As an east coast native, I love the east coast and truly believe it’s such a beautiful part of the United States!!! With the option of getting married in lush green forests, on the coast by the Atlantic Ocean, in the beautiful mountains in the Appalachians or New England, or in an urban setting either in a major city or in a smaller historic city…the options are truly endless!! That’s why I’ve created this guide on where to elope on the east coast, so you can explore all your options (or find a new location to explore!) on where to elope on the east coast. From locations, what to do on your elopement day, answering FAQs, and more! Get ready to absolutely fall in LOVE with eloping on the east coast.
Where is the East Coast?
The east coast has 3 “sub-regions” throughout it:
New England: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island
Mid-Atlantic: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia
South: Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
Why Should You Elope on the East Coast?
As I mentioned earlier, there are soooo many options on where to get married on the east coast. From major cities, to the rich history, to the lush green forests, to the beautiful mountains, to the pretty beaches…there is seriously a place on the east coast for everyone. Whether you’ve lived on the east coast your whole life or are wanting to explore the east coast more, you cannot go wrong with eloping on the east coast.
FAQs About Eloping on the East Coast
How much does a marriage license cost to get married on the east coast? It entirely depends on what county and/or the state you get married in; however, the cost is $25-90. I highly recommend you look up the specific city you’re planning on getting married in for the exact cost and expiration.
What vendors do I need for an elopement? The good thing about eloping is there are no rules as to which vendors you need for your elopement day. Some suggestions for vendors to hire are a photographer, a videographer, an officiant, a hair and makeup artist, a florist, a planner, a caterer, and an event designer.
How far in advance should I plan my elopement on the east coast? It totally depends! You can plan an elopement in as little as just a few weeks or you can plan an elopement at least a year in advance. Ask yourself these questions when considering how much time you’re giving yourself to plan your east coast elopement:
- How long will it take to get an elopement permit, if you need one?
- What date or season do you want to get married in?
- Are your dream vendors available for your date?
- Is lodging available?
Can we invite our family and friends? Absolutely if you want to! Elopements typically have less than 15 guests. One thing to keep in mind is your guests physical capabilities, especially if your ceremony location or activities of the day. Plan an itinerary for your guests so they have the expectations of what to expect on if you’re wanting to do something with just you and your partner. If you want to elope just the two of you, you can always meet up to celebrate with your loved ones either later in the evening, or celebrate with them before or after your elopement day too.
Best Locations for an East Coast Elopement
Major Cities in the East Coast
There are a ton of cities throughout the East Coast, but here’s some of the major cities on the east coast such as:
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- New York City, New York
- Washington DC
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Miami, Florida
Major Mountain Towns in the East Coast
Here are a few ideas if you’ve always dreamed of getting married in the mountains, especially during fall peak season:
- Burlington, Vermont
- Lake George, New York
- Lake Placid, New York
- Stowe, Vermont
- Woodstock, Vermont
- Davis, West Virginia
- Luray, Virginia
- Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Georgia
- Greenville, South Carolina
Major Beach Towns in the East Coast
If you have always imagined yourself getting married on the beach, here are a few ideas to get the ideas rolling:
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Annapolis, Maryland
- Assateague Island, Maryland
- Chincoteague, Virginia
- Wilmington, North Carolina
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Cumberland Island, Georgia
- Savannah, Georgia
- Tampa, Florida
National Parks on the East Coast
If you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a national park, here are the National Parks on the east coast:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- New River Gorge, West Virginia
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Congaree National Park, South Carolina
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Here’s a few other things to keep in mind when eloping in a national park:
- Prepare to apply for a special events permit to be able to elope in the national park
- Pay for a park entrance fee (unless you have invested in a year-long entrance pass)
- Research what you can or can’t do in the park (are pets allowed, throwing confetti, building a fire, etc.)
- Practice Leave No Trace (here is why Leave No Trace is important)
Notable Places to Get Married on the East Coast
In case you need even more ideas of locations on where to elope:
- Salem, Massachusetts – where the witch trials once took place
- Niagara Falls, New York – this is obviously such an amazing piece of nature to see and experience!
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania – one of the oldest towns in the U.S., which also has a big Amish population
- Helen, Georgia – it’s the ultimate town that looks like Germany if you’re dreaming of eloping in Europe without actually going there
- Orlando, Florida – where Walt Disney World is located
The Best Time to Get Married on the East Coast
Winter: In the winter time, it totally depends on the vibe and what kind of weather you’re wanting. If you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland, go further north in the New England area. If you do want to elope in a snowy area, make sure to check that the location is accessible in the winter. If you’re set on a winter elopement, but want a warm 70 degree day, then go further South.
Spring: If the summer is too hot and winter is too cold, but the fall crowds are too crowded, then spring is the best time to elope! Plan ahead with rain, wind, and temperatures by also packing a raincoat, rain boots, and an umbrella – although you may not need them and end up having a beautiful spring day on your elopement! The best places to elope in the spring are in the Mid-Atlantic and South regions. The weather is warming up, it is typically sunnier, and the flowers are blooming (think of the wildflowers in the mountains or the cherry blossoms in Washington DC!). In New England, it’s typically still cooler in the spring months (sometimes it can still snow as late as May!).
Summer: Again, depends on the vibe you’re wanting. The South is known for its heat and humidity (it’s like really really humid), so the best time for your ceremony is during sunrise or sunset. However, if you’re in the mountains and/or in the New England area, it’s cooler (but still hot!), not nearly as humid as the south, and beautiful with all the green leaves.
Fall: The fall is where the east coast truly thrives!! All the leaves are changing, especially in the New England region, although the leaves in Virginia and North Carolina are also in peak season. The weather is cooler in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions, which makes being outdoors much more bearable. The more North you want to elope at, the earlier in the fall you want to elope (if you want to elope in Maine, you want to elope in September or early October).
8 Activities To Do On Your East Coast Elopement
- Go on a hike. No matter what time of year you get married, there are sooo many trails to choose from with incredible views. There are lots of short and easy trails or there are more challenging and longer hikes! Even if you’re by the beach, there’s typically walking paths to explore too.
- Spend the day on the water. Whether you choose to rent a boat, a kayak, or a canoe, you can spend your day out on the water either on the Atlantic Ocean or by a nearby lake near your location.
- Go to a brewery or a winery. There are always breweries and wineries to choose from almost no matter where you go.
- Have a picnic lunch. Picnic companies are gaining popularity, so you’ll most likely be able to find one nearby! The picnic company usually sets up a spread for you and your partner – whether you want it up on a short hike or by a lake.
- Go skiing or snowboarding or snowshoeing. This is obviously an activity for the winter time, but a go-to classic! As mentioned earlier, there are a ton of mountains throughout the east coast to choose from; although New England is probably your best bet if you’re wanting to ski on ‘real’ snow!
- For the history lover, stay on or near a historic site to explore. There is SO much history on the east coast from the colonial days during the Revolutionary War to political history to the Civil War to World War II.
- Go check out live music. No matter what type of music you’re into, there’s a place for everyone! A lot of the time, there is live music at bars, lounges, music clubs, etc.
- Explore the local area. Go sightseeing and hit the tourist spots, eat at a nice restaurant, and be present in the moment together.
East Coast Elopement Photographer
Well hey there – if you didn’t know me already, I’m Emily! I’m an East Coast elopement photographer in North Carolina. I spend a lot of time photographing adventure elopements of rad couples around the world. I’m obsessed with all things elopements, hiking, outdoor adventure, and am truly so grateful that I get to call this my job!!!
If you’re looking for a photographer for your east coast elopement who will:
- Photograph your beautiful east coast elopement ceremony and activities through storytelling photos that you can look back on for the rest of your life
- Help you come up with your dream elopement day and itinerary
- Help you find activities in the area to make your elopement intentional, unique, and memorable
…then I’m your person!!!
Visit my website to learn more about me, get to know my approach to elopement photography, and then reach out to me if you think we’re a good fit. I cannot wait to hear from you and start planning your dream east coast elopement!!
Final Tips for Eloping on the East Coast
- Weekdays are typically the easiest days to get married. Depending on where you get married, crowds are usually more likely to happen to Friday through Sunday – whether you’re getting married in a city, on top of a mountain, on a beach, or at a national park.
- If you want total seclusion while getting married (and the ultimate best lighting for photos/videos), then sunrise and sunset are the best times of day to get married. If you’re planning on eloping on a beach facing the Atlantic Ocean, the sunrise is directly over the ocean too 😉
- Here are 12 Ways to Have a Unique Elopement
- Here are multiple examples on how to have an All-Day Elopement
- How to Plan Your Dream Elopement: Advice From Someone Who Eloped