Yes! You said YES and now you are engaged! Congratulations!
Getting married is such an exciting and meaningful experience. And shortly after you decide to get married, you realize that a big, capital "W" wedding is not at all what you want. Maybe you don't like being the center of attention. Maybe you don't want to invite a bunch of strangers to this very special day. Maybe you just want it to all just be....simpler. Then one of you says:
"Why don't we elope?"
When you elope or have a smaller wedding, the experience is about you and what you want to do, whether you planned your wedding last week or last year. It's not about creating a production focused on guest experience where you ignore many (if not most) of your own desires. And, yes...
...you can invite friends and family to your elopement because you make the rules!
But you don't have to. Because exchanging vows privately is just as beautiful and real.
Choosing Where to Get Married in Upstate New York
One of the most important things (besides choosing who to marry!) is to find a place to get married. You want to get married some place special, because you will carry the memories of your intimate wedding or elopement with you for years to come.
When you choose to elope, whether it's with only your love and photographer or with a few friends and family members in attendance, you've chosen to have a wedding day that is all about your relationship. You want to exchange your vows somewhere that reflects your relationship.
There are no rules when you elope, so you can get married anywhere that speaks to you! Although wedding planning can be stressful, planning an elopement is FUN! You are free to do whatever you want during your elopement. But with freedom come A LOT of choices, and choices can get overwhelming. That's where I can help!
If you want to elope in Upstate New York, I know some of the best, most beautiful (and private!) places to exchange vows. The reality is that a lot of the popular locations that you find online will be full of people, and while they are beautiful, privacy is non-existent (I'm looking at you, Mt. Jo!) I spend the majority of my time scouting new, beautiful locations for my adventurous couples, and can advise you on the best places, times, and months to get married to get the experience that you are looking for.
Where to Elope in the Adirondacks
The Adirondacks (or ADKs as we say up here!) are an outdoor paradise covering about one fifth of New York State! Full of mountains and rivers, the Adirondack Park is 6 million acres, making it the largest national park in the contiguous United States. Only a few hours drive from NYC, it is also really easy to get to for your intimate wedding! If you want to cut your drive short, you can fly into Plattsburgh or Albany and rent a car to drive to your final elopement destination. Once the borders open up to Canada, it's also really easy to travel to Montreal for a bit of an extra elopement experience, as Montreal is only 2 hours away from Lake Placid!
For the nerds, the Adirondacks have a very unique geology. They are not part of the Catskill or the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, they are pretty new mountains and they are continuing to grow, faster than the erosion is melting away! That means that the mountain you hiked last year will be about an inch taller this year. Yes, they are growing that fast! Very cool.
Some of my favorite places to elope within the Adirondacks are Keene, Lake Placid, Lake George, Inlet/ Big Moose/ Old Forge Area, and North Creek (where Gore Mountain ski area is located!) Each of these locations have perks that make them special and each of them are so, so beautiful. Read on to learn more about getting married in each of these Upstate New York destinations!
Eloping in Keene, NY
Some of my favorite Adirondack Mountain hiking elopement destinations are located in Keene. Whether you want a 6 mile hike or a 14 mile hike, I can show you some epic views where you can exchange your vows. Below are three gorgeous properties to stay at while in Keene. Or, of course, you could choose one of the many gorgeous Air BnBs to get ready at!
Bark Eater Inn The Bark Eater Inn is a gorgeous venue for your intimate wedding or elopement. With accommodations for about 20 guests, there are 200 acres and incredible mountain views to enjoy while celebrating your wedding.
The Mountain House The Mountain House is near one of my favorite quick hikes with an epic view in all of Keene. With 4 houses on the property, there are a few different lodging options. The decor is true Adirondack and many of the furnishings have been created by local craftspeople.
Dartbrook Lodge This is the epitome of rustic luxury. There are a range of accommodations from private cottages to suites. All the reclaimed wood will have you drooling as you cozy up in front of the fire.
Choosing an Intimate Wedding in Lake Placid, NY
Lake Placid is home to the Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Center and Whiteface Mountain. Whether you are looking to have a winter ski wedding, a lakeside elopement during the fall foliage season, or a mountain top wedding that others can join you for, Lake Placid is where it's at. There are also plenty of gorgeous Air BnBs, Bed and Breakfasts, and intimate inns for you and your guests to stay at. Here are some of my favorite locally owned venues to get ready at (because those vows should still be in an epic location, regardless of where you get ready!)
Whiteface Lodge Whether you want to get married in when the sun is out or with a blanket of snow, the Whiteface Lodge is an iconic 4-season location offering several indoor and outdoor spaces to celebrate at. Or maybe you want to choose this as your accommodation while eloping elsewhere but returning to luxury after a day of excitement. Either way, it's welcoming and beautiful!
Lake Placid Lodge The Lake Placid Lodge is a stunning resort in the Adirondacks. Secluded on the shores of Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Lodge offers an idyllic setting for your private or intimate ceremony, whether it's just you two or you have your friends and family with you.
Lake Placid Stage Coach Inn The owners of the Lake Placid Stage Coach Inn are wonderful humans, and their care is everywhere in this lovely inn. Whether you want a sweet and simple elopement or a daring and adventurous elopement in the Adirondacks, the Stage Coach Inn is the perfect home base during your stay.
Getting Married in Lake George
Lake George is pretty iconic- and for a good reason! In addition to The Sagamore and The Fern Lodge, you can rent out a private lakeside property to exchange vows at. Follow your intimate wedding or elopement up with a private boat trip and end your day with a quick hike up a mountain for some sunset portraits. Lake George can be pretty crowded during the summer months, so eloping here is definitely best off-season or midweek. This is also a good destination if you want to invite guests to your ceremony, as there are many local activities including restaurants and shopping. But best save those for after COVID.
The Fern Lodge The Fern Lodge specializes in intimate events for 2 to 22 people. Incredibly romantic, The Fern Lodge is a perfect destination for you and your honey any time of year (though I'm partial to the winter, spring, and fall, since the summer is a bit crazy in Lake George!)
The Sagamore The Sagamore, located on its own private island, offers wonderful lake and mountain views for your intimate ceremony. With a spa on site, this is great for the couple who wants to be pampered a bit during their elopement. Or perhaps, the guests get pampered and the two of you head up one of the many local trails or take a boat ride together! The Sagamore is perfect for your intimate, but opulent, celebration.
Ski and Hiking Weddings in the Central Adirondacks
I've been spending a lot of time in the Central Adirondacks lately exploring some of the lesser known mountain ranges. Whether it's skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, or just plain chilling, the central adirondacks are a wonderful destination for you and your honey. For the most part, the hikes are shorter than the high peaks, but still offer amazing views, leaving you more time to spend with each other doing a secondary activity. Another perk about getting married in the central adirondacks is that you can have a summer or fall intimate wedding ceremony on top of Gore Mountain with your close family and friends. Because of the lifts, you can have an accessible mountain top ceremony with others who might not otherwise be able to join you for a hiking destination. And if it's a ski elopement you are looking for, Gore is a perfect!
Garnet Hill Lodge Garnet Hill Lodge offers intimate and romantic views on 175 acres. While the Garnet Hill Lodge is not available for weddings in the winter, you can book a room here during ski season for your ski elopement! If you aren't into skiing, the lodge does offer reduced prices for off season intimate weddings.
Gore Mountain Oh, Gore, one of my favorites! Ok, so this isn't a place you can stay, BUT there are lot's of Air BnBs and homes to stay at right there. I love Gore because you can get married on top of the mountain AND have an accessible venue! Guests are transported to the top for your mountain wedding ceremony via chairlift. If you want to have your own winter elopement at Gore, there are wonderful trails for skiing and snowboarding. Go midweek for less crowded trails so that we can get some epic pictures of you in the snow in your wedding clothes!
Lakeside Intimate Weddings and Elopements in the Inlet/ Old Forge/ Big Moose/ Eagle Bay Area
As you drive through the Central Adirondacks along NY-28, you will constantly have the urge to pull over and gaze at all of the lakes. There are so many lakes, in fact, that some of them just have numbers as a name! In addition to the lakes, there are quite a few hikes and summits to explore, ranging from 1 mile round trip hikes (check out this epic sunset on my Instagram!) to longer day trips or overnight backpacking adventures. This area is perfect for your sunrise or sunset vow exchange. Below are a few venues at which you can stay for your intimate wedding, but there are also tons of gorgeous Air BnBs for your Adirondack elopement.
The Woods Inn The Woods Inn is a restored historic hotel in Inlet, NY. Whether you want to get married at the inn or use it as a home base for your adventure elopement, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time. If you choose to get married at The Woods Inn, the dock is the perfect setting for your evening intimate ceremony, because the Inn faces the sunset!
Great Pines Lodge Great Pines Lodge is a quintessential Adirondack experience with lakeside ceremony options. Recently renovated, the lodge offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. And it's only 5 minutes from that epic view I posted above, so it's an easy escape for a quick hike and amazing pictures!
Big Moose Inn The Big Moose Inn is located on Big Moose Lake. This Adirondack hotel and tavern is a great option for your no-frills winter elopement getaway! The Inn has a nostalgic Adirondack vibe and a rustic feel.
Adirondack Woodcraft Camps The Adirondack Woodcraft Camps are located in Old Forge, NY. They only host weddings from August through October and are perfect for the couple that is looking for a weekend experience with friends and family.
Your Perfect Elopement in the Catskill Mountains
Whether its mountain biking, skiing, hiking, kayaking, or antiquing, the Catskills offer so many elopement activities for you and your partner! There are so many country roads to take a scenic drive and restaurants with delicious farm to table cuisine to be enjoyed. The Catskills are accessible by car from most cities in the Northeast, making your elopement destination pretty easy to get to! And once you get here, I can show you some of the most exciting outdoor places to get married. Because the Catskills span 4 counties, I've listed several elopement and intimate wedding venues to either celebrate at or merely use as home base during your adventurous wedding.
Mohonk Mountain House The Mohonk Mountain house is fun and fancy! In addition to a quality stay, you also get access to private hiking trails and rock scrambles that are oh so fun to explore (especially in your wedding clothes!) Whether it's rock climbing, mountain biking, or a guided horseback ride at your wedding, Mohonk offers so many activities for your wedding day...errr...let's say multi-day wedding because you need more time to take advantage of it all (and still have a comfy bed to sleep in at night!)
Gather Greene As the website says, you get all the comforts of a tiny hotel room in the middle of the woods when you stay at Gather Greene. These fancy cabins bring the outdoors indoors with a giant, wall-sized window looking out at nature. If you want a unique place to stay during your elopement in the Catskills, this might be for you!
Margaretville Mountain Inn The Margaretville Mountain Inn is an intimate Bed and Breakfast built on top of a mountain and decorated with pristine antiques. When you stay here, you can also get discount ski tickets to Belleayre Mountain!
This AMAZING waterfront Catskills Air BnB with heated pool Ok, so this is the only Air BnB I'm actually listing here (stay tuned for a future post with unique Air BnB destinations for your elopement!), but it is quite special. Located on the river, this Air BnB is more like your own private resort where you and your close family can stay and play during your Catskills elopement! You can easily spend the weekend here exploring the 100 acre property and not get bored.
Forsyth BnB Chic and modern, the Forsyth BnB is perfect for the laid-back couple looking for a boutique Bed and Breakfast for their Upstate New York elopement. Located in Kingston, the surrounding area has an artsy, maritime vibe, and is drivable to some amazing locations with epic views (think cliff-side kisses in the Catskills - say that five times fast!)
Owl's Hoot Barn Ok, this is a photographer's dream! The Owl's Nest Cabin is rustic, complete with a farmhouse stove. This private cabin is fully self-contained, making your morning coffee together on the patio even more romantic. It's even dog-friendly!
Foxfire Mountain House Located in the Catskill Mountains, the Foxfire Mountain House is a bohemian and relaxed hideaway on 10 acres. Whether you want to visit local shops, relax in the hammock, or explore your natural surroundings, this could be the perfect venue for your intimate wedding.
Scribner's Catskill Lodge This bespoke lodge welcomes guests year round. Wonderfully designed, the lodge also offers 20 acres to explore on site. It also serves a perfect basecamp for your outdoor adventures. Kick ass all day and then come home to a clean, contemporary, and slightly off beat room with a fireplace.
Audrey's Farm House Rated one of the most pet-friendly lodging options across the US, Audrey's Farm House is a popular place for couples to elope or get married at. This bed and breakfast also has event space, should you want to host a larger party.
Getting Married in New York's Finger Lakes Region
Waterfalls, wine, and wildlife, the Finger Lakes have it all! If you are looking to get outdoors, there are so many options from hiking and biking to boating and sailing. And that wine...there are so many wineries! And distilleries, and breweries, and hard-cider producers! With its beautiful scenery and luxurious inns and spas, the Finger Lakes could be perfect for your Upstate New York or Intimate Wedding!
Inn at Taughannock Located 7 miles outside of Ithaca, NY next to the iconic Taughannock falls, is this boutique hotel. Whether you choose to have your dream wedding on the property or someplace more intimate, you can't go wrong.
Sutherland House The Sutherland House is a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Canandaigua. Incredibly romantic, this small venue is open four seasons and perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Idlwilde Inn Located in Watkins Glen, the Idlwilde Inn offers elopement packages for just you two or you and a couple of guests. This mansion on a hill has stunning lake views and intimate grounds for you two to exchange your vows.
Wren's Roost Barn Located on the western edge of the Finger Lakes in Naples, NY, the Wren's Roost Barn is a beautiful venue to exchange vows in an intimate setting. Set on 23 acres with a 1 acre pond, it's a breathtaking venue waiting to be styled for your intimate wedding. No, they can't house you BUT, surrounding the area, are gorgeous cute cottages and cabins to stay at while in the area.
Whether you want to get married at the courthouse, on the lake, or on top of a mountain, Upstate New York has so many perfect places for you and your lover to get married. Click here to contact me today to book your free consultation and get my 2021 pricing guide. Let's get planning!
And I'm always scouting out new hikes that are still relatively unknown. So even if you get married at one of these venues, I promise that we can still get some epic mountain or waterfall shots for your wall!