Elope in Missouri: The Ultimate Guide to Planning An Elopement

collage of couples who have eloped in Missouri

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Missouri Elopement Guide

Missouri is a beautiful state. We might not have mile high mountains or ocean coastline, but we have a little bit of everything else. Two of the largest rivers in the country convene right here in Missouri. In face, one of them is the third longest river in the world (remember that little tidbit from grade school social studies?) We’ve got lakes and creeks and bluffs and gorges and beaches. Views that rival postcards. Breathtaking sunsets. And the St. Louis area has some world-class architecture. If you love the idea of a destination adventure elopement a little closer to home, then a Missouri elopement is perfect for you.

What is an Elopement?

An elopement used to mean you ran off to the courthouse and got married. No one else attended, and it wasn’t really celebrated. Honestly, the whole thing was seen as a bit shameful for whatever reason.

It’s 2023, and that’s not exactly how things work anymore. Some couples run off to the courthouse. Some couples get married just the two of them. But it’s not a hard and fast rule.

Elopements are just super small weddings, usually 10-12 people or less. Some couples will have a bit of structure to their day, and share a sit-down meal with their closest people. Other couples will spend the day exploring and taking photos together and end with a picnic and toast.

You can have a Missouri Adventure Elopement in a State Park, or city elopement with urban exploration and rooftop cocktails. This day is about YOU and how YOU want to spend it. Let your imagination run wild. If you could plan your perfect day, how you would you plan it?

How to Elope in Missouri

Marriage Certificate

You’ll need a marriage certificate, which you can apply for at any county recorder of deed’s office. (Click here to see the requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate.) You must be at least 18. You’ll need to bring your ID and your Social Security Card (if you have a SSN).

There are no residency requirements, and it usually costs between $50-$60.

After your marriage certificate is issued, you will have 30 days to elope in Missouri.


You’ll need an officiant to perform your elopement ceremony. You can find an officiant online by doing a Google search, or you can have a friend a family perform your elopement ceremony for you. They can quickly and easily become ordained online through The Universal Church of Life.

I’m also an ordained officiant, so I can officiate marriages! If you just want a simple ceremony and you’ll be exchanging your own vows, then this might be the perfect option for you.


In the state of Missouri, you only need one witness for your ceremony. If I’m not officiating an elopement, then I can be the witness. If I am officiating the ceremony, and you’ve opted for a second photographer or videographer with your elopement collection then they can be your witness. Otherwise, you’ll need to bring a friend or family member along to be a witness for elopement.

Your witness will need to sign your marriage certificate after your elopement ceremony.

Places to Elope in Missouri

You’ll need to think about what type of background you’d like for your elopement. Klondike Park in Defiance has beautiful white sand beaches. Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Lake of the Ozarks has castle ruins. Castlewood State Park and Don Johnson State Park are both very near St. Louis and offer stunning views.

Johnson Shut-Ins, Castor River Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks State Park, Hawn State Park, Echo Bluff, and Taum Sauk Mountain are all beautiful options for elopements in Missouri.

Downtown St. Louis and Downtown Alton both have some incredible architectural options. Tower Grove Park, Forest Park, and Lafayette Park in St. Louis City all offer a number of incredible spots for ceremonies and portraits.

If you’re not sure where you want to elope, that’s okay! There’s a lot of moving pieces that go into planning an elopement. If you’d like suggestions on elopement locations, just ask!

photo of a couple who are going to elope in missouri in a field at sunset

Missouri Elopement Packages

My elopement collections are completely customizable. There are options to add videography, planning services, florals, even a picnic with a custom charcuterie board. If you’d like to plan your Missouri elopement indoors, at a venue, that’s something we can do! I work with several venues that offer special weekday elopement packages for my clients.

Are You Planning an Elopement?

Then you’ll want to grab a copy of my Ultimate Elopement Planning Guide! It’s full of tips on how to plan your elopement, as well as links on what to wear, vendor referrals, easy DIY solutions, and tons more.

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