Pedernales Falls is one of my favorite state parks in Texas. I love the way the Pedernales River cuts through the limestone, giving a unique landscape for exploring, riverside sandy “beaches”, hill country views, waterfalls, and limestone caves. So I definitely understand why you want to get Married at Pedernales Falls!
Located just one hour from Austin or 30 minutes from Dripping Springs, Pedernales Falls makes for a wonderful elopement location! You get the beautiful landscape and adventure without needing to hike too far or travel out to the middle of nowhere.
How to Get Married at Pedernales Falls State Park
Like any other trip to a state or national park, planning ahead and preparing is key to make sure you enjoy your time. That’s what I am here for! I am an elopement photographer, planning assistant and problem-solving extraordinaire. Eloping is the best way you can get married and I love coming alongside couples to help bring their Texas elopement dreams to life. This guide is to make sure you can have fun planning your elopement and get stoked to get Married at Pedernales Falls.
Step one in planning your Pedernales Falls Elopement – dreaming and brainstorming!
The first thing you will want to do is sit down together and envision the best day ever. Forget the whole getting married thing for a moment and just Imagine you have a weekend away together. What would you plan to do? From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, how would you make the most out of this time you have together? Dream big and write it all down.
Some questions you can ask yourselves as you start planning:
- Do you imagine eloping just the two of you or are there people you couldn’t imagine this moment without?
- What are some of your favorite memories together?
- How do you find joy together even on the most mundane and boring day?
- What do you envision the weather being like on your elopement day? What do you imagine wearing?
- Are you going to take time off work or do you need to elope over the weekend?
- Is there a type of place you have always wanted to stay? A treehouse, cabin by the lake, a yurt, maybe even a luxury hotel?
How far in advance should you start planning?
The more time you give yourself when you plan your elopement means there will be more vendors and lodging available for you to choose from. Most of the couples I work with start planning three to six months in advance. If you are wanting to camp inside the park, camping reservations open up five months in advance and book up pretty quickly. Day-use reservations open up thirty days in advance and book up fast as well. I always apply for a photography permit, which can take up to a month to be approved. More on reservations and permits later.
One of the first people I recommend hiring is an elopement photographer or planner who is familiar with the area. I have helped many couples get married at Pedernales Falls, as well as all over Texas, so I’d be thrilled to help you plan yours! You can contact me here if you are interested in that.
When is the best time of year for a Pedernales Falls Elopement?
There are a lot of places in Texas that I wouldn’t go anywhere near during the summertime, just because of how hot it gets. But I think Pedernales Falls would make an excellent elopement location any time of the year because you can plan for a sunrise ceremony and take a dip in the river if it starts to get too hot. With that being said, Spring or Fall are still my favorite seasons for Hill Country elopements.
You do need to be careful in case of rainy weather because the falls can flash flood. I always recommend having a plan b location in case of dangerous weather. In Texas, there’s not much public land to count on for your backup location so I recommend considering your lodging your plan b ceremony location.
Best time of day for a Pedernales Falls Elopement
I always recommend planning any elopement around sunrise or sunset. It’s the best light for photos!
Pedernales Falls opens at 8:00am. So, if you want to get married at Pedernales Falls in the winter, I would recommend planning a sunset elopement. If you choose a summer elopement then you could plan for sunrise. During summer sunrise is later in the morning and you will want to get an early start beat the heat.
Pedernales Falls is at a lower elevation and the sun dips behind the trees much earlier than the actual sunset time. So, for sunset elopements, I like to plan for the ceremony to be two hours before sunset.
Permits and Reservations Required for a Pedernales Falls Elopement
Day-use passes – Every state park requires a day use pass. Reservations for day use passes open up thirty days in advance and they do sell out. Here is a link to book passes online.
Photography or special use permits – You do need to apply for a photography permit through the state park. I do this myself for my couples.
Camping – If you want to camp in the park you will need to reserve your campsite. The camping reservations open up five months in advance. Here is a link to reserve a camp site online.
Booking lodging for your elopement or wedding makes a huge impact on your overall experience. It’s where you’ll be sleeping the night before your elopement, where you will be getting ready and where you return after your epic elopement adventure. Choose a place you are excited to stay! Give yourself permission to consider really fun rentals like cute Airbnbs, A-frames, treehouses, yurts, or any kind of place that you think is aesthetically appealing, fun, and fits the vibe for the rest of your day.
Cities with lodging near Pedernales Falls – Johnson City, Stonewall, Wimberley, Blanco, Dripping Springs, Austin.
Tips for booking lodging;
- Think about the natural light and aesthetics. Does the decor align with your vision? Are there good windows? Part of your elopement may take place at your airbnb so making sure it is a place you find beautiful can make a difference.
- Read through reviews thoroughly before booking an airbnb. To ensure you have a great experience!
- Try to find lodging as close to your ceremony space as possible. Generally I recommend keeping the distance within an hour drive. You can look in Johnson City, Dripping Springs, Wimberley or Austin.
If you want a more in-depth guide on booking lodging for your elopement you can check out my “Booking Lodging for Your Elopement or Wedding 101” blog!
Here is a curated a list of some pretty awesome Airbnbs near Pedernales Falls. Something I recommend before booking lodging is reaching out to the owner and confirming they will allow professional photography as well as any guests you plan on having during your stay.
You don’t have to hire any particular vendors like florists or hair and makeup artists for your elopement day. But partnering with great vendors to help you create your dream elopement can bring your entire experience to the next level! Not having to do everything yourself can definitely make you feel more present and relaxed.
Common vendors couples hire for elopements are florists, hair and makeup artists, officiants, chefs, caterers and videographers.
All of my packages include vendor referrals and I am happy to help you get your dream team together! Check out more info on my Texas elopement packages through this link.
Pedernales Falls Park Rules and Regulations
You should learn about the park rules and regulations when planning your elopement. These are beautiful lands we should respect and care for. You love them so much you are getting married out there right?! I am sure you love them enough to leave them better than you find them. So those who come after us can enjoy them and you can return for your ten-year anniversary, to celebrate in the very place you said your vows! Pedernales Falls will have specific rules and guidelines for events, you can call to get this info directly. For the general Texas State Park rules and regulations check this link.
Common Elopement Trends That May Be Against Park Rules;
- Bouquets & Flowers: You should check the local rules & regulations to see if the park allows you to bring non-native species of flowers. It’s always best to avoid bringing invasive species of plants into environments in case pollen or seeds do drop.
- Confetti, Seeds, & Rice: Pedernales Falls does not allow throwing anything on the ground, and it’s generally not a good idea—even biodegradable confetti. Some sustainable alternatives are to sustainably collect local native leaves or use ribbon sticks or a high-five tunnel to celebrate instead.
- Popping champagne: Pedernales Falls does not allow the public consumption of alcohol. If you really want to pop some bubbly for a fun “spray photo” sparkling water is a great alternative and looks the same in an image! Or you can wait until you are at your Airbnb to pop some champagne.
Smoke Bombs and anything with fire: Unless you are at a campsite with a fire pit with no burn ban then I recommend avoiding anything involving fire. Smoke bombs, candles, and sparklers all pose a risk of starting a wildfire and we do not want that to happen. Good alternatives are things like ribbon wands, LED fairy lights, the headlights of a car, or lanterns. Here is a link to some lanterns that I recommend.
How to Get Married at Pedernales Falls With Guests
You can definitely elope with guests by your side! Pedernales Falls has a long staircase down to the actual falls. If you have guests with physical limitations you may not be able to have your ceremony down by the river. But there is an area overlooking the falls that doesn’t require using the staircase and is a little more accessible. I would recommend keeping your guest count down to 15 people or less for a Pedernales Falls elopement.
Choosing Your Ceremony Location
Pedernales Falls is a large park with a lot of hiking trails but the most scenic area is the main falls area. It is large enough to spread out and get away from crowds. You can choose to have your ceremony right by the water, the falls or even on the sandy beach area. When I plan Pedernales Falls elopements with couples we never have a super specific ceremony spot nailed down until we arrive to the park and see what it looks like/how crowded it is. It’s fun to stop at the overlook, you can view the whole area and point out possible ceremony spots from there.
Make a Plan to Eat and Hydrate
You are going to be hiking and staying pretty active throughout the day and can get drained pretty quickly. It’s important to take really good care of yourselves on the day of your elopement as well as the days leading up to it.
A general rule of thumb for the amount of water you should bring on a hike is one half-liter of water per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures. Have extra water, snacks, and electrolyte packets in your car ready to go so you stay hydrated and well-nourished throughout the day. Here is a great article from REI on how to stay hydrated on the trails.
Schedule meals and water breaks in your elopement timeline. You can pack all of your fave snacks and have a picnic together after you say your vows! Make sure you pack out all of your trash, even things like orange peels and apple cores because they are not native to the environment.
What Activities do You Want to Include?
Eloping means spending the day exactly the way you want to! There’s so much more to an elopement than your ceremony. A lot of couples like to incorporate traditional elements like a first look, first dance or cake cutting. But you could include some non-traditional adventure elements as well!
Here’s a list of some ideas;
- Hire a private chef to make a meal for you at your Airbnb
- Have a picnic at the falls
- Head to the designated swimming areas and take a dip in the river
- Have your friends and family members write letters for you to open on your elopement day
- Nap in a hammock
- Soak in a hot tub
- Have a drink at a winery or brewery after your time at the park
What you should wear when you get married at Pedernales Falls
The attire you wear for an adventurous elopement is a little different from your traditional wedding attire. Your shoes should have good tread and ankle support. Pedernales Falls is home to uneven limestone, it’s very easy to slip or trip over so good shoes are vital. I love my Blundstones and Timberland hiking boots. For your wedding dress, you should make sure you can lift your legs up and over rocks when needed and that you can squat and sit down comfortably. If you are getting married in the fall or winter then I recommend having skin-colored leggings to wear under your dress! You can find them on Amazon. For more tips and tricks on picking the right dress for your Pedernales Falls elopement head over to my Elopement Dress Ideas blog.
Marriage Requirements and Legalities
Marriage requirements vary from county to county so I highly recommend doing your own research to confirm you have the right information. Texas requires an ordained officiant to be present during your ceremony and sign your marriage license. Texas does not require witnesses to sign your marriage license but you must obtain your license at least 72 hours before your ceremony can take place. For more information on marriage requirements, you can visit this website. I am ordained and have had the honor of officially marrying many eloping couples in the state of Texas!
Have the best elopement!
Now all of your planning can come together to create the best elopement day for the two of you! Relax, breathe and soak up every moment together. Give yourself permission to be spontaneous and enjoy the adventure! And if you have any questions, I would love to come along to help you get married at Pedernales Falls!