How to Elope in Vermont | Your Ultimate Guide on How to Elope in VT
Eloping in Vermont is so simple. In fact, did you know that Vermont is one of the easiest states to get married in? The Green Mountains offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, unique venues, and incredible access to outdoor recreation, making it an ideal destination for couples looking to elope.
But how do you plan an elopement in Vermont? Where do you even start? I'm here to walk you through the entire process of how to elope in Vermont. We'll cover the following topics which will help bring it all together into the picture perfect wedding day that you've always dreamed of.
- How to Get a Marriage License
- Who can Marry You
- When to Elope in VT
- Where to Elope in VT
- Choosing your Elopement Activities
how to get a marriage license
Getting a marriage license as a resident
For residents eloping in Vermont, you may go to the town clerk in either of the towns you reside. If just one of you resides in a Vermont town, you must buy the license in that town.
Getting a Vermont marriage license from out of state
Non-resident couples can go to any town or city in Vermont to apply for a marriage license. It does not have to be the same town in which you get married. The license costs $60, and is valid for 60 days from the date it is issued. During that time an authorized person must perform your wedding ceremony —otherwise, the license is void.
By law, you both must sign the license (make sure it's in black ink) and deliver the license to the person who will conduct your wedding ceremony before the marriage can be performed. After the ceremony, your officiant will input the date, location and sign your license. At that point, the license becomes a marriage certificate!
Your officiant must return the certificate to the town clerk’s office where it was issued within 10 days after the wedding. The certificate is not a complete legal document until it has been recorded in the town clerk's office where it was purchased.
I highly recommend getting a few copies of your certificate - especially if you plan on changing your name. You will need to mail that in or show it as proof throughout that journey.
To make it official, all you have to do is...
- Apply for your license ($60).
- Have your ceremony within 60 days of your application.
- Return your license to the Town Clerk within 10 days after the ceremony (your officiant is charge of this one).
- The clerk files the original and sends you an official copy of your certificate. And just like that... YOU’RE MARRIED! Woohoo!
WHO CAN MARRY YOU
Justice of the Peace
A Supreme Court justice, a superior court judge, a district judge, a judge of probate, an assistant judge, a justice of the peace, or an ordained or licensed member of the clergy residing in Vermont can perform your wedding ceremony.
A Member of the Church
A clergy person residing in an adjoining state or country can marry you if his or her church, temple, mosque, or other religious organization lies wholly or partly in Vermont. A clergy member residing in some other state or in Canada can marry you if he or she first obtains a special authorization from the probate court in the district where the marriage will take place.
A Temporary Officiant (this is your phone a friend option)
Any person who is over the age of 18 may register with the Secretary of State to become a temporary officiant to a marriage. A person who has filled-out the registration form and who has paid the registration fee of $100 will receive a certificate authorizing the person to solemnize a specific Vermont marriage. The individual’s authority to solemnize that marriage will expire at the same time as the corresponding license.
that's right! I'm ordained!
When to Elope in Vermont
Before diving into Vermont's four seasons, there are a few things to take into account as you plan out your elopement day. In order to keep things as stress-free, intimate and memorable as possible I suggest the following:
- Elope in a climate that both of you really enjoy.
- Consider eloping at off-peak times like weekdays and shoulder seasons when you'll experience less crowds.
- Make sure it fits in with your work and personal life - don't elope during your own busy season.
IF YOU'RE HAVING A HARD TIME DECIDING WHEN WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO ELOPE IN VERMONT, THINK ABOUT WHAT SEASON YOU'D BE MOST ATTRACTED TO.
Covered in glistening snow and icy cliff faces, Vermont is absolutely stunning in the winter months and a great time for both sleigh rides and skiing. Snowfall is best between February and March.
The flowers begin to blossom and the hills become lush with forests of ferns.
Of course, summer is busy no matter where you are, but you can always find a quiet corner down by the river or high up on a hill.
The foliage is unbeatable in Vermont, but it's also the most popular time to visit. Plan for sunrise or sunset and you'll be golden.
Where to Elope in Vermont
The Green Mountains are filled with beautiful locations for your elopement. From rolling hills to rocky mountain tops, riverbanks and waterfalls. There is no shortage of beauty in this wonderful state. I always suggest brainstorming a list of general locations that may be meaningful to the two of you. Are you skiers? What about a ceremony at a ski resort, or somewhere where the resort is in the backdrop? Maybe you like to fish or enjoy water sports - a ceremony by a river or lake might be the right fit.
The tallest peak in Vermont, Mansfield offers some of the most picturesque views of the Green Mountains. In summer months, you have a few options to get to the peak - you can either hike, drive the unpaved Auto Road, or, since it’s part of the Stowe Mountain Resort, you have the option to hop on the ski lift and take a relaxing ride up to the 4,395’ summit. In winter time, the road is closed but the lifts are always running! And if you like the idea of hiking, you can still snowshoe or skin up to the top.
02. Warren Falls
Not far from Sugarbush ski resort, Warren Falls is easily on the top of my list for a ceremony, portraits, or a picnic by the river. The water is the most gorgeous mix of blues and greens and is only a short walk on well maintained trails to get to. It is, however, a very popular swimming hole spot in the summers, making it best to visit Warren Falls at sunrise or sunset, when you can experience it with some privacy.
03. Lake Willoughby
Located in the Northeast Kingdom which is known for its vast trail system, Willoughby is a hidden gem! Sitting far up in the north eastern corner of the state, Willoughby doesn’t see the tourism that places like Stowe, Woodstock and Burlington often get. It’s quiet, peaceful, and absolutely beautiful! Standing on the beach at the south end of the lake, you look out at almost 5 miles of crystal clear water with massive cliffs (and trails that climb these mountains with overlooks onto the lake) to both the east and west dropping straight down into the water. And… a fun fact for you… this is actually where I chose to get married! Trust me - it’s the perfect place for a Vermont elopement!
04. Covered Bridges
Nothing says Vermont more than a covered bridge. Okay, well… except for maple syrup. Mmm! Vermont is home to more covered bridges per square mile than any other state in New England - over 100! Beautiful and historic, all with individual architectural character, Vermont’s covered bridges offer a unique scene on your elopement day. Whether you want to stand in it’s shade or on the banks of the river that the bridge helps you cross, they are found in almost every corner of the state, so it’s definitely worth at least a quick stop!
Choose Your Elopement Activities
There’s more to an elopement day than a ceremony and a few pictures. Fill your day with some fun activities that you love. Maybe it’s a hike at sunrise or sunset, a picnic by the lake, or going to your favorite brewery. Maybe you’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon or explore some Class IV roads in a Jeep!
Vermont is absolutely beautiful all year round, but some activities might be unavailable or harder to do depending on when you plan to elope. But with each season comes something pretty special. I've put together a few activity suggestions based on the seasons to help give you a bit of inspiration.
- Sleigh Rides
- Go Fly Fishing
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Boat Ride on Lake Champlain
- Blueberry Picking
- Enjoy a Maple Creemee!
FOR MORE INSPIRATION, HEAD ON OVER TO THE FULL LIST OF
MY FAVORITE ELOPEMENT ACTIVITIES.
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Adventure Elopements + Intimate Weddings
vermont, new england and the wild west