There are a number of reasons couples choose to have an adventurous wedding day. Some want to prioritize their wedding budget to create a wonderful experience for themselves or 15 guests v.s. 180 guests. Some people know that family drama will ensure, so they want to avoid that altogether. And some people just do not find joy in trying to coordinate a large, structured, stressful, and expensive production. Whatever your reason may be, don't just settle for a quick courthouse wedding! Elopements are just as important as big wedding days, and you deserve a beautiful and dreamy experience.
Here's where Ohiopyle comes in! Ohiopyle State Park, located in South Western Pennsylvania, is a beautiful little town and state park built around the Youghiogheny River that has a diverse selection of spaces where you and your fiance can be married! From Cucumber falls to the riverside boulders, and even an overlook with views for miles over the forest, Ohiopyle is probably one of my favorite spaces for a wedding ceremony in Pennsylvania.
So how easy is it to get married at Ohiopyle? You'd be surprised how simple it can be! Here are a few steps and ideas to make your intimate wedding the perfect, memorable day you deserve...
1.) Secure Your Permit
All weddings at Ohiopyle require pre-approval from the PA State Parks, and I'm always happy to help guide my clients in the right direction to obtain this. The only cost from the park affiliated with an intimate ceremony (for example 10 people or less) is a $25 administrative fee.
2.) Find Someone to Officiate
There are 2 ways you can go about having your wedding ceremony officiated. The first is by hiring an ordained officiant, local mayor, judge, or any other person who can legally officiate your wedding. There's usually a small cost affiliated with this depending on the person performing the ceremony.
The second option is to tie your own knot and have a self-uniting ceremony! Pennsylvania is one of few states where you can have a self-uniting wedding license, only requiring signatures from at least 2 witnesses of the event. All you have to do is tell the clerk at the courthouse that you'd like a self-uniting marriage license and mail it back in afterward, just as you would any other marriage license. With this, you can state your own vows or even have any family member or friend "officiate" the ceremony with readings of your choice.
Just because you're having a smaller guest list doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the dress budget! If you want the gown of your dreams, you have full permission to splurge on it. Just remember that you will get dirty! But you'll have the most fun experience in that dress and the dirt will tell a story.
If you'd rather have a smaller dress budget, there are some amazing options on Amazon for as low as $28 (just make sure you read the reviews so you don't get something low quality!). A gorgeous white jumpsuit would be amazing too. Be sure whatever you choose to wear is comfortable, doesn't irritate your arms when you move them, and leaves room to move around.
Be mindful of the weather when you're planning your attire. Summers can be very hot and humid, and the rest of the year can be unpredictably cold (or warm - that's PA for ya!). For the summer - those wearing long-sleeved shirts and jackets should be prepared with a t-shirt underneath so you can remove them while you're on your trek. You don't want to be dripping with sweat! And for dresses, light weight and flowy will make your life easier. In the colder months it's important to be prepared with a cover-up and leggings under your dress (fleece-lined or nude if you have a slit).
Prioritize Footwear! You'll need shoes, sandals, or boots that have good traction and that you don't mind getting wet or dirty. Don't worry - you can bring another pair to change into for pictures if you're feeling a more elegant look.
4.) Book Your Photographer!
Shameless plug here - visit the Adventure Weddings page for info about adventurous wedding coverage! Your photo package will include planning assistance, an online gallery, high-res image files, a print release, and travel fees. All elopements at Ohiopyle are priced at $300 per hour (discounts after 5 hours), or if you choose Monday-Thursday, there's a discount of 15% off per hour! Fill out the contact form at the bottom of any page to inquire about availability and ask questions.
5.) Choose Your Location
Ohiopyle has scenery for days, but you'll want to choose what's right for you and your guests (if applicable). Consider how far you'd like to hike and mobility restrictions for your and your guests. All Wild North Weddings couples receive assistance choosing the perfect location for their wedding day, so don't feel alone in this! Location ideas include:
Riverside Flat Rocks
The Falls Platform near the Visitors Center
The Ferncliff Peninsula
Tharp Knob Overlook
6.) Make Your Plans For Afterwards - It's a special day that deserves a celebration! You can reserve a Vrbo, a cozy room in one of the local bed & breakfasts, stay in one of the houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, or stay at Seven Springs. Looking for dinner plans? The Falls City Pub in the town of Ohiopyle is a great place for the family to celebrate afterwards with big flavor and a casual atmosphere. It's difficult to get a reservation at Treetops Restaurant in Acme, PA but if you can snag one it's a unique and delicious dining experience! Another regional favorite is Out Of The Fire Café in Donegal. Their patio dining has a beautiful view of the ridge (particularly beautiful in the fall!) with upscale flavors. Staying the weekend? Plan another big adventure for you and the group with white water rafting, kayaking, or biking the trails with Wilderness Voyageurs!
Words Of Advice:
One of my favorite parts of the concept of eloping is that couples are spending money on what they value most, rather than what they think they're supposed to. If you want to spend an absurd amount of money on a bouquet, spend $28 on your dress, stay in a super luxury cabin for the weekend and drink boxed wine, or stay in a tent under the stars and pop champagne fireside, do it! Wherever your wedding day takes you, always remember that it's your day and to stay true to what you want from it. Don't let anyone else cause you unnecessary stress, and don't be afraid to say "no" or "yes" to people. There's no right or wrong when it comes to weddings, so don't hesitate to do things your way!
Hey there! I'm Carly D'Angelo-Hall - a photographer specializing in documenting weddings across the U.S. If you love adventure, experiencing new things, and if you like to live "outside of the box", let's talk about how I can help you create and capture the wedding day of your dreams! Visit wildnorthweddings.com to view all-inclusive wedding day and adventure session packages.
Wild North Weddings is an elopement and adventure wedding photographer documenting weddings in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Denver, Colorado, Vail, Colorado, White River National Forest in Colorado, Moab, Utah, Arches National Park, Utah, Sedona, Arizona, Glacier National Park, Montana, Grand Tetons National Park, Montana, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Taos, New Mexico, Zion National Park in Utah, Arcadia National Park, The Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, Smokey Mountain National Park, Shenandoah National Park, the Pacific Northwest, and more!