Eloping is more popular than ever before! As a New England elopement photographer + planner, I’m fully equipped to guide you on creating your elopement in Vermont. This post is full of planning tips, location suggestions and activity ideas for your Vermont elopement.
How to Elope in Vermont
If you’ve never been married before and are considering eloping, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do you elope in Vermont?” 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. When you’re eloping and it’s just the two of you, a weekday is a great option to consider. If you plan to have a select number of guests for a micro-wedding, then a weekend date might be more preferable to accommodate your guests’ schedules. When you’re planning, it’s good to be flexible with your date as you approach your top tier vendors in the early stages of planning.
Figure Out the Mood
By this I mean decide about the kinds of things you want to do for your elopement. This is stuff like the style, the activities and entertainment. With a “just the two of us” elopement your options for this are pretty endless and can range from super low-key and relaxed to wildly adventurous. If you plan on having a few guests, consider their abilities (like maybe Nana can’t hike a few miles to your ceremony location).
Hire Your Essential Vermont 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 Vermont is your officiant. This can be a VT Justice of the Peace, a judge, or an ordained minister. You can also have a friend you choose file for a special designation with the state for your particular marriage. If your chosen officiant is from out of state, they need to file some paperwork with the State, which can be easily done by filling out a notarized form and mailing it in. You probably also want to choose a photographer to document this important day in your lives. Fun fact: some Vermont 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.
Think about other vendors you might need to hire based on the mood you’re setting. 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, food and drink needs, and maybe some flowers or rental items.
Plan The Day With Your Photographer
Photographers who specialize in elopements and micro-weddings will be able to help you figure out the best 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 elopement planner, but most elopement photographers (including me) include this in their service to you.
Get Your Marriage License
In Vermont, marriage licenses are issued by any town and you can use that license in any town in VT. If you’re from out of state, it doesn’t matter which town you go to to obtain your license, but if you live in Vermont you must acquire your license from the town in which you live. There is no waiting period after obtaining your license and the marriage must be performed within 60 days of its issue.
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 Vermont
There are so many fabulous places to elope in Vermont. Here is a list of my favorite location ideas.
Green Mountain National Forest
Vermont’s Green Mountains are absolutely stunning! The Green Mountain National Forest has trails that crisscross the state, including the VT leg of the Appalachian Trail. There are also multiple scenic areas you can access by vehicle with limited hiking necessary. Of course fall is an absolutely stunning time of year to elope in this forest, spring in Northern Vermont is also pretty unrivaled for beauty and majesty.
Vermont has a variety of state parks ranging from mountains to forests to lakes. In addition to all these state parks being amazingly beautiful, there are a variety of elopement day activities to enjoy while you’re there, too. My favorite one for eloping is Mount Ascutney – you can drive to the top and there are multiple scenic trails, pull offs and stunning vistas!
Vermont may be known for its mountains, but it also has some incredible lakes, too, with Lake Champlain being the crown jewel. There are tons of amazing AirBnB locations around the lake that make it an easy pick for your “just the two of us” elopement or your family-only micro-wedding. Plus Burlington is right there for a fun night out.
Vermont has some of the cutest cities and bustling towns in New England. My favorite is Brattleboro, but Rutland and Burlington are also fan favorites among visitors.
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. And many of the home rental options in Vermont have truly stunning views!
Thing to Do When You Elope in Vermont
With all the state parks and the national forest, it’s a no brainer to go hiking when you elope in Vermont. You don’t even need to be a serious outdoors person to be able to take advantage of the variety of trails and scenery available. There are some trams, lifts and even roads to the top of some of Vermont’s most stunning locations. You can also enjoy a fun picnic wherever you hike to!
If you decide to get married on Lake Champlain, then renting or chartering a boat for some fun on the water is a must! There’s swimming, fishing, waterskiing, or just hanging out on the deck and taking in the beauty of the scenery.
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.
Vermont 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 in Vermont!