These Elopement Destinations Are as Romantic as It Gets
The pandemic taught us many things, but for engaged couples, the No. 1 lesson learned was patience. According to The Knot, 96 percent of couples had to change their 2020 wedding plans. For many of them, however, marriage wasn't so much about the big wedding as it was about simply being married to each other. Enter the rise of the elopement.
The beauty of the elopement is the entire experience is truly whittled down to just the couple. Elopements are intimate with a handful of guests and less of the "fuss" (and price tag) that tends to be associated with traditional weddings. Elopements also don't need a proper venue and can be anywhere in the world.
The world is full of truly romantic destinations, from Caribbean beaches to towering mountains, ancient cities and cosmopolitan capitals. Any and all of which make for a perfect location to elope, depending on whatever the couple values most for their big day.
Are you ready to tie the knot? Check out our list of the 25 best places to elope this year.
25. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
The ideal wedding location: Sapphire Point
Where to stay: Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Best time of year to elope here: Spring, summer, fall
Why Rocky Mountain National Park Is So Romantic
The wilderness of the Rocky Mountains is humbling, making it one of the most beautiful places in the world for a private moment to declare endless love. The park has 150 lakes, 350 miles of trails and 450 miles of rivers and streams.
The options are endless when it comes to choosing the most picture-perfect destination for your elopement.
24. County Clare, Ireland
The ideal wedding location: Cliffs of Moher
Where to stay: Dromoland Castle
Best time of year to elope here: April and May
Why County Clare Is So Romantic
County Clare sits on the westernmost edge of Ireland, home to the pastoral, rolling green hills and misty cliffs that have been romanticized in literature for centuries. The jagged coastline stretches for miles along the Atlantic Coast, providing serene, age-old views out over the fog-covered sea.
Villages and towns are flooded with the sounds of traditional Irish music, while pubs are cozy spots to snuggle by the fire and enjoy a pint.
23. Lake Louise, Canada
The ideal wedding location: The lakefront
Where to stay: Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Best time of year to elope here: May or September
Why Lake Louise Is So Romantic
A turquoise lake glitters like a jewel surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks in the Canadian Rockies.
The perfect, hushed place to share vows surrounded by wild, rugged nature, Lake Louise is the most romantic destination for couples who are in love with raw, mountain scenery.
22. Moab, Utah
The ideal wedding location: Arches National Park
Where to stay: Red Cliffs Lodge
Best time of year to elope here: Spring and fall
Why Moab Is So Romantic
Surrounded by nothing but towering red rocks and expansive mesas, the southern desert city of Moab is the ultimate romantic spot for adventurous couples. Eloping at Arches National Park means the gorgeous backdrop is built right in.
Couples can spend their days hiking the desert landscape, which also makes for fantastic wedding photos.
21. Maui, Hawaii
The ideal wedding location: Makena Cove
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
Best time of year to elope here: April to May, September to November
Why Maui Is So Romantic
Few destinations have quite the reputation for romance that Maui has. Just look at it. What could be more idyllic than lush, tropical forests, plunging valleys, sparkling beaches and ancient volcanoes?
Add to that epic sunsets and posh hotels, and it's easy to see why Maui is continually ranked one of the top places in the world for romance. It has elopement written all over it.
20. Yosemite National Park, California
The ideal wedding location: Glacier Point
Where to stay: The Ahwahnee
Best time of year to elope here: May and September
Why Yosemite National Park Is So Romantic
With incredible views, staggering mountains and adventurous hikes at every turn, Yosemite National Park is a place to find yourself.
Surrounded by the expansive wilderness, it provides a gorgeous backdrop to take the next big step in life — and you can guarantee that the photos will be epic.
19. Tirol, Austria
The ideal wedding location: Plansee Lake
Where to stay: Interalpen Hotel-Tyrol
Best time of year to elope here: Spring and fall
Why Tirol Is So Romantic
Austria is an incredible destination for elopement thanks to its fairytale castles, opulent palaces and historic architecture. It also has the Austrian Alps with jagged, snow-capped peaks, deep forests and crystal-clear rivers and lakes.
Tirol, up in the Alps, is much more budget-friendly than Switzerland as well as less touristy than other Alpine destinations, making it a beautiful, affordable and unforgettable spot to plan to elope.
18. Page, Arizona
The ideal wedding location: Horseshoe Bend
Where to stay: Amangiri
Best time of year to elope here: March to May, September to November
Why Page Is So Romantic
The red-rock walls that are carved up by the Colorado River make a spectacular backdrop that can make anyone feel humbled by nature. Horseshoe Bend is one of those iconic, visually stunning locations in the desert that has an inherent magic to it.
Not only that, Page is near Antelope Canyon, which is another remarkable landmark that makes for excellent wedding photos.
17. North Cascades National Park, Washington
The ideal wedding location: Diablo Lake Overlook
Where to stay: Salish Lodge & Spa
Best time of year to elope here: Mid-June through mid-September
Why North Cascades National Park Is So Romantic
Located in north Washington, North Cascades National Park is known as America's Alps. It's easy to see why, too — the mountain range stretches as far as the eye can see, making for a wild, rugged elopement location that is chock full of activities.
The park is great for everyone, from the intense hikers to those who just enjoy a scenic drive. The park is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry flower girl or ring bearer along for the moment.
Why the Florida Keys Are So Romantic
It's the United States' own little slice of the Caribbean, except it's very close to home. Get all those dreamy, romantic Caribbean visuals without the need for a passport or too much travel time.
White sandy beaches, languidly swaying palms, turquoise water, trendy restaurants and bars — it's everything you need for a warm, tropical Caribbean-style elopement.
15. Boise, Idaho
The ideal wedding location: Bogus Basin
Where to stay: Inn at 500 Capitol
Best time of year to elope here: Spring and summer
Why Boise Is So Romantic
Boise may not be what first comes to mind when you think about romantic places to elope. But the wild, natural beauty of the Bogus Basin just outside Boise is enough to have you convinced.
This hidden gem provides a fairytale backdrop amid rolling fields of wildflower and more than 190 miles of trails. The energy of Boise is about half an hour away, giving couples the best of both worlds.
The ideal wedding location: The Sahara Desert
Where to stay: Kasbah Tamadot
Best time of year to elope here: May and October
Why Morocco Is So Romantic
Morocco is an enigmatic destination that packs a punch for the senses. The energy of its cities is intoxicating, with fabulous hotels, restaurants, markets and local life.
But an escape out to the Sahara Desert proves to be a break from the energy and can throw couples into impossible stillness. The quiet, the vastness of the desert, the beauty of the golden sand dunes undulating underneath a bright blue sky are all beautifully romantic and private.
13. Park City, Utah
The ideal wedding location: Wasatch Mountains
Where to stay: Main & SKY
Best time of year to elope here: November, spring, summer
Why Park City Is So Romantic
The perfect blend of cosmopolitan glamor and rugged outdoors, Park City is perfectly positioned for couples who want to elope and experience a little bit of everything. At the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, Park City is one of the premiere locations for exploring gorgeous scenery.
And its well-heeled clientele also makes it one of the best spots for fine dining, elegant hotels and chic nightlife.
12. The Dolomites, Italy
The ideal wedding location: Lago di Braies
Where to stay: Adler Spa Resort Dolomiti
Best time of year to elope here: May to September
Why The Dolomites Are So Romantic
Endless fields of wildflowers surrounded by towering, snow-capped peaks — what could be more fairytale and romantic than that? The Dolomites are Italy's Alpine escape and the perfect spot to elope in nature with a gorgeous picnic by the many crystal-clear lakes.
Plus, the mountains are not that far from Florence and Tuscany, so you'll be able to hop around to some of Italy's other quintessential regions as well.
11. Big Sur, California
The ideal wedding location: Garrapata State Park
Where to stay: Post Ranch Inn
Best time of year to elope here: September to November
Why Big Sur Is So Romantic
California's Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most breathtaking stretches of coastline in the world. So it's no shock that it is a popular place in the United States for elopement.
Picture the white-capped Pacific crashing into the staggering cliffside, while the sun sets behind the waterline. Big Sur has everything from towering trees to wide, sandy beaches, offering different settings for the perfect, intimate wedding.
10. Santorini, Greece
The ideal wedding location: Cavo Ventus
Where to stay: Katikies
Best time of year to elope here: April to May, September to October
Why Santorini Is So Romantic
With endless views out over the Adriatic Sea, whitewashed buildings that spill down craggy cliffs and postcard-worthy unbleached beaches, it doesn't get more romantic than Santorini.
Plus, an elopement to Greece means that the honeymoon is built right in — did someone say island hopping?
The ideal wedding location: Landmannalaugar Highlands
Where to stay: Hotel Ranga
Best time of year to elope here: Year-round
Why Iceland Is So Romantic
The stark, remote, rugged beauty of Iceland is unlike anywhere else in the world. For the most unique destination (and most unique photos), the many backdrops of Iceland are stunning.
Picture black sand beaches, towering mountains, iridescent lagoons and misty seaside cliffs. The winter months are especially magical for the sightings of the Northern Lights.
The ideal wedding location: Isle of Skye
Where to stay: Marmalade Hotel
Best time of year to elope here: May to July, October to arch
Why Scotland Is So Romantic
If you weren't already in love with the Scottish landscape before, perhaps you recently became enamored thanks to the hit series, “Outlander,” based on the novel series.
Scotland and the Isle of Skye, in particular, is known for its wild scenery — rolling hills, plunging valleys, glittering lakes and thick forest. Combine that with historic castles, cozy cottages and centuries of history, and this is a spot where it's easy to get lost in love.
7. Central Park, New York
The ideal wedding location: A Treehouse for Dreaming
Where to stay: The NoMad
Best time of year to elope here: May to June, September to November
Why Central Park Is So Romantic
For as exciting, crowded and energetic as New York City is, Central Park has always managed to be a respite that feels worlds away. Eloping at A Treehouse for Dreaming takes that "out of the city" element to the next level, with its dreamy, private gazebo aesthetic.
After exchanging vows in the privacy of woodsy Central Park, couples can have their pick of world-class restaurants, bars and hotels at which to carry on the celebration.
6. Sedona, Arizona
The ideal wedding location: Cathedral Rock
Where to stay: Enchantment Resort
Best time of year to elope here: March to May
Why Sedona Is So Romantic
During the spring, the desert landscape of Sedona explodes in full bloom with gorgeous wildflowers. Set against the red-rock backdrop and blazing blue sky, this dramatic landscape sets the tone for a gorgeous, private, elopement.
It even has a rock formation known as the Cathedral, which could not be more poetic for a wedding.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
The ideal wedding location: Palacio de Pena
Where to stay: Memmo Alfama
Best time of year to elope here: March to May, September to October
Why Lisbon Is So Romantic
Lisbon is one of the most romantic capitals in Europe, but what makes it so special is that it is not inundated with tourists the way other European capital cities are. This leaves it with a lingering authenticity that can often be difficult to come across.
The city overlooks the Tagus River and is surrounded by vineyards and views of the sea. Its buildings hover over winding alleys that zigzag up into the hills. Every view is dramatic, and the city is alive with culture, cuisine and activities. And the fairytale town of Sintra, where the Palacio de Pena stands, is just a 30-minute train ride away.
4. Redwood National Forest, California
The ideal wedding location: A grove or redwoods
Where to stay: Carter House Inns
Best time of year to elope here: June to September
Why Redwood National Forest Is So Romantic
A fairytale wedding is baked right in when you elope to the Redwood National Forest. Surrounded by some of the tallest trees on Earth, it's easy to forget the rest of the world exists.
The colors of deep reds and sage greens set a natural color palette. Any elopement within a centuries-old forest is destined to be magical, and the Redwoods surely takes the cake.
Why Savannah Is So Romantic
Cobblestone streets, towering oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, tree-lined squares and dancing water fountains — this is just some of the imagery that comes to mind when you envision Savannah. The elegant city is all about Southern charm, with gorgeous architecture, excellent restaurants and a historic riverfront.
You can even escape to nearby islands off the coast of Georgia if you want to combine a little beach escape with your southern elopement.
2. Rome, Italy
The ideal wedding location: Overlooking the Capitol
Where to stay: Portrait Roma
Best time of year to elope here: October to April
Why Rome Is So Romantic
It's called the Eternal City — what could be more symbolic of marriage than that? But beyond its nickname, Rome is, well, Rome. It is home to the most beautiful architecture in the world, fantastic cuisine, beautiful hotels, art, history and so much more.
Stroll the historic, narrow streets looking for that intimate restaurant, or wander along the Tiber River and watch the stars come out over the centuries-old rooftops.
1. Mexican Caribbean
The ideal wedding location: Riviera Maya
Where to stay: Fairmont Mayakoba
Best time of year to elope here: November to April
Why the Mexican Caribbean Is So Romantic
Sun-bleached sand, electric-blue water, next-level luxury hotels and warm, tropical breezes — the Mexican Caribbean is romantic simply by nature. Couples can escape to the seclusion and privacy of luxury villas shrouded in thick foliage or hit the vibrant streets of Playa del Carmen.
Take side trips out to the jungle to explore the exotic ruins, or head farther south to discover natural gems like crystal-clear freshwater lakes and undeveloped beaches. The Mexican Caribbean is an adventure in itself and one of the best places to begin the next chapter of your life with the person you love.