Wisconsin might not be the first place you think of when it comes to adventure elopements. But, if you’re a Midwest lover like myself, you know that there are SO many beautiful places throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest that are perfect backdrops for your adventure elopements. One of my most popular requests for adventure elopements throughout the Midwest are waterfall backdrops. Waterfalls are SO beautiful, and the perfect location to plan an elopement immersed in nature. There are some things you will need to know though before planning your Wisconsin waterfall elopement.
When planning an elopement, especially an adventure elopement, it’s important to go into your planning with realistic expectations on what the hike to your destination will entail. Though there are some hikes that have more level ground, or partially paved paths, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into prior to your actual day. Here are some things you will want to think about when planning your Wisconsin Waterfall Elopement.
By Wisconsin law, you will need to apply for your marriage license at least 5 days prior to your ceremony. Once the 5 day wait period is over you and your partner will be eligible to get married within the state of Wisconsin. If you plan to have your legal ceremony at your elopement, along with your photographer, you will need an ordained person there to marry you, along with two adult witnesses.
If you want a more intimate experience with fewer people, you can opt to have your legal ceremony on a separate day from your elopement. You can sign your paperwork from the comfort of your home and then have your commitment ceremony without witnesses at your Wisconsin waterfall elopement.
When planning your Wisconsin waterfall elopement you’ll want to start your planning by thinking about your priorities. As a couple, do you two have people that you have to have at your elopement? What is their experience like in terms of hiking? And then what are they willing to hike? Then, think about you and your partner, and how much hiking realistically you will want to do on your elopement day. Do you two want to spend the majority of your day hiking? Or would you prefer a short hike and a longer ceremony? These are all questions you will want to ask yourselves prior to looking at locations for your waterfall elopements. There are hikes of all difficulty and lengths throughout Wisconsin, so as you’re choosing your location, keep your own comfort and tolerance in mind as well as the people you MUST have there.
How do you want to spend your time on your elopement day? Are you and your partner all about the adventure and want to spend your day doing what you love the most? Do you want a shorter hike so that you can spend the rest of the evening or afternoon sharing a meal with your friends and family? There is no wrong way elope, but as you’re planning your elopement day make sure to plan in hiking time for whichever waterfall location you choose.
Midwest weather can be… unpredictable to say the least. There is a wide variety of weather throughout the Midwest, and Wisconsin really experiences every season in full. When deciding when you would like to elope with your partner, make sure to take into account the weather, likely trail conditions, and the possibility of rain, snow, or other unruly conditions. In terms of hiking, the best season for most of these trails is April through October. You definitely can plan your elopement in off months, but trail conditions along with the weather can be a bit more unreliable.
General rule of thumb, the earlier in the day you have your elopement, the less crowds there will be around these popular Wisconsin hiking locations. If you plan to have your elopement in peak Wisconsin hiking season, having your elopement at sunrise will one, help you to avoid crowds and two, help you to avoid the heat!
Now for why you’re really here…
Marengo Wisconsin | Easy/Moderate Hike | Less than 1 Mile Out and Back
The Morgan Falls are a part of the Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s dome trail in Marengo Wisconsin. The hike to Morgan Falls is less than a mile out and back and a fairly easy trail. If you plan to see the falls as well as hike up to St. Peters dome, the trail becomes a bit more challenging and is a 3.8 mile out and back trail. The Morgan Falls trail is perfect for couples who want to spend a shorter part of their day out in nature for your Wisconsin waterfall elopement.
Pembine Wisconsin | Easy Hike | 0.4 Mile Loop Trail
This super popular waterfall trail is located in Pembine Wisconsin in Longslide Falls county park. This short trail is great for those that want a shorter day out hiking for their elopement, but this fall’s popularity means that sticking to the early morning rule to avoid the crowds is almost a must.
Saxon Wisconsin | Easy/ Moderate | .8 Miles Out and Back
Located in Iron County Forest of Saxon Wisconsin, this generally easy route is a really great spot for your waterfall elopement. The trail is a less popular trail giving you some solitude even during peak season. There are a LOT of stairs to get to the upper falls, so please be prepared! You will definitely want some comfortable shoes for exploring these falls.
South Range Wisconsin | Easy Hike | 2.4 Mile Loop Trail
This easy, 2.4-mile loop near south range Wisconsin, takes around an hour to complete, super popular, so go during the morning, or end of the season on weekdays to avoid crowds and have the space to yourself. While the loop itself is a little longer it’s easier difficulty makes it very manageable.
Hudson Wisconsin | Easy | 2 Mile Out and Back
Easy 2 mile out and back near Hudson Wisconsin, generally easy route on a SUPER popular camping and hiking trail. If you plan to elope in Willow River State Park, plan to go in off-season or early in the morning, or during the week to avoid crowds. This is arguably one of the easiest paths on this list, so if you’re looking to enjoy some nature, but want a hike that’s on the easier side for your elopement I highly recommend Willow.
Cornucopia | Moderate/Hard | 2.2 Mile Out and Back Trail
This moderate/hard hiking trail is definitely recommended for more experienced hikers. The falls are absolutely gorgeous, and because of its difficulty and location, the trails are less popular than many of the others on this list. This path is the perfect route for couples who hike regularly and want something a little more challenging for their Wisconsin waterfall elopement.
When deciding what to pack for your elopement day hike, there will be a couple of things you will want to consider. One, what do you want to wear when you plan to elope? If you plan to wear more traditional wedding gear, you have two options, hike in your wedding day attire, or change when you arrive at your hiking destination. I LOVE when my couples hike in their wedding day attire, it adds to the adventure, and can make for a really cool experience for the two of you.
If you have a more elaborate outfit, or you would just rather hike in something other than your wedding gear, you can carry your wedding gear in your hiking pack and then change it when you arrive. For those that want to change when you arrive, these wetsuit changing towels are a great option to help with changing. Just pop them over yourselves, switch your outfits then they fold up nice and small to go back into your hiking pack.
When it comes to adventure elopements shoes are a priority. I highly recommend that everyone involved in adventure elopements wears close-toed shoes at the very least. For moderate to hard hikes, hiking shoes/boots or newer gym shoes with good treads are a MUST. For winter hikes where there is ice or fresh snow, you will want to use yaktrax in addition to your boots. If you want to have a waterfall elopement in Wisconsin, you will also want to make sure you have shoes that can keep your feet dry in case of muddy trails. With us hiking so close to water, there is always a fairly high probability of encountering some softer paths, especially in the spring.
With water being a key focus on all of these trails, there are going to be bugs and mosquitos during the spring, summer and early fall. Make sure to pack plenty of Off, and other insect repellants along with sunscreen. Along with repellants, you will also want to plan to hydrate and fuel yourselves as you hike! The general rule for how much water to bring when hiking for adults is about ½ a liter for every hour of hiking. For any kids or pets that are attending the elopement that goes up to about 1-2 cups for every hour of hiking.
When planning your Wisconsin Waterfall Elopement, you’ll want to be sure that you are not only prepared for the hiking side but also the elopement side of things! As your elopement photographer, I will not only assist in guiding you through your actual elopement day but also throughout the entire planning process. For your own research in planning throughout your elopement, I always recommend using the following websites for reference.
Your Local County Clerks Website
Mary and James’s Wisconsin Waterfall Elopement was an absolute dream. We planned a four-hour elopement for these two at Long Slide Falls in Pembine Wisconsin. Mary and James wanted to keep their elopement on the simpler side, they were joined by their closest friends and family and they all hiked to the falls together to have their ceremony.
Because Mary was about 8 months pregnant at the time, they chose one of their favorite easier waterfall hikes to have their elopement ceremony. The 0.4 mile loop trail hike was perfect for these two. With their ceremony being in the off-season, they basically had the entire trail to themselves and they were able to really take their time and soak in their wedding day going out and back with their loved ones.
After their ceremony, we took some family formals before taking some time to take maternity photos for Mary and James. It was such a cool experience for Mary and James to have their little one there with them for this adventurous waterfall elopement.
If you’re looking to plan your own Wisconsin waterfall elopement or an adventure session at one of these gorgeous spots, head to my contact page and we can start planning!