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Wedding planning is a whirlwind of decisions, from choosing the date to selecting the perfect dress. But perhaps the most impactful choice you’ll make is the venue. It sets the tone for your entire celebration and can transform an ordinary event into an unforgettable experience. For nature-loving couples, there’s nothing more romantic than saying “I do” against the backdrop of a cascading waterfall. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most breathtaking waterfall wedding venues across the United States, offering you inspiration for your own big day.
Why Choose a Waterfall Wedding Venue?
Waterfalls are synonymous with natural beauty, power, and renewal—perfect symbols for a marriage’s beginning. They provide a stunning backdrop for wedding ceremonies and photos, bringing a unique, adventurous twist to your nuptials.
Photography is a crucial aspect of any wedding. The right venue can offer dramatic, unforgettable images that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Waterfall wedding venues, with their natural light and vibrant surroundings, can provide an exceptional setting for beautiful, atmospheric photos.
Planning Your Waterfall Wedding: A Step-by-Step Guide
Planning a wedding at a waterfall location involves a few unique considerations. Below, we’ll walk you through the steps to ensure your day is as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Choose Your Location
The first step in planning your waterfall wedding is to choose your location. The United States is home to a multitude of stunning waterfalls, each with its unique charm. Consider the overall vibe you desire for your wedding—do you prefer a tropical setting like Hawaii, or does the rugged beauty of Colorado’s mountains call to you? Research the different states and the waterfalls they offer to find a location that resonates with you.
Step 2: Secure Necessary Permits
Many waterfall wedding venues are located within national or state parks, which often require permits for weddings. As soon as you’ve selected your location, begin the process of obtaining the necessary permits. This step is crucial to ensure your wedding is legal and to help preserve these beautiful natural spaces for future generations.
Step 3: Organize the Details
After securing your location and permits, it’s time to iron out the details. This step involves booking your travel arrangements, accommodations, and vendors. When choosing vendors, consider those who specialize in outdoor or adventure weddings—they’ll have valuable experience navigating the unique challenges these settings can present.
Step 4: Celebrate Your Big Day
Finally, it’s time to celebrate your waterfall wedding! Enjoy the moment as you exchange vows surrounded by the beauty of nature, capturing unforgettable memories along the way.
Exploring Waterfall Wedding Venues Across the United States
Each state boasts its own unique selection of waterfall wedding venues. Let’s explore some of the best options across the country.
Alabama: DeSoto Falls
Tucked away in DeSoto State Park, DeSoto Falls is a magnificent waterfall towering at 104 feet. It’s particularly stunning during the spring, late fall, and winter when the water flow is at its peak.
Alaska: Nugget Falls
Alaska’s Nugget Falls is a gem located in the Tongass National Forest. With over 40 different waterfalls in the state, Alaska offers an abundance of choices for your waterfall wedding.
Arizona: Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is a unique waterfall situated within the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. This turquoise waterfall contrasts strikingly with the vibrant red rocks, providing a dramatic backdrop for your ceremony.
Arkansas: Cedar Falls
Situated within Petit Jean State Park, Cedar Falls is a simple, serene waterfall ideal for intimate ceremonies. It’s an hour away from Little Rock, offering a picturesque setting that feels a world away.
California: Burney Falls
California’s Burney Falls is a personal favorite. It’s easy to access, open year-round, and as beautiful as the state’s more famous falls. This waterfall offers a stunning backdrop for your photos and ceremony.
Colorado: South Fork Mineral Creek Falls
Located near Telluride, Colorado, South Fork Mineral Creek Falls is a hidden gem. After a one-mile hike through the Colorado forest, you’ll reach this two-tiered waterfall, an ideal spot for a secluded ceremony.
Connecticut: Kent Falls
Kent Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Connecticut, with water flowing in stages reaching 250 feet. Open year-round, it’s a popular spot for weddings, particularly during the warmer months.
Delaware: Brandywine State Park
Although Delaware doesn’t boast many waterfalls, the Brandywine State Park is a beautiful location with mini waterfalls and bodies of water. It’s particularly picturesque in the fall when the leaves turn vibrant colors.
Florida: Falling Waters
Falling Waters is the tallest waterfall in Florida. Standing at 73 feet, it makes for a striking backdrop for your ceremony.
Georgia: Toccoa Falls
Located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, Toccoa Falls is a stunning waterfall available to the public year-round. You can have your ceremony right at its base for an unforgettable experience.
Hawaii: Akaka Falls
When it comes to waterfalls, Hawaii is a treasure trove. Akaka Falls on the island of Kauai is one of the most popular, with easy access and two cascades plunging into the pool below, offering a stunning backdrop for your wedding.
Idaho: Jump Creek Falls
Located on the Idaho/Oregon border near Nampa, Jump Creek Falls is a quarter-mile hike through the rugged Owyhee Mountains. The waterfall’s natural beauty and simplicity make it a superb choice for your special day.
Illinois: Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls is a seasonal waterfall located within Matthiessen State Park near Davenport. The waterfall falls into a gorge floor that can be swam in during the spring, presenting a unique and fun wedding venue.
Indiana: Williamsport Falls
Centered in the heart of the town of Williamsport, Williamsport Falls is the second tallest waterfall in Indiana. While the falls have decreased in water pressure over time, they’re still a stunning backdrop for a wedding, particularly during the spring.
Iowa: Malanaphy Spring Falls
Malanaphy Spring Falls is a spring-fed waterfall. Though small, its surrounding forest and lush greenery make it an enchanting venue for an intimate wedding.
Kansas: Geary Falls
Kansas may be predominantly flat, but it does boast some beautiful waterfalls. Geary Falls is one of the most popular, particularly during the spring when it’s visible after heavy rain.
Kentucky: Eagle Falls
Located within Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Eagle Falls is a 44-foot waterfall offering a stunning backdrop for your wedding. It’s large enough for a ceremony but small enough to keep you dry as you exchange vows.
Louisiana: Clark Creek Natural Area
Although technically located in Mississippi,Clark Creek Natural Area extends into Louisiana and boasts over 50 different waterfalls. While they don’t have specific names, this area offers an abundance of choices for your waterfall wedding.
Maine: Moxie Falls
Maine’s Moxie Falls is one of the highest and most breathtaking waterfalls in the state. At the base of the falls, you’ll find a lush forest and colorful flowers, creating a perfect setting for a waterfall wedding.
Maryland: Muddy Creek Falls
Muddy Creek Falls is Maryland’s tallest waterfall and the most significant. The base of the falls is spacious, making it an excellent location for your waterfall wedding ceremony.
Massachusetts: Bash Bish Falls
Bash Bish Falls is a beautiful waterfall wedding venue located in Bash Bish Falls State Park. The falls split at the top of the rock, creating a unique and picturesque setting for your ceremony.
Michigan: Munising Falls
Munising Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Michigan’s upper peninsula. It’s a popular location among locals and provides a stunning backdrop for weddings.
Minnesota: Minnehaha Falls
Located in Minnehaha Park, Minnehaha Falls is a popular waterfall wedding venue. Its area is small, making it ideal for intimate ceremonies, especially during sunrise on a weekday.
Mississippi: Dunns Falls
Dunns Falls, located in eastern Mississippi, is a stunning waterfall near an old grist mill and water wheel. The falls and the surrounding area offer a unique character that can make your wedding day even more special.
Missouri: Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park
While Missouri doesn’t have traditional waterfalls, it does offer beautiful bodies of water. Johnson’s Shut-In State Park features mini waterfalls and rushing waters amid stunning scenery. It’s a great spot for weddings and pictures.
Montana: Virginia Falls
Montana’s Virginia Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall located near the middle of Glacier National Park. It offers a surreal backdrop for your wedding, surrounded by mountainous hills and flowing water.
Nebraska: Smith Falls
Nebraska’s only registered waterfall, Smith Falls, is a popular area among visitors. Although the waterfall is small, the area around it is stunning, making it a great location for a small wedding or elopement.
Nevada: Big Falls
Nevada, though mainly a desert, has several beautiful waterfalls. Big Falls is a small seasonal waterfall located near Las Vegas that provides a dramatic backdrop for your ceremony, particularly in the spring after heavy rainfall.
New Hampshire: Glen Ellis Falls
New Hampshire’s Glen Ellis Falls is a popular waterfall wedding venue. The waterfall provides stunning views and is surrounded by vibrant fall colors, making it a perfect location for your wedding.
New Jersey: Buttermilk Falls
New Jersey’s Buttermilk Falls is conveniently located steps away from the parking lot, making it easily accessible for guests. This waterfall offers a stunning backdrop for your photos and ceremony.
New Mexico: Nambe Falls
New Mexico’s Nambe Falls is a popular waterfall that offers a unique and simple setting for your wedding. The waterfall is surrounded by stark, rugged beauty, making it a perfect location for adventurous couples.
New York: Taughannock Falls
New York’s Taughannock Falls, located in Taughannock Falls State Park, is a stunning waterfall that offers a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding. It is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves have changed into vibrant colors.
North Carolina: Looking Glass Falls
North Carolina’s Looking Glass Falls is a popular waterfall located just steps from the road, making it easily accessible. This waterfall provides a stunning backdrop for your wedding photos and ceremony.
North Dakota: Mineral Springs
Although North Dakota has only one registered waterfall, Mineral Springs is a popular area among visitors. While the waterfall is small, the area around it is stunning, offering a great location for a small wedding or elopement.
Ohio: Hayden Falls
Ohio’s Hayden Falls is a popular waterfall wedding venue. The waterfall provides a stunning view, and its area is small, making it ideal for intimate ceremonies, especially during sunrise on a weekday.
Oklahoma: Natural Falls
Oklahoma’s Natural Falls is a 77-foot waterfall located in eastern Oklahoma. While the water abundance varies from season to season, this is a great waterfall for couples looking to have something simple.
Oregon: Sahalie Falls
Oregon’s Sahalie Falls is of the most scenic waterfalls in Oregon, and it’s perfect for the couple looking for a true adventure on their wedding day. While the falls are very loud, it’s an amazing place to see and take pictures at.
Pennsylvania: Cucumber Falls
Pennsylvania’s Cumber Falls is a fairly popular waterfall for locals and couples. The falls are particularly stunning during the summer when it’s visible after heavy rain.
Rhode Island: Stepstone Falls
Although Rhode Island doesn’t have many waterfalls, Stepstone Falls is a small waterfall that provides a peaceful setting for your wedding. While you won’t necessarily get that epic waterfall background in your image, the surrounding area near the mini waterfall is a gorgeous place for a wedding.
South Carolina: Lower Whitewater Falls
If you’re looking for a movie-like waterfall in the mountains, South Carolina’s Lower Whitewater Falls is the one for you. You can’t reach the base of the falls (from what I’m aware of), but you’ll still get that surreal waterfall backdrop.
South Dakota: Spearfish Falls
South Dakota’s Spearfish Falls is a stunning waterfall that looks good all year-round. Located right near the border of Wyoming, you can enjoy a picture-perfect hike through the Black Hills National Forest, then reach the base of the waterfall for your ceremony.
Tennessee: Greeter Falls
Tennessee’s Greeter Falls is a popular waterfall amongst visitors. I personally love the waterfall for not only its breathtaking views, but for its convenient location. It’s the perfect spot for couples wanting to have a waterfall ceremony, but mountainous portraits with the famous Tetons.
Texas: Gorman Falls
Everything is bigger in Texas, including their waterfalls. Located in Colorado Bend State Park, you can find Gorman Falls, a 70-foot waterfall. Gorman Falls sits right in front of a beautiful moss wall in the forest. This location is ethereal and is perfect for those wanting an enchanting waterfall wedding.
Utah: Lower Calf Creek Falls
Utah’s Lower Calf Creek Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls, making for an ideal wedding venue. The waterfall provides stunning views and is surrounded by vibrant fall colors, making it a perfect location for your wedding.
Vermont: Moss Glenn Falls
Vermont’s Moss Glenn Falls is a popular waterfall wedding venue. The waterfall provides stunning views and is surrounded by vibrant fall colors, making it a perfect location for your wedding.
Virginia: Falling Spring Falls
Virginia’s Falling Springs Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Virginia, especially during the fall season. Thomas Jefferson even said that it was “a remarkable cascade…falling over a rock about 200 feet to the valley below.” The provided overlook is a picture-perfect space for your waterfall wedding.
Washington: Marymere Falls
Washington’s Marymere Falls is a very popular waterfall amongst visitors. I personally love the waterfall for not only its breathtaking views, but for its convenient location. It’s the perfect spot for couples wanting to have a waterfall ceremony, but mountainous portraits with the famous Tetons.
West Virginia: Falls of Hills Creek
West Virginia’s Falls of Hills Creek is a three fall cascade that totals 130 feet, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in West Virginia. The base of the falls is extremely easy to access, making it an excellent location for your waterfall wedding.
Wisconsin: Big Manitou Falls
Wisconsin’s Big Manitou Falls stands at 165 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin. While I don’t believe you can get to the bottom base of the falls, there are numerous outlook points for your waterfall wedding. I recommend visiting the falls during the fall season, as all the surrounding leaves will have changed into bright, vibrant colors.
Wyoming: Hidden Falls
Wyoming’s Hidden Falls, located in Grand Teton National Park, is a popular waterfall wedding venue. The waterfall provides stunning views and is surrounded by vibrant fall colors, making it a perfect location for your wedding.
Choosing a waterfall wedding venue allows you to incorporate the beauty of nature into your special day. With so many stunning locations across the United States, you’re sure to find a waterfall that captures the magic and romance of your love story. Remember, the perfect venue is out there waiting for you—it’s just a matter of finding it!
Whether you’re standing in front of a roaring waterfall in Oregon, exchanging vows beside a tranquil pool in Florida, or capturing unforgettable photographs against the backdrop of a cascading waterfall in New York, your waterfall wedding is sure to be a day to remember. The sound of rushing water, the fresh, misty air, and the breathtaking views will create a magical atmosphere that you and your guests will never forget.