Tips on Planning a Destination Wedding in Idaho
Idaho is home to some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world. With its abundant forests, rushing waterfalls, majestic canyons, incredible ski slopes, and so much more, Idaho is the perfect place for a nature-lover to say “I do.” Plus, on top of all the beauty Idaho’s wildlife has to offer, Idaho boasts charming early American architecture, a bourgeoning wine scene, and many picturesque getaway spots. With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why Idaho has started to become a hotspot for destination weddings.
If you’re planning a destination wedding in Idaho, this post contains all the important tips you need to know to make sure your wedding goes off without a hitch. In this post, I’ll cover what you need to know about local wedding planners, which season to get married in Idaho, when to book your Idaho wedding venue, tips on traveling to Idaho, guest accommodation tips, local culture you can incorporate into your wedding, and everything you need to know about the legal side of getting married in Idaho.
Consider Hiring a Local Wedding Planner
Hiring a wedding planner is a great idea for any destination wedding, including a destination wedding in Idaho. A wedding planner will be your eyes on the ground at your wedding destination. A local wedding planner will know all the best venues and vendors and can help you find the right ones for you.
Wedding planners are also very useful for coordinating details after you’ve booked and ordered things for your big day. When coordinating any out of town event, it’s often much easier to go to a vendor or venue in person to work out the details, which your wedding planner can do for you.
Of course, if you don’t mind not being able to check everything out in person (or if you can afford to travel to check things out yourself), hiring a wedding planner isn’t an absolute must. While it’s very helpful and can make your wedding planning go much more smoothly, you don’t have to have a wedding planner if you’re fine with doing a bit more work and aren’t worried about not being able to talk to vendors in person.
The Seasons in Idaho: When to Have Your Idaho Destination Wedding
Without a doubt, summer is the most popular time to have a wedding in Idaho. The warm, sunny weather of summer in Idaho lets couples spend more time in the great outdoors at their wedding. There are many lovely outdoor wedding venues in Idaho that can allow you to incorporate the stunning natural scenery of the state into your summer wedding.
While summer is the most popular season for weddings in Idaho, the state is truly beautiful all year round. Fall is the second most popular season for Idaho weddings, thanks to the crisp air and the absolutely gorgeous fall foliage. Spring and winter are the least popular seasons for Idaho weddings, which is mostly due to the weather. Spring in Idaho can be a bit cool and rainy, while winter is quite cold. Still, many people do have weddings in the spring and winter, which are still beautiful seasons in Idaho. Spring boasts lovely blooming flowers and winter comes with majestic snow-topped mountains. But if you’re considering having a destination wedding in Idaho in spring or winter, just be sure to plan for the weather (indoor venues might be better for these seasons).
Dates You May Want to Avoid For Certain Cities
If you’re not an Idaho local, you may not know about some of the annual local festivals and events that could affect your wedding. Idaho has a number of fun festivals and events but attempting to book your wedding at the same time as one of them means booking accommodations will be trickier. Here are some local Idaho festivals and events you’ll want to keep in mind when planning a destination wedding in Idaho:
Early July: The Teton Valley Balloon Rally in Driggs
Mid-July: The Snake River Stampede in Nampa
Early August: The Festival at Sandpoint in Sandpoint
Mid-August: The Shoshone Bannock Indian Festival in Fort Hall
Early September: Art in the Park in Boise
September: The Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise
Late January to Early February: The Idaho Winter Carnival in McCall
Late February: The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow
April: The Lewiston Dogwood Festival in Lewiston
Of course, you don’t have to avoid these cities on these dates if you have your heart set on one of them or if you’d like the opportunity to swing by one of these events. Just know that these events attract more visitors, so cities will be more crowded. So if you’re considering heading to any of these locations during a major local event, reserve your wedding accommodations very early (and encourage your guests to do the same).
Book Your Venue and Vendors Early, Especially for Summer and Fall Idaho Weddings
As I mentioned in the last section, summer is the most popular season for Idaho weddings, while fall is the second most popular. So if you’re considering having your Idaho destination wedding in the summer of fall, be sure to book your venue and vendors early. Around 75% of all weddings in Idaho take place in the summer or fall (with around 50% in the summer and around 25% in the fall). This means that there’s much more competition for the best venues and vendors during these seasons, so be sure to book yours early.
Notify Your Guests Early
If you’re throwing a destination wedding, you should notify your guests early. The general rule for a local wedding is to send your save the dates at least four months in advance of your wedding date. But for a destination wedding, you should send your save the dates at least six months in advance.
You should also send wedding invitations earlier for a destination wedding in Idaho. While the standard timeline rule for wedding invitations is to send them eight weeks before your wedding, for destination weddings, you should send invitations at least twelve weeks in advance.
Traveling to Idaho
For any destination wedding, it’s important to carefully consider how your guests will get to your venue. For those traveling to Idaho from other states in the US, it’s generally very easy to get to most parts of Idaho. But if you might have a lot of international guests (or if you’re traveling from another country yourself), you should know that there are currently no direct international flights to any airport in Idaho. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have an Idaho wedding if you have international guests. Just know that your international friends and family will probably have to connect in a nearby state before making it to Idaho.
If you have international guests, be sure to look up flight options before deciding on your wedding venue. You may want to consider picking a venue in a city with a major airport (such as Boise) to make things easier on your guests.
Guest Accommodations for an Idaho Destination Wedding
Now, let’s talk about guest accommodations. Many people wonder if they need to pay for their guest’s accommodations for a destination wedding. But you definitely don’t need to do this. What you should do, however, is find a hotel or resort that can accommodate all your guests. If you’re getting married at a big wedding venue, they might have room for all your guests. But if you’re getting married at a more intimate venue (for example, say you’re having an Idaho barn wedding), you should scope out nearby hotels and find one with room for all your guests. Many hotels will block off rooms for your guests at your request (and can often give your guests a deal on their rooms).
If you’re considering staying at a more expensive hotel yourself, be sure to provide a less expensive alternative for your guests. While some guests might be happy to pay a higher price to stay the same hotel or resort as you, it’s good etiquette to also provide guests with a more affordable option.
If your wedding hotel options aren’t inside your venue, make sure you arrange for a shuttle service that can take guests to and from your venue.
Take Care of Your Guests: Welcome Bags
Welcome bags are a particularly thoughtful gift to give guests traveling to your destination wedding. If you don’t already know, a welcome bag is a small goodie bag you give your guests, which includes gifts that will help make their stay more enjoyable. You can arrange to have your hotel place these welcome bags in your guests’ rooms or give them to them when they check in.
Some things you could put in welcome bags include welcome notes, a schedule of events, bottles of water, snacks, candy, hangover remedies (like ibuprofen), and local favors. Some great local favors for an Idaho destination wedding are gourmet potato chips, huckleberry jam, and anything with the state of Idaho on it (magnets, mugs, bottle openers, etc.).
Idaho’s Local Flavors: Potatoes and More
When people think of Idaho, they think of potatoes. Our state license plates used to simply say “Famous Potatoes” (now we have the updated slogan, “Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations”). So, of course, your out of town guests will be expecting some potatoes at your Idaho wedding.
There are many ways to incorporate Idaho’s delicious potatoes into your wedding menu. Some delectable options include mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and locally made potato chips.
There’s more to Idaho’s food scene than just potatoes, however. Huckleberries are another big Idaho export and are delicious in desserts or when made into a compote to pair with your main course items.
Additionally, there are a lot of unique options for meat eaters who want to incorporate local Idaho flair. You might consider serving your guests deer, elk, quail, Chinook salmon or steelhead trout.
Idaho also has a bustling wine scene and a number of excellent local breweries. There are so many different Idaho-made wines and beers to serve to your guests at your Idaho wedding. In the Pocatello area alone (where I’m based), you can find local wines and beers at Grapevine, The Tasting Room, Wanderlust Craft Beer & Wine, and Portneuf Valley Brewing.
Legal Considerations: Making Sure Your Idaho Marriage is Legal
Finally, let’s cover an oft-overlooked aspect of having a destination wedding in Idaho: the legal side of things. If you’re getting married in Idaho, you’ll want to make sure your marriage is legal. Every state has its own laws about marriage and Idaho is no exception. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your marriage is legal.
Idaho Marriage License Information
You don’t have to be an Idaho resident to get a marriage license in Idaho but you do have to head to an Idaho County Recorder’s office in person (also, both parties getting married need to be present and over the age of 18). So, you may want to head to Idaho a bit in advance of your wedding to pick up your marriage license. You and your partner will need to bring your social security card and a recognized form of ID (like a driver’s license, passport, original birth certificate, or a state ID card). Also, if one or both of you was previously married, you’ll need to know the exact date your divorce was final.
In terms of cost, it costs at least $28 to obtain a marriage license in Idaho (prices vary by county and sometimes by the day of the week). You’ll likely need to pay this fee in cash, as many Idaho County Recorder’s offices don’t accept cards or checks.
While some states require blood tests to get a marriage license, Idaho does not. However, you will need to read a sheet on AIDs information and sign an affidavit. Some states also require waiting periods to receive a marriage license but, luckily, Idaho doesn’t. There’s no expiration date on an Idaho marriage license so you won’t need to renew your license once you file it.
Marriage Officiants and Witnesses in Idaho
According to Idaho state law, only certain individuals can solemnize a wedding. To have a legal wedding in Idaho, your wedding officiant must be a priest or minister (of any denomination), a judge, or a “designated official.” Designated officials for Idaho weddings include a current mayor, a governor, a current tribal judge, or a person approved to officiate weddings by an official act of an Idahoan Indian Tribe.
You may also be wondering about witnesses for your Idaho marriage, as many states require a certain number of witnesses for a marriage to be legal. However, Idaho actually has no witness requirements, so you can cross selecting marriage witnesses off your to do list.
Getting Your Marriage License at Home
Of course, if you don’t want to get your actual marriage license in the state you’re having your wedding in, remember that you can always get legally married in your home state or country. Then, just have your ceremony and reception in Idaho.
Want to see even more tips on planning a wedding in Idaho? Check out this detailed post on throwing an Idaho wedding: Planning a Wedding in Idaho? Here’s What You Need to Know.