Elopements and non-traditional micro-weddings are on the rise! If you want to elope in Connecticut, this post is full of elopement planning tips, as well as suggestions for some of the best places to elope in CT.
How to Elope in Connecticut
If you’ve never been married before and are considering eloping, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do you elope in CT?” It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think.
- Pick Your Date – Maybe your elopement date is a special day for you and your future spouse or maybe you just want to have it during a certain time of year. Because you’re eloping and it’s just the two of you, a weekday is an excellent choice to look at. If you’re planning on having a select number of guests for an elopement-style micro-wedding, then a weekend date might be more preferable. Having a date range to bring to the potential vendors you’ll be hiring for your elopement is also pretty good, because then you don’t have to be worried about a vendor you really love not being available for your specific date.
- Figure Out Your Vibe – By this I mean decide about the kinds of things you want to do for your elopement. Are you keeping it casual? Maybe you want to still dress up super glam. What about the activities you’ll do on your elopement day? Perhaps you want to elope in a pretty park and then hire a private chef for a romantic dinner for two. With a “just the two of us” elopement your options for this are pretty endless. If you plan on having a few guests, consider their abilities (like maybe Gramma can’t hike a mountain with you).
- Hire Your Essential CT Elopement Vendors – Once you’ve got your dates and vibe figured out, it’s time to start hiring vendors. An essential vendor for eloping in Connecticut is your officiant. This can be a Justice of the Peace, an ordained minister, or a friend you choose who can become ordained online. You probably also want to choose a photographer to document this important day in your lives. Fun fact: some CT elopement photographers are also ordained so that we can legalize your marriage for a “just the two of us” elopement. I do recommend hiring both an officiant and a photographer if you plan on inviting some guests, that way your photographer can be more focused on documenting the ceremony.
- Other Vendors – Think about other vendors you might need to hire based on the vibe you’re setting. Should you hire a florist to create a bouquet? What about a catered charcuterie board or other meal for a picnic in the park? Do you need to reserve your date and a time for a special adventure you want to take? Don’t forget about the outfits you want to wear for your elopement.
- Plan The Day With Your Photographer – photographers who specialize in elopement and micro-weddings will be able to help you figure out a timeline, recommend locations and vendors for the vision you have, and are essentially your point person for your elopement. You could also hire a specific planner, but most elopement photographers include this in their service to you.
- Get Your Marriage License – In Connecticut, marriage licenses are issued by the town in which you intend to elope. You can acquire it as early as 30 days before your wedding date and your officiant will be responsible for returning it for filing at the City Hall.
- GET MARRIED! – This part is pretty simple. Once you’ve planned the day and hired all your vendors, it’s time to have a great time on your wedding day!
- Tell People You Eloped! – Your photographer can help you design an announcement that you can mail to people or publish online to spread the good news about your marriage. Maybe you wanted to keep the actual marriage ceremony between you two (and perhaps your immediate family) but you still want to celebrate with everyone. A catered backyard bash is always good for this, or renting the event space at your favorite local brewery or restaurant.
Places to Elope in Connecticut
There are so many fabulous places to elope in CT. Here is a list of my favorite spots as well as other popular locations.
There are some truly gorgeous private parks in Connecticut which make for amazing settings for your elopement. My top three favorite locations for this are Waveny Park in New Canaan, Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, and Wickham Park in Manchester. Be aware that Elizabeth Park does have a permit fee for weddings & photography, and Wickham Park has an entrance fee.
Hartford City Hall and New Haven City Hall are popular places to elope because of their architecture and the fact that you can get your marriage license at the same time. For both Hartford City Hall and New Haven City Hall you need to bring your own JP with you, and you do need to rent the Hartford City Hall after business hours in order to have your elopement there. Both of these locations are popular City Halls to get married in because of their proximity to restaurants and the scenic city backdrop they provide.
Hands down state parks are my favorite place for elopements. Connecticut has state parks everywhere and they’re incredibly diverse, too!
For waterfall backdrops you could choose Devil’s Hopyard, Kent Falls or Ender’s Falls (and that’s not even a conclusive list!). My all time favorite state park is Valley Falls in Vernon because of the scenic variety it provides.
Another awesome location for an elopement is Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford. You have the incredible architecture of the two mansions, the gorgeous gardens, and the oceanfront! This is a VERY popular location both for photography and for recreation, so I fully recommend planning your elopement at this location for Monday – Thursday.
In a Home
Sometimes the best elopements are the simplest. Eloping in your own backyard or living room can create an extra layer of sentiment to your elopement. Another great option for an “elope at home” setting is an AirBnB or VRBO. AirBnB recently put a permanent, sitewide ban on events, but elopements and micro-weddings with less than 16 people are permitted at AirBnB. No matter which home setting you choose, the big benefit here is the kind of seclusion and privacy you likely won’t get at some of the other venues mentioned here.
Things to Do for Your Connecticut Elopement
Despite its small size, Connecticut is one of the top two states when it comes to quantities of state parks and land conservation areas. And due to it’s geography there are multiple kinds of scenery to explore. Along the southern edge you have the Long Island Sounds with both sandy beaches and rocky shores. Central Connecticut is rolling hills and valleys with lakes and rivers (not to mention public gardens). In the west there’s the edge of the Adirondacks with the Appalachian Trail coming through.
If you decide to get married on the shore then chartering a day-cruise sailboat or yacht is a fantastic idea! Similarly, the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers offer a lot in terms of small boating, canoeing or kayaking.
Night on the Town
If you choose a city location for your elopement, there are always things to see and do, like finding a local spot with music, visiting an art gallery or museum, or heading to a local brewery. New Haven is my favorite spot for this kind of elopement, but you can also get this vibe in Hartford or Stamford.
Connecticut has so much to offer for winter recreation, like skiing & snowboarding, snowmobiling or ice-skating. All of these things can make a fun addition to your winter elopement!