Everything You Need to Know to Plan Your Boston Elopement

If you're exploring the possibility of or actively planning a Boston elopement, you've come to the right place! Whether you're planning for a Boston City Hall wedding, a small ceremony at Cambridge City Hall, or an elopement in one of the beautiful spaces around the city — this guide was made for you!

This step-by-step guide has everything you need know when planning your Boston elopement or city hall wedding! From how to get all of the right documentation for your wedding (like that handy marriage license you'll need), to local vendor recommendations, and tips for making your elopement feel that much more special!

You might have come here with elopement photography in mind (that's my job, after all!), but I also believe in creating easy wedding experiences, no matter the size of the wedding. Since I may be the only wedding vendor you work with, I thought I'd take matters into my own hands for guiding you through the elopement process!

This is critical to getting legally married! Go to your local City Hall (anywhere in MA, not just Boston) to complete a Marriage Intention Form. It takes 3 days to process, and then you return to pick up the official Marriage License. It's good for 60 days (so plan Step 2 for sometime in that date range)! On wedding day, make sure your officiant signs the license!

Step 1: Get Your Marriage License

Your Step-by-Step Boston Elopement Guide

Once you know where you'd like to get married, you have to book an appointment or get a permit (more on that below). For Boston City Hall weddings, ceremonies take place 10-11:15am and 2-4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Ceremonies at Cambridge City Hall are scheduled 9am-4pm daily (except for Fridays, when they end at noon). The best lighting for your photos will be 2-3 hours before sunset. Summer couples, get a later appointment when possible; winter couples, a morning or early afternoon appointment. I can always help you select the best timing!

Step 2: Request Your Appointment or Permit

No matter the size of your celebration, your wedding day deserves to be captured! I believe in wedding photos that are true to you as a couple and the day that you've created to celebrate. Elopements give us enormous flexibility to capture something extra special — go to you favorite bar for a congratulatory toast, get photos of you in your neighborhood or favorite part of the city. The options are endless and there are no rules for how to do it!

Step 3: Book Elopement Photographer

If it's your style, don't forget a bouquet, hair and makeup! Here's the list of local Boston wedding vendors that can help out in these categories (and are all centrally located near city hall and other popular Boston elopement locations). You'll only get married once — so get the bouquet, and that natural or glam look you love and want to see when you look back in your photos! This is a special day and these are easy ways to help soak that all in.

Step 4: Book Any Other Vendors

Some couples get really excited about this, and others don't care as much . . . whichever end of the spectrum you're on, know that anything goes! Choosing what you'll wear to your elopement is another way to make the day feel extra special. Here are some of my favorite places to look for your city hall wedding and elopement outfits!

Step 5: Select Your Elopement Attire

Once we know when and where you'll get married, we're going to want to think about traffic, parking, and any transportation between locations. Sometimes walking will be all we need (hello, gorgeous city street crossing photos!), and other times we'll want to think about riding the T or taking an Uber/Lift (also some great photos opps!). There is no "official" parking at Boston City Hall or Cambridge City Hall, and many of the other elopement spaces have very limited parking as well. If you'll drive, I recommend booking SpotHero in advance. That'll save you from panicked parking in the city!

Step 6: Plan Ahead for Logistics

This is the best part! Arrive at least 15 minutes early to check in for City Hall weddings (1st floor in Cambridge, 6th floor in Boston), and be sure to plan for traffic/parking. Remember your Marriage License and the $75 fee (CASH ONLY)! Boston City Hall allows up to 4 guests and Cambridge allows up to 10. For permit locations, remember to bring your permit and to still be mindful of timing!

Step 7: Get Married!

Once it's official, we'll do some wedding portraits and get the celebration started! I'm always a fan of popping some bubbly or cheers'ing with another fave beverage of yours — if that's your style, just bring the drink and two glasses! From here, some couples choose to be done with photos; others have me tag along to a celebratory meal with fam + friends. That's up to you!

Step 8: Cheers to Making It Official

When it comes to planning your Boston elopement or city hall wedding, these are the eight steps you'll want to review. Some of them may be more or less important to you as a couple,  but others will be absolutely essential to getting legally married and being permitted to use the space. The ultimate goal is to have a stress-free elopement and get everything you're hoping for out of this experience!

Where to Elope in Boston

Boston City Hall Elopement

Boston City Hall is naturally one of the more popular options for an intimate wedding. Ceremonies are scheduled 10-11:15am and 2-4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. More information.

Cambridge City Hall ELOPEMENT

For those on the other side of the Charles, Cambridge City Hall is also a popular elopement option! Ceremonies are scheduled are scheduled 9am-4pm on week (except Fridays, when they end at noon). More information.

Boston Public Garden ELOPEMENT

Boston Public Garden is an incredible elopement location! Pro: the backdrop; Con: potential inclement weather during your reserved time. It requires a permit for use of the space + photography. More information.

Boston Esplanade ELOPEMENT

For a water view of the Charles River for your ceremony, consider the Boston Esplanade for your elopement! Since it's occasionally blocked off for large events, I'd confirm your date with The Esplanade Association.

Boston Harborwalk ELOPEMENT

If you want the Boston skyline in the background of your elopement photos, this one's for you! The Harborwalk spans 43-miles and eight Boston neighborhoods — my favorite part is in Seaport! More information.

Boston Restaurant or Hotel ELOPEMENT

Beyond these popular Boston elopement locations, you could also use your favorite restaurant or hotel! The Four Seasons, for instance, provides easy access to the Public Garden, a built in rain plan, and space for an intimate gathering for fam + friends.

There are so many great places to elope in Boston! Whether you want an outdoor wedding ceremony, or are interested in a city hall wedding — you have options! Below are some of the top places to elope in Boston, along with links to where you can find more information on appointments and permits.

The Best Photo Locations for Your Boston Elopement

Boston Public Garden

Gardens and greenery, with the classic bridge and swan boats. Located at 4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02108.

Once you're officially married, we'll be able to use Boston as our backdrop for beautiful photos to remember the day by. Whether you want city skyline photos to complement what we capture at city hall, or you want the white marbled look of the MFA or State House after your intimate outdoor ceremony — Boston is filled with many incredible photo options!

The State House

Beautiful, white architecture for a stately, classic look. Located at 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133.

Beacon Hill

The classic brick neighborhood in the heart of Boston. A group of streets all coming off of Charles Street, Boston.

Boston Seaport

Another Boston neighborhood — one side with gleaming skyline views, the other with an industrial brick feel.

Copley Square

Located in Back Bay and framed by Boylston, Clarendon, St. James, and Dartmouth (with Boston Public Library).

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Beautiful, white architectural facade as a backdrop. Located at 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115.

MIT or Harvard's Campus

These two campuses make beautiful backdrops and are conveniently located nearby Cambridge City Hall.

Your Favorite Boston Restaurant

Go to your favorite restaurant or bar and grab a drink for a fun celebratory photo + cheers!

Your Neighborhood

Use your neighborhood, street, and home as a meaningful backdrop to remember your elopement by.

Your Boston Elopement Photographer Extraordinaire

Being a wedding photographer and engaged myself, I know ALL about the pressure that's put on planning and celebrating a wedding day. For some, a "traditional" wedding is perfect — but for others, it just doesn't feel right. Having an intimate wedding gives you the opportunity to truly embrace who you are as a couple and what is most meaningful to you. I've photographed more than 100 weddings, and have to say that those sentiments really shine through at elopements and city hall weddings. There are no rules and each one is uniquely it's own — which is why I love them so much!

Meet Halie

Elopement Reflections

I've captured a lot of different elopements — here are some of my favorite ways I've seen couples celebrate: A+E surprised friends at a party "for A's birthday" (or so they thought) after they eloped with family in Boston; S+J eloped at Cambridge City Hall, followed by photos at where they met, had their first date, and now live; L+N eloped in Boston and then celebrated with friends + fam in the backyard of their newly bought home in the 'burbs. The options are endless for making it your own!

Real Moments of Your Elopement

What to Expect from Halie

Weekday Elopement Collections

Ceremony coverage + portraits at the ceremony location (no traveling to other locations in Boston). This collection is made for couples that want their ceremony captured, as well as a brief portrait session afterward.

60+ images, private online gallery with download access and print rights. One hour of coverage time.

The Essential Collection | $650

Ceremony coverage + extended portrait time! This collection is for those that would like enough time to do photos in another part of the city, or wish to include more portraits of family/friends that will be in attendance.

120+ images, private online gallery with download access and print rights. Two hours of coverage time.

The Portrait Collection | $1,000

Boston Elopement FAQ's

Do your packages include download + print rights?

Always! Depending on how much time we have together for photos, you'll receive a private online gallery with 60-200+ photos minimum. From that gallery, you'll be able to download the high-resolution copies of your photos.

You'll receive a "sneak peek" of photos within 24 hours, and the full gallery within 3 weeks.

Can we Customize Our Elopement package?

Absolutely! The above packages are my most popular options, but if your elopement is going to be something in-between any of these, we can work together to determine the appropriate amount of coverage.

We can add any additional time needed (up to 4 hours total) for $250/half hour.

Definitely not! We can get going whether or not you have your elopement booked yet.

If you KNOW you want to work together, I'm also happy to help work out the logistics and figure it all out together! Especially if photos are important to you, this can be helpful for planning for the best lighting!

Do we need a date booked before reaching out?

Let's Get This Elopement Started!

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