Eloping is one of life’s greatest adventures and is ideal for any couple interested in a smaller, more intimate, wedding. When it comes to destinations, Maryland is really wonderful for eloping and I’m going to detail how to legally elope in Maryland here!
Maryland offers diverse scenery with beautiful beaches, enchanting forests, and distant mountains that give a dose of nature to every wedding experience. From the stunning waterfront of Chesapeake Bay to the rolling hills of Catoctin Mountain Park, there are endless destinations to choose from!
Maryland is steeped in colonial history too, making the backdrop of a city wedding full of character, cobbled streets, and old historic buildings.
What really matters is what you, as a couple, really want. This is your elopement and that means you can create anything you desire! Isn’t that amazing? Viva la vida!
How To Legally Elope In Maryland: All The Details
Ok, so you’ve decided, “Maryland it is”! Let the planning begin! But then you suddenly turn to each other and think can you elope in Maryland!? It’s a resounding YES and it’s actually simple to do:
How To Elope In Maryland
Step 1: Get yourselves a Maryland marriage license application form.
Head on over to the Circuit Court Clerk in the county where you plan to tie the knot. Make sure to bring some identification with you like a driver’s license or passport, and be ready to fill out some paperwork.
Step 2: Check your eligibility to get married.
In Maryland, you’ve got to be at least 18 years old to get hitched without parental consent. If you’re younger, you’ll need to have your folks sign off on your love.
Step 3: Hold your horses!
There’s a 48-hour waiting period after you get your license before you can say your “I do’s.” But if you and your sweetie take a premarital course that’s approved by the state, you can skip the wait!
Step 4: Find an officiant.
This could be a judge, a religious official, or a clerk of the court. Whoever you choose, they’ll need to sign your marriage license to make your elopement legit. You might be wondering: Can anyone officiate a wedding in Maryland? In Maryland, you must be ordained first. Only persons authorized by the state can officiate. This includes judges, clerks of the court, religious officials, or out-of-state officials (persons authorized to perform a marriage in other states).
Step 5: Get married!
Round up two witnesses, say your vows, and sign your license! Now, you might be thinking: do you need a witness to elope in Maryland? Yes, you need at least two witnesses to elope in Maryland. The couple getting married, the officiant and the two witnesses must all be present at the wedding ceremony and sign the marriage license.
You can ask friends, your photographer (wink wink), or even strangers to sign — so it’s pretty easy if it’s just you two in the ceremony. And then VOILA! You’re officially hitched! And life just got so much sweeter! Just make sure to return your marriage license to the clerk of the circuit court within five days of the ceremony to make your marriage legally recognized.
What Would A Maryland Elopement Look Like?
Oh wow, there are many choose-your-own-adventure elopements in Maryland, and remember, they’re perfect if they suit YOU as a couple — in whatever shape or form you decide to structure your day.
Annapolis is a city that combines the nature of a quaint waterfront town with history. It’s a beautiful spot for an elopement, let me paint a picture of how to get married in Maryland:
- You’re in love, and the time has come to tie the knot! You head to your romantic accommodation in the historic city of Annapolis. You check into a historic inn that oozes character and makes you feel instantly like you are in your very own fairy tale! Many historic inns offer elopement packages in Maryland that include a ceremony site, officiant, and other amenities.
- Then you spend the afternoon strolling through the historic district getting a feel for the character of the town and exploring together. You can enjoy a glass of wine at the Great Frogs Winery before moving on to a romantic dinner for two at Level, which offers exquisite food from one of the top chefs in the country, while you sit under a canopy of fairy lights!
- In the morning, you wake up and go for a morning stroll with your partner through a historic garden or park such as the William Paca Garden. After a cozy breakfast for two at a cute restaurant on the way back to your inn like Bread and Butter Kitchen, you’ll have the rest of the morning to get ready.
- Next (looking fine!) you step in the direction of the docks where a beautiful Schooner sailboat awaits you! Onboard you step — the wind fluttering in your hair as much as your excitement in your belly — and you head off. You stop along the way and collect some platters of food and flowers before sailing away to the middle of the beautiful bay.
- You anchor the boat and perform the ceremony –- taking some stunning, unique photographs of this unusual sailboat ceremony before eating and enjoying the day. In the evening you head to the historic district for some drinks, dinner, and perhaps even dancing!
Best Places To Elope In Maryland
There are some really special Maryland elopement locations: the Chesapeake Bay with its wonderful waterfront and fantastic opportunities for elopement photography in Maryland, or even the more secluded Deep Creek Lake where tranquil waters frame the mountains behind.
Assateague Island is the perfect spot for couples who love the beach, where sunsets glow and wild ponies roam! Catoctin Mountain Park sends a couple higher up in elevation, perhaps to suit their mood, to where the views are unforgettable.
Or if you’re looking for some colorful whimsy, a couple can head to Brookside Gardens where old trees and bright flowers will dote on you throughout your wedding day!
There’s so much beauty to tap into in Maryland, and an elopement is the perfect reason to explore it! All of these destinations offer elopement packages and micro wedding packages in Maryland too, making it a comfortable and easy ride.
Are You Ready?
When planning an elopement, you’ll need a small team to help guide the experience leaving you free to be in the present moment. As a Maryland elopement photographer, I have great recommendations and a good understanding of the industry — I’d be more than happy to discuss any details of the wedding that you want a second opinion on!
And if you’d like me to photograph this experience, I’d be over the moon! Please contact me if you have any questions or even if you already want to get stuck straight into the fun stuff! There’s no time like the present, and there’s no present like a Maryland elopement.