9 National Parks Where You Can Get Married for Practically Free
From majestic purple mountains to a rainbow of lush fall foliage, national parks offer up the full spectrum of seasonal destinations for getting hitched. Brides searching for a truly unique and unforgettable experience can take their pick: from Montana's stunning Glacier National Park to Virginia's sprawling Shenandoah National Park, there's an array of options to appeal to brides of all types.
Plus, the price point is equally as pleasing as the sweeping panoramic views. However, pulling off a plein-air ceremony requires careful consideration of everything from special permits to in-depth weather analysis. Adequate planning time and booking is a crucial consideration if you have your heart set on more popular destinations such as Yosemite National Park, which can book out quickly.
Dreaming of holding your nuptials in nature? Ahead, we’ve rounded up our top picks for national park weddings. Get swept away by the raw natural beauty of these top destinations.
Acadia National Park
While the park itself does only allows receptions at the concession facility, the location is nestled into Bar Harbor. The super affordable town offers up a string of inns, restaurants, and locations to play host. Permits are required for ceremonies in the park consisting of parties of 10 or more. The non-refundable application fee is $50.
Glacier National Park
Looking to host a reception in a secluded meadow surrounded by pine trees? The spectacularly idyllic Glacier Natural Park can oblige. Panoramic views of the Montana peaks and the comfort of the Great Northern Resort situated just down the road makes for a turnkey combination of luxury and nature. This national park’s wedding coordination packages are included for stress-free outsourcing of all the little details.
Grand Teton National Park
The dramatic Inspiration Point is flanked by a trifecta view of Jenny Lake, Grand Teton, and Mount St. John. Weddings are often held at the Signal Mountain Summit, which lends for incredible photo ops and unique vistas. The Chapel of the Transfiguration and Chapel of the Sacred Heart provides indoor options complete with equally beautiful views of the Teton Peaks. To hold a ceremony in the park, a special use permit is required and entrance fee policies apply. The permit application fee is a non-refundable $100, and there are a few fine-print restrictions you’ll want to review with the park administration.
Olympic National Park
If a gorgeous lakeside lodge is your vibe, look no further that this Washington gem. The park has multiple lodge locations to choose from depending on party size. Kalaloch Lodge features tented outdoor pavilions for up to 150 guests or a selection of ocean-view banquet rooms for smaller groups. Lake Crescent Lodge offers up charming multiple-room cabins. Lake Quinault Lodge is the resident romantic lakeside gazebo and grand ballroom. Prices and policies vary.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Ideal for couples planning an intimate, small to moderate fete, the park offers banquet rooms to accommodate 15 to 80 guests. The facilities are naturally outfitted with beyond breathtaking views of woods and mountain ranges. A special-use permit is required for events held at any location within the park. The application fee is a non-refundable $59. The permit fee will run you an additional charge of $125.
Shenandoah National Park
This Virginia retreat specializes in ceremonies and events of 100 people or less. With kid-friendly activities available from horseback riding to hiking, it is a solid choice for those looking to keep guests thoroughly entertained. The park itself contains a ceremony space, restaurants, and plenty of outdoor settings with crazy beautiful mountain backdrops. Note that a special-use permit is required, and the Sky Land resort and Big Meadows lodge carry their own event rental fees.
Virgin Islands National Park
For a more exotic locale, the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John is the ultimate destination for a barefoot-on-the-beach affair. Trunk Bay Beach, ranked consistently among the top 10 beaches in the world, is all crystal blue waters and white sand heaven. In addition to the $50 permit fee, there is a $150 cost recovery fee for groups of 10 or more. A permit is required regardless of the number of guests in attendance.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is the ultimate in dramatic natural settings. It also offers couples the rarefied privilege of getting married in a chapel within park grounds. Iconic, gorgeous landmarks abound from Half Dome and El Capitan to Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls. Accommodations are easy, with a slew of historic hotels and lodges on site. Given its well-deserved popularity, you’ll want to book your national park wedding well in advance (up to a year). The special-use permit cost is $150 with an additional $50 fee per hour if event monitoring is required.
Have a favorite park locale? Tell us in the comments below.