You've found The One (or maybe even more than one--we're polyam friendly!), you've said yes, you've looked at what goes into planning a wedding, and....
Quickly realized that it's not for you.
Weddings are parties. Huge, wonderful, beautiful parties, but parties nonetheless, and planning a huge, wonderful, beautiful party is not an easy--or cheap--undertaking. And for my fellow introverts--parties are just flat out overwhelming! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE weddings. I love going to them, I love photographing them. Me hyping elopements is in no way an insult to weddings, just an acknowledgement that there are other options. And if you're reading this, you've probably already thought of all the many, many reasons why an elopement is for you...now, you just have to choose a place.
This post, is about why that place should be Maine.
1-Summit to Seashore
I see over and over again people post on social media looking for suggestions on places to elope that have both coastal and mountainous options. Maine definitely has both. There's the popular choice of Acadia National Park--but we have a whole section of coastline with mountains nearby. Not just within easy driving distance either, but actually in the same place. Acadia, along with Camden Hills State Park and the midcoast region, and the downeast region and Bold Coast offer the dramatic rocky cliffs Maine is renowned for, with elevations peaking at over 1000 feet all within the same area. And if you are willing to drive a little further, we have flatter, sandier beaches in the south, with the northern range of the Appalachians-including Katahdin herself-to the west. If you can't decide between mountains or ocean, you won't have to!
We might all like to think of weddings and elopements as the love and the artistry of it all--but ultimately, the legality of marriage still relies on the crossing of i's and the dotting of t's. Thankfully in Maine, all of that is fairly easy.
I'm linking the page to the Maine government because regulations do change, and I can't guarantee that I'll learn about those changes in time to update this before you read it. But for one--you don't need to be a resident of the state, although if you of you is, make sure to apply in the municipality where you reside. And, as of now, Maine does not require a waiting period from when you request a marriage license to when you can be married. You can literally come up here on vacation, decide hey--let's get married! and then do it!
....provided you have two witnesses, which is part of Maine's law. If you are planning for an elopement, make sure to include a couple of family members or best friends, or arrange for the legal paperwork where you can have witnesses, and save the emotional part for the beautiful location of your choosing.
Maine ministers also do not need to be ordained by a brick and mortar church, so now seems like a good time to mention that I am ordained, and can perform your marriage alongside being your photographer! This may make it easier for last minute decisions, or if you want a fully customized ceremony.
4-Maine loves dogs
I'm a cat person--but I love dogs, and I love when couples and families include their dogs in their vacations. And Maine is an amazing place to do this. Eloping or planning a micro-wedding doesn't mean you can't bring the 4 legged members of your family--if anything, fewer humans it's more of a reason to include them. Dogs are allowed on most trails and beaches in Maine, including in state parks and in Acadia National Park*, and we have a huge number of restaurants, stores, and lodging options that allow or encourage dogs. Maine does have leash laws--for the protection of both your pup and all other humans, dogs, and critters on our lands--but provided those laws are followed there are not many outdoor spaces you can't bring your dog.
So--why elope in Maine?
The bigger question is honestly, why not? If you have the flexibility to travel, and are looking for scenic beauty and outdoor adventure, Maine has everything.