Tuesday, April 5th, 2022
By The Harpins
Are you looking to get married in the beautiful state of New Hampshire? The White Mountains are a perfect East Coast choice for an adventure elopement. Here is the ultimate guide to eloping in the white mountains of NH.
Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to go out West for those mountain top views. The White Mountains in New Hampshire have some of the most gorgeous views in all of New England and even across the country, whether you are up for an all day summit push or something more convenient there is an option for all nature lovers here.
The state of New Hampshire is full of beauty and adventure. Maybe you have decided to take the leap to ditch the traditional wedding, and are ready to elope? If you are still unsure, check out all the beautiful locations and make sure to check out 19 Reasons to Elope This Year!
New Hampshire has a variety of absolutely incredible landscapes. The White Mountains are filled with gorgeous mountain summits, cliffs, hidden waterfalls, and world famous fall foliage. Even more specifically, the White Mountains are home to the tallest peaks in the northeast, talk about a hiker’s paradise. This is the perfect place for your upcoming adventure elopement. You have so many options!
Along with the outdoors, New Hampshire has many charming New England towns, like North Conway. The complete mountain getaway with an epic elopement is all here. The perfect blend of outdoor adventure and cozy mountainside bed and breakfasts. If this sounds like your dream, look no further.
Don’t worry if you are not a huge hiker there are still plenty of opportunities to elope throughout the White Mountains. The Kancamagus Highway is a stunning, and the best part is all you have to do is step out of your car. The road boasts some of the best views in the northeast.
Those looking to elope on the East Coast should definitely take some time to look into tying the knot in New Hampshire, especially the White Mountains. However, each state in the New England has their own charm. Check out our elopement guides in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. The key is to find the place that fits your style and desired activities.
First, find your location! Not much can be done until you have an idea of where you want to elope. The only limiting factor is where you can officially get married, depending on permits and accessibility. Otherwise, go wild with unique locations!
Not exciting but crucial. Picking a budget is important for location, vendors, and filling your day with the right activities.
It is important to sit down with your partner and define a realistic idea. The rest of your planning process will be much easier with this in mind. Roughly outlining your max cost will help to figure out what you can spend for each category, like meals, accommodations, and your ceremony.
Sticking to your budget will save you tons of time, stress, and help you set realistic expectations for your elopement.
The first step is to find your photographer, videographer, and an elopement planner. The rest of the process will be simple with an awesome team helping you plan everything!
An elopement is a much more involved process, as you will be with your vendors the entire day. So, as important as their work, you must also find people you’d like to hang with. The vibe is super important for having an awesome experience on your elopement day!
This step can be substantially different between couples. However, make sure to give this some thought in advance, especially if you think you want to plan a certain activity.
For example, do you want to rent a catamaran, or some dirt bikes? Well, the best way to make this happen is to start planning this step as soon as possible. You definitely do not want to wait until the last minute to work this out on your elopement day.
If you are stuck, try writing down the top 5 activities you and your partner love to do. The goal is to incorporate as many of these as possible into your day!
So, if you both love hiking and coffee, a sample start to your elopement could be a sunrise hike followed by a stop at a local coffee shop for a mid-morning break. The possibilities are limitless!
When you elope, go all out on your accommodations. Try staying at your favorite type of bed and breakfast, or check out renting a unique Airbnb treehouse with a hot tub.
Places book up quickly, so once you determine your locations get busy searching!
You still have a ton to think about. Make sure to decide about your ceremony, attire, vows, meals, decor, personal items, etc.
Here’s the fun part… just kidding but it’s very important. You need to make sure you do everything to make your marriage official.
Marriage license, location permits, and an approved officiant.
An elopement is easy to plan in New Hampshire. It’s as simple as having a wedding. You need to obtain a marriage license, and have your ceremony done by an approved officiant. That’s all you need to make it official!
For one to obtain a marriage license, you must go to a town clerk office anywhere in New Hampshire. The process is quick, thus if you are out of state you can go the days (weekday) leading up to your elopement.
Make sure to bring your required documents:
You may need a permit depending on where you decide to elope. For the White Mountains, you can look at their official site to get the most updated information on permits.
Every state park is different, thus if looking elsewhere in New Hampshire, or any other state, just search the state park and wedding information. You’ll be able to find all information you need for your elopement!
Of course, the Whites are known for their fall foliage. However, every season offers a unique experience in the state of New Hampshire.
When planning an elopement, weather plays a huge factor. Thus, knowing the typical temperatures, conditions, and level of crowds helps to create the best plan for your big day.
Weather in the White Mountains can be unpredictable at times. Thus, always having a backup plan is crucial. The time of year is highly dependent on what you want out of your elopement day. The breakdown of weather falls into one of four seasons:
The winter is filled with gloomy skies, cold temperatures, moderate rain, and abundant snow. January is usually the coldest month in the White Mountains. Negative temperatures are common.
Expect hazardous driving and climbing conditions. Mountain peaks are difficult to plan, as weather is frequently changing during this time of year. However, expect far less crowds than other times of the year. Winter is a great time to plan an elopement in a popular destination without the crowds.
The beginning of December and end of March have milder temperatures, with the spring thaw starting in March.
April is a very wet month known for warm days and cold nights. Snow from mountains melt, creating new streams and fast flowing rivers. Pay attention to hazards that arise and are not present the rest of the year. Some hiking can become difficult at this time.
Temperatures start to increase well into the 60s during the month of May. Each day brings new life to the area, with less and less wet conditions leading into the summer months. May is a great month for spring elopements.
The summer months are some of the busiest. Large crowds are common at popular destinations. Plan to book accommodations in advance. Thus, you will want to plan early mornings for your elopement.
Weather is warm with June having some of the best weather with many sunny days. July is typically the hottest month. Expect average highs in the summer months to be in the 70s.
Fall is a wonderful time to visit the White Mountains. Mild temperatures, fall foliage, and slightly less crowds than in the summer months are just some of the reasons to visit at this time. Temperatures range from the 50 to 60s throughout these months.
Sunny days are plenty, along with long daylight hours. The brilliant sea of colors is most vibrant in later September and early October.
The most popular time to visit the White Mountains is June – Early October. The summer sees the most crowds, thus planning is necessary in advance if looking to stay near North Conway.
The worst time to visit is the end of November through early March, unless you love winter! Temperatures and wind are harsh, as the top of Mount Washington is known for having some of the worst weather on the planet.
Winter will leave you with colder temperatures, but beautiful snowy peaks and less crowds. Whereas fall brings gorgeous colors, but also a surge of tourists.
Each season has its own beauty and can provide the perfect opportunity to create an epic adventure elopement.
Weekdays are always better than weekends, obviously if you will be having family there it is not always possible. Additionally, mornings will have less crowds than later in the day.
There are a number of incredible locations within the White Mountains for your elopement. Many are hikes, ranging from strenuous to mild walks, or you can opt to take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway with a ton of overlooks.
A personalized elopement can easily be crafted towards your exact vision!
1. Lake of the Clouds
Lakes of the Clouds are some of the most memorable lakes you will find in New Hampshire. The lakes are at an elevation of 5,000 ft, just short of the summit at 6,288 ft above sea level.
An awesome place for a sunrise, or sunset. Plus, there is a nearby hut for more basic accommodations the night before or after your elopement.
However, since almost at the summit, the hike out will be more extensive than other locations on the list.
2. Lion’s Head Ridgeline
One of the best ridgelines leading up to the summit. This area of the mountain offers stunning views, with the summit in sight on a clear day.
The ridgeline is a great option for those who want less crowds, when compared to the summit or Pinkham’s Notch.
3. Mt. Washington Summit
The highest peak in New England! The summit offers incredible 360-degree views on clear days. The 8-mile hike is strenuous, as you gain roughly 4,000 ft in elevation. So, if you plan for the hike, be ready!
Additionally, during the summer months you have the option to drive up the auto road. So you can skip the strenuous hike if you’d like! The auto road rates are $35 for a car and driver, plus $10 per additional passenger. Typically, the road is open from late May until early October.
4. Pinkham Notch
Pinkham Notch is the entire area at the base of Tuckerman or Huntington Ravines. There are a variety of locations just a short hike away, which offer peaceful and lovely views. You don’t have to go far in this area for an incredible spot!
Plus almost right across the street is Wildcat Mountain, which offers gondola rides to the summit with beautiful views of Mt. Washington.
With all these options on Washington, you really can’t go wrong!
Just like Mt. Washington, Chocorua offers a comparable 360-degree view. In fact, many tend to prefer this peak, as you get amazing views of the presidential mountain range in the background.
This 10.1 mile hike is strenuous. However, you will be rewarded for your efforts on this one!
On the other side of the White Mountains in Franconia Notch lies Mt. Lafayette. This mountain is another top-notch spot for 360-degree views of the incredible New Hampshire landscape.
A 9.3 mile loop, this hike is only recommended for serious hikers. Numerous waterfalls scatter the lower portion of the trail in order: Stairs, Swiftwater, and Cloudland Falls. The loop consists of summit Little Haystack and Lincoln, as you progress up the ridgeline to the summit of Mt. Lafayette.
Mt. Willard is a favorite, as this classic hike is gradual and offers stunning views of the valley wedged between the mountains.
The 3.2 mile in and out hike starts out at the AMC Highland Center near Crawford Notch. The trail is perfect for groups, less experienced hikers, and sunrises/sunsets when you do not want to hike too far in the dark!
Cathedral Ledge, in Bartlett, is a personal favorite for those eloping who can’t hike far. The location offers great views of Echo Lake. Another popular destination in the area is Diana’s Bath and Attitash Ski Mountain.
This location is very accessible with a road leading up close to the elopement location. Furthermore, since the location is easily accessible, large crowds are typical and the area requires a permit.
Looking for another short option? Consider Artist’s Bluff for your elopement destination. The 1.5 mile hike near Franconia offers incredible views with minimal effort.
While the trail has some steep sections, these are totally doable for most hikers. At the top, you will be rewarded with views through the notch and Cannon Mountain.
However, since the hike is short expect crowds. Thus, you are going to want to plan an early morning if looking for more serenity.
Here’s another stellar location in Franconia Notch, where you will have no problems bringing your family and friends. The Flume Gorge is a gradual 2 mile trail, ascending through the gorge on a boardwalk.
The only hard part of this location will be picking which spot is the best! However, since you are up and close to the water, just make sure you don’t get too wet on the way!
Here is another short, easy hike suitable for all levels. This 0.7 mile trail to a scenic waterfall, in Bartlett, is scattered with wooden platforms in perfect sight of the falls. You will have no problem finding a spot for your ceremony!
Another waterfall choice, Arethusa Falls is a staggering 100 ft in height! This 2.7 mile round trip trail, located in Crawford Notch, is not too steep and is a nice change from climbing a mountain.
While on the trail you have several options to increase the hike if you desire.
Lonesome Lake, near Cannon Mountain, is another hike in the Franconia Notch State Park. This 3 mile hike begins at the Lafayette Place Campground.
While you don’t actually summit a mountain, you can extend past the lake to a beautiful viewpoint of the White Mountains. However, there are many spots located around the lake for a ceremony.
Lakes and waterfalls are just as magical as mountain summits!
Are you looking for something a little bit different in the White Mountains? This could be your go to elopement day!
Take a step back in history, with a classic train ride throughout the White Mountains on the Conway Scenic Railroad. The main station is right in the heart of North Conway. Check out one of the many excursions year-round on their website.
With the option for a private car, the Conway Railroad provides a unique alternative to the physically demanding hikes throughout the area.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of winter on Mt. Washington? However, you are not sure your up for the wild mountaineering experience?
Well, taking a ride on the snowcat may be the perfect solution. Observe the wild weather, and experience a true alpine adventure! Finally, here is more information about booking a snowcat adventure.
The White Mountains are not only for the most adventurous. Maybe you are not up for the challenge of summiting a mountain? Don’t worry! You can still enjoy all the White Mountains has to offer.
The Kancamagus Highway cuts through the center of the White Mountains. The highway has plenty of pull-offs with breathtaking views. There are so many different places to go throughout the day.
With so many different stops, you will have a full day exploring. Whether you choose to stay in the mountains, or take a detour to North Conway for a delicious meal, the Kancamagus Highway is the perfect choice for your elopement!
Whether you’re from New Hampshire, or anywhere else in the world, the White Mountains of NH is an incredible place for an elopement or intimate outdoor wedding. While in New Hampshire spend time exploring the mountain tops, lush forests, lakes, and waterfalls all over the place.
With so many options, it is hard to know where to start. Therefore, send us a message to get a little help!
So if summiting a majestic mountain, trekking around a stunning waterfall, or taking a scenic ride on the railway through the White Mountains is your dream elopement, let’s get busy planning!
We are By The Harpins, a photo and video team here to help you plan and capture one of the best days of your life!
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