| April 6, 2021

Getting Married in Grand Teton National Park | Leah + Alex

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A Full-Day Elopement with Family in Grand Teton National Park

Leah and Alex’s all-day elopement with family in Wyoming was stunning—the golden autumn colors perfectly matched the crisp weather, and the mountains were on full display for their ceremony despite a cloudy morning. Keep reading to hear more about this small wedding—Leah and Alex found ways to include their family in such an authentic way while still keeping their elopement stress-free. Plus, we share some details about getting married in this national park if you’d like to plan a Grand Teton elopement for yourself!

Sunrise Hike in the Rain

I arrived in Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) the day before Leah and Alex’s elopement to scout a family-friendly ceremony location. I met them for the first time this day, and they were heading off to their rehearsal dinner. We planned to meet the next morning at sunrise because they’d booked me for all-day elopement coverage—about 12 hours. 

When we met the next morning, the weather was terrible. We began hiking in the dark by the light of our headlamps—the destination was a lake not too far away. Thankfully, Leah and Alex were wearing casual clothes—the plan was to change into wedding attire after this hike, before their ceremony with family. So instead of worrying about ruining their suit and dress, they were jumping in the rain puddles and making the best of it!

We were drenched. Like, soaked to the bone. Leah and Alex embraced the chaos and enjoyed the opportunity to explore the inlets and peninsulas of the lake we hiked to. Throughout the morning fog was moving in and out—changing drastically how much of the view we could see from moment to moment.

After hiking back out totally soaked, they returned to their rentals to dry off and get ready for the wedding ceremony. I went back to my hotel for a short time and tried using the hair dryer to freshen up my clothes—mostly, I just crossed all my fingers for better weather during the ceremony. As I was driving over to their rentals to meet back up with them, I drove past the ceremony site we’d found the day before—the clouds were so thick none of the mountains were visible. 

Morning Ceremony on the Banks of a River

I went first to meet up with Alex, who was getting ready with his twin brother and family members at his rental. Then, I went over to Leah’s room, where she was getting ready with the other ladies. Leah wanted to do a first look with her dad, so that happened in front of the hotel—we all then got into our cars and headed toward the ceremony site. The place we’d chosen was a short walk down from a campsite that Leah and Alex had booked. To my relief I saw that the clouds had lifted while they were getting ready, and a full view of the Grand Tetons was going to be visible.

It was a gorgeous autumn day—the golden leaves contrasted against the blue mountains in the distance, and the river running between them tied it all together magically. The sun even came out for a while and brightened up the color around us in a magnificent display!

One of my favorite things about Leah and Alex’s wedding was how joyfully they embraced the unexpected. At one point during the ceremony, Leah’s veil flew right off her head and wrapped around their officiant—Alex’s dad was leading the ceremony. Everyone burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation! When silly things happen, it’s always so memorable—they were still laughing at it later during their dinner reception. When things don’t go 100% as planned, it’s like instant memories are formed.

Small Wedding Reception in Jackson, Wyoming

Leah and Alex’s ceremony otherwise went according to plan—they exchanged rings and heartfelt vows. Afterward, we all drove into Jackson for a late lunch in a private room at a restaurant. The room was the perfect size for this group and beautiful—the walls were glass and barn wood. The family pushed tables together so the whole group could hang out. I felt included, which was so sweet—it was clear this family was close! Everyone was having a great time telling stories, laughing, and smiling at the memories being made in that moment.

Leah and Alex had their first dance right there in the restaurant, and they each shared a dance with their parents. The deserts were incredible—Alex’s sister had made cookies and hand-painted them personally. After this shared meal, we headed back toward Grand Teton to hike just outside the park boundaries—Leah and Alex wanted to bring their dog, but dogs aren’t allowed on the trails in GTNP. It was petty cold out, but gorgeous with all the fall colors. We wrapped up the day with some fairy lights and then parted ways. GTNP is a gorgeous place to elope in the autumn and it was such a joy to celebrate with Leah and Alex!

How to Elope in Grand Teton National Park

If you want to elope in GTNP, we can help you plan out all the details! The park has a wonderful resource to read all about the rules and regulations, and apply for a permit.

You must apply for a permit no later than 2 weeks before your wedding date. Download the permit from the link above and email it to grte_visitor_services@nps.gov. Once the permit has been reviewed, there is a $200 fee that can be paid over the phone.

But if you’re in the earliest states of planning your elopement, don’t worry about the permit yet! First, you need to choose a date. We recommend reaching out your chosen photographer ASAP, because they will be able to advise you on the best date and season based on the weather you’d like to experience in the park. We often help our couples plan their elopements and small weddings from the very first detail

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Maddie Mae

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Your Elopement Photographers & Planning Consultants. We are Maddie Mae, Amber, and Tori. We're your photographers, your elopement consultants, your cheerleaders, and your go-to adventure buddy on the day you say your vows.

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