A unique and memorable wedding venue is every couple’s dream.
While most people think of banquet halls, churches, resorts, country clubs, or the beach, only a few consider celebrating their big day in a national park.
National parks are characterized by sheer natural beauty, pristine forests, and gorgeous mountain tops. The landscape alone creates stunning backdrops for your wedding photos, leaving a lasting memory for your friends and family.
If you’re considering hosting your wedding in a park, read on to learn more about some of the best national park wedding venues to consider for your big day. Our extra tips will also help you plan a successful national park wedding.
Top 17 National Park Wedding Venues
Some of the best national parks for you to get married at include:
1. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is one of the most iconic and popular wedding destinations for couples looking for something adventurous.
The park boasts majestic waterfalls, sequoia trees, and stunning natural beauty.
Whether you’re planning a small, intimate celebration surrounded by an epic landscape or thinking of throwing a lavish party that combines a beautiful natural setting with an elegant wedding venue, you can count on Yosemite National Park.
Some spots you can get married include Glacier Point, Taft Point, Valley View, and El Capitan Meadow. There are also indoor park venues that provide a traditional setting while allowing you to explore the park’s beauty.
To have a Yosemite wedding, you’ll incur a total of $335 and more. This includes a wedding permit at $150, a photo permit at $150, an entrance fee of $35 per car, and an extra fee for the event monitoring.
2. Virgin Islands National Park, U.S. Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands National Park features palm trees, turquoise water, coral reefs, and white sandy beaches, as it occupies most of St. John’s island.
You can have both the wedding ceremony and reception at this park. Favorite locations include Francis Bay, Trunk Bay, and Hawksnest Bay.
To host your wedding in this park, you’ll need to part with $25 for a wedding permit and a recovery deposit of $150 if 50 or more people are attending.
The park also includes other activities like hiking and snorkeling that can keep your guests entertained.
3. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon National Park provides a unique experience with its dazzling views, beautiful layers of rocks, and a stunning setting. You should opt for this park if you’re planning an intimate and quiet wedding.
With different indoor and outdoor locations, couples are guaranteed to find a place to host both their ceremony and reception.
You and your guests can participate in other activities like hiking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, bike riding, and helicopter tours.
Grand Canyon National Park has ten wedding locations, with eight on the South Rim and two on the North Rim. The spots on the North Rim are all outdoor, with the Point Imperial being one of the highest viewpoints.
You don’t need a special permit if holding an indoor event at the park; you’ll only need to get a wedding permit.
You should also note that a few sites on both rims are only available on specific dates, and you need to call ahead to find out if they are available for booking.
4. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is another popular destination with nearly 3.5 million visitors annually.
You can opt to have your wedding during sunrise or sunset as these times provide the perfect lighting. Alternatively, you can choose to have your photos taken at this time if your guests can’t make it to the wedding during the early morning or evening hours.
If planning a small wedding ceremony, you can check out different locations like Sand Beach, Schoodic Point, Thompson Island, Seawall Picnic Area, Little Hunters Beach, and Ocean Drive.
There’s a permit application fee of $50, and you need to get it not less than ten working days before your ceremony.
5. Olympic National Park, Washington
A magnificent rainforest, majestic mountains, scenic lakes, and a spectacular coastline are some features you can expect when you have your wedding at Olympic National Park.
Couples who love adventure in jagged mountains, luscious greenery, and rushing waterfalls will love this Washington park.
Summer and spring are some of the best seasons to plan your wedding in Olympic National Park. The best locations to consider for your ceremony include Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge.
A wedding permit costs $50, also called a special-use permit. However, a ceremony with less than ten people doesn’t need a permit.
6. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
If you’re thinking of a wedding venue with beautiful lookouts, massive trees, and fantastic hikes, you should visit the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Some locations you can host your wedding include the Lost Grove Turnout, Beetle Rock, Halstead Meadow, Giant Forest Museum Patio, Sunset Rock, Crescent Meadow, Muir Rock, and the Long Meadow.
You can celebrate your big day during summer, but avoid the weekend as it can get overcrowded.
Like most national parks, Sequoia National Park charges for a wedding permit. It costs $150, and you can pay for it via money order, cheque, or make an online payment.
7. Zion National Park, Utah
Stunning gardens, waterfalls, sandstone canyons, Emerald Pools Trail, and Weeping Rock Trail are some features that characterize Zion National Park. With over 4 million visitors annually, the park has become one of the best places to host a wedding.
The park tends to get busy during summer. Although you may love the clear skies and warm temperatures, you might be affected by the wedding date availability and parking.
Spring and fall are the best times to host a wedding as there’s less traffic and the flowers are blossoming.
You can have your wedding at the Menu Falls, Nature Center North Lawn, Temple of Sinawava, Zion Lodge Lawn, or the South Campground Amphitheater.
There’s a $100 permit fee and an extra $50 per hour for park monitoring if your ceremony is big. You’ll also need a marriage license.
8. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
If you’re in Wyoming and need a unique place to celebrate your big day, consider the Grand Teton National Park.
Ranked as one of the ten most visited National Parks in the U.S., Grand Teton National Park is home to stunning mountain views, elusive wildlife, and the famous Jackson Hole Valley.
The park has five venues that can be used for weddings and other events. You can opt to have your ceremony at Schwabacher Landing, Signal Mountain Summit, Blacktail Ponds Overlook, Chapel of the Sacred Heart, or the Chapel of Transfiguration.
Fall is the best time to have your wedding in Grand Teton as the crowds are few and things are affordable. There are beautiful colors, and it’s a perfect time to see the wildlife.
Additionally, there’s a $200 fee for a special-use permit.
9. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is one of the few parks with glistening waterfalls, alpine lakes, jagged peaks, and diverse wildlife. Celebrating your big day in this vast park will make you appreciate nature more.
The best time to have a wedding in Glacier Park is between July and August. Although it’s the peak season, you can opt to have a weekday ceremony to enjoy an intimate and private experience.
Some favorite locations to host your wedding include the Hidden Lake Lookout, Avalanche Lake, Iceberg Trail, Lake McDonald, and Trail of the Cedars.
Weddings require a special-use permit for $100. You’ll also need a Montana marriage license to get married in Glacier Park.
10. Redwood National Park, Northern California
Redwood National Park is a dreamy location for adventurous couples, featuring giant trees, vast trails, and beaches to explore.
Hailed for its diverse ecosystem and commitment to preserving the coastline in California, the park provides a lovely location for a wedding ceremony.
There are 12 pre-approved sites within this forest where you can host your wedding. Famous spots include Crescent Beach, Merriman Grove, Lost Man Creek Gate, and High Bluff Overlook.
You can plan your ceremony time for sunrise or sunset for the best lighting. You’ll also have less traffic from other visitors.
You need to part with $100-$200 for a location permit, depending on whether you choose a pre-approved ceremony site.
11. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Mount Rainier National Park takes you on a magical trip thanks to its crystal clear lakes, rolling hills surrounded by wildflowers, and stunning mountainous views.
Apart from hosting your wedding at this exclusive park, you and your guests can participate in other activities like hiking, visiting the lakes, or watching the sunrise.
Some popular spots to host your wedding in this park include the Fremont Fire Lookout, Naches Peak Loop Trail, and Tipsoo Lake.
It’s best to plan your wedding between July and August if you’re after the green fields, but if you prefer skiing and snowboarding, you can plan around November to March.
A wedding permit costs $60, which you need to apply for four weeks in advance. There’s also a $30 entrance fee per car that is valid for seven days.
After your wedding, you can explore other activities like day hiking, strolling at the beach, going horseback riding, or experiencing the boat life.
12. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The Badlands National Park boasts unique hiking trails, layered rock formations, plunging canyons, towering spires, beautiful scenery, and some of the world’s richest fossil beds.
Although summer is ideal for most couples to celebrate their big day, fall is best as the weather starts to cool down and there are fewer crowds.
October seems to have moderate weather and can be a perfect time to host your wedding.
For your Badlands National Park wedding, you’ll need to get a permit that costs $100. There’s also a $30 park entrance fee.
After your wedding, you can participate in other activities like wildlife viewing, stargazing, or visit the fossil preparation lab to learn the park’s history.
13. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park is another popular wedding destination if you’re in Utah and considering a national park wedding to celebrate your special day.
Located in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon is a unique park with beautiful white rock formations, natural amphitheaters, and other outdoor attractions like camping and hiking.
The picturesque park has two ceremony locations, Silent City Overlook and Sunset Point, the main amphitheater.
Although the park allows wedding ceremonies, receptions are not permitted within the park. You’ll have to plan your reception in another venue.
You’ll also need a special-use permit that costs $100, issued two weeks before your big day. The park’s entrance fee is waived for the officiant and the couple.
Another requirement is a Utah state marriage license that costs $40.
14. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
With endless options for scenery and nature and over 500 miles of trails, Shenandoah National Park has the best backdrop for your big day.
Some of the beautiful spots in the vast park include the Hawksbill Summit Trail, Little Stony Man Trail, and Mary’s Rock Trail.
The best time to have a wedding in Shenandoah National Park is during spring, as it’s less crowded. There’s limited access between November and April due to the weather, while fall is very busy due to leaf lookers.
If you’re planning a wedding with over 15 guests, you’ll need a $150 special-use permit. The permit is $175 if you’re using an amphitheater.
15. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is characterized by travertine terraces, geysers, a collection of hot springs, and beautiful scenery.
You and your spouse can exchange your vows overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or when facing an erupting geyser.
The vast park has five ceremony locations, mainly the Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, Artist Point, and Yellowstone Lake.
You can opt for an afternoon ceremony as the midday can be harsh with strong light.
While Yellowstone National Park is open throughout the year, the season you choose to have your wedding will affect your photography, access, and comfort.
Summer is popular and busy, so a spring or fall wedding would be preferable.
Couples need a special-use permit and a marriage license to get married in Yellowstone National Park. A permit costs $250, and you need to apply for it two weeks before the ceremony.
16. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Whether you’re looking forward to getting married standing in front of a crystalline cascading waterfall or you’d rather be facing a mountaintop with a backdrop of fall foliage, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has got you covered.
The Great Smoky Mountains Park provides world-class amenities with a small-town feel, making it a perfect wedding venue for couples looking for adventure at a reasonable price.
You’ll need a Tennessee marriage license and a wedding permit to get married in this park.
There are five scenic wedding locations you can choose for your big day. The top locations to consider are Spence Cabin, Cades Cove, Foothills Parkway, Greenbrier, and Appalachian Clubhouse.
17. Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley National Park is one of the underrated parks in California, but it’s one of the best places to host an intimate ceremony.
You can choose to celebrate your big day at Dante’s View Trail, Badwater Basin, Salt Flats Trail, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point, and Artist Palette.
You’ll also need a special-use permit to get married at this park. The permit costs $300, and you must apply for it 30-60 days before your big day. There’s also a $30 park entrance fee.
One thing to note about Death Valley is that it can get too hot, especially during summer.
The best time to plan your wedding would be in the fall, as the temperature is cool. You can also choose to have your reception in Las Vegas, which is only a few hours away.
Extra Tips When Planning for a National Park Wedding
Planning a national park wedding can be overwhelming, particularly if you don’t know the requirements or the exact park to choose for your big day.
Fortunately, we’ve done the homework for you, and here are some timely tips to help you ensure that you have an enjoyable experience.
Plan to Visit the Park in Advance
It’s best to visit the park of your choice before you make any final decision. That will allow you to explore the surroundings, view the available ceremony sites, and understand the requirements ahead of time.
You’ll also want to know how easy it is to access the site and the overall feel of the place. With all the information, you’ll find it easier to make an informed decision.
Ask About the Requirements
Once you’ve decided on a particular park, you need to understand their requirements for hosting a wedding ceremony.
You’ll find that some parks only allow you to have the ceremony and not both the ceremony and reception.
Certain parks also have restrictions regarding the number of people you can invite to your ceremony. Some national parks don’t charge for an event with less than 15 people.
However, most parks require you to apply for a special-use permit and pay the applicable fee. Ask about the cost of the permit and how soon you should get it if your wedding date is close. Don’t forget to ask about the park’s entrance fees.
Work With a Local Wedding Planner
Although the logistics of planning a national park wedding may not seem a lot, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
Some of the things you may need to get sorted include:
- Transportation of your guests to the ceremony site
- Bathrooms for you and the guests
- A backup plan in case of weather change
- The decor and setup
- Permits and licenses
- Sleeping accommodations for you and your guests
Working with a local wedding planner who understands the ins and outs of the park and can source for local vendors will save you the hassle of doing it yourself. They may also guide you on where to get an experienced photographer and the rules to watch out for in the park.
National park weddings are not only adventurous, but they provide a romantic and intimate setting for couples. The gorgeous scenery provides the best backdrop for your wedding photos, and you get to save on venue costs.
If you’re looking to plan a national park wedding, scroll through some of our suggested parks above and find a venue that meets your budget and expectations.