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  • Writer's pictureTamara Merri

Acadia National Park Elopement | Ainsley & Mike

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Acadia National Park Elopement

Acadia national park elopement

Elopement Planning

Ainsley & Mike came to me not knowing whether they wanted a traditional wedding or to elope. They had already gone and toured wedding venues but felt like the production of weddings and being the center of attention weren't the direction they wanted to go in.

So we started brainstorming what their day could look like if they decided to elope; what part of the country speaks to them, what season, what do you want to do, how many people? They were planning on only having their parents so anything was fair game without a larger guest list. They was sure from the beginning of chatting that they wanted to stay in New England and mentioned the idea of something cozy like their friend's cabin Maine. Ainsley is an avid runner and loves to hike so I knew an adventurous elopement could be her speed!

After talking with Ainsley about what sets her soul on fire we somehow got onto the topic of watching the sunrise and I mentioned that Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the first place in the country to see the sunrise. From that moment our sites were set on planning her elopement in Acadia! While their eventual ceremony was not at sunrise (and ceremonies aren't allowed at sunrise or sunset on Cadillac Mountain), we chose the most perfect spot for them: the rocky coastline across from the Gorham Mountain Trail. This spot is very accessible as it is just a short walk from the road. It looks very similar to Otter Point. There is a parking lot nearby but they opted to have a shuttle drop them off as to not worry about parking - soooo smart, especially during peak season! Since they had less than 10 guests total, a permit was not required to secure their ceremony spot or time. However, we did have to reserve a pass to drive along the road since the pandemic was restricting access. If you plan to visit while the pandemic is still ongoing, make sure to plan ahead!

Fun fact: I also got married in Acadia! Here's the blog I wrote about the planning process + timeline of booking vendors if you'd like more insight on what it entails.

Their Elopement Day

We started the day with them getting ready separately at their hotel in downtown Bar Harbor; the Ivy Manor Inn. Aquene with the Glow Method did the ladies flawless makeup and Ainsley did her own hair. It was a rainy morning but the drizzle couldn't dampen their spirits. Since they planned to take the shuttle together into the park we did their first look outside of the Ivy Manor, with the fall's red ivy as their gorgeous backdrop. When we left to take the shuttle into the park... the rain stopped! The shuttle dropped us off at Gorham Mountain Trailhead and we walked across the street to the rocky coastline of Maine. Ainsley had visited the park the day before to scope out where they wanted their ceremony so we walked the short distance to a clearing between two trees where you could see the water crashing along the rocks behind them.

Gorham Mountain Trail Ceremony

Ainsley's dad walked her down the trail which was the perfect natural aisle. Only their parents and dog were the only people in attendance... unless you count the rainbow that showed up just as Ainsley was walking down the aisle.

Their ceremony beautiful, short, and sweet. My fiance Paul officiated their wedding which consisted of sharing their love story and a ring warming ceremony before exchanging rings and sealing the "I dos" with a kiss. Their adorable black lab Josie was such a good girl sitting by their feet the whole time. Luckily, dogs are allowed in Acadia National Park as long as they're kept on a 6 feet leash at all times! While we didn't have the best weather for their elopement, the constant drizzle made sure that the rainbow stayed around for the duration of their ceremony!! We were all in awe and I couldn't stop taking pictures!

Jordan Pond in Acadia NP

We explored the coastline at Gorham Mountain Trail for a few photos before hopping in the car and going to Jordan Pond. Jordan Pond is a super popular spot in Acadia. We knew it would be busy, even during the rain, so we planned to just take a few iconic photos before heading on our way. We originally planned to hike North Bubble afterwards and enjoy the sunset from the summit, but the weather progressively got worse. Not only did the rain pick up, but so did the wind and the chill came with it. So while I was researching our plan B, Ainsley turned to me and said "hey - want to just to go the bar instead?". Ummm hell yea - it's your day let's do whatever you want!! The best part about eloping is there were no guests to attend to, no party to have to go to, no plans to abide by! It's possible to make game time decisions for what you actually want to do in the moment. So we headed to the same Irish bar we went to the night before when celebrating their "rehearsal dinner"; Leary's Landing! After bar hoping for a bit the rain stopped and we goofed off in Agamont Park in downtown Bar Harbor while the sky turned cotton candy pink behind them to end their photo coverage.

Vendor Team:

Wedding Dress: BHLDN

Hair: DIY

Flowers: DIY from Trader Joes

Getting ready location: Ivy Manor Inn right in downtown Bar Harbor

Ceremony spot: Gorham Mountain Trail in Acadia National Park

Photo locations: Rocky coastline in Acadia, Jordan Pond, Agamont Park

Behind the scenes video

Photos from their Acadia National Park Elopement

groom looking adoringly at bride during first look

candid photo of couple outside Ivy Manor Inn

the coast of Acadia National Park with Rainbow

father of bride crying while he walks her down the trail aisle

bride walking down aisle made out of a trail for elopement


Are you interested in eloping in Acadia National Park or somewhere else in New England? Let's chat about what you envision your day to look like and make a game plan for your elopement! Contact me today.

couple walking on rocks at gorham mountain trail at Acadia National Park during their Elopement

elopement at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park

wedding photo at jordan pond in acadia national park for elopement

bride sitting on lobster holding ice cream cone outside of Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine

I'm so grateful to have photographed Ainsley and Mike's day! Here's what Ainsley had to say about working with me:

Tammy, there is not enough praise in this world for what you deserve for truly creating the most magical elopement day. From the moment we started talking, Tammy filled our imagination with ideas, plans and picture locations to help make our wedding special. She did not hesitate when we decided to elope in Acadia and sent over research and location ideas of where to hold our ceremony. She was attentive to the details that were most important to us and really allowed us to create our perfect day. Not only did she help plan our elopement day but day of she arrived early and was able to help create the excitement and long lasting memories. With her creative eye, she found the most perfect spot for us to have our first look. With great skill, she professionally moved the wedding party along to be to stay true to the ceremony timeline and the National Park entrance time (which is a feat to coordinate 7 guests, a dog and a bus driver). With not having a wedding planner (or any guest focused on timeline) it was so helpful to have Tammy to take charge and gather the group. Lastly, but certainly not least, she made us feel comfortable in front of the camera. We don't normally enjoy being the center of attention, she had us move naturally and cued us to be confident in front of the camera. With her upbeat personality and lots of laughs, the pictures captured our excitement and love while we eloped. She didn’t hesitate for a second when we asked for our dog to be in almost every picture us and was able to capture. She read my mind as taking pictures from different angles and of the landscape around us. Thank you Tammy for making our dream surprise elopement a reality! Not only was it the most perfect day, but now we have pictures that capture the emotions and celebration of our wedding!

Acadia National Park Elopement Photographer

Are you interested in eloping in Acadia, on the coast of Maine, or somewhere else to get married in a way that's a little more adventurous? Contact me and let's plan your Acadia or New England elopement today!



Tamara Merri Photography



©ALP - Tamara Hanley 2023 -420_websize.jpg

I'm Tamara!

I'm a Massachusetts wedding & elopement photographer. I'm the voice behind this blog and the girl behind the camera. 

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