January 25, 2023
Salem MA is the perfect place to Elope on the North Shore. While known for the Witch Trials and its Halloween lore, it is more than just a spooky destination tourist city. Salem is rich with history, culture & award winning food. Making it one of the best cities in New England for your destination elopement.
Just because you are eloping in Salem, doesn’t mean it has to be spooky.
One of the beautiful things about eloping is that it can be whatever you want it to be. Because of this freedom, it can be hard to prioritize where to start. And that is what this guide is for! If you need help planning your Salem elopement, look no further! This guide will help you plan your entire day, from applying for your marriage license, choosing a location, how to hire an officiant to keep it official, hiring other vendors for your dream day and more!
One of the biggest decision too make when planning any wedding is picking your wedding date. Some couples know immediately what date they would like, others are completely overwhelmed by choosing a single day out of 365. I always find it is best to pick a season and narrow it down from there.
Here is a break down of the pros and cons of New England seasons
Once you have a date picked, you can start thinking about where you would like to have your ceremony. For outdoor options, check out the following parks which allow elopement ceremonies.
Now that we have got all of the fun part of your day planned, it is time to get legal!
About a month or so before your wedding day you can apply to get your marriage license. To apply, all you have to do is follow these steps to declare your marriage intent. A Salem City Clerk will contact you to set up an appointment to come in and finalize the paperwork. In MA, there is a mandatory 3 day waiting period to pick up your marriage license. So if you are traveling from out of state you will need to plan accordingly. Your marriage license is valid for 60 days after you apply. You MUST have a marriage license to legally get married in Massachusetts. Your license is only valid in Massachusetts.
If you are traveling to Salem from somewhere else in MA, you can apply for your marriage license at any city or town – it does not need to be the same city you are from or where the ceremony takes place. The final signed marriage license needs to be returned to the original town it was issued from.
For more information about getting married in MA, check out this website from Mass.gov.
Next up is hiring an officiant for your ceremony. In MA you need to have an officiant or Justice of the Peace to legally marry you. Below are some amazing officiants and JPs to consider for your ceremony.
While an officiant or Justice of the Peace will need to be present, if you would like to keep your ceremony smaller and more intimate, you could ask a close friend to get a one day designation. It is a $25 fee, and only applies for that specific day you are applying for. You can apply up to 6 months in advance, or apply up until 1 week of your wedding date.
If you want to keep your ceremony simple and you don’t want to hire a separate vendor, ask your photographer if they are ordained or if they would get the one day designation for you! At Tessa Klingensmith Photography, I am ordained and can legally marry you and your partner in MA. That way you will have the private ceremony you dreamed of!
Now that you have all the logistical parts of your elopement day planned, from your wedding date, location, and marriage license and officiant, now you can start thinking about some of the other fun parts of your elopement day. While none of these following vendors are necessary to get married in Salem, they can help make a memorable day. It all depends on your vision for your elopement day.
While you certainly don’t need hair and make up to get married, or look fabulous in your photos, if you want to get glammed up pamper yourself, you are more than welcome! Below are some amazing Hair & Makeup artists who service the North Shore.
Florals are an elegant and simple way to elevate your elopement photos. They add a pop of color to any even. Below are some fabulous floral artists who are located in or around salem.
To further elevate your wedding day, you can consider hiring a videographer to capture a video of your day to share with everyone who isn’t present.
If you are eloping and inviting your closest friends, having a reception celebration is a fun way to celebrate with everyone. Below are some award winning restaurants in Salem that you can reserve a private room for your celebration.
For more recommendations for restaurants to hold your celebration at, check out this blog post – Best Restaurants in Salem for your Wedding
As a travel destination city, there are so many beautiful and unique hotels that you can stay at if you are traveling in for your elopement.
For more recommendations on hotels to stay at, check out this blog post – Best Wedding Hotels in Salem MA
I hope you found this guide helpful when planning your elopement in Salem! Ready to start planning your Elopement and hire your salem elopement photographer? Contact me today!