Acadia has so much to offer, and in my opinion, one of the most gorgeous places in all of New England. Acadia National Park has so many beautiful elopement spots. You have pine trees bordering gorgeous rugged cliffs, mountains, forest, rocky beaches, and beautiful ocean views. I wanted to elope to Acadia myself actually! Sooo badly! But at the time when Covid was first being talked about, Maine wasn’t allowing Massachusetts residents enter into Maine.
Not sure if you want mountains, or the ocean? Since Acadia has both, it might be the perfect place for you. Whenever a couple says they love the dramatic foggy weather of Scotland but want to stay in the U.S., I’ll usually recommend Acadia. Acadia National Park really is one of the most incredible places on the east coast! If you were already convinced that Acadia was the #1 place for the two of you to elope to, you’re probably wondering how to elope to Acadia National Park, and that’s the whole reason why I put this blog together!
How to Elope in Acadia National Park
As always, I want to get straight to the point. Eloping in Acadia National Park is pretty easy. You just need is a marriage license, an officiant, two witnesses, a park pass, and any necessary permits. But before I get started, there might be something else you want to know before reading all this information. If you plan on having over 10 people, then you will send in a permit application along with a $50 non refundable fee. If the plan is to have more than 20 people attend your elopement, there are some parts of the park you won’t be able to hold your ceremony. Check out the max for different sites here
MAINE MARRIAGE LICENSE
If you live in Maine, you can apply for your marriage license at the town office nearest you. If you both don’t live in Maine, head over to the town office nearest you, or if you’re visiting from out of New England, just apply for your marriage license when you fly in for your elopement with the town of Bar Harbor. Here is their step by step instructions
When you go to the town office, the both of you will need to be present. You’ll need to bring photo identification, such as your driver’s license, and payment for the fee. There is no waiting period after you get your marriage license in Maine, that’s why I suggested you apply at Bar Harbor once you both fly out here. The marriage license is valid for 90 days, so make sure you elope within 90 days of getting your license!
**If you mail the Intentions form, the office may prepare your Marriage License for when you both come in to sign it. Call just to make sure that you have everything down!
Important: If the person marrying you is a friend, or someone who doesn’t regularly do weddings, they will be the one who is in charge of filing it with the town that you issued it in.
To read more on the entire process, just head to this page here.
OFFICIANT & WITNESSES
Now it’s time to find your Officiant. Listed below are the people who can preform your ceremony:
- Ordained ministers of the gospel
- A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body
- Judges or justices (Only for Maine residents)
- Maine Notaries – Search for Maine Notaries by Location or Name
- Lawyers admitted to the Maine Bar (residents of Maine only)
- Here’s a list of who can preform your ceremony
**Make sure that your officiant and two additional witnesses must sign the marriage license in only black ink. Maine does not have Justices of the Peace, and does not allow Out-of-state Notaries and Justices of the Peace to officiate weddings in Maine. Do not confuse this with having someone from out of state preforming your ceremony. (They just can’t be an out of state notary, or out of state Justices of the Peace)
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK PERMITS
Now this is super important too! You don’t want to be having your wedding, and a park ranger comes up asking about permits, and getting a ticket because you didn’t have one.
Great news though! Elopements in Acadia National Park with less than 10 participants (Including your officiant and photographer), do not require a permit. I would still call to ask. You can check this out for more details.
If you plan to elope in Acadia National Park with more than ten people, you will need a permit. ** Permits might not be approved during holidays, or times when there is a lot of tourism such as Labor Day weekend, or festivals, and possibly during the summer for curtain locations. Even if you have a permit, visitors can still come and go at the location you’re planning your ceremony, so keep in mind that sunrise, or weekdays are the best.
You’ll need to submit an application for Special Use Permit, with a $50 application fee at least 10 days before your elopement. It’s better not to wait till the last minute. Sign, and keep the approved permit application with you during your elopement.
Remember how I said there’s a max of guests you can have at curtain places in Acadia? Keep this in mind in case any of these locations were your go-to.
The NPS website has included a list of restrictions & rules that must always be followed. Here’s a few important examples: No using props (Signs, chairs, arches, ect) I’ve seen photos where there was an arch, and if that’s what you’re planning, I would call to ask. But so far, it’s a no. No throwing rice, flower petals, birdseeds, or anything else, natural or fake. Also always practice Leave No Trace, and park only in designated areas.
Keep up with any updates! Check out Acadia’s guidelines and permits here.
Find & Hire Your Acadia National Park Elopement Vendors
Choosing the right vendors is important for your elopement. You might just want a photographer, and floral, or maybe you want a picnic, or perhaps a private chief for all your guests back at your airbnb. If you’re looking for an elopement photographer to document your Acadia elopement, reach out to us here! I love Acadia, and small weddings and elopements are my favorite.
When to Have an Acadia National Park Elopement
I personally love moody weather, and when it gets foggy in Acadia, I feel like I’m in Scotland, but your guests may not appreciate it as much. Acadia weather changes so often, so I always recommend bringing some layers.
The popular months to visit is from July-October. The busiest times is August and October because of the change in leaves. These times, there can be restrictions for the number of guests you can have in certain locations for weddings. Even if you have less than what was stated above, I’d call to double check. If you plan on having an elopement during August and October, I highly highly recommend a weekday. It’ll be more intimate, and you won’t have a ton of people running all around your ceremony spot.
Spring – Depending on how early, or late in the spring you decide to elope, you’ll start to see wild flowers blooming! The shops will start to open back up, but you can still expect less crowds. Depending on how the winter was, it can be very muddy on the trails, and your dress may get super muddy too, something to keep in mind. Also, sometimes winter can still be in the air during spring time, so I still suggest packing on some layers.
Summer – The busy season! The weather is warm, and everyone is out having fun, enjoying the park. If summer is your ideal time, make sure you book your accommodations WELL IN ADVANCE! Even for events or activities you want to do, like lobster excisions, make sure you book those in advance too.
Fall – The best season ever! Just kidding, but to me, it’s the best time to elope in New England. Fall is also the time you’ll want to book your accommodations, and vendors in advance. Prices for accommodations may also even go up for fall time, and fall is a very busy season for New England Elopement Photographers. People from all over the world come to New England for the changing of leaves. The colors are just stunning. It’s a busy busy time for Acadia, and I REALLY recommend having a weekday elopement. It’s seriously no joke about how busy popular places get for fall, but this is the season I really recommend. Photographers can sometimes book over a year in advance for fall, so if you’re ready to book, you can just contact me here
Winter – This is the National Parks off season. A lot of businesses will be closed during this time, so you’ll have a much more secluded, intimate wedding. I suggest really packing on those layers. Fleece leggings, a thick shawl, long wool coats, boots for sure, mittens, gloves, earmuffs.
TIP – you need an entrance pass to the park from May through October
Where to Elope in Acadia National Park
Acadia is such a gorgeous Park to elope to. Aside from taking photographs, I am also able to help you find the perfect place for the two of you. Elopement guide at your service! Here is the list of locations the two of you can have your ceremony at, and how many people can attend.
- Otter Cliff – 20
- Cadillac Mountain – 20 (cannot have ceremonies during sunrise or sunset)
- Blue Hill Overlook – 20
- Little Hunters Beach – 20
- Schoodic Point – 25
- Sand Beach – 30
- Ocean Drive – 30
- Otter Point – 30
- Fabbri Picnic Area – 30
Time to celebrate!
Acadia National Park is one of the best places to elope in New England! It does not have a shortage of stunning areas, and your elopement day will be incredible!