How To Elope In Philadelphia in 2022

May 17, 2022

I think there’s a lot that people get wrong about Philadelphia. They peg it as the cheesesteak town with overly excited sports fanatics, and while that’s true, there’s a lot more going on that makes it perfect for a wedding. If you’re wondering how to elope in Philadelphia, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I’m going to break it all down for you! As someone who’s based in Philly and has a deep love for the city, I can’t wait to tell you how to elope in Philadelphia. It’s a decision you’ll never regret. So let’s get into it.

When To Elope In Philadelphia?

It might seem like an arbitrary question, but every place has a great time of year that people should take advantage of for their weddings. If you want to elope in Philadelphia, I recommend coming between May and October. 

You can enjoy just about any month in Philadelphia. The snow adds a real charm to the city, but it’s the Spring and Summer months that are truly spectacular. There is an obvious whimsy in the air with the city in full bloom. The Schuylkill River has stunning cherry blossom trees, and Rittenhouse Square’s stunning magnolias. There’s so much to take in and enjoy!

Where To Elope in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia has no shortage of locations to enjoy for a spectacular elopement. So when wondering how to elope in Philadelphia and where you can enjoy the ceremony, here are some of your options:

#1 – Backyard Weddings

Know somebody in the city with an amazing home? Maybe see if you can strike a deal with a friend to use their home and backyard for a cozy wedding.

Shot for Afrik Armando - Couple looking at each other and placing their hands in front as if in prayer during their wedding ceremony with food on the table, shot by Jason Moody Photography
Shot for Afrik Armando

I love shooting backyard weddings because they’re usually perfect for capturing the intimate moments and the real connection between people. There’s so much character on display in a backyard wedding.

#2 – City Hall

City Halls are never the most romantic options, but Philadelphia City Hall is a beautiful building.

Shot for Jess Flynn - How to Elope in Philadelphia 2022: Couple holding hands and smiling as they walk around during their wedding photoshoot
Shot for Jess Flynn

Unfortunately, you’ll only be allowed up to 8 guests at the ceremony, and it will cost $90 for the license. Still, it’s an excellent location for gorgeous photos. 

#3 – Dinner Parties at Local Restaurants

Wanting to keep it low-key and celebrate with friends, family, and sensational food? Try out one of the countless local restaurants in Philly.

Maybe you can get a friend ordained or just have a local officiant present for a brief ceremony. Then, it’s straight on to celebrations!

#4 – Micro-wedding Venues

Want to know some of the best micro-wedding venues in Philadelphia? I’ve spent a lot of time shooting weddings at some of the most stunning venues, perfect for a small elopement ceremony. My favorites include Vaux Studio, Promise Ridge, Welkinweir, and Irwin’s Upstairs

Shot for Jess Flynn - How to Elope in Philadelphia 2022: Minimalist and aesthetic wedding ceremony setup at Vaux Studio
Shot for Jess Flynn

You can learn more about these venues in my post about the best Philadelphia Micro-Wedding Venues.

#5 – Parks & Local Spaces

There are a ton of stunning parks in Philadelphia that are perfect for a ceremony. One of the most popular options is LOVE Park on Arch Street.

Another awesome option is the Race Street Pier

How To Elope In Philadelphia

Here are a few things you need to know to specifically answer the question of how to elope in Philadelphia. 

Marriage Laws

Asking how to elope in Philadelphia means questioning what the marriage laws in Pennsylvania are. For starters, you’ll need to both appear in person at Philadelphia City Hall in Room 413. Next, you’ll meet with the Marriage License Bureau, where you will produce two forms of identification and a death certificate or divorce decree in the event either of you has been married before. 

The license usually takes 3 days to be issued, then you’ve got a 60-day window to get married. All in all, this will cost you $90 and requires you to be married by an ordained minister, judge, or rabbi. 

If you want to self-unite or have a Quaker wedding, this is possible in the state of Pennsylvania. However, it requires you to get a $10 Quaker license with a certificate in self-uniting. 

Tips For Eloping In Philadelphia

There are a lot of reasons to elope in Philadelphia. Here are a few tips you should consider going into your planning process. 

#1 – Don’t Be In a Rush To Leave

There is no reason to saunter into town and leave the moment the ceremony is over. Make a trip of your Philadelphia elopement. There’s so much to enjoy and do in this amazing city.

Shot for Jess Flynn - How to Elope in Philadelphia 2022: Black and white photo of room at Vaux Studio with a bed and vanity
Shot for Jess Flynn

Go and see the iconic Liberty Bell or the Delaware River Waterfront. Stay at a charming bed and breakfast or fancy hotel. Enjoy the city while you enjoy the occasion. 

#2 – Make Sure You Plan Accordingly

If you live out of state and this is an elopement you’re planning from far away, make sure you’ve got everything well planned to avoid surprises come the big day.

Hire a wedding planner or coordinator to ensure that everything is being taken care of in case you’re unable to be available 24/7 or fall victim to the coast-to-coast time differences. 

#3 – Keep It Small, and Relax

This is an important event for you and your partner. However, elopements are meant to be far smaller than traditional weddings and less stressful.

Don’t let anything weigh you down and make this day unnecessarily difficult for you both. Invite those nearest and dearest to you and enjoy a great time together. 


Hopefully, you’re a lot savvier on the topic of how to elope in Philadelphia. This great city has so much to offer, and just a weekend away will make you fall in love with it the way I have. 

If you’re looking for a photographer to turn a wedding into perfectly captured memories, then look no further. I’d love to be the person to capture such a special day for you and your partner. So take a look at my portfolio and get in touch so we can make some magic happen in Philadelphia!