If you are planning a destination wedding, you may be surprised to learn that many national parks offer wedding services. With some of the country’s most stunning landscapes, these preserved destinations offer a beautiful backdrop for your big day. The trick with planning a park’s wedding, like all weddings, is to plan in advance. Here are a few tips to consider along the way:
- Call the park you are considering and ensure they allow weddings. Be sure to ask how many guests they will allow
- Get a marriage license from the state in which the park is located.
- Parks require a Special Use Permit for weddings. You will need to include the name of bride and groom, date and time of wedding ceremony, the number of people attending, name of the responsible party, preferred location within the park, name of the person performing the ceremony, and contact information.
It’s that simple! While many parks allow weddings, here are some of the top picks for park destination weddings.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park park offers cozy settings full of chestnut paneling, stone chimneys, and oak floors, as well as outdoor settings with a mountain backdrop. The park specializes in wedding parties of 100 people or less, offering ceremony space, full-service restaurants, and more. Guests will have no problem enjoying the stunning surrounding nature, as well as activities like hiking, horseback riding, and kid-friendly things to do.
The park does charge for your Special Use Permit application.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is simply one of the most beautiful places to get married. With wedding sites like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall, the park boasts some of the most extraordinary places to exchange vows. The Sierra settings for romantic ceremonies include rich, historic hotels like The Ahwahnee and the Wawona Hotel, as well as warm park accommodations at Curry Village and Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.
Weddings may be scheduled up to a year in advance and will require a Special Use Permit.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Picture exchanging vows on a mountain top surrounded by the snow-covered Rocky Mountains or in a chapel decorated with wildflowers. Rocky Mountain National Park is for sure one prettiest destination you can find. For small, intimate weddings, guests may enjoy a short hike to a secluded area for the wedding, while larger groups can party in a variety of park locations like picnic areas, campgrounds, lodges, and open areas.
Ceremonies in Rocky Mountain National Park are authorized through a Special Use Permit that requires a non-refundable administrative fee. Remember that normal park entrance fees will apply for all vehicles attending the ceremony. Encourage guests to carpool or take a shuttle into the park.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park boasts some of the most beautiful lodges of having a weddings. The Lake Quinault Lodge is the perfect setting for a romantic lakeside celebration, offering an indoor grand ballroom and an outdoor gazebo perfect for ceremonies. Kalaloch Lodge is also an unforgettable setting for a wedding, offering tented outdoor pavilions that hold up to 150 guests, or ocean-view banquet rooms for intimate gatherings of up to 35 guests. Lastly, the Lake Crescent Lodge accommodates a wide range of party sizes and is flexible from simple-yet-comfortable rooms to cozy multiple-room cabins with roaring fireplaces.
Olympic National Park requires a Special Use Permit. Contact the park at (360) 565-3090.
Acadia National Park
With its inspiring vistas and natural setting, Acadia National Park is well suited for small and informal ceremonies. While the park does not allow receptions, unless they are held at a park concession facility, Acadia is situated in Bar Harbor, one of the most adorable towns to visit. There are plenty of restaurants, inns, cottages, and other locations to party.
Permits are required for weddings and commitment ceremonies in the park, with the exception of simple ceremonies of up to 10 people that meet certain restrictions. There is a nonrefundable permit application fee. Receptions are not permitted in the park unless they are held at a park concession facility.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park is perfect for those planning an intimate, small-to-moderate size reception. Imagine exchanging “I do” surrounded by the natural beauty of the woods. For those looking for an indoor wedding, the park offers banquet rooms with spectacular views of the woods and surrounding mountain ranges that accommodate 15 to 80 wedding guests.
A Special Use Permit is required for any wedding held at any location within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The permit application fee is non-refundable while the permit fee is an additional charge.