Are you considering having a vow renewal in Grand Teton National Park or the surrounding area of Jackson Hole? Here are a few things that you need to know.
The first thing that you will want to do is pick a date or two that would work for you. I recommend reaching out to your desired photographer as soon as possible to make sure that they have those dates available. You will also want to see what recommendations they have for you. I like to be a big part of the planning process with my couples because it ensures that we both know what the plan is. I can also help educate you on the things that you need to do in order to prepare.
No, it is not! I have special pricing for vow renewals and formal wedding portraits. I do recommend a minimum of 1 hour. Sometimes 1.5-2 hours is more appropriate depending on what the couple has planned and how many guests are in attendance.
Think about how you would like your Teton vow renewal to look. Whether you’re choosing to have a ceremony with an officiant or you’d like to read private vows together, you still may need a permit. Technically, anything that is considered a “commitment ceremony” is required to have a permit if held within Grand Teton National Park. So connect with your photographer and they should be able to help you with some of that process. I direct my clients to the various locations that are available as well as walk them through some of the application wording.
There are a few different spots that can be used for ceremonies and I have all that information in a blog post listed here. After you’ve picked your favorite location, go online to GTNP’s website and submit an application for the commitment ceremony permit. A lot of people choose to have a simple vow renewal that doesn’t include anything other than personal vows. There are others who desire to have a little bit more of a formal celebration with family and friends. No way is better than the other, and we’re happy to help you celebrate in the manner that works best for you.
The Wedding Tree used to be free for ceremonies. However, they have recently turned over the management of Wedding Tree to an outside organization. Their goal is to procure fees that will allow them to put an outhouse at Wedding Tree for weddings and guests. Because of this, they now require a $200 fee and an operating plan which is similar to how the permits for Grand Teton National Park work. This is still a great option for couples who want a very private setting for their vow renewal. Unfortunately, it still comes with a price tag and you have to reserve with Friends of the Teton-Bridger.
There are a handful of locations located in the national forest where a commitment ceremony does not require a permit for under 75 guests. These locations are a bit more limited in what they offer as far as bathroom amenities, views of the mountains, and ease of access due to dirt and gravel roads. There are always options if you don’t want to go through the hassle of procuring a permit or paying that fee.
The short answer is it’s totally up to you! If you would like to have a formal renewing of your wedding vows, then I highly recommend hiring an officiant who can do that for you. If you would like this to be an opportunity to write new vows to one another and share those privately that’s also 100% an option.
Heck yes it is! Tricky, but it can be done. This year I had two husbands who decided to surprise their wives with vow renewals while they were vacationing in the Tetons. One spouse had no idea it was happening until the day before and they went and did a little bit of shopping to get Western apparel appropriate for the occasion. The other couple, he just told his wife that he had hired a family photographer and that she needed to pick out some epic outfits for their Teton family photography session. She picked the most amazing dresses and it was just so fun to see them show up ready for family photo shoot and have Pastor Ray there ready to renew their vows for them.
Of course, this answer is going to very based on what kind of a celebration you are planning. A lot of couples choose to have a very low key ceremony with out very much pomp and circumstance. The majority of my couples still book a hair and makeup artist and a few decide to book a florist and a pastor. Other times I’m often the only vendor that is booked for about. Confirm with all of your vendors and book anybody else that you need to with plenty of advance notice to increase your chances of having your preferred vendors available.
Depending on your group size, there are several different options available in Jackson Hole and Teton Village. Some of the more recommended experiences include Gather, The Wort Hotel, Blue Lion, or Local. If a more curated experience is in your budget, I recommend the following venues: Snow King, Palette, Ringholz Art Gallery, or private catering at your VRBO or Airbnb.