Your wedding day should be about you – and if the traditional mold of a wedding in a big venue, with 100 people you love and 100 that you kind of know just doesn’t feel right, you can elope instead! If you dream of an adventure, of tying the knot somewhere beautiful, with mountains, or water, or lush forest behind you, you can elope in Arkansas and plan a day that’s as unique as you are. You can celebrate your love story in a way that reflects the two of you, and begin your marriage with a day that actually makes you happy!
Arkansas is an incredible elopement destination, and one that’s pretty underrated, with incredible scenery and outdoor adventures perfect for any nature-loving couple. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan your elopement, including the best places to elope in Arkansas, how to get legally married, and more!
The Best Places to Elope in Arkansas
This is one of the most exciting parts – choosing your elopement location! The place where you tie the knot and exchange vows, promising to spend the rest of your life with your best friend, is pretty damn special. As an elopement photographer, part of my job is helping you find that perfect spot – so here are a few of the best places to elope in Arkansas!
Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park is a stunning place, with beautiful hiking trails, overlooks, and waterfalls. You can see the beauty of the mountains, along with some history, including ancient geology and Native American pictographs carved in the walls of a rocky cave! Cedar Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in the state, is a must see – and you can stay in the park in one of the rustic cabins.
White Rock Mountain
White Rock Mountain is located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, and is one of the best places to elope in Arkansas. The mountain offers views of the bluffs in the distance, with campgrounds and cabins to stay in that serve as a home base if you want to hike to see waterfalls, wildlife, and more gorgeous scenery!
For rock climbers, Mount Magazine State Park is one of the best places to elope in Arkansas! You can also hike, backpack, and even hang glide – so no matter what kind of adventure you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
The view from Sam’s Throne is absolutely breathtaking, and it’s one of the best hiking trails around. The hike is just under three miles, with 393 feet of elevation gain – so while it offers a little bit of a challenge, you won’t be too tired to exchange views when you get to the overlook and see the sweeping view of Arkansas! This is also an amazing place for rock climbing, if that’s your thing!
One of the best places to elope in Arkansas if you want to be by the water is the Buffalo River. Flowing freely for 135 miles, you can tie the knot along the shore, or make the journey through rushing rapids and quiet pools, all surrounded by gorgeous, towering bluffs as you float through the Ozark Mountains! There are lots of campgrounds along the shores of the river – so check out Kyle’s Landing and the Steel Creek Campground for gorgeous places to stay with views of the bluffs.
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
The national forest is home to crystal clear rivers and streams, waterfalls and swimming holes, lush pine forests, and stunning mountain views. No matter what kind of adventure you have in mind – hiking, kayaking, camping, rock climbing, and anything in between – you’ll find it here! Being on national forest land means you can find dispersed camping – while there are plenty of established campsites to stay in, for couples who want a little more solitude, you can find a secluded spot in the forest and have it all to yourself.
Close to Little Rock, Arkansas’ capital city, Pinnacle Mountain towers in the center of Pinnacle Mountain State Park, offering incredible views of the peak! There are hiking trails and rivers to explore, so you can have a picnic, hike to your ceremony spot, or paddle on the water.
At this gorgeous spot, the rocky overhang juts out nearly 150 feet, so you can exchange vows standing high above the landscape below you! The hike to get to Hawksbill Crag is 2.9 miles long, and you’ll have incredible views of the Ozark National Forest. This one isn’t for the faint of heart – the gravel road up can be tough if you aren’t used to driving on unpaved roads! But, if you’re up for an adventure, you’ll love this Arkansas elopement location.
The Best Time to Elope in Arkansas
Weather varies a ton in Arkansas – the summers can be scorching, and winters can be icy! So before you set a date for your elopement, think about what you want to do and what kind of experience you want to have on the day you get married.
Summers are very hot and humid, so if you’re planning outdoor adventures, the best time to elope will likely be spring or fall, when temperatures are more mild! Spring is a little more unpredictable, with rain and storms, so fall is usually the best option.
Winters, though they can get chilly, are usually pretty mild. Snow and ice happen some years, but it’s not too common – so the off season can be a good time to explore the parks if you want more privacy.
Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Arkansas
To make things official, you’ll need a marriage license from the state of Arkansas to get legally married here! You need to apply in person, so both of you will need to visit a county clerk’s office to fill out an application. You can find a list of offices here – if you live in the state, it’s easiest to find one close to home, and if you’re traveling, look for one close to your elopement location!
You’ll need to bring a government-issued photo ID (this can be a driver’s license, passport, or visa), and some offices will also require proof of your social security number – which can mean your social security card or paperwork like a recent W-2. There is also a marriage license fee, which depends on the office you go to, but is usually between $55 and $60.
You’ll get your marriage license right away, and there’s no waiting period – so you can use it the same day!
Arkansas Elopement Packages – Ready to Elope in Arkansas?
On your elopement day, you should do anything you want – and I mean anything. What would make your wedding day perfect? Whether it’s a cozy cabin, a picnic by the river, an epic hike, a once in a lifetime adventure, a night spent by the campfire, or anything you can possibly dream up, I’m here to help you bring it to life.
As an elopement photographer, and someone who decided to elope herself, I understand the importance of getting married in a way that really feels like you. So every step of the way, I’ll be there to guide you through the process and help you plan. My Arkansas elopement packages include everything you need – location scouting, vendor recommendations, a custom timeline, and more, so that when you get your photos back, you’ll see the entire story of your one of a kind elopement day!
If you’re ready to elope in Arkansas, contact me, and we’ll start planning!