If you're fond of the great outdoors, a national park can provide breathtaking vistas as a backdrop to your wedding ceremony. Not all parks can accommodate weddings, and there are some hoops you'll have to jump through, but the result can be spectacular.
Things You'll Need
- marriage license
- special use permit
Go to the National Park Service web site at www.nps.gov/parks.html to find a list of all the national parks.
Check individual parks for each one's policy on weddings. Often, they will list popular wedding venues within the park.
Apply for a special use permit to hold your wedding. This form often can be downloaded from the web site.
Submit the permit, pay the fee ($50-200) and wait for the park to issue the permit. The wait may be several weeks, so allow plenty of time.
Familiarize yourself with the regulations that surround being married in a national park, including permissible guest count, accessible areas and parking restrictions. These should be listed on each park's web site.
Find a qualified person to officiate at your wedding.
Get a marriage license for the state where the park is located.
Gather your loved ones for a wedding in nature's beauty. An approved, signed copy of the permit must be in your possession during the ceremony.
Tips & Warnings
- You and your guests will have to pay the normal park entrance fees when you come to the park to get married.
- Some parks have chapels and reception facilities, while others may simply allow you to use a picnic site for your reception.
- Yosemite Chapel, in Yosemite National Park, has been voted one of the best places to get married; Grand Teton National Park boasts the rustic Chapel of Transfiguration; Glacier National Park offers the Grouse Mountain Lodge for nuptials; and Smoky Mountains National Park includes the lovely Gatlinburg Wedding Chapel.
- Even if you book ahead, you will not have exclusive use of the location. Tourists may wander in and out during your ceremony, especially if you chose a popular spot.
- The number of vehicles allowed in the park for a wedding may be limited to less than 10. The guest count also may be limited.
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