Tucked away in the middle of the Pacific Northwest lies Idaho, the Gem State. It’s a fitting nickname as it’s a hidden gem sandwiched between more popular tourist attractions such as Montana and Oregon. So, if you’re here thinking of how to elope in Idaho to avoid crowds, you’re going in the right direction.
The state is home to snow-covered mountain ranges that can rival the grandeur of the Italian Alps and thick swathes of wilderness that are equal parts charming and breathtaking. The lush greenery on the white, snow-covered landscape looks like nature’s masterpiece that spans across the entire state. The Sawtooth Mountains, the most impressive of Idaho’s many mountain ranges, even adds a dramatic flair with its jagged snow-frosted peaks.
Best Places for an Elopement in Idaho
One of the best aspects of Idaho as an elopement location is that most of the venues are accessible to people of all fitness levels. You can pick and choose your setting depending on whether you or your guests can make the trip.
Here’s a quick glimpse into each of our favorite spots:
#1 – Stanley
People curious about how to elope in Idaho have probably seen one or two photos or previous elopements floating around the internet. Chances are, those photos were taken with the gorgeous Sawtooth Mountain in the backdrop. It’s easily one of the most popular elopement locales in Idaho.
You see, Stanley is home to the magnificent Redfish Lake. It’s an impressive alpine lake that, at a certain angle, can perfectly reflect the equally stunning Sawtooth Mountain range.
Where to Stay?
It’s also one of the most accessible elopement venues, as there are a couple of lodging options nearby. Couples looking for advice on how to elope in Idaho would naturally gravitate to Stanley because of the excellent full-service accommodations at the gorgeous cabins. The lodges also have beautiful restaurants and rental services for various outdoor activities.
If camping is more your style, you can also try the six campgrounds scattered around the lake. These give you beautiful unobstructed views out over the water.
What to do?
There are plenty of establishments around Redfish Lake that rent out equipment for outdoor activities. Canoeing in the great lake seems like a fun and adventurous way to start off an elopement day – maybe at sunrise?
Of course, the mountains are also perfect for getting lost in. Setting out into the rich wildness and maybe even taking a dip in one of the many hidden rivers and lakes could be an excellent way to cap off an intimate elopement.
#2 – Sandpoint
For couples who want a little bit more adventure in their elopement than the idyllic Stanley, Sandpoint’s assortment of outdoor activities can be very enticing. The venue lies on the shores of the impressive Lake Pend Oreille, the state’s largest lake. But, it also has the Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort that is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.
Where to Stay?
Like Stanley, Sandpoint is also an accessible location with a variety of options when it comes to places to stay. From swanky hotels, quirky BnBs, to adventurous campgrounds and RV parks, you’ll definitely find lodging arrangements that will suit your tastes.
What to Do?
There are plenty of things to do in Sandpoint that couples may love. Foodies will love the local restaurants and the city’s many wine-tasting joints, and nature lovers would have a great time exploring the Pend Oreille Trail.
But, if you’re considering Sandpoint, you’ll probably come across recommendations about winter sports facilities in the area because Sandpoint is home to the famous Schweitzer Mountain Ski resort. So, for couples who love winter sports, Sandpoint is the no-brainer elopement venue of choice.
#3 – Teton Valley
If you’re looking for tips on how to elope in Idaho, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re looking for places off the beaten path, away from the crowd. Those are the kind of spots that made us become wedding photographers in the first place! If that sounds like you, then the Teton Valley is an incredible option.
It’s one of the lesser-known regions in Idaho, which makes it perfect for couples looking to get away from tourists. But just because it’s not a popular tourist destination means there isn’t much to do for couples here. In fact, the opposite is true, as Teton Valley has a ton of fun and adventurous activities to offer in spite of it being a little further out!
Where to Stay?
Couples can choose to stay in the city or, if you’re feeling a little hungry for nature, you can also go glamping in the woods at the Teton Valley Resort.
What to Do?
Adventure-seekers and nature-lovers will love Teton Valley because there are plenty of activities available in the area. You can go snowshoeing, dog-sledding, and moose-watching here, as well as hiking and swimming.
Choosing the venue isn’t the end of the planning stage of an Idaho elopement. Those looking for tips on how to elope in Idaho still have to figure out how to make it all legal! Luckily, Idaho is one of the most relaxed states when it comes to marriage requirements.
Do We Need Witnesses?
Part of the reason why Idaho is slowly becoming such a hot destination for elopers is that it’s one of few states that does not require witnesses. So, if you’re looking for ways on how to elope in Idaho in a private, intimate ceremony, then you’re in luck. You can simply hike up to your favorite spot with a duly ordained officiant, and you can get married for a genuinely intimate elopement experience.
Who can Officiate?
Idaho requires a legal officiant, minister, judge, or governor to preside over elopements. In some instances, wedding photographers can also help you on this end so you wouldn’t have to look very far just to find one. Luckily, Off Path Photography’s own Ross is also an ordained officiant!
How to Apply for a Marriage License in Idaho?
Researching about how to elope in Idaho wouldn’t be complete without asking about how to apply for a marriage license. Fortunately, the state also made this part relatively easy to accomplish.
Marriage License Validity
One of the best aspects of the marriage license application in Idaho is that there is no waiting period. Plus, it’s valid for an entire year. This means you can go on to your dream elopement the second you get the license.
Its 1-year expiry also means you can use it whenever you feel like it. This is as long as you don’t exceed the validity period. Adventurous couples looking for tips on how to elope in Idaho spontaneously would definitely love this freedom.
The only tradeoff is that both of you will have to show up at the Recorder’s office in the region they wish to elope in as required by law. Also, remember that the Recorder’s Offices in the state often only take cash as payment for the license application fee. So, prepare around $30 for that.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Elope in Idaho
With its magnificent views, the state’s uncomplicated marriage license application and the accessibility of the venues, Idaho is slowly becoming one of the elopement community’s favorite states. All of these benefits make Idaho an excellent choice for couples who want to maximize having the adventure of their life instead of figuring out the nitty-gritty details of how to elope in Idaho.
So, now that you know how to elope in Idaho, the only thing left is to take that plunge, go to the courthouse, and finally get hitched. If you need someone to immortalize your elopement, just connect with us through our website. Other than our photography services, we can also give you our top tips on how to elope in Idaho.
Now, pack those bags already and head on over to Idaho for the adventurous elopement of your dreams!