Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Grand Teton National Park
If you’ve been considering eloping in Grand Teton National Park, this is your sign to do it! Grand Teton National Park is one of the best places for an elopement if you love mountains, wildflowers, and a fun western town to explore close by. This blog post has tons of information and tips to help you plan the perfect trip, from best times to visit, where to have your elopement ceremony, where to stay during your trip and what fun activities to include in your elopement! It will make eloping in Grand Teton feel super easy and stress free!
Why Should You Elope at Teton NP?
If you’re still trying to decide where exactly you want to elope, here are a few ways to know if Grand Tetons National Park is the right location for you!
- The Teton Mountain Range takes your breath away.
- You love being surrounded by alpine lakes.
- Saying your vows in a field of wildflowers is a dream come true to you.
- You’re in awe of old historic buildings and structures.
- You want to elope somewhere that has tons of diversity in the landscape.
- You like the idea of staying somewhere with insane views but also close enough to a city to go out for dinner and drinks.
- You want to be able to explore the park for a day or two before and after your elopement.
- You want somewhere that’s not going to be crawling with people everywhere you look.
Ok first things first, why should you consider eloping at Grand Teton National Park? Well for starters, the Teton Mountains are insanely beautiful! There’s just something about how rugged and massive they are. And if mountains aren’t your thing, there are countless lakes, blooming wildflowers, stunning meadows, and even beautiful historic structures, all in the area. A really great reason to elope at Grand Teton National Park is the diversity it provides. There is a little bit of everything sprinkled there. It’s hard to beat!
Another great thing we love about eloping in Grand Teton is that it’s not super remote. Don’t get us wrong, you can definitely get into the backcountry and not see anyone for days. But if you’re looking for something easy to get to with a town close by, eloping in Grand Tetons is perfect for that.
The Jackson Hole airport is a quick 15 minute drive from the town square and only 10 minutes from one of the entrance gates into the park. The benefit of it being close to a town is that there are hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and even an REI close by for all of your needs. There are also loads of fun activities to include in your elopement day such as hiking, ATV riding, horseback riding, kayaking, biking, and whitewater rafting!
Where is Grand Teton National Park?
Some of you may already know this, but Grand Teton National Park is located in western Wyoming close to the border of Idaho. If you’ve ever been to Jackson Hole, you most likely have seen the Tetons looming in the near distance – basically just across the Snake River. It’s also just outside the south entrance of Yellowstone NP, which is another favorite park of ours.
Closest Major Cities/Towns:
The closest major cities to Grand Tetons are Bozeman,MT, and Salt Lake City, UT. Both being about 4 ½ hours away, it’s a doable drive in a day – and an incredibly beautiful one to boot!
You can also drive in from the Idaho Falls area, which is about 2 hours, and also a spectacular drive. Let’s just say that anywhere you go in the Jackson area is gorgeous! You’re likely to see elk and moose, and even have a good chance of seeing a bear!
How to Get to the Tetons:
Closest Major Airports:
The closest airport to the Tetons is the Jackson Hole Airport. In 2022, it was remodeled to have a new layout inside, and even a brand new extended runway. It’s still a very small airport, but after flying in and out of here you’ll wish every airport experience was this great! It sits right in the middle of the “Hole” – an old term for a mountain valley – and is flanked by the Snake River, the Tetons, Yellowstone, and the town of Jackson.
Idaho Falls also has a pretty great airport experience, but you’ll have to plan on driving a couple hours to get into Jackson Hole.
One thing to note if flying to this area, rental cars are not as plentiful around here, so plan ahead! We recommend using Turo if you’re struggling to find one on the usual platforms.
- Jackson Hole Airport: 15 minutes
- Idaho Falls Airport: 2 hours
How to Drive to Tetons
Getting to the Tetons NP is pretty easy once you get to Jackson Hole – basically you just have to drive towards the giant peaks! But just in case the peaks are hidden in the clouds when you arrive, here are a few tips.
- If you are in Jackson, find Jackson Square. You really can’t miss it, it’s in the center of town, and the telltale sign you are there are the giant arch ways of elk antlers on each corner. The famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is also right here in the square, as well as a ton of great restaurants, bars, and shops.
- From the square, you can drive north on 191. Right away, you’ll see the National Elk Refuge (home for up to 9000 elk in the winter!) on the right.
- Once you drive about 12 miles (and past the airport), you’ll see a junction for Moose, WY, and Teton NP. This way will take you up towards the peaks and Jenny Lake.
- You can also keep driving along 191, which will take you past Jackson Lake and up to Yellowstone NP.
This drive is gorgeous and you’re likely going to be rubber-necking the whole way trying to see both the mountains and looking for all the deer, antelope, moose, and bear along the way!
Where to Stay Near Jackson Hole
The town of Jackson has tons of places to stay, ranging rom Airbnbs, hotels, giant ranches, campgrounds, and even a hostel! These have a wild range of budget, and we can definitely recommend some hotels for everyone – but here area few of our favorites that we like to stay at:
- Anvil Hotel – causal hip hotel in center of town
- Inn on the Creek – Quaint bed and breakfast on Flat Creek.
- Springhill Suites – modern hotel located next to a parking garage
FAQ’s About Eloping in Teton NP
- Do you need a permit to get married in Teton National Park?
Yes. A permit is required for a wedding ceremony in GTNP, as well as all federal land areas. It’s a pretty easy process to get one though. We’d recommend having your elopement photographer help with this to make sure you have the right location, times, and other information correct on the paperwork.
- Can you get married at Jenny Lake?
Jenny Lake is a gorgeous spot!! But it’s pretty heavily restricted here due to how busy it can get. We can help you find a spot that fits the two of you though!
- Can you get married anywhere in Teton National Park? What if it’s just the 2 of us?
GTNP is pretty strict on the locations that are allowed for ceremonies. If you have a party of 12 or less (and this includes the photographer and any other vendors), you’ll have a much easier time finding that perfect location. If more than 12, the ceremony is restricted to one of 6 locations. See more about this here.
- Can I have my dog in Grand Teton National Park?
While you can definitely bring your dog into the park, they will have to be on leash. They’re also only allowed to be anywhere cars can go. We like the saying “paws on pavement” for this park service rule. You can always explore other options for a ceremony location, such as on forest service land, private land, or BLM land.
- How much does it cost to elope in the Tetons?
The price can really range here depending on your flights, accommodations and/or level of amenities. Aside from that, you’ll have to pay the application fee, park entrance fee, and the cost of your photographer and officiant. You can check out our elopement packages here, and we’re happy to walk you though them!
How to Elope at Grand Teton National Park
Eloping in Grand Teton NP requires a permit to have a ceremony within the park. The permit regulations have been changing quite a bit over the years, but have settled on the guidelines we’ll talk about here. So, it’s definitely important to check with the NPS site to make sure nothing has changed before you apply.
Teton Wedding Special Use Permit
Here are the basics of the Special Use Permit (SUP). We’d recommend always talking about this with us, or your photographer, before applying just to make sure it sets up for the best location and best time of day for lighting and timeline of your elopement.
- What does the permit allow/not allow? (e.g. rules + restrictions)
The Special Use Permit allows weddings and commitment ceremonies within the park boundaries. GTNP is pretty strict with the actual locations, but we’ll talk more about that a bit later.
- How far in advance do you need to apply?
We suggest getting the permit in as early in the process as possible. Since group sizes with less than 12 can go to so many more locations, we’re able to wait a little longer to apply, but no later than 30 days before the elopement date.
- How much does it cost?
Each application is $200. If you need to make changes, there is a $100 processing fee, so make sure it’s all correct before sending!
- What locations are allowed for ceremonies?
Larger parties( >12) are limited to eloping in Grand Teton at 6 locations within the park. But smaller parties of 12 or less (including the photographers/vendors) are allowed almost anywhere in the park! There is a list of restrictions still, but generally the restrictions are all developed areas.
- How many guests can come?
We like to limit our elopement group size to 12 so we can go anywhere. But larger parties must be capped at 40 people max to get a permit at GTNP.
- How much parking is available?
Each site will differ, but we always encourage carpooling to keep traffic and parking issues down. We also suggest keeping your elopement date to a weekday to alleviate any park congestion problems.
- Will you & your guests still need to pay the regular park entry fee?
Each vehicle entering the park will have to pay the entrance fee of $35. Another option is to get the America the Beautiful pass for $80, which allows you into all federal parks.
- How do you get your permit?
You can apply for the permit by following the instructions from the NPS website.
Teton Entry Fees & Passes
Grand Teton NP requires an entrance fee to come into the park. It currently costs $35 for each vehicle to enter the park, and is good for 7 days. Another option, and this is great if you are going to also go to Yellowstone NP while in the area (Do It!), is to get the America the Beautiful Pass. It’ll get you into any federally regulated land that has an entry fee, and is only $80. If you pay for Tetons and Yellowstone individually, it would end up costing you 70 bucks!
When to Elope at Grand Teton NP
When you start thinking about eloping in Grand Teton National Park one of the biggest things to consider is the weather. The best time to elope (and our favorite time to visit) is spring and fall, usually September & October and May & June. In the fall, the temperatures have dropped and the wildfires have usually stopped by then. And in the spring, the roads into the park are opening up and the snow is melting but the peaks are still snow-capped!
Best Time of Day to Elope in Grand Teton National Park
We always recommend eloping in Grand Teton on a weekday over a weekend. This helps to cut back on traffic and crowds to ensure you’re elopement day is more quiet and less stressful!
Sunset or Sunrise?
The age old debate! Lucky for you, both sunrise and sunset are phenomenal for eloping in Grand Teton. One thing we always ask is, are you more of a morning person or night owl? If you don’t like getting early, we probably wouldn’t recommend getting up before the sun on your elopement day.
Grand Teton Elopement Activity Ideas
One thing we love about adventure elopements, is, well, the adventure! It can simply be the adventure that you are beginning with this new chapter in your life, and/or, if it fits the two of you, you can include something that you like to do together. Hell, you can even try something new that you’ve always wanted to do! These always photograph so well, and are are a lot of our couples favorite photos from their elopement day!
Some activity ideas you could include:
- Kayaking on the String Lakes
- Riding Side x sides on a dirt trail through the forest
- Snowmobiling those same trails but during the winter after a fresh snowfall
- Going on a Horseback ride through the meadows and along fields of wildflowers
- Having a Picnic with your favorite snacks and views of the Tetons
- Biking through the park, stopping along the way for photos
- White water rafting down the Snake River
- Riding the scenic gondola up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain and then hiking down through the woods
Last Piece Advice for Eloping in Grand Teton National Park
The last (and best) piece of advice when it comes to eloping in Grand Teton would be to hire an elopement photographer who is familiar with the area. We’ve photographed numerous Jackson Hole elopements and the majority of them required us to be quick on our feet and switch to plan B due to weather conditions. So hiring a photographer who knows great places to go and doesn’t panic when things change is super important!
If you’re interested in chatting more about your elopement plans, we would love to jump on a zoom call with the two of you!