Kentucky Elopement Guide 2024 – the Best Places to Elope in Kentucky


January 17, 2022

From the Appalachian Mountains to the rolling hills, from lush forests to rushing waterfalls, and from cute B&Bs to quaint rural towns, Kentucky is an incredibly underrated elopement destination! You certainly don’t have to travel all the way out west for an incredible elopement day, and whether you’re a local or you want to visit the Bluegrass State to tie the knot, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to elope in Kentucky. 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this Kentucky Elopement Guide:

The Best Places to Elope in Kentucky

One of the best things about deciding to elope (in my humble opinion) is choosing the perfect spot to exchange vows. Your elopement location should be a reflection of the two of you, and it should be intentionally chosen to ensure that you have the best day of your life! Whether you’re picturing the wind in your hair as you exchange vows on a hilltop, the sound of a river as you tie the knot by the water, or the stillness of the forest where the trees tower around you and your soon to be spouse, here are a few of the best places to elope in Kentucky.

Red River Gorge

The Red River Gorge is a canyon in east-central Kentucky, and an absolutely incredible place for an elopement! Not only are the views just jaw dropping, with the Red River running through, the dense forest, and the incredible rocky canyon walls, but you’ll also find countless adventures for your elopement day. There’s no shortage of ways to make your elopement truly one of a kind –  you can rock climb, zip line, hike, or even kayak under the Gorge! After a day of exploring and adventures, or if a laid back wedding day is more your thing, there are quiet cabins to stay in, one of a kind treehouses that include a forest hot tub, and campgrounds where you can relax with some s’mores.

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest 

The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest features over 16,000 acres of land, and it’s one of the best places to elope in Kentucky for couples looking to escape into nature! With 40 miles of hiking trails, there are easy hikes, hard hikes, and everything in between, taking you along gorgeous views of the valley, the forest, and the ridgeline.

Cumberland Falls State Park

Cumberland Falls State Park is best known for the waterfall it’s named after – the dramatic Cumberland Falls, often called the “Niagara of the South.” With water plunging over the sandstone, the waterfall is 68 feet tall and 125 feet wide – definitely an impressive sight, and an incredible backdrop for your elopement day! You can hike, paddle, swim, and even explore the caves in the park.

Weather & Seasons – the Best Time to Elope in Kentucky

Kentucky experiences all four seasons, with very different weather throughout the year. So before you set a date for your elopement, here’s what you need to know!

Summer weather is very hot and humid, and it’s the most popular time to visit – so to get some privacy (and more mild weather), I recommend eloping once the summer crowds have left. The best time to elope in Kentucky, for most couples, is fall. From mid-September to mid-November, it’s still warm and sunny, and the cold of winter hasn’t set in yet. Temperatures range from 50-80 degrees during the day, but mornings and evenings can get chilly, so bring layers! This is also the driest season.

Winters get very cold, and snow tends to pile up more in the north of Kentucky. The south doesn’t get as much snow, but it’s still chilly! Spring can be pleasant, with warm temperatures – however, it rains very often and the weather can be moody, so fall is a better time to tie the knot.

To get legally married during your elopement, you’ll first need to get a marriage license from the state of Kentucky. You have to go in person, but you can go to any county clerk’s office in the state. Choose one close to home if you live in Kentucky, or close to your elopement location if you’re traveling!

You’ll both appear in person at the county clerk’s office, fill out the application, show your photo IDs, and you’ll have your marriage license the same day. The license fee costs $50.

There’s no waiting period, so you can get married as soon as you get the marriage license! It does expire after 30 days, so the ceremony needs to take place within that time.

When you elope, you will need a few signatures on the marriage license – yours, your partners, along with an officiant and two witnesses. There are a few options for this! 

Officiants need to be ordained – so you can hire a professional, or have someone you know get ordained and perform your ceremony. This is quick and easy to do at, and having a loved one officiate can be a really nice personal touch for your elopement!

Finding a Kentucky Elopement Photographer

A photographer is going to make a huge difference in your day, and will take a lot of stress off of you! As a Kentucky elopement photographer, my job goes beyond documenting and capturing all the once in a lifetime memories of your day – I’m also your planning assistant, your #1 supporter as you navigate the decision to elope, and your guide in making sure that your day is authentic, meaningful, and perfectly you. I want your wedding day to be one you absolutely love – so I’ll be there to help, while giving you the space and freedom to be yourselves!

Kentucky Elopement Packages

If you’re ready to plan a wedding day that’s intentional, meaningful, and all about the two of you, I’m ready to help you plan it! My Kentucky elopement packages include everything you need – location scouting, recommendations for vendors and places to stay, a custom elopement timeline, and everything in between.

Here is the breakdown:

  • A full elopement day photography coverage in Kentucky
  • Unlimited access to me for any consultation
  • Customized Kentucky elopement timeline based on your vision & unique personalities
  • Location scouting
  • Vendor and activity recommendations
  • Permit assistance
  • 60+ page elopement guide to help you in your planning process
  • Professional online gallery of high resolution photos within 8 weeks
  • Unlimited download of your photos
  • All travel fees are included!

Contact me to start planning your elopement, and to learn more about Kentucky elopement packages!

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  1. My husband and I eloped to Colorado in 2007, but this article makes me want to go to Kentucky to renew our vows! What a beautiful state – and your photography is breathtaking.

  2. Monica says:

    This is so helpful and informative for trying to plan an elopement in Kentucky beyond just finding a location.

  3. Chelsea says:

    Love all this info! What a great resource for couples looking to elope in KY! I had no idea how awesome Kentucky is!

  4. Sienna says:

    I never would have guessed that Kentucky would have so many potential elopement spots! Love!

  5. Naomi Levit says:

    I had no idea Kentucky has so many location options for elopements! Love this!

  6. Kelcee says:

    This is such a sweet and simple guide for eloping in Kentucky! This really helps someone like me from Arizona know what beautiful places to elope to out of my state!

  7. Marla says:

    Kentucky is such an underrated state! I love all of the ideas you’ve presented here 🙂

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & destination wedding, elopement & family photographer. Mary strives to create photography experience that you can relax into.

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