Eleanore & Blake’s Minnewaska State Park Wedding

January 18, 2024
New York Elopement Photographer | Minnewaska State Park Weddings | Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer NY

When it comes to beauty in Upstate new York, having a Minnewaska State Park wedding gives you waterfalls, epic views, lakes, cliffs, and more. Eleanore and Blake had their simple elopement wedding here, and did photos with a twist!

Ideas and photos by Hudson Valley New York wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Adventure Wedding Photos in Beautiful Upstate NY

While Eleanore and Blake had a courthouse elopement earlier in the year, they wanted to have their proper waterfall wedding photos at a beautiful upstate New York locations with mountains and views.

So, they contacted me and reached out about celebratory wedding photos at Minnewaska State Park, and I of course said yes! Why? I love Minnewaska State Park weddings more than almost anywhere else on the planet.

Weddings, engagements, adventure sessions, and elopements at Minnewaska State Park offer stunning beauty with relatively few crowds. I always advise getting married on a weekday to have the fewest crowds possible.

Eleanore and Blake chose me as their elopement/wedding photographer not only because I’m a NY adventure wedding photographer here at Kathryn Cooper Weddings, but because I know Minnewaska State Park extremely well. In 2023 alone, I photographed 5 small weddings and elopements here!

I’d love to showcase all of the adventure sessions, engagements, weddings, and elopements I’ve photographed at this park, but Eleanore and Blake’s stood out because of outfit choices. Why yes, there were peanut butter and jelly shirts involved (I kid not–see below).

cute engagement photos with t-shirts

About Minnewaska State Park

There are multiple locations to explore at different entrances within the Hudson Valley. At Minnewaska, there are:

– Gorgeous cliffs at Sam’s Point

– Amazing ice caves a hike away

– Awosting Falls for waterfall weddings

– Minnewaska Lake for beautiful photo ops and sunsets

– Plenty of great long hikes, views, and other areas for photos

Eleanore and Blake’s Minnewaska Wedding

These two knew they wanted to celebrate at a beautiful outdoor location in the Hudson Valley, where I photograph about 70% of my weddings and elopements—but they didn’t know exactly where to get started. They told me about wanting beautiful views and a waterfall, but very few crowds and no stuffy, formal photos.

After they decided to hire me and we decided on this park, we went over what to wear for the weather and the time of year.

While most couples wear standard wedding attire, I absolutely love when folks go for more unique looks—especially non traditional wedding dresses! And let me tell you–this simple red dress was a showstopper! Bold, vibrant red stands out against most landscapes. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for fall foliage, as it may compete with the red leaves, but when in doubt, red is almost always the way to go.

Blake & Eleanore chose to have their Minnewaska wedding photos done in September, which is peak wedding time in New York. Luckily they were able to do it on a weekday.

The leaves hadn’t changed yet (fall color in Minnewaska is typically in October, though sometimes late September or even early November there will be color), so Eleanore wanted to take that into account.

I knew about the time of year with the green trees, white waterfall, and blue water. They let me choose their outfit colors completely, so I chose Blake’s dark blue suit with Eleanore’s white wedding dress; light pink shirts for their PB&J shirts and white sneakers, and then a bold, vibrant red dress to complete the non traditional wedding dress look. It was a winner, as several couples have commented on this specific photos as helping convince them that this is the place to elope!

Photography by www.KathrynCooperWeddings.com in the Northeast

Elopements and Weddings at Minnewaska State Park

Only intimate weddings are allowed at Minnewaska. The staff is super pleasant and helpful, as long as you abide by Leave No Trace rules and respect other people wanting the best viewpoints. And, of course, you want to be safe and aware of the cliffs and slippery areas around the park. Go with someone who knows the park in order to find the best viewpoints.

Weddings and elopements are granted only on weekdays Monday – Friday, and only during opening hours (9am – various times throughout summer and winter). Up to 15 guests are allowed, and for a small fee, a golf cart can even be arranged to take elderly guests to the ceremony spots.

Minnewaska State Park wedding permits cost $200. More guidelines have been listed below.

If you have already done your official paperwork and are not having a ceremony, just photos, then you don’t need a permit, and don’t need to pay anything besides your parking fee.

If you’re getting married here, I’ll help you find the best areas for your specific celebration/wishes, and all you have to do is show up in your attire and let me guide you around!

Eloping north of NYC

Hiking Around the Park

After these two met me at the park, I took them to location #1 so they could change.

Awosting Falls weddings are intimate, beautiful affairs no matter the season. The water is always plentiful here, making for quite the thunderous view. You can get right up close, view from a distance, or get right by the water’s edge and hike alongside it.

After a quick change, we took a few shots and then hiked all the way up to Lake Minnewaska. The lake was named nearly 150 years ago by Alfred H. Smiley (a founder of the nearby Mohonk Mountain House), who used parts of Dakota (Sioux) nation words that roughly translate to “mini lake.” Well, it’s a huge lake, and not mini at all. One can walk around it in about 1 hour, and it’s definitely worth doing in fall!

I have quite a few favorite locations for wedding and elopement photos around Lake Minnewaska specifically, and in every season, it looks different!

After that, Eleanore changed into her red dress—perfect for flowing in the breeze—and we went up to my favorite point of all for some amazing photos.

As the sun set, we got several more photos at points overlooking the lake.

Does it get any better than this?! Wedding photos and adventure hiking elopements like this is what I love to do SO much.

After sunset, it was time to head down and get out of the park before the gate closed. We drove into the cute town of New Paltz for some ice cream at Huguenot Creamery, and their beautiful upstate NY wedding day came to a close.

When you elope, make sure you not only get great photos, but have fun. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to chat and document these two all day!

Minnewaska State Park Visiting, Rules, Permits, and Parking Fees

A Minnewaska State Park wedding permits cost $200. No fee is required to just take engagement photos or wedding photos if you’re not having a ceremony.

The entrance fee to Minnewaska is $10 per car to park. Entrance is free to those with the Empire Pass. America the Great/National Parks Passes do not count—you still need to pay $10.

There is no food sold inside the park.

Wildlife is present, including bears, porcupines, skunks, deer, ticks, and more. Be aware, carry a flashlight, and respect the locals~

Location: Minnewaska State Park

Area: Hudson Valley, New York (about 90 miles north of NYC)

Photographer: Kathryn Cooper Weddings

changing outdoors
red dress shein flowy
Sunset in New York elopement photography

Kathryn Cooper Weddings: Minnewaska Elopement | Upstate NY Weddings | Awosting Falls Wedding Photos

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This is such a beautiful location with a variety of scenery! From cliffs to waterfalls to epic sunsets, Minnewaska SP looks perfect for these two and you captured them so well! Love their PB&J shirts!

Such a detailed and informative post about the beauty and use of Minnnewaska State Park! Plus your images are breathtaking.

Minnewaska State Park looks amazing! What a fun shoot. I love their T-shirts.

I love the red dress with that backdrop. Such a good contrast in color!I love the variety you have put together here! Who knew there was a place as beautiful as Minnewaska State Park in Upstate New York??

Oh wow, Minnewaska State Park in Upstate New York is absolutely stunning! The waterfall and views make it the perfect place to elope. I love their peanut butter and jelly shirts!!

Those limestone cliffs are amazing!


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