The West Coast tends to get all the credit when it comes to scenery, nature, and beautiful elopement locations. But, in the upper corner of the east coast is Maine – a state known for its rugged coastline, dense forests, and quaint, peaceful towns. And of course, Acadia National Park!
If you want to elope in Acadia, there are a few things you need to know first. But, I have the scoop for you on how to make it happen! Keep reading this guide to learn how to elope in Acadia National Park.
Set an Elopement Date
The first step when you’re planning to elope in Acadia National Park is to set a date! But, before you start looking at the calendar, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
Acadia National Park Weather
Summer is very busy in Acadia – like most national parks, the warm weather and sunny days lure crowds of visitors every day. Here is a graph of the park’s weather averages throughout the year:
As you can see, summer weather is ideal. But, the best time to elope in Acadia National Park is actually fall! The weather is cooler, but manageable, and the crowds are significantly thinner. Eloping in the fall gives you the opportunity to see the park as the leaves change, and the trees explode in shades of orange and red.
For adventurous couples who want to add skiing or snowmobiling to their elopement day itinerary, eloping in the winter can be a unique experience! But, keep in mind that while it snows often in Acadia, the snow melts quickly. If you’re hoping to elope in a winter wonderland, be prepared for the chance that the snow won’t stick.
Spring in Acadia National Park is called mud season – because the snow and ice melts, and everything turns to mud. Late spring can still be a good time to elope – temperatures are rising, but the crowds haven’t yet taken over.
I recommend eloping in the fall, as the changing leaves make for gorgeous scenery. You won’t have the whole park to yourself, but fall is significantly less busy than summer, but the weather is much more favorable than it is in the winter months.
Even if you elope during peak season, there are still some things you can do to ensure you have a little more privacy for your elopement ceremony! I always recommend that couples elope on a weekday, because there are way fewer people out and about during the week than there are on the weekends.
Another tip is to plan your ceremony for sunrise. Even if you aren’t a morning person, hear me out! Imagine getting to your dream location – and it’s totally empty. You get to say your vows in complete privacy, and watch the sky light up in purples, pinks, and oranges as the sun rises! If that doesn’t make you want to get out of bed before the crack of dawn (that’s okay, I don’t blame you!), opt for a sunset ceremony instead. It may not be as empty, but there will definitely be less people around than during the midday crowds.
Choose an Elopement Location
This is probably the hardest part of elopement planning! With so many beautiful spots all around Acadia National Park, how do you even start narrowing it down?
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
You can choose from an easy, wooded stroll or a more difficult trek along the coast, but both will lead you to the picturesque Jordan Pond. The crystal clear blue water surrounded by mountains will make an incredible backdrop for your elopement ceremony, and afterwards you can stop by the Jordan Pond House Restaurant for celebratory lobster rolls!
This is one of the more secluded locations in Acadia National Park. The craggy shoreline offers several scenic spots for an elopement ceremony, with the dramatic crashing of ocean waves below. You can also choose from several hikes through the neighboring spruce forests and pine woodlands, and enjoy incredible views of Cadillac Mountain.
For adventurous couples who don’t mind heights and a few ladders fixed to exposed cliffs, the Precipice Trail offers one of the best views in Acadia National Park. There’s nothing more rewarding than tying the knot at the summit after completing a difficult trail, and the sweeping views of Sand Beach below will make it all worth it!
Hire Your Elopement Vendors
I recommend hiring your elopement vendors early! Don’t be afraid to reach out far in advance, because they often fill their calendars over a year out.
While most wedding vendors also take on elopements, there’s a distinct advantage to hiring someone who specializes in tiny adventurous weddings like yours! They will have all the knowledge when it comes to all things elopement, and can help with the entire process. Planning an elopement is so different from planning a traditional wedding, and most couples don’t know where to start! Hiring a team of elopement experts will take so much pressure off of you.
If you need vendor recommendations for your Acadia National Park elopement, I’ve got you! As an elopement photographer, I help couples with the entire planning process, including finding the perfect vendors.
Brush Up on Marriage Laws
Every state is different when it comes to the legal stuff required to get married, so here’s what you need to know about Maine!
To get a marriage license in Maine, you will need to visit any town office in the state. You’ll get your marriage license the same day, and there’s no waiting period! If you’re traveling from out of state, make sure to give yourself enough time to get the paperwork.
An officiant is required to sign your marriage license, but you have a few options for who your officiant can be! You can hire an elopement officiant who is ready to adventure with you, or have a friend or family member do it! Getting ordained on ULC.org is quick and easy – so if you have a loved one you trust to perform your ceremony, this can add a personal touch to your elopement.
You will need two witnesses to sign your marriage license – but don’t panic if you weren’t planning on having any guests! Any of your elopement vendors can serve as witnesses, or you can even find someone on the trail or around the park to sign. Most people are stoked to help out!
If you have up to 10 people attending your elopement (including yourselves, guests, and vendors), you don’t need a permit to elope in Acadia National Park! But, for ceremonies that include more than 10 people, you will need to apply for a permit, which can be found here. There is a $50 application fee, but this money goes to supporting the park! You can apply for a permit as little $50 a day.
Book Flights and Lodging
Booking flights and lodging early ensures you can stay close to the park, and gets you the best prices! If you’re flying into Maine, the closest airport to Acadia National Park is the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport. It’s just a 12 minute drive from the entrance to the park. However, this airport is small, so some people choose to fly into the Boston-Logan International Airport. While it is a four hour drive away from the park, there are more flight options and they are usually cheaper!
To find lodging, you can look at Airbnbs, hotels, campsites, luxury resorts… whatever your heart desires! Having a place to come back to is amazing after a day of adventuring, so splurge on something that will feel like home! Check out these cottages for a cute rustic place to stay, or these cabins right in Acadia National Park!
Ready to Elope in Acadia National Park?
This may sound like a lot of planning, but I know someone who can help! Hint, hint… it’s me! As an elopement photographer I not only document your incredible adventure, I also help you plan it! Each couple is unique, and my goal is to work with you to create a wedding day that reflects who you are.
Ready to get started? Contact me!