With the wedding industry still making up for lost time after the event restrictions stemming from COVID-19 — 96% of weddings set for 2020 had to be modified in some way according to The Knot’s 2020 Real Weddings Survey — it’s no wonder that more couples are reprioritizing what they want in a big day and opting for intimate elopements or scaled-down affairs.
Modern elopements and microweddings — typically 50 guests or less — offer couples the option to take matters into their own hands, making the most of venues at a fraction of the cost of a large wedding and putting the focus back on what really matters: each other .
Here are our favorite destinations for couples looking to get out of town to wed in 2022.
Choosing a destination elopement doesn’t mean you have to venture beyond the Midwest. Cornman Farms, owned by Zingerman’s food group, is an idyllic venue in Dexter, Michigan, with a striking Greek Revival farmhouse and 27 acres of rolling fields, tree-lined drives and lush gardens.
The elopement package is available Monday through Wednesday, year-round. Rest assured, the grounds look just as dreamy covered in snow as they do at the height of summer. While pricing starts at $4,000, a full list of a la carte extras — from late-night s’mores to visits with resident farm animals — are also available to ensure the day feels extra special. Inviting a few extra well-wishers? While the base package is designed for the wedding couple and two guests, up to 10 additional guests can be included at $125 per person. Wedding couples work directly with executive chef Kieron Hales and the Cornman culinary team to develop a personalized three-course dinner menu, including a sweet touch — wedding cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse. zingermanscornmanfarms.com
If a unique location is your goal, consider the Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Located within Lime Kiln Point State Park on northwest Washington’s San Juan Island, the 1919 light station has played host to wedding couples from all over the world. The lighthouse’s special events program is managed by the Friends of Lime Kiln Society (FOLKS) and for $250 an hour — with a two-hour minimum — couples can tie the knot with sweeping views of the Haro Strait as a backdrop. You’ll also get private access to the historical building for photos.
Event proceeds go directly toward maintaining the property and offering programming, according to FOLKS founder and executive director Erin Corra — right now, fundraising is underway for new windows. The FOLKS staff will also assist in obtaining the special activity permit needed from the state park, of which there are 41 acres to explore. San Juan Island itself is known for plentiful whale watching and during the summer, the lighthouse is an active lab for whale research. You might be against wedding crashers, but who could say no to an orca or two coming to get a peek? folkssji.org
On the opposite coast, the boutique Hotel Salem in Salem, Massachusetts, hosts intimate weddings befitting urbanite couples. The hotel’s rooftop wedding package, starting at $4,500, includes use of the city’s only rooftop bar and restaurant for your ceremony and reception. The wedding couple and up to 23 of their nearest and dearest can dance the night away overlooking Salem’s cobblestone streets and scenic harbor. History lovers can make the most of their storied locale — The Hotel Salem has partnered with Ghost City Tours so your guests can learn all about the Salem Witch Trials and the ghosts that may still be lingering about. Talk about a spirited send-off! thehotelsalem.com
Adventure elopements are perfect for the outdoorsy couple that wants to get away from it all. Elopement planning company Simply Eloped CEO and co-founder Janessa White says Colorado is by far their biggest draw for couples looking for mountain views. With the Wildflower package, starting at $3,300, you’ll be lacing up those hiking boots and exchanging rings while surrounded by stunning, natural vistas such as secluded Lake Isabelle near Ward, Colorado.
The Simply Eloped team will help take care of the details, including permits and picking the perfect day-of timeline. You’ll also work with a team of vendors, such as local photographers who know the perfect locations for picture-perfect shots and an officiant who can help craft a ceremony as special as you are. simplyeloped.com
For those who prefer a formal dinner to a trailside snack, head to Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. Located at the edge of the Medicine Bow National Forest, this group of all-inclusive guest ranches sits on 30,000 rugged acres. Any guests are welcome to add on the $2,000 elopement package to their stay and make their trip truly unforgettable. The offer includes photography, flowers, hair and makeup, a wedding cake for two and a couples’ spa treatment to work out some of those pre-wedding day jitters.
Ceremonies take place in Brush Creek Ranch’s gardens or on the Falcon Peak Overlook, with spectacular views of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Depending on availability, couples end the day with a private dinner for two at either the Trailhead Lodge or The Farm, the ranch’s luxury farm-to-table dining experience. It’s the perfect place to propose a toast to your new chapter. brushcreekranch.com
Start your marriage on a high note at the French Quarter Wedding Chapel. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, this 24/7 wedding chapel offers small weddings with lots of Big Easy flair. There’s multiple package options to consider, from the Short, Sweet, and Hitched package (which can have you in and out in 30 minutes and on your way to Bourbon Street) to the quintessential Second Line Wedding package. A beloved New Orleans tradition, second line parades started as Black American community celebrations. Over time, they have evolved into an unforgettable way to honor lives, especially when those lives are joining together. For $4,900, you’ll get a five-piece brass band, a grand marshal and a police escort down the historic streets. Don’t forget parasols for the wedding couple, white hankies for up to 50 guests to wave, and plenty of beads to share the love with passersby. frenchquarterweddingchapel.com
Even iconic locations aren’t out of reach for your microwedding. New York City’s Central Park is a favorite venue choice for Perfect Wedding NYC’s clients. This elopement planning company was started three years ago by real-life couple Marta Bezkorovayna, a wedding and engagement photographer, and Vladislav Moshnin, a licensed wedding officiant. They take a hands-on approach to elopements, sometimes even stepping into the roles of photographer and officiant for their couples.
Central Park, covering 843 acres of Manhattan, has so many locations for your nuptials that the possibilities are seemingly endless. Some of Perfect Wedding NYC’s top choices include rustic, secluded gazebos such as Cop Cot and Dene Summerhouse, which Bezkorovayna and Moshnin chose for their own 2020 elopement. Another highlight is the cast-iron Ladies Pavilion, which dates from the 1870s and offers dramatic views of Central Park Lake and the city skyline. Whichever location you choose, the Perfect Wedding NYC team will walk you through every step of the process so all you have to worry about is where to grab a slice of pizza after saying “I do.” perfectweddingnyc.com
Jaclyn Jermyn is a freelance writer.