The Complete Guide to Eloping in Upstate New York


New York Elopement Guide

Escape the hustle and bustle of city (New York isn’t all NYC!) and say “I do” in the picturesque beauty of Upstate New York! Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an intimate ceremony with your closest family and friends, eloping in Upstate New York can be an absolute dream! From breathtaking waterfalls to rolling hills and charming historical towns, you can find so many hidden gems! But with so many stunning locations to choose from, where should you start? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered! In this complete guide to eloping in Upstate New York, we’ll share everything you need to know to plan your perfect elopement day. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore the best places to tie the knot in this magical region!

How to Elope in Upstate New York

How to elope in upstate ny

So you’re ready to start planning your NY elopement and you’re wondering where to begin? Let’s start with the logistics of getting legally married in the state of New York!

Marriage license: Getting the paperwork is pretty straightforward but can vary from county to county so be sure and check in with the county clerk in the location you want. For the town of Catskill here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • You must make an appointment, and both appear with all the required documentation
  • A $40 fee is to be paid (Cash/check)
  • You must wait 24 hours before holding your ceremony
  • Get married by a certified officiant within 60 days
  • Send in the signed license and you’re done!

Officiant: As long as they are properly certified, anyone can be your officiant! It can be a friend, family member, or trusted vendor (like my amazing husband who can officiate your elopement if available!)

Witness: All you need is one witness to get legally married! Hey, that’s me! I can sign your marriage license!

Vendors: Having an elopement means you have more freedom to decide which vendors are important to your day. That can mean booking as many or as few as you’d like to make your day the most perfect for your vision! The most common vendors to book for an elopement are:

  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Hairstylist
  • Makeup Artist
  • Florist
  • Cake/Caterer

Permits: Depending on the location you choose for your elopement, there may be some additional paperwork needed to secure we are following the rules of the area! Don’t fret though, as your experienced NY elopement photographer, I’m here to answer all your questions and guide you through the process of acquiring the necessary permits!

When to Elope in Upstate New York

There are a few things to consider when deciding the best time to elope. Upstate New York is beautiful in all seasons, but spring and fall offer the most temperate weather if you want an outdoor elopement Spring can bring lush green colors and an array of wildflowers – a stunning background for your adventure. Winter can also be an incredible time to elope! If you love the colder temperature and enjoy the snowy wonderland

The second thing to consider is the crowds. While Upstate New York is relatively quiet compared to other parts of the state, summertime brings more tourists to the area. If you want an intimate elopement without any distractions, consider tying the knot in late spring or early fall in the off-peak or shoulder seasons. I do not recommend choosing a holiday weekend, and am particularly fond of a weekday for the most privacy at an elopement!

Bride walking up to groom at Hudson Valley elopement

The third thing to consider is your budget. Eloping can be cheaper than a traditional wedding, although that’s not always the case. Elopements are no longer just a quick, cheap way to get it done. Rather, they are experiences customized to each couple. Could be a few hours, a whole day, heck even a whole week! There are no rules around planning an elopement. But if you are on a tight budget, there are certain times of year when traveling may be less expensive around Upstate NY. For example, many venues and accommodations offer discounts for weddings booked during off-peak times like mid-week or during the winter months.

So when should you elope in Upstate New York? You can honestly elope any time of the year and have the best time!

Where to Elope in Upstate New York

Where to elope in upstate New York

Upstate New York has so many hidden gems for adventure elopements – from the incredible mountain landscapes to the serene valleys and lakes outside of the crowded city! There are endless possibilities for an intimate and romantic ceremony. I’ve got a covered when it comes to the BEST elopement locations in the state of New York! Here are a few of my faves:

  1. The Catskills
  2. Hudson Valley
  3. The Adirondacks
  4. The Finger Lakes

The Catskills

There are few places as romantic as the Catskills, and what better way to celebrate your love than by getting married in this stunning region? Whether you’re looking for a rustic setting or a more modern venue, the Catskills has something for everyone. Explore the mountain trails, or go for a wine tasting tour – the possibilities are endless for planning an amazing elopement in the Catskills

Hudson Valley

This region of New York State is absolutely gorgeous, with rolling hills, pristine lakes, and picturesque towns dotting the landscape. It’s the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and focus on what really matters: your relationship. And since there are so many amazing places to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to exchange your vows.

The Adirondacks

The Adirondacks offer a truly unique and breathtaking setting for your elopement. With towering mountains and pristine lakes, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular spot for couples looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are plenty of secluded spots where you can exchange your vows, or you can even get married on top of one of the region’s many peaks.

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes region is well-known for its gorgeous scenery, and it’s also a great place to elope. With countless vineyards, lakes, waterfalls, and gorges, there’s no shortage of romantic places to get married. And if you’re looking for a little more excitement, head to Watkins Glen for a truly unique wedding experience.

Where to Stay in Upstate New York

There are a variety of great places to stay when planning an elopement in Upstate New York. Here are a few of ideas of where to book your accommodation:

Gather Greene cabin wedding portrait

Foxfire Mountain House

Bohemian and relaxed, Foxfire is like your globe-trotting uncle’s country estate. A place where modern travelers can lounge by the stone fireplace on sheepskin rugs or on vintage velvet and leather sofas. It’s about conversation, community, and the right ambiance to create perfect moments.

wedding venues for your elopement in the catskills

Urban Cowboy Lodge

The spirit of The Cowboy has always been about freedom. Have a few drinks, play some music, take a bath and fall in love. It is a special place, an oasis for travelers, dreamers and romantics. We believe in the magic of human connection and the transformative power of design.

Places to stay in the catskills


A year-round destination, we completely renovated a historic motor lodge for you to gather with friends and family. Located in the heart of historic Lake Placid and walking distance to town, Eastwind Lake Placid offers a bar & lounge, vintage library, sauna, private dining room and pool.

Scandinavian designed lush cabins on Lake Placid, Adirondacks

Scribners Lodge

Rich in natural splendor and artisanal fare, the storied Catskill Mountains now have a sophisticated luxury retreat that perfectly embraces this serene wonderland.

scribners catskills lodge

This is just a short list, I have more ideas for the Best Places to Stay Catskills + Hudson Valley! In addition to a list of amazing Airbnbs around Upstate New York!

What to do at an Upstate New York Elopement

Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your adventure elopement, it’s time to start planning the exciting little details to fill your day! No longer are elopements just a quick, rushed event where you say I do and are done! NOPE! Elopements can be soo much more than that. You can take your time doing whatever you want – and take as much time as you’d like doing it! Whatever type of elopement you choose, Upstate New York is sure to provide memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are some ideas for what to do at your elopement in Upstate New York:

what to do on your elopement
ideas for your elopement
  • Soak in a tub and enjoy your morning cup of coffee
  • Start your day with meditation and yoga
  • Go on a hike with incredible NY mountain views and hang out by a waterfall
  • Book a tour; on a boat, on a plane, in a balloon, you name it!
  • Enjoy the lake life! Swim, kayak, fish, or lay out and relax!
  • Take an afternoon siesta after you’ve had a delicious brunch
  • Book a campervan and go on a road trip!
  • Go horse back riding
  • Play some records and invite your closest loved ones for a special dinner

Elopement or Intimate Wedding Venues in Upstate New York

Hudson Valley elopement at Gather Greene

Upstate New York has no shortage of beautiful elopement and intimate wedding venues. From rustic barns to stunning mountain vistas, there’s something for everyone. If having an elopement sounds like the DREAM – but you need to book a venue because of your guest count – no worries! Having an intimate wedding at a small wedding venue can be the perfect compromise. You can still find little ways to make your wedding day less-stress and incorporate personal and intentional ways that give it an elopement day feel!

Here are just a few of my favorite Upstate NY elopement and intimate wedding venues:

  1. Gather Greene
  2. Windrift Hall
  3. Hudson Valley B&B
  4. Mohonk Mountain House
  5. Cedar Lakes Estate
Gather Greene cabin elopement

Gather Greene

This unique cabin retreat and event venue is the perfect spot for an intimate elopement in the woods! Located in the Hudson Valley, you won’t find a cooler or more Instagram-able place to host your day or spend the night!

Windrift Hall Wedding Venue

Windrift Hall

Situated on top of a hill the 1795 historic manor house is surrounded by 14 acres of pristine nature. Overlooking a private pond, gardens, stonewalls, meadows, woods and a gently flowing creek; this venue is the most idealic spot for an intimate wedding or elopement in Upstate New York!

Hudson Valley B&B

Hudson Valley Rose B&B

Less than 2 hours from NYC, find Hudson Valley Rose Bed & Breakfast, a historic gem tucked in the woods and fields of Hudson Valley.  The 1847 Stone House has three rooms with charming amenities and lovely grounds to have an intimate wedding or elopement at!

Wedding Venues in Upstate NY

Mohonk Mountain House

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, this Victorian castle is surrounded by stunning gardens and offers breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains. It’s the perfect setting for an intimate and romantic wedding day.

Wedding Venues in Upstate NY

Cedar Lakes Estate

The estate offers both indoor and outdoor event venues with breathtaking views overlooking tree-lined lakes, rolling green hills and stunning mountains. Whether your wedding calls for grandeur or intimacy, this Hudson Valley venue could be the perfect spot for you!

Upstate New York Elopement Photographer

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