Grand Teton is one of the most exquisitely untouched environments in the whole of the U.S., and one of the 10 most visited National Parks in the nation. Home to the Teton mountain range, the famous Jackson Hole valley, and elusive wildlife like moose, elk, and gray wolves, it’s a starkly beautiful place to visit—and an even more beautiful place to start the next chapter of your life with your partner.
That said, holding your nuptials at this Wyoming destination takes a fair amount of planning, so we’re laying out everything you need to know:
If you’re ready to take off to the Tetons and take to the altar, read on.
In comparison to other U.S. National Parks, Grand Teton’s selection of established wedding locations is limited.
There are five venues on the premises that are available for weddings, vow renewals, memorial services, or other “personal use” events. Luckily, all five offer beautiful scenery and a range of accommodations:
Signal Mountain Summit, Moran WY: At the end of the five-mile Signal Mountain Summit Road, this area is open for reservations in the spring, summer, and fall. It’s one of the best places in the park to take in the vista of the Jackson Hole valley hemmed by the magnificent Teton Range.
Schwabacher’s Landing, Moose, WY: This locale faces the sweeping Tetons just east of Beaver Creek. This venue is a particularly photogenic one, with a dramatic background doubled by the mountains’ reflection in the glassy Snake River. The terrain can be dicey in the colder months, so this site is best suited to summer and autumn weddings.
Blacktail Ponds Overlook, Moose, WY: This is the lushest of the Grand Teton National Park wedding locations, located where the Snake River feathers off into the smaller brooks and tributaries that feed the wetland vegetation surrounding it. You won’t have to wade through the wetlands themselves to get to the site—the venue itself is fenced off with a gate, so no need to worry about wearing galoshes to your ceremony.
Chapel of the Transfiguration, Moose, WY: Built in 1925, this Episcopal log chapel sits just off the Snake River near where the National Park Service is headquartered. The Chapel of the Transfiguration is the smaller of the two historic buildings in Grand Teton National Park and can accommodate 65 people sitting down. Services may also be held outside the chapel to accommodate additional seating.
Chapel of the Sacred Heart, Alta, WY: This charming Catholic chapel lies on the hem of Jackson Lake. The building, originally erected in 1930, is built of dark wooden logs and embellished with antique accents like stained glass windows. The chapel pews can seat approximately 115 people.
If you plan to hold your ceremony in any of these stunning locations, you’ll want to make sure you have an expert elopement photographer or wedding photographer for some incredible wedding photography. Not sure where to start? Take a peek at Zola’s vetted list of Wyoming vendors to find a wedding photographer familiar with all the angles of the Teton landscape.
Because they’re state-run territories, getting married at any U.S. National Park comes with a few clauses to be aware of to keep your wedding ceremony in line with park standards.
All personal use of Grand Teton grounds requires a permit from the Special Use Permits office. “Personal use” most commonly refers to events like:
If you wish to hold your ceremony at one of the two historic buildings on the grounds—the Chapel of the Transfiguration or the Chapel of the Sacred Heart—you do not need to secure a Special Use Permit with the park. Instead, you’ll need to contact the two private entities that own and operate these sites:
Ceremony reservations for Chapel of the Transfiguration must be requested through St. John’s Episcopal Church, the parish that owns and uses the chapel.
Reservation requests for Chapel of the Sacred Heart can be made by contacting Our Lady of the Mountains, the operating church, by phone.
In addition to the fees required to obtain your Special Use Permit, there’s also an additional park entrance fee that you, your guests, and your vendors will need to pay. If you want to cover the entrance fees for your guests, you’ll need to work out payment amongst yourselves in advance or after your wedding date—Grand Teton does not accept collective payments (lump sums) or payments in advance of your use of the park.
Each member of your party will be charged at the entrance on the day of your ceremony. The only exceptions are for entry to the Chapel of the Transfiguration and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. However, if you plan to visit the rest of the park following your wedding service at one of these two spots, you’ll still need a park permit.
Entrance fees differ depending on what vehicles visitors use to navigate the park:
Each entrance fee grants the holder one week’s worth of entry and enjoyment of Grand Teton National Park, so if you’re traveling from out of town, we recommend making the most of your trip to Wyoming and celebrating your nuptials with some outback activities like a day out at a hiking trail or cycling and trout fishing.
As with other National Parks weddings, a venue reservation at Grand Teton National Park does not guarantee you and your party exclusive use of your wedding or elopement location. Don’t be surprised if you come in contact with other park visitors on your wedding day. Be mindful that your ceremony doesn’t interfere, either physically or acoustically, with other park-goers’ enjoyment of the area.
Many wedding services culminate with a tossing of rice or flower petals to cap off the ceremony, but unfortunately, Grand Teton has some strict regulations around the types of materials you’re allowed to bring on the premises. You’re prohibited from closing out your wedding ceremony with the following materials:
Additionally, couples are forbidden from bringing decorative or structural items to their service. These include:
Flower arrangements are permitted, provided that they’re taken out of the park in their entirety—pack in bouquets, pack out their petals—after the service to restore the venue to its original condition.
Finally, you should be aware that Grand Teton will be undergoing a retailoring of programming and infrastructure in the coming year, so no wedding applications will be accepted for 2022.
If your heart is set on those majestic mountains for your wedding, we don’t blame you. Rest assured that Grand Teton National Park will have more information on their website by November 2021 for couples intent on having this exquisite landscape as the backdrop to their nuptials.
If you’re sold on the rugged beauty of Grand Teton National Park for your wedding ceremony, you’ll be happy to find out that the application process for this park is a relatively simple one.
If you’re planning for a service at Signal Mountain Summit, Schwabacher’s Landing, or Blacktail Ponds Overlook, you’ll need to secure a Special Use Permit (SUP) from the Park’s Permit Office.
To begin the process, the first step is to submit an application online, along with a non-refundable $200 processing fee. The application form is fairly standard, but be prepared to supply the SUP office with the following information:
Once your application has been received and your request is approved, you’ll receive authorization from the park along with your SUP at the email address you used to submit your application. Be sure to bring a copy of your permit with you on your wedding date. Either download it to your phone (cell service is not a guarantee!) or print a hard copy.
Bear in mind that, as of 2020, Grand Teton National Park has shouldered an unprecedented number of visitors, so couples must submit their applications at least 30 days in advance of their anticipated wedding date. Because of the high volume of visitors and applicants, securing a venue for your desired date might be tougher than years prior, so be sure to offer plenty of alternatives and stay flexible.
If you’ve set the date, picked your dream venue, and are eager to dive headfirst into all the fun parts of your Grand Teton National Park wedding planning, hold your horses.
Let’s make sure you know how to get your hands on a Wyoming marriage license, so your dreamy Grand Teton ceremony is totally legitimate. Here are a few of the basics you need to know:
Whether you’re caravaning into the park from elsewhere in the state or you’re an out-of-towner holding a destination wedding, you do not need to be a resident of Wyoming in order to secure a Wyoming marriage license.
To obtain a Wyoming marriage license, you need to pay a $30 fee. One member of the couple must apply in person (though two is preferred), along with a witness if the other member of the couple isn’t present. In the vast majority of cases, the marriage license will be dispensed mere minutes after applying.
Wyoming marriage licenses are valid for one year. Be sure to return your marriage license to the county clerk no more than 10 days following your nuptials.
Remember to bring a photo ID with you to apply (a driver’s license or passport will do).
Even though the process for obtaining your marriage license is fairly swift and relaxed, it’s still a good idea to take care of business a few days before your wedding ceremony. When it comes to an occasion as momentous as your wedding, you’re always better off safe than sorry.
Pulling off any wedding is a commendable achievement, but pulling one off in the rugged Grand Teton National Park is a feat all its own.
In addition to meeting the park’s requirements, staying on top of the timeline, and figuring out your ceremony logistics, a large part of the process is communicating with your guests about what to expect ahead of time:
Get Ahead on Invitations: For destination events, plan to send out save-the-dates at least eight to 10 months before your wedding, with invitations following suit no later than two months after. To speed up the process without compromising on quality, check out Zola’s collection of save-the-dates, invitations, and other wedding stationery. If you’re still deliberating on your wedding style, you can order some complimentary samples straight from the site.
Let Them Know What Costs are Covered: There are a number of extra fees associated with National Park weddings, like admission to the park or transportation to the wedding site. For many couples, keeping the guest list short and sweet helps minimize expenses. Whomever you choose to invite, be upfront about what costs you and your partner will be covering from the get-go, so that everyone can budget accordingly.
Launch Your Wedding Website Early: The best way to keep your guests abreast of what to expect is to provide one place where they can access all relevant info. Rather than firing off directions, lodging information, or the itinerary to everyone’s crowded email inboxes, set up shop with a wedding website (Zola has dozens of sleek, free templates to help get you started) to aggregate all of the logistical details as your plans unfold.
It’s not easy to organize a getaway event, particularly if you’re not familiar with the region. We recommend working with a knowledgeable wedding coordinator based in Wyoming or Idaho who can help you get a hang of the local terrain, accommodations, and any contingencies you may need to prep for—along with a plan B if the weather throws you for a loop.
Given the restrictions around personal events within the park, you may want to hold your wedding reception in a nearby, off-premises venue that grants you a little more freedom to enjoy your celebration.
Below, we’ll walk through a few nearby lodging and wedding venues where you can make the most of your time in Wyoming.
The Bentwood Inn is a 4-star hotel just a 20-minute drive from Grand Teton National Park. This hotel has a long history of hosting Grand Teton newlyweds and is practiced in hosting both intimate “micro-wedding” receptions and larger gatherings in which you rent the entire four-acre resort.
Depending on whether you’ll be holding a peak season or off-peak season wedding, The Bentwood Inn offers different amenities:
Peak Season Weddings (Summer): In the summer, Bentwood curates a private outdoor space for their wedding guests, complete with a spacious deck for dancing and cocktails, and an amphitheater-style fire pit to toast marshmallows under the stars. You can also snag some bicycles to use during your stay, enjoy complimentary breakfasts, and get pointers on where to find fun summer activities like hiking and horseback riding.
Off-Season Weddings (Spring, Fall, and Winter): Chillier seasons bring a degree of privacy that’s hard to come by at Teton in the warmer months. It’s the best time to see animals like elk and moose around Bentwood, and to go skiing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding, or hiking (plus snowshoes are complimentary!). At night, your guests can cozy up by the enormous three-story fireplace in Bentwood’s Great Room.
With five guest rooms in the main lodge and two rooms in the owner’s wing of the lodge, the total capacity of the hotel is approximately 20 to 25 adults. Bentwood can accommodate up to 200 guests on their outdoor lawn for a wedding reception celebration.
Lastly, Bentwood asks that you work with a coordinator familiar with the property to ensure your arrangements go smoothly. If you’re planning your event any time between mid-May and mid-September, you must make your reservation at least one year prior to your desired date.
Driving 45 minutes southwest of Grand Teton National Park will take you into Idaho and towards another stand-out resort that’s seasoned in helping couples ring in the next phase of their partnership.
Teton Springs Lodge & Spa has 36 guest suites in their main lodge, as well as private lodgings with three-, four-, and five-bedroom accommodations. The hotel offers several venues for couples celebrating their wedding:
In addition to the on-site spa, Teton Springs can advise you on how to pack your schedule with plenty of activities during your stay, such as:
Teton Springs Lodge & Spa is a world-class choice if you’re planning a full-fledged adventure wedding and are looking to saddle up with some of the most memorable adventures the Northwest U.S. has to offer.
Another Idaho resort is Moose Creek Ranch, whose specialty is executing enchanting on-site weddings. The resort can lodge up to 75 guests in their lodge suites, ranch house, and individual log cabins on the property. For receptions and events, their barn (equipped with a dance floor!) may be reserved for approximately 150 attendees.
Moose Creek works with a list of local vendors who have an impeccable and long-running record of assisting with receptions on the hotel property. They’ll be able to put you in contact with:
Moose Creek Ranch is open to nuptial celebrations year-round, though some of their amenities (like the use of their pond and outdoor cooking areas) aren’t available in the wintertime.
Whether you’re taking to the mountains of Grand Teton National Park for a short elopement or planning a destination wedding to the nines (and then some), making arrangements for a National Park wedding takes strategy—and you’ll need the right tools to solidify the details, from setting the date to sending the thank you cards.
Zola is a one-stop shop for couples making their way towards the altar. Our wedding experts and free resources can help you plan out all the details from venues and vendors to party favors and thank you cards.
Ready to get started? Take the first step and visit Zola today to get organized (and inspired) for everything that’s to come.