September 27, 2021 /

How to Elope in Idaho: A Complete Guide [2021]

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Bride and groom run through a stunning field with a mountain view behind them, taken by Alexa Ann Photography; image overlaid with text that reads How to Elope in Idaho A Complete Guide

Idaho Elopement Guide

If you’re wondering how to elope in Idaho, you’re in for a place filled with endless possibilities! After years of working as a wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve come to the conclusion that Idaho is such an underrated state when it comes to elopement locations. With towering mountains, wild open skies, blue lakes, and rolling hills, the natural beauty in this wonderful state is breathtaking. 

To help you curate your elopement experience, I’ve made this guide on how to elope in Idaho. Your elopement truly can be whatever you dream! Here are my six simple steps for you to check off as you make your plans.

 

How to Elope in Idaho: 6 Simple Steps

Once you’ve made a decision on where to elope in Idaho, how to elope in Idaho becomes so much easier.

Step 1: Pick Your Location

 

Bride and groom strolling through the grassland hand-in-hand at Sawtooth Wilderness, taken by Alexa Ann Photography

 

There’s so many humbling places for you to consider as you figure out how to elope in Idaho – and they’re all a few hours drive away from Boise Airport or Salt Lake City Airport! Idaho’s landscape offers some of the most secluded & striking elopement destinations in this corner of our country. It’s perfect for couples who are searching for a richly diverse wilderness, endless outdoor activities, and easy access to incredible views. Below are a list of some of my favorite areas!

Sawtooth Wilderness

The Sawtooths would make the most incredible elopement location. Picture hundreds of  jagged peaks and dramatic skylines, hidden lakes, and blooming forests of evergreen trees. Close to the charming towns of Stanley & Sun Valley, you’ll be able to stay amidst it all, just a short drive away from this area’s epic activities. The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is filled to the brim with dirt roads leading to giant vistas, great hiking trails & off-roading opportunities. You can even admire the intricate ridges more closely by paddle boarding and kayaking around the many lakes nestled throughout this magnificent mountain range.

Boise National Forest

If you elope in this National Forest, you’re in for some of Idaho’s most classic scenes of beauty. This location has a plethora of hot springs, valleys cut by crystal blue rivers and forests of lush pines. Boise National Forest is only just a short 1.5 hours from Boise– Idaho’s largest city! You could take a hot springs tour, find a cozy airbnb tucked away in the forest, & commit your lives to each other surrounded by wild scenery.

 

 

City of Rocks

If you want to learn how to elope in Idaho surrounded by a surreal and dramatic terrain, then the City of Rocks is the place for you. This is one of my favorite Idaho destinations! This vast valley of granite rock formations feels like Joshua Tree & Yosemite collided into one landscape. The original California trail even cuts through this area and was mentioned in almost every immigrant account. People traveling would pass through its fantastically weathered granite formations completely mesmerized. The City of Rocks is also known for its world class climbing and incredible camp sites, so you could create a truly unforgettable experience climbing crags, sending routes & starting your marriage amidst a climber’s paradise.

Twin Falls

Twin Falls is a deep gaping canyon with a winding river that abruptly interrupts the seemingly never-ending plains around it. The dryer vegetation creates beautiful color gradients with the desert sage brush, lush green trees, vibrant water and grey canyon walls. Its beauty takes you by surprise with waterfalls roaring in several areas and the grand views from the canyon rim. Because of this, the water activities here provide a multitude of enriching elopement experiences– swimming, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.

 

Groom takes bride's hand in his and gives it a light kiss during their elopement at Boise National Forest, captured by Alexa Ann

 

Step 2: Choosing Time of Year

With a slightly milder climate than some of the elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest, you can elope in the the early springtime here before much of the snow has melted in other states! The temperatures will warm and the ground will burst forth with green as early as April. While the mountains remain a bit milder in the summer, the rest of the state will remain at 90-100 degree days. I recommend a late Spring or Early Fall Elopement, so you can steer clear of the harsh summer heat & wild winters.

Since the Sawtooths rest at higher altitudes, summer would actually be ideal in this area, as temperatures will be a bit chillier in the mountains. The City of Rocks is most enjoyable in September & early fall when the leaves begin to fill the valley with color. Boise National Forest would be perfect for your Spring Elopement, as the wildflowers bloom around the forest. If you have any questions about what time of year would be best for you, please reach out. I’d be happy to share my opinion of what would be most enjoyable for your elopement destination!

 

Step 3: Book Elopement Lodging

Idaho has great cities all over the state to help you access the beauty you want for your elopement. For the Sawtooths, the best access points are Stanley, a cute little mountain town, and Sun Valley, a charming town with amenities & a ski resort! If you want to elope in Boise National Forest, Boise would be your most obvious jumping point, however there are amazing rentals closer to the forest that would make for beautiful stays. Another great town is the destination of Coeur d’Alene, perfect for your lakeside elopement. The City of Rocks has some of the best campsites I’ve ever seen, as well as quaint cabins.

Planning an Airbnb elopement in Idaho would make for incredible memories, close to all the beauty with the comfort of a home away from home. I’ve even curated my own list of idyllic stays here!

 

Step 4: Hire Your Elopement Vendors

Your elopement is a hugely important day. These are going to be some of your most cherished memories, beginning your life together. That’s why it’s also hugely important to hire the right vendor team to help you execute your elopement plans. You need a team of people you can trust, people who will help bring your vision to life & come alongside you in this season. Your vendors are the people that will help you curate your elopement experience into whatever honors you best and celebrates your love most authentically.

As a PNW elopement photographer, I’m passionate about sharing everything I know and love about Idaho with you to help you create your most lasting memories. This state is special and has a ton of potential to speak its beauty over your own love story. I’d be so excited to help you plan your unforgettable Idaho elopement! If you’re looking for someone to help you figure out how to elope in Idaho and take some killer photos along the way, check out my elopement work!

Recommended Idaho Elopement Vendors

I’ve made a list of other recommended elopement vendors for you to consider when hiring your elopement vendor team!

 

Step 5: Choose Your Guest Count

One of the best things about eloping is your complete authority over your guest list. You don’t have to invite everyone – lots of couples choose to elope just the two of them! However, many include family or a few friends in their special day. Maybe you want to exchange private vows, but do a reception with family. Or you can fill your day with outdoor activities, just you and your partner. There’s room for both experiences in Idaho, but many of your elopement activities will revolve around your decision, so it’s best to choose before planning events!

Step 6: Elopement Packing list

  • -cold weather layers (mountain weather changes fast, even in the summer!)
  • -rain jacket/clear umbrella (for rainier days)
  • -hiking shoes
  • -gear for activities (canoe, paddle board, climbing rack & rope)
  • -snacks
  • -water
  • -thoughtful details (elopement signs, vow books, ring box)
  • -celebratory picnic & champagne (check out this elopement picnic box!)
  • -curated spotify playlist (background tunes for your day!)

 

Bride and groom pose near a lake during their elopement session in Idaho, photographed by Alexa Ann

How to get married in Idaho

Who would you like to perform your ceremony? When it comes to how to elope in Idaho, you don’t need a professional minister or government official – just someone who’s been ordained, which is really easy to do online. So who do you want to do the honors? You could hire a local officiant, or you could keep strangers to a minimum and ask a friend or family member to officiate. Some of the most fun elopements I’ve ever worked on have been officiated by best friends! Elopement planners sometimes even offer an officiant service in-house!

How to get a marriage license in Idaho

1. Pick up a Marriage License at a Country Recorder’s Office
2. You don’t need an appointment
3. Bring $30, your Social Security numbers, and a form of official ID
4. You can use the Marriage License immediately, so you could even pick it up the day before your ceremony
5. Deliver the signed Marriage License back to the issuing office within 30 days of signing it

Planning the Perfect Idaho Elopement

There you have it – the checklist for how to elope in Idaho! Not that hard, right?

I am so excited for you – and if you have any more questions about how to elope in Idaho, go ahead and get in touch.

 

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Collage of bride and groom posing for photos during their Idaho Elopement session photographed by Alexa Ann; image overlaid with text that reads How to Elope in Idaho A Complete Guide

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