Documenting all love stories near or far

Shelby Jane

May 26, 2022

How to Elope in Indiana

FILED IN: Elopement

Bride and groom kiss and embrace in front of a pond while the bride holds her flower bouquet

Let’s talk elopements… specifically, elopements in my gorgeous home state of Indiana!  Elopements & intimate weddings are becoming more & more popular & for good reason! There are SO many reasons to elope. Whether Indiana is your home or a beloved destination for you & your partner, eloping in Indiana is such a fun way to celebrate the two of you.

With eloping, you have more control over what your wedding day feels like. Along with how it feels, you also have more control over what all goes into the day itself. When eloping, there’s really no limit on what you can do to make your wedding day feel like you. With the surge in popularity of elopements & this surge being pretty recent you might be considering an elopement for yourself. You might be also asking how exactly does an elopement work?  Or, to be more specific, how do you elope in Indiana?  Below I have outlined everything from what an elopement is, how to elope in Indiana specifically, the best places in Indiana to elope, how to get your marriage license, various costs, & everything you’ll need to consider when planning your Indiana elopement.

What is an Elopement?

To start off our journey on finding out how to elope in Indiana we need to find out exactly what an elopement is. An elopement is where you & your honey get married with anywhere between 0 to 20 guests. Past that, there really aren’t too many rules. In the past when society thought of eloping, most minds immediately thought of a couple running off & getting married at a courthouse somewhere. Yes, this does still happen, BUT, there are so many other cool options these days!

Elopements are happening anywhere from city hall to your favorite restaurant, next to a waterfall, & even at home!  Because of their scale & the lack of rules that come with them, there is so much freedom in planning.  As more & more couples are eloping instead of having a larger wedding, I have loved seeing all the amazing elopement options & inspiration throughout the industry.  There are two things that remain consistent though in terms of eloping. One, you have a ceremony with you & your honey. & two, you celebrate your marriage in your own way!

Eloping in Indiana

Why elope in Indiana?  Indiana is filled to the brim with unique landscapes, towns, & event spaces. I may be biased in saying so, seeing as I live here, but I truly believe it! Not to mention all the cool small businesses that make up the wedding industry. The combination of these two things makes for such a fun & unique space for weddings in the Midwest.

Get married on the lakefront or in the heart of Indianapolis. Host your intimate wedding reception at one of the local breweries or in Indiana Dunes National Park! There are seriously so many amazing options perfect for any wedding day.

Bride and groom dancing in a field together under string lights

The Legalities

Now that we know what an elopement is it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty on how to elope in Indiana. For starters, we’ll cover what you need to do to legally elope in Indiana. You’ll need to obtain a marriage license for the state of Indiana. Please note, the requirements can vary from county to county. Be sure to check in with your local county cleric on their requirements. Generally speaking though, it’s pretty simple. You’ll need a valid ID (passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.) & payment for your marriage license. This is $25 for Indiana residents & $65 for out-of-state residents. Most offices do require this as a cash payment.

Check with your local county to see if they have any other requirements for obtaining the marriage license. Unlike many states throughout the US, there is no waiting period after you apply for your license.  You will be able to apply & obtain your license, & you will be eligible to get married that same day! The license is valid for 60 days so as long as you plan ahead & have your ceremony within 60 days of applying for your license you will be set. Another important note is that Indiana does NOT require you to have a witness present when signing your marriage license.

Finding an Officiant

You know how to get your application, now let’s go over how to elope in Indiana.  Eloping in Indiana is fairly simple, after you obtain your marriage license, you’ll have to find an officiant to perform the actual ceremony.  In the state of Indiana, you have quite a few options on who can marry you within the state. Members of the clergy of a religious organization, members of various certified secular organizations, judges, & even friends who are ordained can marry you & your partner.  If you do want a friend to perform your ceremony, all they have to do is become ordained through the Universal Life Church or a similar organization.  Once your friend or family member is legally ordained they can perform your marriage ceremony.

Take the Legalities Out of it

If you’re coming in from out of town for your wedding or one of you is from a different state, you might want to consider getting legally married prior to your actual elopement day. As I mentioned above, in Indiana you don’t need a witness when you elope, so once you receive your marriage license you can sign it & have your officiant make it official to be done with it right then & there. Then you & your partner can plan your wedding ceremony without worrying about getting your license back to the county after your elopement day.

Bride and groom walking together and laughing in front of a stone staircase and building

When to Elope in Indiana

Alright, now let’s talk about that Midwest weather.  The nice thing about Indiana is that there’s something to love about each of the four seasons.  Though the weather can reach some extremes throughout the year, there is a season for each of them. Because of the extremes though, make sure to choose a date in a season you love for your wedding day! 


March through May offers some typically warmer temperatures, but with it being so close to winter there is still some unpredictability. The spring showers mean that you’ll be able to see nature bloom in all its glory, but depending on your location you might have to trek through some mud.  Expect temperatures to range from the low 30’s all the way up to the mid 70’s throughout the season with milder winter temperatures throughout March, & then warmer spring-summer weather more consistently as we get to May.  

When planning your spring wedding, make sure to be prepared for anything in terms of weather.  A safe route to go when planning is to make sure any parts of your elopement day that include your guests are covered with a tent or indoors.  As for you & your partner, as long as you’re prepared in case of some rain whatever adventure you plan for your day, I am ready!


June through August is when you’ll get the most consistent & warm temperatures of the year. Indiana can see some insane heat in the summer though so it’s a good idea to have your elopement in the morning or late in the evening to avoid when things are a little too hot. 

If you prefer the heat over cooler temperatures, a summer wedding is for you.  As I mentioned above, summer elopement festivities happen best early in the morning or later in the evening. When the sun is a bit lower temperatures tend to be cooler as a result.  A personal favorite elopement style of mine is getting up bright & early on a hot summer’s day. We can hike somewhere beautiful just the three of us & get you married while watching the sunrise!


September through November are when things start to cool off & we’ll be dealing with more dry weather typically. Indiana in the fall is SO beautiful when the leaves begin to change colors. So if you can handle temperatures on the chillier side, I highly recommend waiting until October to elope in Indiana!

Fall temperatures in Indiana tend to range from mid 70’s in early September to mid 40’s in late November.  Please note that if you are planning a fall elopement, that this season is VERY popular for Midwest weddings. Photographers & other elopement vendors are typically in high demand, so make sure to reach out sooner rather than later!


December through February are the coldest months, but if snow is your thing then this is your time to shine! Winter elopements are a lot of fun, especially after a fresh snowfall. We will need to be prepared for the frigid temperatures though so we’ll have to plan & pack accordingly.

When looking for an elopement venue, look for locations that have beautiful indoor spaces along with beautiful outdoor spaces.  If the temperatures are sub-zero or have some aggressive snow, you’re going to want to be able to take photos both indoors & outdoors.

If you’re looking for a more detailed report of what the weather was like the past couple of years in Indiana, check out this website here to help you plan your wedding day.

Bride and groom are seated back to back while holding one of each of their shoes and laughing under a tent with their guests during their wedding reception

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Indiana?

One of the coolest parts about eloping is that there really are no set costs! On average eloping in Indiana can range from $2,000 to $12,000 & can even go beyond that depending on how you want to celebrate & what you want to do during your day. Your biggest costs will be based on what your priorities are for your wedding & what you want your festivities to look like.  Typically the biggest cost you’ll have on an elopement day will end up being your photographer.

Your photographer often times will fill a number of roles on your elopement day in addition to photographing you, like coordinating your wedding day & keeping you on time.  Many of my couples want to keep things on the simpler side for their wedding day & with my event planning background, I often step into this role for them as we plan their wedding. 

Bride and groom standing next to their priest while their guests are seated during their backyard wedding ceremony

A Look at My Indiana Elopement Packages

2 Hours of Coverage – $1400

Perfect for a courthouse ceremony, or something very simple.  My two-hour package typically covers your elopement ceremony, along with couples portraits immediately following the ceremony in the same location as the ceremony.

4 Hours of Coverage – $2800

If you’re planning to have an intimate dinner with family or friends following your elopement ceremony, four hours of coverage is perfect for you. After your ceremony, we will go out & take your wedding day portraits for about an hour before heading to your intimate dinner with your closest friends & family.

8 Hours of Coverage – $4000

My eight hour package is for those that want to document more of the wedding day experience. This coverage typically starts an hour before your sunrise ceremony or 8 hours before sunset. With eight hours of elopement coverage, I would begin about two hours before your ceremony. I would document you getting ready, exchanging vows, your ceremony, portraits, & dinner or lunch with family at a local spot.

12 Hours of Coverage – $6000 

This coverage can either be a consecutive 12 hour day, or it can be broken into two half-days of coverage. This is perfect for those who want the full experience of an elopement, but are still wanting to have a reception to celebrate with family. Coverage typically includes a half-day elopement coverage starting at either sunrise or 6 hours before sunset, along with intimate reception coverage either the same day or a separate day.

2 Days of Coverage – $9,800

For those that want both a full-day elopement experience along with a full wedding reception, the two-day coverage is for you. Plan your dream full-day elopement experience along with the full reception experience. This package is perfect for those who are traveling or flying in their family to Indiana for a multi-day event, or for those who want a full adventure elopement followed by a larger scale reception on a later date.

Bride and groom standing on a dock on the lake embracing and looking at one another

Average Prices for Elopement Vendors

Some vendors that can be included on your wedding day & that you might want to consider having include: a caterer, private chef, florists, hair & makeup, wedding attire, day of coordinator & a videographer. You by no means have to have all, or any, of these vendors present for your elopement. If you do you should start doing research early so that you can get the vendors you want & plan out your costs accordingly.

On average, this is what you should expect to pay for various vendors on your wedding day

Permits & Licenses

Marriage License- $25-$65

Wedding Permit-  ~$65

Location Options

Wedding Venue-$1500-$3000

Outdoor/Public Park Event Permit(if having guests)- ~$65 for intimate events

Food Options

Depending on the number of guests & the experience you plan to have this can range from around $400 total to $100 per guest. If you plan to cater & serve yourself, you can expect costs to be lower.


With 2-3 hours of coverage starting around $1,500

Up to multiple days of coverage $6,000-$10,000 on average


With 2-3 hours of coverage starting around $1500

Up to full-day coverage around $6000-$10,000 on average

Hair & Makeup Artist

In-Salon Hair & Makeup starting around $300

On-site Hair & Makeup starting around $500


Bouquet ~$175-$600

Boutonniere ~ $20-$45

Arch & ceremony decor ~ $400-$1000

Other miscellaneous decorations ~ $600

Wedding Attire

Wedding attire costs vary depending on taste, & design. For a lower budget, opt for rentals, vintage, or a literal take on “something borrowed.” On average though a couple will typically spend around $2,500 on wedding day attire.


Hiring an officiant can range from $0 up to an average of around $200. If you want someone you know to marry you on your wedding day, ask friends & family to see if anyone you’re close to is ordained. You can also pay for a friend or family member to get ordained through the Universal Life Church.

Bride and groom seated looking at one another in a sea themed bar with a swordfish on the wall

How to Save on Indiana Elopement Costs

Depending on what your priorities are for your wedding day, there are so many different ways to save on elopement costs. Here are some of my top ways to save on costs for your Indiana Elopement.

Elope at an Alternative Wedding Venue

Rather than renting out a grand venue, opt for something a little out of the box. Airbnb’s, public parks, restaurants, & out in nature are all great ways to cut costs on your elopement day while also creating a super unique experience.

Cater from Your Favorite Restaurant

Rather than booking a wedding caterer, or renting out a room where food is included, have food catered to your event & have it dropped off. Designate someone from your family to help with serving your guests or set up a buffet!

Something Borrowed

Borrowing family heirlooms for your wedding day not only personalizes your elopement but also can save you money in the long run. The small things that might not mean much to you when purchased can add up quickly in terms of costs. Put a little more meaning into the items that are a part of your day like cuff links, jewelry, & other wedding day accessories by borrowing from family or close friends.

Plan a Weekday Wedding

Having a weekday wedding can get you in the elopement space of your dreams at a fraction of the cost. Along with venues, weekday weddings also help you to avoid crowds when using public parks & popular Indiana destinations for your wedding day.

Have a Friend Marry You

Keep it simple, & pay for a friend or family member to become ordained through the Universal Life Church. Not only is it simple, but it is also a super personal way to include your friends or family in your wedding ceremony.

Bride and groom kiss while riding the Indy Trolley away from the camera

Where to Elope in Indiana

Though the midwest might not be what you immediately think of when it comes to epic elopement locations, there are SO many cool parks throughout the state. Here are a handful of my favorite outdoor elopement locations in Indiana. For a full list of my favorite Indiana elopement locations check out this Google Map. There are SO many cool locations in Indiana, I’m sure you’ll find one that’s perfect for you.

Turkey Run

Holliday Park

Fort Harrison State Park

Williamsport Falls

Brown County State Park

For a full list of indoor elopement locations & intimate wedding venues check out this blog on Indiana Intimate Wedding Venues!

Bride and groom kiss while embracing in a swimming pool still wearing their wedding attire

What to Do for Your Indiana Elopement

There are SO many cool activities for you to include in your Indiana Elopement. Here are some of my favorite activities my couples have done in past years to make their elopement day special.



Yard Games

Biking or Kayaking


Bar Hopping

If you’re planning your own Indiana elopement I hope this post gave you some direction! For more detailed information on packages, & further assistance with your Indiana Elopement head to my contact page & we can start planning!