Just you, your love and your heartfelt vows — really, what more do you need? Many hotels and resorts are seeing a rise in planned elopements, with couples tying the knot privately or with just a few close friends in tow. We’ve found three spots offering elopement packages that include stunning locations, gourmet eats and even perks like horseback rides down the aisle — so you can have all the fun and memories of a larger event at a fraction of the price tag.
Lake Placid Lodge, New York
Photo courtesy of Lake Placid Lodge
This Adirondack resort — the only one on Lake Placid — mixes a rustic vibe of the great camps of the early 20th-century with plenty of plush amenities and top-of-the-line details. The resort’s 13 rooms and 17 cabins feature beds hand-carved by local artisans, wood-burning fireplaces, stone-floored porches and a décor of art and antiques for an overall feel that’s full of romance and nostalgia. On-property activities range from hiking, fishing and boating in the summer to skiing, ice skating and lakeside bonfires in the winter. The Lodge also excels at cuisine, serving gourmet meals made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients.
Photo courtesy of Lake Placid Lodge
Couples opting for the Elopement Package will enjoy a five-course tasting menu with sommelier-paired wines served in one of the private dining areas, along with the services of a wedding coordinator, ceremony setup and service, a wedding cake and champagne toast. Choose from scenic ceremony locations like the Lodge dock or Water’s edge — with can’t-be-beat views — or the Moose room or Fire cove, cozy spaces with wood-burning fireplaces. (Other locations are available for an additional fee.) In the warmer months, the package also includes a 20-minute Hacker craft tour of the lake for prime photo ops. if you want to bring some friends along, upgrade to a Petit Wedding Package (elopement packages start at $1,355; lakeplacidlodge.com).
The Resort at Paws Up, Montana
Photo courtesy of The Resort at Paws Up
No matter the style you envision for your wedding — black tie and heels, jeans and boots, shorts and flip-flops — the big, endless skies and mountain-topped scenery of The Resort at Paws Up make the perfect backdrop. And with its 37,000-acre sprawl, the luxury resort is seeing an increase in elopements and intimate weddings by couples seeking unique locations and customized activities, from riding to the vows on horseback to exchanging rings on top of a mountain — then rappelling down. The popular Elopement Wedding Under the Big Sky package isn’t quite so adventurous (you can upgrade for that), but does include lots of fun touches: three nights in a luxury honeymoon cabin (with fireplace and outdoor hot tub) or glam tent (with claw-foot tub and panoramic views); all meals and a private sunset ceremony on the banks of the Blackfoot River or near the Garnet Mountain Range, complete with horseback or carriage arrival and a wildflower-filled bouquet and boutonniere. After the vows, enjoy a private dinner — accented with floral arrangements and champagne — in your accommodations, along with a wedding cake with Western-themed topper. The package also includes a 60-minute couples’ spa treatment in the tented spa and take-home gifts like his-and-hers champagne flutes. Round out your stay with a host of included activities, like fly-fishing, hiking, archery or croquet or book add-ons like a hot-air balloon ride over the breathtaking expanse (elopement package rates start at $8,682; pawsup.com).
Mayflower Grace, Connecticut
Photo courtesy of Grace Hotels
Fifty-eight acres of woodlands and gardens surround this serene 30-room retreat, which has lured privacy-seeking celebrities, CEOs and even ex-Presidents to head two hours out of New York City and into rural Connecticut. Though a short drive from noted shopping and dining, the Mayflower Grace is a destination of its own, with an award-winning spa, gourmet restaurant and accommodations so cozy and comfortable, it’s hard to leave them. With few rooms, the property does get bought out for larger weddings, but it’s even more perfect for a small one, since you always feel like you’re at a private home — and there will never be too many other hotel guests around to intrude.
The Elopement Package includes a Justice of the Peace-led ceremony in the lovely Shakespeare Gardens (or in the library, depending on the weather), a wedding bouquet and a small wedding cake, plus champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival. Savor a private post-ceremony dinner in the elegant Muse by Jonathan Cartwright restaurant. And at the spa, enjoy a side-by-side treatment in a couples’ suite. On the wedding night, staffers will shower your room with rose petals, too; we suggest booking one of the Grace Suites, which have gas fireplaces, private balconies and deep-soaking tubs (elopement packages start at $895; gracehotels.com/mayflower).
Marriage licenses are required in all three states. Couples must apply in person and furnish proof of age, valid ID and, if applicable, a divorce decree or death certificate. New York State has a waiting period of one day.