How to Elope in Minnesota – Your Minnesota Elopement Guide

Filed in Ceremony, elopements, Intimate weddings — June 3, 2021

The midwest is incredibly underrated when it comes to elopements – turns out you don’t have to travel to the west coast for epic views! In Minnesota, you’ll find rugged coastlines, lakeside cliffs, lush forests, rushing waterfalls, and countless beaches, any of which would make an incredible backdrop for your elopement.


Before you start planning your Minnesota elopement, there are a few things that you should know – but I have all the important info right here! Keep reading to learn how to elope in Minnesota.


Choosing an Elopement Date

When it comes to planning your elopement, choosing a date will be one of the first things you need to do. But, before you start flipping through your calendar, you’ll need to consider the weather!

Weather in Minnesota

Minnesota winters are known for being brutal. Temperatures can fall far below freezing, and snowstorms are common – so unless you’re hoping to go skiing or have a snowball fight on your elopement day, you’ll probably want to avoid the midwest in the winter! Even early spring and late fall can be frigid, though coastal areas are a little warmer. 


Summer is the best time to elope in Minnesota – the sun is shining, the weather is warm, and most hiking trails are snow free!


And of course, we always love a sunny day for weddings but here’s a secret: I love the rain. It makes for the dreamiest photos. So unless it is a downpour, I always encourage that you embrace whatever weather comes our way!


Avoiding Crowds

Because of the warm weather, Minnesota is most popular for tourists in the summer. Many parks and public lands see a huge increase in visitors, so if you want to find a private spot to say your vows on your elopement day, consider eloping in late spring or early fall! The weather will be warm, but the crowds will be significantly thinner.


Even if you elope during the summer, there are still ways to find secluded spots! My first tip is to plan your elopement for a weekday. Weekends bring crowds to the outdoors, so eloping during the week is the best way to ensure you’ll have a little more privacy.


Another thing you can do is plan your elopement ceremony for sunrise! There’s no time of day more quiet and peaceful than first thing in the morning – except maybe the middle of the night, but you’d probably have some sunlight. While everyone else is sleeping, you’ll get to enjoy your ceremony spot and watch the sunrise as you tie the knot. And if you’re not feeling waking up at the crack of dawn, there are less crowds at sunset than there are in the middle of the day!

Choosing an Elopement Location

There are countless incredible places all over Minnesota, and you can check out this blog post for all the best places, but here are a few to get you inspired!


Palisade Head

What if I told you you can elope on top of a cliff, with a view of Lake Superior below? At Palisade Head, you can! The spacious cliff towers 932 feet above the lake, and after you’re done soaking in the view, you can wander around and explore the forests and lakeside beaches at Tettegouche State Park.


High Falls

These falls are, well, high! It’s one of the highest waterfalls in Minnesota, and is easily accessible with a short hike. You can see the waterfall from a wooden platform up above, or keep walking to get to the base!


Hollow Rock

Hollow Rock is one of the most iconic spots on the North Shore. On a little island off the shore of the rocky beach is an arch over the water. Hollow Rock is located right next to a resort, so you can stay in some cozy cabins during your Minnesota elopement, and be right next to your ceremony spot!


Research Permits

Many parks and outdoor locations require a permit to have a ceremony on the grounds – even if it’s a tiny one! You definitely don’t want to be hassled by a ranger on your elopement day, so after you’ve chosen your location, do some research and find out if you’ll need a permit. If you need help with this, let me know!


Getting a Marriage License

Paperwork isn’t that exciting, but it’s an important part of your Minnesota elopement! To make sure your marriage is legal and official, you’ll need to get a marriage license.


You can apply for a marriage license online here, but you will have to appear in person at the Vital Records Office within 90 days. When you apply, you’ll need to choose a county – but once you get your marriage license from the local office, you can elope anywhere in the state! You’ll need an ID and your social security number, and then you’re good to go! There is no waiting period, but the marriage license must be used within six months. If you’re traveling from out of state, make sure you arrive in Minnesota with enough time to visit the Vital Records Office – and bring $115 with you – some offices only take cash.

Elopement Officiants

You will need to have an officiant sign your marriage license – but you have a few options for finding someone to perform your ceremony. You can hire an elopement officiant who is ready to adventure with you, or you can have a friend or family member get ordained on It’s free and easy, and they’ll be ready to officiate marriages anywhere in the United States. 



You will need two witnesses to sign your marriage license as well, but if you weren’t planning on inviting any guests, don’t worry! The only requirement is that your witnesses be over 16, so your photographer and any other vendors can double as witnesses. And, you can always ask someone on the trail or at your elopement location – people are usually super excited to help out!

Hire Elopement Vendors

Most wedding vendors take on elopements as well – but there is a huge benefit to hiring vendors who specialize in adventure elopements! They’ll be your experts on everything, and can help with stuff you haven’t even thought of – like folding a dress so it stays wrinkle-free while you hike, and attaching your flowers to your backpack. A good team of elopement vendors will take all the stress and pressure of planning off of you, so you can just enjoy all the fun parts!


As an elopement photographer, my goal is to be your guide in planning the perfect elopement day – and the perfect elopement day looks different for every couple! I’ll help with location recommendations, permits, timelines, and everything in between – so if you’re ready to plan your Minnesota elopement, let’s do this!