Planning a Dreamy Jackson Hole Destination Wedding?
Here’s everything you need to know!
When it comes to planning a destination wedding, giving yourself plenty of time to find the perfect vendors is always a good idea. It’s a great idea to get a jump start on things by beginning the planning process–particularly, connecting with vendors–twelve to eighteen months ahead of your wedding day. When planning a destination wedding, you want to give yourself as much time as possible to get the details right, and that means connecting with the right people. To invite guests, the typical rule is to send out save-the-dates eight to twelve months ahead of your wedding date, and invitations three to four months ahead of time. Jackson is land-locked by our beautiful mountain ranges, and so accommodations can book up quickly. It’s kind to give your guests plenty of time to find great places to stay here in town!
Of course, it depends on your schedules and availability, but seasons make a huge impact in the Jackson Hole area. For one thing, depending on the time of year, our sunset can be at 4 PM, or closer to 10 PM! If you’re hoping your guests will be dining under a warm, beautiful golden-hour-glow, planning a destination wedding in the summer or early fall is likely right for you. Jackson is renowned for its world-class, expert level only skiing in the winter–that means that from the end of October through mid-May, there is likely a considerable amount of snow (or melting snow) on the ground. Our typical wedding season is from the end of May through mid-October. Every season brings different weather conditions, and it’s always a great idea to check the average rainfall and average temperature per month.
It’s also important to be aware of tourism. If you choose one of our incredible local venues, you’ll have the privilege of a private experience where you truly get to savor the grandeur of the area without the crowds (and, it’s probably a better idea than planning to tie the knot inside Grand Teton National Park with the new wedding permit requirements–find more about that here.) Keep in mind, that a wedding planned in “shoulder season,” March-early May, or November-mid December, will have fewer crowds, but many of the local businesses, restaurants, accommodations, and vendors have seasonal closures as well.
The easiest way to arrive in Jackson Hole is to fly directly into the local airport. However, sometimes that’s easier said than done, as it books up quickly (like many other aspects of small town life), or if there is a seasonal closure for “shoulder season.” If you find yourself unable to fly in locally for any particular reason, some might suggest you fly into Bozeman and drive down. While that drive will be absolutely stunning, as you’ll likely go through the full scope of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park to arrive at your accommodations, I’m going to let you in on a local secret. Fly into Idaho Falls, rent a car, and save hours by driving into Jackson. The scenery is still absolutely beautiful, but you can maximize the days of your trip–unless a drive through Yellowstone is just the ticket for your dream wedding itinerary!
There are a variety of lodging options in and around Jackson, and it can be slightly confusing to consider all the different areas of town. Generally, there are two main areas for hotels and Airbnbs, Jackson and Teton Village. There are larger home Airbnb options in surrounding areas, such as Alpine, Victor, and Driggs (the latter two being in Idaho), but I would caution you to consider the options of Jackson and Teton Village purely for the experience of your stay. Jackson and Teton Village are around twenty minutes apart from one another, and each area has their own unique features, things to do, places to shop, and incredible restaurants. Alpine, Victor, and Driggs are beautiful, but you may miss out on the “feel” of Jackson Hole if you have to make a 45 minute drive back to your accommodations at the end of the day.
Additionally, you might decide that a hotel such as the Amangani, Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Cloudveil, or another beautiful spot has the right feel for both your stay and getting ready experience, while guests might want the flexibility to book elsewhere. Staying in either the town of Jackson, or in Teton Village, will give both you and your guests freedom to book the right spots for you.
You’ll need to rent a car during your stay–this is the expansive west, after all–to truly experience the sights of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. In additional to typical rental car companies, consider an option like Turo as an alternative for renting a car.
In Wyoming, you’re required to have a witness and two officiants to tie the knot. You’ll need to make an appointment at the Teton County Administration building, print and fill out the official marriage license questionnaire, and bring a picture ID. You can find the full details of what Teton County requires for marriage licenses by clicking here.
I love providing vendor recommendations for my clients, and here’s a few suggestions to get you started. I highly recommend contacting vendors as far in advance as possible to ensure their availability!
There are so many incredible vendors here, that it was hard to narrow it down!