How to Elope in the Adirondacks | Alyssa Vanzo Adirondack Elopement Photographer

Eloping in the Adirondacks, New York

Your complete guide

I get it, eloping can seem intimidating

Unlike traditional weddings, there are no set of rules or guidelines for elopements and many couples have no idea where to start.

But lucky for you, deciding to elope in the first place is the most difficult part of the elopement process.

If you’ve already decided to throw away the rule book and elope, you’re already a hero for doing things your own way.

If you’re here, you’re probably thinking about eloping in the Adirondack Mountains of New York

Guide by Alyssa Vanzo - Adirondack Elopement Photographer

I feel so fortunate to have been born and raised, and currently reside, only three hours from the heart of the Adirondack Mountains – which in my humble opinion is one of the best places to elope on the East coast.

It’s easy to fall in love with this patch of land in Upstate New York. The Adirondacks are filled with charming little mountain villages and endless hiking trails and lakes – there’s always someplace new to discover.

It’s difficult for me to choose my favorite spots in the Adirondacks because every time I visit, I leave with a new favorite trail. However, I’ve distilled all my knowledge of this area into this guide to help you plan the best elopement experience ever!

Best places for an Adirondacks elopement

A mountain top

You can’t visit the Adirondacks without making time for a hike up on of the many (and nearly endless) mountain trails. There are at least 46-peaks in the High Peak region alone, as well as so many others in the surrounding areas.

Although there are so many hikes, many of them are far too strenuous or popular for a stress-free and enjoyable elopement day. Here are my top 5 locations for eloping in the Adirondacks:

  1.  Rocky Mountain
  2.  Mount Jo
  3.  Indian Head
  4.  Hurricane Mountain
  5.  Whiteface Mountain (for larger guest lists)

A river bed or waterfall

Similar to mountain trails and summits, there are nearly endless riverbeds throughout the Adirondack region. Really, you could just drive and pull off to the side of any road to scale the massive boulders that land between mountains, but instead of going in blind, here is a list of my top river beds and waterfalls in the Adirondacks:

  1.  Jay Covered Bridge
  2.  Roaring Brook Falls
  3.  Ausable River at Flume Falls
  4.  High Falls Gorge
  5.  Stag Brook Falls
  6.  Beaver Meadow Falls

A lake or island

If you’re looking for a real adventure on your elopement day, how about bringing along a raft or kayak and venturing out to one of the many mini islands in the Adirondacks? For a multi-day elopement adventure, bring along your camping gear and making a night out of it!

Not only can you ensure privacy and seclusion, but it will also make for such a fun and unique story!

Here are my top suggestions for lakes and islands in the Adirondacks:

  1.  Heart Lake, Adirondack Loj
  2.  Bluff Island, Saranac Lake
  3.  Cascade Lakes, Keene
  4.  Fork Island, Lake George (there are tons of other great camping islands in Lake George as well!)
  5. Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid

A field or meadow

  1.  South Meadow
  2.  Marcy Dam Trail
  3. *Bark Eater Inn (a wedding venue with a stunning field)
  4.  *Moon Meadow (private property, so permission ahead of time is required)
  5.  Marcy Field (not my favorite on this list, but it’s a popular option for larger wedding ceremonies as it’s flat, wide open, and very accessible)
Adirondack Elopement Packages by Alyssa Vanzo - Upstate NY Elopement Photographer
Tips for eloping in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Elopement Vendors

HAIR & MAKE UP IN THE ADIRONDACKS

 

ADIRONDACK FLORISTS

 

ADIRONDACK BAKERIES

Quick References

Best time of year to visit

Autumn

Best airport to fly into

ALB

Best way to get around

Car

Best place to stay

Airbnb

There are no entrance fees, but you may need a permit

As of May 2021, New York State has put into effect a no-cost polit permit system for parking lots and trailheads in the Adirondack Mountain reserve area in Keene Valley. This means popular hikes such as Indian Head, Rainbow Falls, and Noonmark trail will now require a permit, at no cost, to hike.

Reservations may be made up to two weeks in advance at the Hike AMR website.

No other hiking or photography permits are required in the Adirondacks. However, some trails are accessed by lots with daily parking fees.

Don’t forget, you’re in the mountains.

Although the Adirondacks aren’t as high in elevation as say the Rocky Mountains, they are still mountains! This means many trails in the park will be under ice until near mid-June and after mid-October. Heavy snowfall and cold winds can be expected in the winter, and many trails may be inaccessible.

The best time of year to visit the Adirondacks is August through October. Not only is the air warm and the trails dry, but the famous fall colors begin to show. In fact, many people travel from all over New York State (as well as the rest of the country and world) to see the rich shades of orange, red, and yellow take over the rolling mountain ranges. It’s magical, to say the least.

Autumn is also the best time for photography in New York State. The vibrant greens begin to calm and the sun is lower in the sky, all making for much softer and warmer lighting.

Again, you’re in the mountains, far from city life.

Much of the 6-million acres that make up the Adirondack region is made up of small, primitive towns. Even the bigger + more touristy towns such as Lake George, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Old Forge have a cozy and rustic vibe. However, amenities such as grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and gas stations are plentiful and easy to access.

Although there are tons of options for camping, there aren’t many hotel or motel options in the Adirondacks. The ones that do exist are small and simple, and you’re likely to find Airbnb’s or cabin rentals to be much more charming and homey.

*Wherever you stay, if you plan on have photos taken while you’re getting ready, I highly recommend looking for a space with plenty of natural lighting (windows coming from multiple faces) and bright, open space. Look for accommodations with high ceilings, open floor plans, and as much white/neutral wall space as possible. All of these elements will work together to ensure clean, timeless photos.

 

To travel throughout the Adirondacks, I highly recommend having a car. With all the mountain roads, I do not recommend biking from place to place, and walking won’t get you very far at all. Public transportation via subway, bus, taxi, or uber is virtually non-existent.

If you are coming from out of state and must rent a car, I recommend pick up either in Syracuse, Albany, or within the Hudson Valley – all where you are only an hour or two away from major hikes and attractions.

Don’t rely on your cell phone. Cell service is very spotty in the park, so be sure to download any necessary driving and hiking maps and communicate your where abouts with loved ones ahead of time, if needed.

Prepare for car sickness. While you don’t have to concern yourself with elevation sickness, many of the roads through the Adirondacks are narrow and windy with many hairpin turns, which can cause car sickness.

Dress for the occasion. Temperatures can vary greatly from early morning through high afternoon. If you’re eloping in the Adirondacks in the early morning or after sunset, I recommend base layers and jackets. You may also want to come prepared with hand warmers for your shoes and pockets. If you plan on visiting in the Spring or late fall, you will also want to bring crampons or micro-spikes for hiking!

Head out early. You don’t have to worry about much traffic in the Adirondacks, but the trailheads will fill up fast in the warmer months. For a sunrise elopement, I recommend arriving to the park entrance no later than 7:00am and giving yourself plenty of extra time in case of traffic or limited parking.

Stay out late. The visibility of the night sky in this park is wild… even on an average night you can see the milky way. Don’t be afraid to stay out until mid-night (or later) to really take it all in.

Watch out for bugs and bears. Black bears and black flies are prevalent in the Adirondacks, especially in the Spring and Summer. Be sure to come prepared with a bear whistle or walking stick, as well as reliable bug spray!

Do your wildlife research before visiting and be prepared in case of an encounter with bears.

Questions about eloping in the Adriondacks?

I'm sure you have other questions too

But don't worry, I have answers.

How can we legally marry on our elopement day?

To legally marry in the state of New York requires a valid New York marriage license, an authorized officiant, and two witnesses. For those who invite a few loved ones, you could ask one of them to officiate your ceremony and another to act as your witness. If it’s just the two of you, I’m happy to help you find an officiant and act as your witness! Or, I am also ordained through the Universal Life Church and could act as your officiant. In regards to a witness, there are usually plenty of people around the park (such as another visitor or one of your vendors) who I’m sure would be happy to help you out.

For out of state couples, I recommend taking care of all the legal bits back at home and saving your experience in the Adirondacks for your ceremony and celebration.

Can our elopement include guests like friends and family?

Of course – I mean it when I say “your day, your way”. Eloping doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the presence and support of loved ones in favor of a beautiful and unique experience. There are plenty of ways to get your loved ones involved and get the best of both worlds.

You could have a “rehearsal dinner” or a reception. You could bring them along when you shop for your dress or when you sign your marriage license. You could even invite a few of your closest loved ones to join you and make it an intimate, destination wedding. The options are endless.

What happens during the planning phase?

This is where the fun starts. Once you book, I will work closely with you to help find your perfect location(s), recommend vendors, brainstorm styling ideas, and more. We will work together to craft the day of your dreams, keeping in mind logistics such as guests, weather, sun position and of course, your priorities.

All Adirondack Elopement Packages are customizable and includes bespoke planning assistance. When working with me, you almost get a photographer and planner all in one, which I think is pretty cool.

Ready to elope in the Adirondacks?

Adirondack Elopement Packages

ALL-INCLUSIVE 2-DAY 5500

  • two full day elopement coverage
  • 3-5 minute highlight video created with vintage Super 8 film
  • online gallery and slideshow
  • elopement planning assistance: helping you find a location, vendors, and create your elopement day itinerary
  • all travel fees included

ALL-INCLUSIVE FULL DAY 4500

  • one full day elopement coverage
  • 3-5 minute highlight video created with vintage Super 8 film
  • online gallery and slideshow
  • elopement planning assistance: helping you find a location, vendors, and create your elopement day itinerary
  • all travel fees included

FULL DAY COVERAGE 3500

  • one full day elopement coverage
  • online gallery and slideshow
  • elopement planning assistance: helping you find a location, vendors, and create your elopement day itinerary
  • all travel fees included

HALF DAY COVERAGE 2500

  • up to 5 hours elopement coverage
  • online gallery and slideshow
  • elopement planning assistance: helping you find a location, vendors, and create your elopement day itinerary
  • all travel fees included

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Best places to elope in the Adirondacks
Eloping in the Adirondack Mountains
How to Elope in the Adirondacks
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