Documenting all love stories near or far

Shelby Jane

April 18, 2024

How to Elope in Indianapolis

FILED IN: Elopement

It’s no secret that elopements are kinda my jam. Don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for my larger weddings, intimate weddings, & destination weddings, but elopements really do hold a special place in my heart. I love the creative freedom they give couples, & I LOVE seeing what my couples do with that freedom. Even with that freedom though there is quite a bit of planning that goes into an elopement, which is why I love to put out resources for couples to use in their own planning process. That brings us to today’s topic, which is a guide to planning your elopement in the fantastic city of Indianapolis. This blog is a bit on the longer side, so grab something to drink, take a seat in the coziest spot of your home, & let’s dive into it.

The Legalities

First & foremost when planning to elope in Indianapolis you’ll want to plan out the legalities of your marriage. This is the least exciting / fun part of the process, but arguably the most important as without these steps all your other planning is for nothing.

Indiana Marriage Laws

The good thing about marriage laws in Indianapolis, & Indiana as a whole is that our marriage laws are pretty straightforward. For starters you’ll both need to be at least 18 years of age. From there you’ll each need to provide a valid form of ID in order to receive your license. A valid form of ID can be a copy of your birth certificate, your passport, valid driver’s license, or other official records showing your date of birth. For anyone that’s gone through a divorce previously you’ll need to provide information regarding the date of your divorce. You’ll also need to provide your SSN, though you don’t need to bring your actual social security card with you. Finally you’ll each need to know your parents name, last address, & birthplace. 

As for receiving your marriage license the cost is $25 if one or both of you are residents of Indiana, & for couples from outside of Indiana the cost is then $65. If one or both of you does live in Indiana you’ll have to apply for your license in the county you live in, but your elopement ceremony can take place anywhere in the state including Indianapolis. Couples from out of state will have to apply for their marriage license in Marion County in order to elope in Indianapolis. You can start your application process through this link, but you’ll still need to go in person to the County Clerk’s Office in order to receive your license. Once received your license is valid the same day & will remain valid for 60 days, so plan your ceremony accordingly.

Why Elope in Indianapolis

So why elope in Indianapolis? There’s a lot of reasons actually. Elopements are all about what you, the couple, want to experience, & Indianapolis has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for something historic, something natural, or something unique & personal to you as a couple, chances are you can find the perfect fit here in Indianapolis. We’ll take a closer look at some specific locations soon, but know that there is no one right answer for an elopement. Talk with your partner about what you two are looking for & what you want your day to feel like. Work towards creating a day that feels right to YOU.

How to Plan an Indianapolis Elopement

What Do You Want Your Elopement to Feel Like?

The first & arguably most important question you’ll be asking yourselves as you plan your elopement in Indianapolis is what you want your day to feel like. This is something that will influence every decision that you make going forward in the planning process. The overall feel, style, & vibe you envision for your elopement are going to help guide you through the upcoming choices you’ll have to make. Choices like where should we have our elopement? When should we plan it for? Who should we invite to the elopement? Before you start to really nail down the details of your day, get the big picture in mind for how you want your day to feel to help keep you on track as you work towards that goal.

Where Will You Elope?

The next question you’ll want to ask yourselves as you plan your elopement in Indianapolis is where you want to elope. Are you looking for some nature vibes for your ceremony & portraits? Do you want to rent a space out for you to have your ceremony with your closest family in attendance? Again, there are no wrong answers here. Your elopement is a reflection of you & your relationship, & you should remain true to that. We’ll take a look at some of my favorite locations to elope in Indianapolis, but just know this isn’t a full list of ALL the places in the city. It’s more of a small taste to show you just how many epic places there are here in Indy to choose from. 

Something Historic

Indianapolis became the state capitol of Indiana way back in 1825, so it’s safe to say there is a LOT of history to work through & enjoy here if that’s your thing. If that’s the case there’s nothing I love more than an elopement at the Indiana Statehouse. The statehouse is a stunningly beautiful & historic location, with its towering ceilings, stained glass windows, & marble pillars which all work to create a breathtaking setting for your elopement. There’s no cost to elope here during public hours which is a huge plus, as long as you’re ok with other visitors being present during your elopement. I do recommend calling ahead if you plan to elope here to ensure that there are no events going on the day you plan to elope.

Something Natural

Even though you’re planning to elope in the city of Indianapolis, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some spectacular natural vibes for your elopement. On the northeast side of the city is Fort Harrison State Park, which is a massive 1700 acre park that is brimming with beauty. There’s plenty of hiking trails, creeks, & lakes that offer an endless supply of portrait opportunities for your elopement. There’s also Holliday Park on the north side of the city, which while smaller than Fort Harrison is equally as beautiful. Finally near the heart of Indianapolis are the Indianapolis Zoo’s Botanical Gardens, hands down one of the most gorgeous locations throughout the city for an elopement. 

There are of course PLENTY of other parks to choose from throughout Indianapolis for those looking to get that natural feel on their elopement day. It’s important to note though that most, if not all parks do require a photography permit in order to have your elopement photos taken there. This is something that I always help my clients with when they book with me to ensure that their elopement day goes off smoothly & stress free.

Something Urban

For those planning to enjoy the CITY of Indianapolis when they elope, there is plenty to choose from for your day. Whether it’s your favorite brewery, restaurant, or your favorite part of town like the historic Indiana Avenue or the vintage & vibrant Fountain Square. Something I love for my couples is when they rent out a small portion of their favorite restaurant for their elopement & an intimate reception with their closest family. Some of my favorite restaurants in Indy include Harry & Izzy’s, Anthony’s Chophouse, Eagle’s Nest, & The Cake Bake Shop.

Who Will Be Present?

“But Shelby, isn’t an elopement just between two people?” While it can be, there are no rules that say an elopement has to be just the couple. This article from Simply Eloped for instance states that an elopement can include up to 20 people. This is just another area of flexibility that comes with elopements that makes them SO special & unique. That’s why it’s important when planning your Indianapolis elopement with your partner that you two discuss who you want to be present for your day. Keep in mind that these guests can also be a part of just a portion of your day. For instance if you want to elope at the Indiana Statehouse, then get together with your friends & family at a restaurant later you can totally do that.

When Will Your Elopement Be?

Being in the Midwest means that Indianapolis’ weather varies quite a bit throughout the year. The good news is that the city is beautiful in each season of the year, albeit for different reasons. It’s important to keep the pros & cons of each season in mind as you plan your elopement here in Indy, so let’s go through them.


The most consistently warm time of the year is both a pro & a con. You know for a fact you won’t be cold for your elopement, but we can reach some pretty intense levels of heat here in Indy. That’s why for a summer elopement I like to recommend something either in the early morning or the late afternoon, both for the cooler temperature, but also so we can snag some portraits with the stellar golden hour lighting. 


The fall is when things start to cool off, & in typical Midwest fashion Indianapolis can reach some pretty chilly temperatures out of nowhere. That being said, in most cases you won’t have to worry too much. This is usually the driest time of year as well, so the chances of rain on your elopement day are pretty slim. Lastly, this is a busy time of year for tourism in Indiana as people love to get out & see the beautiful fall colors. If you plan on having your elopement in one of the city’s parks this is something to definitely be aware of, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker as the fall colors are SO worth the extra bit of onlookers.


Winter is an exceptionally beautiful time of year for an elopement, especially with a fresh snowfall. This of course isn’t the case for everyone, but if cool weather & winter vibes are your jam then you’ll love a winter elopement in Indianapolis. It’s important to pack & plan accordingly for an elopement in the winter so that you can stay as comfortable as possible. Bring layers to wear between locations for photos, plan in some indoor stops, & packing hand warmers are just a few tricks you can use to keep you cozy & happy throughout your elopement. 


Spring is one of the best seasons to elope in Indianapolis in my opinion. The city really feels like it comes back to life in the spring. Everyone is happy & enjoying themselves outside, the birds are chirping, & the entire city is in fresh bloom. It is notably the most rain heavy time of year, so that is something to keep an eye out for as your elopement date approaches. When couples plan an outdoor elopement I love to suggest they plan an indoor or covered location no matter what, but this holds especially true for any spring elopements.

What Vendors Do You Need for an Indianapolis Elopement?

Even though an elopement is a significantly different experience compared to a more traditional wedding, you do still need a trustworthy team of vendors to make your day a reality. Elopements are much more flexible in terms of the vendors that you need to hire. There’s only a few that I’d say you really “need” for your day, but ultimately the choice comes down to what you want. This is yet another area where the flexibility of an elopement really shines through.


As a wedding & elopement photographer I’m a tad biased here, but I do sincerely believe that your photographer is the most important vendor of your elopement in Indianapolis. Of course this is due to the fact that we’re the ones who document your day in a way that lets you relive ALL of your favorite moments, but there’s more to it than that. When clients book me as their elopement photographer, I’m much more than just their photographer. I help with the planning process, timeline creation, location scouting, photography permits, & SO much more. My goal with my couples is to make their elopement experience as simple, seamless, & enjoyable as possible, which is why I feel that your photographer is a must have for your elopement vendor team.


Indianapolis may not require witnesses to be present for your elopement ceremony to take place, but it does require an officiant. This means that no matter what you’ll need an officiant in order to become legally married, making them a non-negotiable vendor. Lucky for you there are a ton of great officiants to choose from in the state such as Victoria from Marry Me Indy! If you’d like to keep things extra simple though I am also able to act as an officiant for your elopement, just another one of the MANY hats I wear.


Whether you keep things simple, or want to go a little more all out, I highly recommend having a florist as a part of your wedding vendor team. Keep in mind the season you plan to elope in as that’ll somewhat determine what flowers you’re able to use. Some of my favorite florists in Indy are Flower Boys, Violets are Blue, & Bluebell House Flowers!

Other Vendors

Of course the list of vendors to help put together your dream elopement in Indianapolis can extend FAR past those listed above. For instance a hair & makeup artist may be non-negotiable depending on the look you want & the style that fits you. Maybe you want an elopement video in addition to your photos, in which case a videographer would be essential to your day. The sky’s the limit in terms of what vendors you can have for your elopement, it all just comes down to what you want for your day.

A Look at My Elopement Packages

As an elopement photographer I know that every elopement is different, in case that wasn’t already apparent from the rest of the blog. That’s why I offer a ton of flexibility when it comes to my elopement packages. My packages start at $2000 for a local elopement like one in Indianapolis. My packages range from 2 hours of coverage to multi-day coverage depending on what you want for your day. This amount of variety is why I customize my packages & pricing to fit with my client’s vision, as really no two elopements are the same!

And there you have it, everything you need to know if you plan to elope in Indianapolis. If you’re still looking for more information though don’t worry as I have a ton of other resources on my blog. Whether you want a full elopement checklist, are looking to elope somewhere else like Chicago, or Michigan, or tips on planning a multi day elopement. If you’re ready to book me as your photographer I’d love to hear from you, just send over an inquiry via my contact page & we can start planning your elopement together.