January 24, 2022 /

How to Elope in Stanley, Idaho: A Complete Guide


Bride and groom sharing a kiss in the middle of a field with the bride holding up her bouquet; image overlaid with text that reads How to Elope in Stanley, Idaho: A Complete Guide


Why You Should Elope in Stanley, Idaho

Where do I start? Stanley is the gateway into the incredible Sawtooth Mountains, which are some of the most stunning & breathtaking natural beauties in the whole state. If you’re native to the state, choosing to elope in Stanley, Idaho is practically a no-brainer. Furthermore, if you’re cooking up a destination elopement, I’ve always said that Idaho is the hidden gem of the PNW.

When you opt to elope in Stanley, Idaho, you get the perfect balance of convenience & adventure. At just over 100 year-round residents, this little town is the real deal. There are soaring mountain views of snowy peaks in every direction, and you’re just a few minutes from the glimmering lakes and winding hikes that make this area so spectacular.

On the other hand, Stanley’s conveniently right on the I-75, and it has enough options for accommodation and resources to make it the perfect home base for your explorations. Choosing to elope in Stanley, Idaho opens out a whole world of wildness & unforgettable beauty. Truly a setting worthy of your love story!

Best Time of Year to Elope in Stanley, Idaho

Stanley is honestly magical for your adventure elopement year round. In the winter, the snow will cover the mountains and ground, but it makes for some of the most peaceful scenery. More of the businesses will be closed for off-season. However, the crisp air and quiet of winter will fill you with calmness as you breathe in the white caps on the trees and feel the crunch of the snow beneath you. If you choose this route, prepare for much colder temps. Pack hand-warmers, hot liquids in canteens, extra layers, and proper footwear, whether micro-spikes or snow shoes. This way your time outdoors will still be enjoyable! You also might want to think about a 4wd vehicle with snow tires for the ever-changing road conditions that winter brings.

In the spring & summer, the temperatures in Stanley run cooler than in the rest of Idaho because of its higher elevation. This makes it the perfect elopement destination. The vibrant wildflowers will start to bloom, and you can even include water activities in your timeline! Start your elopement with paddle-boarding on Redfish Lake, or pack a raft and hike to the many alpine lakes nestled in the surrounding Sawtooth mountains. Although, consider planning your Stanley Idaho elopement on a weekday since more tourists will be present during these seasons!

If you choose a fall elopement in Stanley, you’ll get to experience the vibrant color of the aspens as the foliage changes. Temps will be begin to drop, requiring more warm layers. Even so, it will still be manageable for whatever outdoor adventure you decide! The crowds will thin, and you’ll regain some privacy at some of Stanley’s most iconic views, such as Sawtooth Lake! Whatever you choose, your Stanley Elopement will hold incredible beauty, but I’d suggest you plan your elopement somewhere between June and September!


How to Elope in Stanley, Idaho: A Complete Guide. Couple sitting in the middle of the field and smiling during their elopement shoot with Alexa Ann in Idaho

How to Elope in Stanley, Idaho


Choose Your Lodging

One of the first things you want to think about when you’re planning to elope in Stanley, Idaho, is the place you’re going to stay. This will depend on your vision for the day! Do you want to keep things simple and tuck into a cozy hotel room? Take on the wild and celebrate your elopement in a camping adventure? Or curate a totally private & intimate experience by renting a whole cabin or home?

If you’re looking for a resort or a hotel to elope in Standley, Idaho, I’d suggest checking out Mountain Village Resort for somewhere with a hint of luxury, and Redfish Riverside Inn for a more low-key approach. For camping, there are so many incredible campsites in the Sawtooths! To be close to Stanley and all it has to offer, I’d suggest you check out Stanley Lake Compound and the campsites around the awe-inspiring Redfish Lake.

But, to get the absolute best experience when you elope in Stanley, Idaho, I’d really suggest that you actually get a whole place to yourselves. This gives you the best base for getting ready in the morning. Also, if you choose to bring friends or family along to your elopement, you can have an intimate dinner and celebration in total privacy and decorate however you like. Stanley has Triangle C Cabins you can rent out. In addition, you can look AirBnBs in the area to find more unique offerings.


Couple smile as they pose in front of the Spacious, Bright Cabin near Mt Rainier

Scout a Ceremony Site

When you’re planning to elope in Stanley, Idaho, it’s important to keep a compromise between planning and adventure! My advice is to plan your ceremony site ahead of time so that you and your photographer are familiar with it. That way you’re free to focus on what really matters. It’s so important to choose a photographer who knows the area. They can help you find the best spots! If you’re not coming with any pre-knowledge of Stanley– don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

For your vow exchange site, feel free to let loose & explore. The magic of the Sawtooths is in the miles of dirt roads open for you to discover, so we can get into the car, take a hike, and stop whenever a scene calls to you! I’ve also put together some recommendations for the top places to elope in the Sawtooth Mountains for you to check out.


Couple hold hand and stand in front of each other in the middle of the fields at Sawtooth Mountain, Idaho

Choose Your Vendors

Another important part of planning to elope in Stanley, Idaho is to pick local vendors to add finishing touches to your day. Your vendor team is truly going to bring your adventure elopement day to life. This is why picking businesses you feel confident in is key! First, decide what vendors are important to you. Then break down your budget. See where you’re able to spend money on your dream team, and where you feel like you need to DIY or sacrifice spending.

Florists in Stanley

You might choose not to have flowers at your elopement, but for me, they are one of the simplest ways to inject beauty & whimsey into your day. Whether that’s a simple bouquet or a selection of arrangements, getting flowers that really make your heart sing is such a fun part of any wedding. Check out the wonderful Two Hands Floral. She’s based a few miles south of Stanley in Ketchum, Idaho!




Even though you’re planning a more intimate day, it’s fun to include little events in your timeline. One of these can be cake cutting! If you want a gourmet, wedding-cake atmosphere, I’d say your best bet would be to go through the Mountain Village Resort restaurant. Or you can pick something up in Boise! I highly recommend Made by Madelyn.


You can order from a local restaurant, bring in a private chef, or even cook yourself. Whatever it is, make sure you’ve planned out your food for the day. Stanley has some adorable restaurants that have been around for ages. For anything a little more elaborate, pre-planning is definitely required.


A photographer who knows the area, who is experienced with elopements, who is passionate about telling your story in all its unique & precious glory. That’s the kind of photographer you want by your side when you elope in Stanley, Idaho. I would count it an honor to be that person for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and talk more about what your day could look like!


Don’t Forget to Bring

I’ve had the honor of capturing quite a few beautiful elopements, and so I have some suggestions for sometimes-forgotten details that are so crucial to take your adventure to the next level:

  • Hiking boots: make sure they’re broken in!
  • Waterproofs: clear umbrellas are super cute for photos on the off chance that your day turns out rainy!
  • A great playlist & a portable speaker – pretty self-explanatory
  • Thoughtful details: ring boxes, picnic blankets, table runners, candles, vases for flowers – all the elements to make it feel as special as it really is

For even more details, vendors, and tips & tricks, check out my guide on how to elope in Idaho for more information. It includes a whole explanation on how to make sure your marriage is legal! 




Collage of photos of bride and groom posing with each other in the middle of the field during their shoot with Alexa Ann; image overlaid with text that reads How to Elope in Stanley, Idaho: A Complete Guide

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