After years of talking clients through the process, I decided to write a guide on how to elope in Maine. A Maine elopement is a fantastic option if a big wedding isn't your vibe and you want to do something more relaxed and intimate. While an elopement can definitely be more spontaneous than a bigger wedding, there are still a few steps that you'll need to do to prepare.
CHOOSE YOUR LOCATION
Maine offers a variety of backdrops for an epic elopement. Rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, mountaintop views, wooded trails, peaceful lakeside options, or a city hall elopement with delicious Maine food and drinks nearby. We'll be sharing some of our favorite elopement locations soon, so if you're still trying to decide on a spot to elope, stay tuned.
CHOOSE YOUR DATE
SECURE AN OFFICIANT
You'll need an officiant to get married in Maine. So you'll want to line someone up in advance, whether asking a friend or family member to get ordained to perform your ceremony or hiring a professional.
Per the state of Maine website, the following individuals are authorized to perform marriages in Maine:
-Ordained ministers of the gospel
-A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary, or ecclesiastical body
-Judges or justices (residents of Maine only)
-Lawyers admitted to the Maine Bar (residents of Maine only)
* Maine does not have Justices of the Peace. Out-of-state Notaries and Justices of the Peace cannot officiate weddings in Maine.
SECURE ADDITIONAL VENDORS
While you're in the process of securing an officiant, you should also be booking any additional vendors you'd like to work with. Photographers, florists, hair and makeup artists, bakers, and other vendors often take on a limited number of weddings. We also book anywhere from a few months to a year in advance. So don't delay if you want to work with specific vendors.
You're required to have two witnesses present at your ceremony. Your officiant cannot be a witness, but your photographer can. I've signed as a witness for many couples, and it's always an honor. If you're not planning on having friends or family present as witnesses, your officiant can usually hire someone to come along and act as an additional witness.
MAKE ANY NECESSARY RESERVATIONS
If, like most couples tying the knot in Maine, you're traveling from out of state, you'll want to make any hotel and restaurant reservations well in advance, especially if you plan to elope in coastal or southern Maine. Hotels can book up several months to over a year in advance, so you'll want to lock something in while there are still plenty of options and before prices go up.
Also, certain places like Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park require you to make parking reservations in advance. Those go quickly depending on the time of day/year.
Note: Cadillac Mountain does not allow sunrise or sunset ceremonies.
SECURE ANY NECESSARY PERMITS
Specific locations, such as Acadia National Park, require a permit for ceremonies with over ten people present. That counts your officiant and any other vendors. If you have less than ten people present, no permit is necessary. If you have a ceremony with more than ten people attending, you must secure a permit at least ten business days before your ceremony. There is a $75 fee.
See more rules about Acadia elopements by clicking the text below:
OBTAIN YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
Before your ceremony, you'll need to obtain your marriage license. Here are the steps per the state of Maine website:
-If both of you are residents of Maine, you should apply at the town office where at least one of you is a resident. If you are residents of different Maine towns, you may apply in one town or the other - you do not need to apply separately in each town.
-If one of you is from out of state, then both of you should apply in the town where one holds residency.
-If neither of you is a resident of Maine, then you may apply in any Maine town office. It need not be the same town where you plan to be married.
Your marriage license is valid for 90 days and can only be used within the State of Maine. There is no longer a waiting period from when your marriage license is issued until your wedding can occur. The person performing the ceremony is responsible for filing the marriage certificate with the town office that issued the marriage license.
Here's what you'll need to secure your license:
-Photo ID such as a driver's license may be required.
-If this is not the first marriage for one of you, bring a certified copy (raised seal) of the divorce form or death certificate of the last spouse.
-You must be at least 18 years old or have parental permission to marry.
OBTAIN A PARK PASS
If you're eloping somewhere like Acadia National Park, you'll need a park pass in your vehicle. I recommend obtaining one in advance at either the visitor's center or a booth because certain locations do not have a nearby ticketing booth, and you don't want to get caught without one.
Now that you know the steps on how to elope in Maine, check out our blog post on the best places to elope in Maine!
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