The Best Places to Elope in 2024

At these 31 destinations around the world, less (guests) is more.
best places to elope; elopement destinations wedding photos and venue imagery of madrid
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Esther Lee - Deputy Editor, The Knot
by
Esther Lee
Esther Lee - Deputy Editor, The Knot
Esther Lee
Deputy Editor
  • Esther is the Deputy Editor of The Knot. She currently leads all content on The Knot Wellness, focusing on financial, relationship, and mental wellbeing.
  • She oversees The Knot's travel vertical (honeymoons, destination weddings, bach parties), as well as overarching features and trends.
  • She proudly serves on the Advisory Council of VOW For Girls, focusing on ending the injustice of child marriage around the world.
Updated Oct 31, 2023
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Romance is subjective. For some, the best place to elope is on a tropical beach in the Indian Ocean, while others envision their perfect destination elopement on the slopes of a chalet in the Swiss Alps. The ceremony could be intimate and subtle, like a city hall elopement, or it could be swoon-worthy and extravagant on a private island.

Couples elope for a variety of reasons, many citing the intimacy and intention that marks the experience. The best elopement location should reflect that which is where we come in. Eventually, most intend to throw a celebratory reception back home, but the elopement tends to be theirs (and theirs alone). What's more romantic than that? Below, we list the best places to elope in 2024.

Bonus: If you're searching for "best places to elope near me," jump to our destination guides by state below for elopement packages near you.

In This Article:

Best Places to Elope in the US

America, the beautiful—with its world-class cities, unique mountain ranges and glittering oceanfront destinations—has an endless array of backdrops for dramatic elopements. If you're a couple who prefers convenience, then Vegas, San Francisco and New York might be for you. Here, we list a few of the top locations for elopements across the United States of America.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas
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Arguably the elopement destination of the country is none other than a town that's nicknamed Sin City. Vegas, with its numerous drive-through wedding spots and accessible chapels, makes it simple for easy, legal and hassle-free options for elopement packages. For couples who want photos in nature, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is just 30 minutes away from the Strip and another beautiful setting to commit to your "I dos."

Maui, Hawaii

pamela hanson photography
Photo: Pamela Hanson,Venue: The Four Seasons Maui

With its scenic and dramatic coastal landscape, the Kapalua coast is one of the prettiest spots for elopements, especially if you want to commit to a natural setting. Photographers and property events teams are particularly well-versed in selecting ideal elopement enclaves on the island. After your vows, celebrate at the Ritz-Carlton's iconic Banyan Tree for a memorable first dinner as newlyweds. If you're closer to the southern coast, take in the sunset by reserving the best seat in the house at Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante or Waicoco in Ka'anapali. Properties like the Four Seasons Wailea and The Westin Maui (the latter, which partners with local wedding planner White Orchid Wedding, Inc.), all offer comprehensive elopement packages.

New York, New York

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With so many iconic restaurants and properties, a City Hall elopement comes with all kinds of perks in the City That Never Sleeps, including photo opportunities on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. For the festivities, throw an intimate dinner or lunch at Bemelman's at The Carlyle, which Princess Diana once described as her favorite place in NYC or your favorite spot in Soho or the West Village. If there's one fact, it's that the choice will be tough to narrow down given New York's top fine dining scene.

San Francisco, California

san francisco city hall interior dome and beauty
Spondylolithesis / Getty Images

City Hall in San Francisco takes on its own personality. The ornate building from 1915 was designed by architect Arthur Brown Jr., also the mastermind behind the city's Opera House and New York City's 50 United Nations Plaza. Now a national landmark, West Coast couples often take note of the venue for their elopements. Following the ceremony, couples will often head to the San Francisco Botanical Garden and celebrate with views at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana or in one of the intimate spaces at Wayfare Tavern.

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara
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Quiet, dreamy and undeniably beautiful, Santa Barbara is a coveted elopement destination in the US. Proximate to both the beach and the beautiful vineyards nestled along Santa Ynez Valley and exclusive Montecito, it feels as though most venues and properties were tailor-made for elopements. Couples can take their pick between the storied San Ysidro Ranch and The Hotel Californian, or they can exchange vows at the famed Santa Barbara County Courthouse, erected in 1929. For something even more secluded, they can head north to sleepy Big Sur.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square in front of the St Louis Cathedral,New Orleans
Peter Unger / Getty Images

Topping your vows with beignets and lively jazz is the way to do it in New Orleans. Couples who appreciate good food, Bayou culture and something slightly beyond the standard concept of an elopement will want to consider this city for their ceremony.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe
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The crown jewel of a US elopement destination featuring alpine lakes (and the largest in the country) and dramatic mountainous landscape surprisingly isn't considered a national park. Tahoe, however, welcomes twice as many visitors each year over Yosemite National Park. With featured blue waters, hamlets and stunning views of capped mountains, Tahoe is a top choice for couples seeking a mountain elopement. The only thing you'll have to worry about is the sheer beauty of your wedding announcements once delivered to your loved ones.

US National Parks, USA

US National Parks
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From Yosemite's Half Dome to Acadia's glittering Atlantic coastline, there's no shortage of beautiful national parks across the country. Each park boasts its own hidden gems and serves as a perfect spot for nature-loving couples who want a wedding ceremony in the open lands of the US. It's why so many couples decide US national parks are ideal for scenic elopements and more. A full elopement guide to national parks covering Colorado's mountain ranges, Washington's wildflowers, Utah's rock formations, Alaska's mountain views and more are coming soon.

Best Places to Elope in the Caribbean & Central America

Accessible from most major US cities, the pristine beaches of the Caribbean and lush landscapes are straight out of an elopement playbook. The islands and countries are also a short flight away and often within similar time zones, making the transition from your engagement to fairy tale nuptials a seamless process. Read up on the best Caribbean elopement destinations below.

Antigua and Barbados

Antigua and Barbados
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This British Virgin Island is reputable for its beautiful beaches, world-class sailing, snorkeling and private island experiences. Couples will want to experience the luxury elopement experience on the powdery beaches of Jumby Bay Island or Hermitage Bay. There's also the all-inclusive route at Sandals Grande Antigua.

Aruba

Aruba
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Just north of Venezuela is the Dutch-Caribbean island of Aruba, a country known for its diversity, hospitality and the largest vow renewal in the world. Aruba's acclaimed Eagle Beach also happens to be the defending champion of the best beaches in the region, if not, the world. For something more secluded and experiential, the Renaissance Aruba has its own private island elopement package with only flamingoes roaming its white-sand beaches to witness your vow. Aruba Bell Tents can design a dreamy, oceanfront ceremony complete with a multi-course private dinner prepared by a chef. If you prefer an aquatic experience, the Monforte Luxury Cruise is one of the top-rated sailing excursions on the island.

Belize

Belize
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Nature lovers will deeply appreciate Belize's rugged beauty, especially for a lush jungle elopement surrounded by deep and emerald greens. Couples can choose between an intimate natural ceremony on the romantic hanging bridge at Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge–an eco-resort in Belmopan–or an oceanfront elopement at its bohemian sister property of The Lodge at Jaguar Reef in Hopkins. If you want even more dramatic wedding photos, ask the events team to arrange an elopement by the Belize Barrier Reef, the biggest in the Western hemisphere.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica
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Imagine exchanging vows in a cloud rainforest or committing to a lifetime of love at sunset at a UNESCO site on the beach. Costa Rica is the most biodiverse country in the world boasting scenic Caribbean and Pacific beaches, volcanoes, and all kinds of wildlife, including sloths and macaw pairings (the birds partner for life). Couples can choose to elope in Papagayo at the Four Seasons or the Andaz for a classic beach ceremony or they can head inland to the rainforests for a seductive and elevated elopement at Origins Lodge in Alajuela or one of the luxury tented resorts near La Fortuna waterfall.

Jamaica

Jamaica
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Between bob-sledding, ziplining, snorkeling, and lounging on the beach, this Caribbean island country is a popular destination from the US–elopements included. Not only is Jamaica teeming with oceanfront all-inclusive resorts across Ochos Rios, Negril and Montego Bay, but it's arguably home to one of the most renowned properties in the Caribbean: GoldenEye, where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond novels. For couples who want to take the stress out of planning an elopement, the best option is to turn to an event planner at your resort. Recommended options include Half Moon or the iconic over-the-water, white chapel at Sandals South Coast.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia
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There's a reason why St. Lucia is one of the most romantic destinations in the Caribbean. With its pristine beaches and hulking twin Pitons, you feel transported to an even more distant location. Thankfully, it's only a short flight away from the US and hotels cater to celebrations and special events, including elopement packages. Couples will want to stay at Jade Mountain or Sandals for an ultra-romantic experience. For those who want a nontraditional concept of elopement, exchanging vows on a catamaran in Soufriere is quite enticing. Otherwise, gorgeous backdrops are guaranteed at Vigie Beach Blow Hole or the Cove Beach Blow Hole at Cap Maison. The more adventurous may want to stand before the roaring Superman Waterfall or Sapphire Falls.

Turks & Caicos

Turks and Caicos
Turks & Caicos

Turquoise water, five-star properties and secluded beaches make the Caribbean island of Turks & Caicos a worthy destination for elopements. For couples who value solitude and privacy, Amanyara, an Aman property on the west coast of Providenciales, and COMO Parrot Cay, a private island resort, both offer elopement packages. Those who prefer an all-inclusive element can turn to Ambergris Cay, especially if you want to enjoy a stress-free minimony or reception with your loved ones.

US Virgin Islands

us virgin islands
Jim Kruger / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Perhaps the easiest and best place to elope in the Caribbean, logistics-wise, is the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Comprised of St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix, the three islands offer dramatic overlooks, clear blue water and white sand beaches. Plus, did. we mention they're passport-free destinations?

Mexico

Mexico
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From the Riviera Nayarit to the mountains of San Miguel, an elopement in Mexico can range dramatically per couple. The country boasts diverse and dramatic landscapes, unique culinary experiences and high-end resorts dotting open acres of stunning beaches in toney enclaves like Punta de Mita and Los Cabos.

Best Places to Elope in Europe

Arguably home to the world's most romantic cities and vacation destinations, Europe offers fairy tale settings for elopements for several reasons. From the East Coast of the US, most locations fall between five to eight hours away, making travel relatively easy.

The Canary Islands, Spain

Secrets Resorts & Spas - Hyatt Inclusive Collection
Secrets Resorts & Spas - Hyatt Inclusive Collection

While its Balearic cousins get more love, the Canary Islands are wild and beautiful, making it one of the best places to elope in the world. The destination is home to a grouping of eight diverse islands, including Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma. The lesser-known and smaller destinations include La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. Off the coast of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote is a remote fishing island known as Lobos Island. It takes about an hour sail to reach the destination or you can marry at Secrets Bahia Real, which arguably has the best pier for photography, all-inclusive dining options, and easy access to the exotic Parque Natural de Corralejo, where miles of pristine white sand have gradually drifted from the Sahara and settled against the electric teal Atlantic Ocean. The Ritz-Carlton Tenerife, Abama on the island of Tenerife is another elopement option as the resort is placed against a dramatic, moon-like backdrop of natural landscape.

London, England

London
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A guaranteed timeless location for elopements, London's appeal is multi-fold for couples. The city is sophisticated and modern–its hotels and properties on arguably a different playing field among service, amenities and design. Plus, there are plenty of beautiful parks and iconic landmarks to feature in your elopement photos. Depending on your aesthetic, each neighborhood appeals to somebody.

Madrid, Spain

plaza mayor at dusk in madrid
Jorg Greuel / Getty Images

A newcomer to the list of urban elopement destinations, Madrid is well-deserving of this accolade for multiple reasons. The city is incredibly clean and offers architectural feats from the Neo-Mudéjar period in the 19th century, expertly blended against city plazas and parks, for gorgeous photography. Couples will especially love chasing their newfound marital status down with cava and churros con chocolat. The most well-recommended elopement options in the city include the Rosewood Villa Magna, a dramatic and exclusive hotel with refined finishes and interiors. For something even more historic, turn to the Hotel Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá. (Did we mention that credit card points are a plus here? American Express cardholders will be pleased to find it's under the Leading Hotels of the World umbrella, whether they plan to store or use those points.)

Paris, France

Paris
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Where better to elope than the City of Love… and Lights? With its charming facade buildings, cobblestone streets, world-class museums and palaces, historic windmills, as well as the Eiffel Tower, Paris oozes romance just about everywhere. Coupled with delicious fare and its accessibility from the East Coast, Paris is a dream destination for romance. Couples will want to hire an elopement photographer to capture their Parisian fairy tale elopement.

Rome, Italy

Rome Italy
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Among ancient ruins, classical fountains designed by the likes of Bernini, charming cobblestone alleys and the rustic sun that cascades across Roman rooftops are couples sprinkled through just about every pocket of the city. Rome was made for love… and copious amounts of pasta, gelato or both. Between the Colosseum, the Piazza Navona (where this editor once resided), the Pantheon, and numerous five-star properties with views of these landmarks, there are plenty of elopement locations to consider in Roma.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland
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"Otherworldy" is often used to describe Iceland. With its dramatic waterfalls, natural hot springs and unadulterated scenery, Iceland beckons adventurous and outdoorsy couples from around the world. Those who like dramatic backdrops will find an Icelandic elopement to be right up their alley. Couples who want a full-service experience can exchange vows at the iconic Blue Lagoon at sunrise. Those who prefer something more rugged can take a Jeep to Snæfellsnes National Park or the breathtaking black-sand beaches and waterfalls dotting the Golden Circle. Maybe the Northern Lights will dance for your newlywed status (pending seasonality).

Santorini, Greece

andronis wedding couple elopes on a terrace santorini
Andronis Luxury Suites

Peak tourism season isn't the ideal time to elope in beautiful Santorini, famed for its breathtaking sunsets and blue dome rooftops and white-washed buildings. The bougainvillea lives on even after the summer crowds diminish and the quieter moments of Santorini draw the destination's true nature to light. Couples may want an expert-driven ceremony for two held on the captivating events deck of Andronis Luxury Suites, an all-inclusive elopement destination package offered by wedding planning company Vanilla Sky. Another option for couples is the Aegean Love Affair elopement package offered directly by The Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection, which promises to capture your intimate elopement and the dramatic seaside town. Complete with three nights in a suite, an outdoor ceremony, couples massage, wine tasting, private dinner at Varoulko Santorini, and a private boat tour, this package is complete with a professional photography session—what's not to love about that?

Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany
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Manicured Renaissance gardens, historical villas and delicious farm-to-table dining are just a few pros to weigh when considering a Tuscan elopement. A tried-and-true destination for weddings, honeymoons and elopements, Tuscany beckons–especially if you enjoy the aromatic experience of indulging in quality wine, olive oil and pasta.

Best Places to Elope Around the World (Asia, Africa and Antarctica)

There's no shortage of stunning elopement destinations around the world. The following are more popular or unique spots to consider when choosing a ceremony for two.

Antarctica

Antarctica
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Can you get married in Antarctica? Yes, though getting there will cost a pretty penny. An elopement in Antarctica makes for a great storytelling opportunity, especially since it's hard to reach and has a population of zero. While your extended family and colleagues may have to decline the invitation to witness your nuptials on an uninhabitable continent, you can come home with the wedding photos and marriage certificate now thanks to Atlas Ocean Voyages. Plus, the bragging rights since only 30,000 visitors make it to Antarctica each year, making it the most unusual and unique elopement destination on our list.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali
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Rated by numerous experts and destination wedding planners as the top elopement location in the world, beautiful Bali is for couples from all parts of the world. With its unique vegetation, heritage and natural beauty, the "Island of the Gods" is notably a far trek from the US–but rather cost-effective once you're there. Even for five-star experiences, your money will stretch among the lush tropical gardens and vast breaks of the Indian Ocean. Couples can find their zen elopement at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay or among the famous rice paddies at Tanah Gaja Ubud, a five-star resort in the spiritual hub of Bali.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora
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Couples love to elope in Tahiti. The island's sultry and exotic landscape and seascape are a dream for couples considering a wow-worth destination elopement. It checks just about every box. The best part is taking an extended honeymoon after you exchange your vows.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

One visit to Chobe National Park in Botswana will explain why Elizabeth Taylor chose to secretly marry her ex-husband, Richard Burton, on the banks of the Chobe River. Liz and Dick celebrated their repeat nuptials (yes, love is tricky) at the five-star Chobe Game Lodge in October 1975. "We exchanged rings, fathomless looks, and were married once again, back where we belonged. Always belonged," the bride wrote in her diary of the experience. The destination speaks for itself between the thriving population of elephants and hippos that sleep on the banks of that very river.

Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya

Basecamp Explorer basecamp eagle view elopement destination
Basecamp Explorer

Quieter and more private than the dramatic and bustling Masai Mara National Reserve, Naboisho is a private conservancy located adjacent to the neighboring Mara and is known for offering more private experiences for guests. The region is also known for having the largest concentration of lions in all of Africa, making it an especially exciting yet intimate location for wildlife lovers. In terms of ideal elopement destinations, we recommend Basecamp Eagle View, which was named appropriately as it has the "eagle view" of the entire region. Nestled well above the Koiyaki River, the safari encampment is perched on the edge of a hill where couples can exchange vows against a diverse landscape of acacia trees, grassland, watering holes and rocky formations, all under the blue safari sky. This destination is also a picturesque choice for an elopement due to its prime views and expert-led expeditions from Maasai guides and drivers. The team can take you on an exhilarating post-sunrise ceremony walk in the bush or a romantic post-elopement evening game drive (sundowners, included).

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown
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Imagine saying you eloped in "The Remarkables." That's exactly the case in Queenstown, New Zealand, where the dreamy Southern Alps drape backdrops of wedding photos, while the stories are a tad dramatic–this city is all about the adventure elopement. Exchange your vows and bungee jump with your officiant since, you know, you took the plunge.

Best Places to Elope Near You

Dunton Hot Springs saloon sunset elopement destination
Dunton Hot Springs

If you're searching for "places to elope near me" or you have a particular state in mind, we've got you covered with our destination elopement guides for the most popular states.

How to Choose the Best Places to Elope

Maui
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While you refine your destination elopement location, there are some decision-making factors that could influence how you narrow down the decision. An elopement ceremony is intimate by nature, so couples will want to be in a place that feels remote and secluded. It's also important the environment is comfortable, the weather is idyllic for the seasonality, and local vendors are able to provide services to pull off the elopement of your dreams. Read our tips below to help you refine whether you want a classic beach elopement, a secluded safari ceremony, or an intimate five-person destination wedding.

Stick to Your Budget

Elopement packages are common with properties and resorts that cater to romantic experiences. Some start as low as $500, while all-inclusive luxury experiences (including catering, photography, and a multiple-night stay) can hover at around $10,000. If your budget is important, your options are still vast as elopements are generally more cost-effective given the lack of guests.

Research Local Vendor and Travel Logistics

Getting there, meaning your version of paradise may be complicated for busier couples, which is why a local city hall is preferred, especially by those who cannot take the time off. However, if your destination of choice is a remote island or culturally relevant to you in a distant country, you'll want to weigh the logistics of getting there as part of the experience. Explore our elopement checklist for more details.

Source a Location of Sentiment and Importance

Whether it's the first vacation destination you experienced together as a couple or a country that holds personal and cultural value to you, the sentiment tethered to a location particularly comes into play for destination elopements and weddings. For example, a park ranger may want to exchange vows at the scenic lookout point of their favorite national park.

Explore Photography Options

Elopement photography is important to couples since the private moment is theirs to cherish and keep forever. Many couples end up choosing a venue, space, or location based on its photogenic qualities.

Consider the Time of Year

Some destinations are overrun with tourists during peak season—to the point your elopement may be not-so-intimate. You'll also want to consider your dream destination's weather patterns, especially if there's a designated monsoon or extreme weather season.

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