to hold your elopement in Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Make sure to research any requirements for your chosen elopement location.

Getting To Coeur D’Alene

Coeur d’Alene is easily accessed from anywhere in the world thanks to having the Spokane International Airport (GEG) 40 minutes away.

Tips For Eloping In Coeur D’Alene

Choose a ceremony location in a National Forest for a remote experience! North Idaho is filled with beautiful and remote locations with mountain views, alpine lakes, and beautiful rivers.


Priest Lake

In case you haven’t noticed by now, Idaho is filled with beautiful lakes. Priest Lake is no exception! Remote and serenely beautiful, this lake is surrounded by forests and mountains and makes for a beautiful remote elopement location. Half of the lake sits on National Forest land and it is surrounded by several charming small towns.

Best Locations To Elope At Priest Lake

Best Time Of Year To Elope In Priest Lake

June through early October is a great time to elope in Priest Lake! The snow will be gone, making trails accessible, and the weather warm and enjoyable this time of year.

Where To Stay Near Priest Lake

Permit Information

A permit may be required if you decide to elope in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Make sure to research your location and acquire any necessary permits.

Getting To Priest Lake

Priest Lake is a 2 hour drive from Coeur d’Alene, and a 2.5 hour drive from the Spokane International Airport (GEG).

Tips For Eloping At Priest Lake

Priest Lake can be quite busy in the summer months, so if you’re looking for seclusion on your elopement day, I highly recommend looking at an elopement location that requires some hiking. There are dozens of beautiful trails for all levels of hikers in the area! I would love to help you find a hidden gem for your elopement day!

In Summary, The Best Idaho Elopement Locations Are…

For Mountain Views:

  • Stanley
  • McCall
  • Sandpoint

For Lakes:

  • Coeur d’Alene
  • Sandpoint
  • Priest lake

Choose A Date For Your Idaho Elopement

The next piece to planning your elopement is going to be choosing a date. When deciding on a date, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Seasons

Idaho experiences all four seasons and their associated weather. Winters can get into the negatives with several feet of snow in some parts of the state and the summers have average temperatures in the 90’s. The exact weather varies across the state, but don’t let the extremes deter you! Idaho is stunning all year round and worth toughing out the temperatures!

Wildfire Season

During the Summer, it’s common for wildfires all across Idaho. The hot, dry conditions in combination with the forests that cover much of the state create the perfect conditions for fires to start and spread. It’s not uncommon for August and September to have smoky conditions, even miles away from any active fires.

Wildfires are typically the worst in August and September, but they can start in June or July if the conditions are right.

Before heading out to the backcountry, it’s always best to check for active wildfires near where you will be going. Check the Idaho Department of Lands for updates on current wildfire activity.

Crowds

Because Idaho isn’t on most peoples bucket lists, it’s pretty easy to avoid crowds. This is especially true if you are spending time in the backcountry. With that said, Idahoans are very into their outdoors sports and holiday weekends near bigger cities like Boise or Coeur d’Alene can be busy, but if you plan properly, it’s not difficult to find a secluded spot that is private and intimate.

The best way to avoid crowds at even the most popular destinations is to either choose an elopement date on a weekday or in the off-season (or both!).

Book Your Idaho Elopement Photographer And Vendors

If you haven’t done so already, you want to start booking your vendors, especially your photographer! Most elopement photographers (such as myself) also help with planning, which can include finding the perfect location, creating a timeline for your day, and more to help you plan the perfect experience. A good photographer is an invaluable resource for planning because they will guide you through the process, help you find locations you might never of known about, and help you choose the best time of day for your ceremony and portraits to get the best light. All on top of documenting your day!

You’ll also want to start considering what other vendors you want to include in your day and get them booked. Just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t have a day catered to you! Some of the most popular elopement vendors you can consider booking include:

  • Florist
  • Caterer or Chef
  • Videographer
  • Hair & Makeup Artist
  • Officiant

How To Get Married In Idaho

Now, let’s get into how to legally get married in Idaho. Don’t worry, it’s not a complicated process! Idaho is actually a really easy state to get married in!

No matter what state you live in, you will get your marriage license through the state that you are getting married in. Below you’ll find how to get your marriage license in Idaho. Please note that I always recommend looking up the County Recorders Office website for the county you will be getting married in to find the exact steps, as it may vary slightly from county to county.

If you are traveling for your elopement, I recommend you plan on arriving at least one day before you plan to get married to obtain your marriage license since you have to apply for it in-person. While there’s no waiting period once you receive your Idaho marriage license, it’s always best to have extra time so your wedding day can run smoothly and stress-free.

How To Obtain A Marriage License In Idaho

In Idaho, Marriage Licenses are issued in-person by County Records. Some counties may require an appointment be made ahead of time to apply for your license.

You do not need to be an Idaho resident to obtain a marriage license in the state, however, the license will only be valid for ceremonies within the state of Idaho.

There is no waiting period once you get your license, which means you can get married the same day you receive your license!

To Apply For Your Idaho Marriage License, You Will Need:

  • To appear together at a County Recorder’s Office
  • Be prepared to pay with cash. The cost is approximately $30
  • Bring your social security number for both you and your partner. Non-U.S. residents should also bring identification from their home country
  • You will also need to bring proof of identity and age. This can be one of the following:
    • Current driver’s license
    • State-issued identification card
    • Passport
    • Original birth certificate or certified copy

For more information, take a look at the Idaho.gov site about getting a marriage license.

Officiant

Your officiant must be an ordained minister to legally perform your marriage. This can be a judge, clergy member, an ordained friend or family member, or even your photographer if they’re ordained. 

Witnesses

In Idaho, you do not need any witnesses to get married. All you need is an officiant.

For up-to-date information, check with the Official Website of the State of Idaho.

How To Get Ordained In Idaho

If you want a loved one to marry you on your elopement day, they can easily get ordained online for free! You can become ordained through Universal Life Church for weddings in most states, including Idaho, and it’s a very easy process. Just fill out the form, submit it, and your application will be reviewed and should be approved quickly.

Plan Your Idaho Elopement Day

Now’s the fun part, you get to start planning the details of your adventure elopement. Have fun finding activities and ways to make your day special, unique, and memorable. Remember, you can include anything you want in your day!

Don’t forget to follow Leave No Trace when planning your day.

Some Activity Idea’s To Include In Your Idaho Elopement:

  • Hike to your ceremony location
  • Rent a cozy cabin
  • Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows
  • Go on a picnic
  • Have an intimate dinner with your closest relationships
  • Watch the sunset together
  • Go horseback riding

Check out this list of 50+ elopement day activities for more ideas!

Book Accommodations For Your Idaho Elopement

Find and book your accommodations for your trip. Great lodging can make a good trip into a great one, so make sure to find the perfect place to stay to make your elopement that much more special! Check out these unique Airbnb’s in North Idaho! Make Your Travel Plans.

Make Your Travel Plans

Once you’ve started planning your day, you need to start making travel plans! This may include booking airfare if you’re flying in from out of state, reserving a rental car, and/or a shuttle to get from the airport to your hotel.

Flying Into Idaho:

Idaho has several large airports and is easily accessed from anywhere in the world! Here are Idaho’s most easily accessed airports and the regions they’re closest to:

Boise Airport BOI – Boise, Idaho

Best for accessing West Idaho and the Sawtooth’s.

2.5 hour drive to McCall, Idaho

3 hour drive to Stanley, Idaho

Friedman Memorial Airport SUN – Sun Valley, Idaho

Best access to Central Idaho

1 hour to Craters of the Moon National Monument

1.5 hours to Stanley Idaho

Idaho Falls Regional Airport IDA – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Best access to Tetonia and West Wyoming

1 hour drive to Tetonia, Idaho

2 hours to Grand Tetons National Park

3.5 hours to Stanley, Idaho

Spokane International Airport GEG – Spokane, Washington

Best airport for accessing Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho

45 minutes to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

1 hour to Farragut State Park

2 hours to Priest Lake

Create A Timeline For Your Idaho Elopement

Once you’ve decided on what activities you want to include in your day, put together a timeline for your day. Ask your photographer for help with this, as they can help you arrange your day to give you enough time for everything, as well as suggest the best times for photos to get the best lighting. Check out my guide to creating an elopement timeline.

This is a complimentary service I include in all of my elopement packages! If you’re interested in learning more, check out my packages here!

Idaho Elopement Packages

Want to take the stress out of planning your elopement? I offer elopement packages that include a whole lot more than just photography! Every single one of my packages offer unlimited planning assistance to help you find that perfect location you’re dreaming of, helping research and obtain any required permits for your day, assistance creating a timeline for your day, and more all on top of documenting your adventure!

Get married!

The day is here and all of your planning comes together! You get to have the best day every while your photographer documents it. Take your time and enjoy the day!

Eloping in Idaho offers the perfect opportunity to create an intimate, meaningful wedding experience surrounded by the beauty of nature. With the right location, a bit of planning, and some assistance from your photographer, your day will be a magical, stress-free experience that will become the adventure of a lifetime!

If you’re looking for someone to help you plan and document your day, I would love to help you! Contact me to start planning your adventure elopement.

Happy eloping!

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