How to Elope in Ithaca

How to Elope in Ithaca

The Ultimate Guide for Eloping Couples near the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.

Why Choose Ithaca for Your Elopement

Ithaca, located in the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region, is a haven for couples seeking a picturesque and intimate elopement. Known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and numerous outdoor activities, Ithaca offers a unique and unforgettable setting for your special day. As an Ithaca elopement photographer, I’m excited to share everything you need to know about planning your elopement in this charming town and give you tips on how to elope in Ithaca, NY.

When planning an elopement in Ithaca, NY there are some things you need to know. Here is a guide on the best places to elope in Ithaca, the best time of year to elope, and other important information on how to elope in Ithaca to have the best Upstate New York elopement.

Best Places to Elope in Ithaca

1. Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls State Park features a breathtaking waterfall that plunges 215 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains. The park offers several scenic spots for your ceremony, including a picturesque overlook and a serene lakeside area.

2. Buttermilk Falls State Park

Buttermilk Falls State Park is named after the frothy cascade formed by Buttermilk Creek as it flows down the steep valley. The park’s lush trails and cascading waterfalls provide a stunning backdrop for an intimate elopement.

3. Cornell Botanic Gardens

Cornell Botanic Gardens offers a variety of picturesque locations, including beautiful gardens, serene ponds, and charming gazebos. The diverse landscapes make it a perfect spot for couples looking for a romantic and natural setting.

4. Treman State Park

Treman State Park is home to rugged gorges, picturesque waterfalls, and historic stone bridges. The park’s scenic beauty and secluded spots make it an ideal location for an elopement.

Things to Do in Ithaca

1. Wine Tasting Tours

Ithaca is part of the Finger Lakes Wine Country, known for its world-class wineries. Spend a day touring and tasting at some of the best wineries in the region, such as Six Mile Creek Vineyard and Ports of New York.

2. Hiking and Nature Walks

Ithaca offers numerous hiking trails, including those at Robert H. Treman State Park, where you can explore beautiful gorges and waterfalls. Don’t miss the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, which winds through a series of stunning waterfalls.

3. Visit the Ithaca Farmers Market

The Ithaca Farmers Market is a must-visit for couples. Open year-round, the market offers a variety of local produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food. It’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely morning or afternoon to pick up items for a picnic during your wedding day.

4. Explore Downtown Ithaca

Downtown Ithaca boasts a vibrant arts scene, eclectic shops, and a variety of dining options. Spend some time exploring The Commons, a pedestrian-only area filled with unique boutiques and eateries. The murals downtown make for some stunning backgrounds for your elopement photos!

A couple walking hand in hand near a waterfall at Taughannock Falls State Park. This blog tells you everything you need to know on how to elope in Ithaca.

How to Elope in Ithaca – What to Bring for Your Elopement

  • Marriage License: Make sure to bring your marriage license (more on how to obtain this below).
  • Personalized Vows: I’m a huge fan of handwriting your vows rather than keeping them on your cell phone. Regardless of where ever you have your vows, add them to your packing list!
  • Elopement Attire: Whether you choose formal wear or something more casual, make sure your attire is suitable for the location and weather.
  • Comfortable Shoes: If you plan to hike or explore natural areas, bring comfortable and sturdy shoes. You can always change into your fancy shoes for pictures!
  • Weather Essentials: Depending on the season, bring sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, or warm clothing.
  • Picnic Supplies: Pack a picnic basket with your favorite snacks and beverages to enjoy a romantic meal together.
  • Park Fees: When planning your elopement, I’ll be checking if any of the parks or locations require entry or parking fees. Having cash on hand is a good idea, although most accept credit cards too.

Best Time of Year to Elope in Ithaca

Spring (April to June)

Spring is a beautiful time to elope in Ithaca, with blooming flowers and mild temperatures. The waterfalls are often at their most impressive due to the spring runoff. If you’re looking for raging and grand waterfalls, a spring elopement might be for you!

Summer (July to September)

Summer offers warm weather and lush greenery. It’s a popular time for outdoor activities and festivals, making it an ideal season for an elopement. You’ll want to plan your Summer elopement on a weekday as this time of year is typically busier with Summer break and tourism.

Fall (October to November)

Fall is arguably the most picturesque time to elope in Ithaca, with vibrant foliage creating a stunning backdrop. The cooler temperatures are perfect for outdoor ceremonies and activities.

Winter (December to March)

Winter elopements can be magical, especially with a dusting of snow. If you love winter sports, consider incorporating skiing or snowshoeing into your elopement adventure.

An ultimate guide on how to get married in Ithaca near a waterfall.

How to Obtain a Marriage License for your Ithaca Elopement

  1. Visit the Town Clerk’s Office: Both parties must appear in person at the Ithaca Town Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license. The office is located at 215 N. Tioga Street, Ithaca, NY.
  2. Bring Identification: You will need to present proof of identity and age, such as a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.
  3. Pay the Fee: The marriage license fee is $40, payable by cash, check, or credit card.
  4. Waiting Period: There is a 24-hour waiting period after the license is issued before the marriage can take place. The license is valid for 60 days.
  5. Ceremony: After obtaining your license, you can have your ceremony anywhere in New York State.

Activities for Couples on Their Elopement Day

1. Kayaking on Cayuga Lake

Rent a kayak and spend some time exploring the serene waters of Cayuga Lake. It’s a peaceful and romantic way to enjoy each other’s company.

2. Hot Air Balloon Ride

For a truly unforgettable experience, book a hot air balloon ride over the Finger Lakes. The breathtaking views will make your elopement day even more special.

3. Visit a Spa

Treat yourselves to a relaxing spa day at one of Ithaca’s luxurious spas. It’s a great way to unwind and pamper yourselves after your elopement ceremony.

4. Take a Scenic Drive

Explore the beautiful Finger Lakes region with a scenic drive. Stop at quaint towns, picturesque vineyards, and scenic overlooks along the way.

5. Dining at a Local Restaurant

Ithaca is home to many excellent restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Celebrate your elopement with a romantic dinner at a local favorite like The Heights or Moosewood Restaurant.

6. Hike Around a Waterfall

There are plenty of waterfalls around Ithaca and the Finger Lakes. Pack a picnic and plan a hike to an epic waterfall for your Ithaca Elopement! Make sure to pack the necessary items you’ll need to keep yourselves hydrated and fueled up!

Bride and Groom celebrating at the Overlook at Taughannock Falls by the waterfall in Ithaca, NY.

Conclusion – How to Elope in Ithaca

Eloping in Ithaca offers a blend of natural beauty, romantic settings, and plenty of activities to make your day special. From stunning state parks and gardens to charming downtown areas and scenic drives, Ithaca has something for every couple. As an Ithaca elopement photographer, I’m here to help you capture the magic of your day and create memories that will last a lifetime. Follow this guide to plan your perfect elopement in Ithaca, and enjoy every moment of your intimate celebration.

If you’re ready to start planning an epic adventure elopement in Ithaca, NY, or a Finger Lakes elopement, contact Nicole, an Ithaca elopement photographer! I’ll help you craft a wedding day that’s personalized to you and your relationship and make a day that you’ll never forget!

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