Eloping in Gros Morne
Gros Morne is french for ‘Great Somber’; a giant mountain, standing alone. Gros Morne National Park gets its name from the mountain, although there are many, many more things to do in Gros Morne than the mountain itself! The park is full of wonder; waterfalls, fjords, amazing ocean views, and great places to eat and relax.
This guide will cover all the aspects that you need for planning your ideal Gros Morne Elopement, including legalities, best locations, how to get here, park fees, and of course, the best sights, restaurants, attractions and accommodations to make the most of your trip.
Eloping in Gros Morne is an experience for which most couples hire a photographer for 3-6 hours. My goal as a photographer is to tell a story of your day that you can look back on with fondness, including the quiet moments in between. I meet you about an hour before you plan to say I do, then once you’ve gotten ready, we meet up with your commissioner in a beautiful location to make it legal! You can write your own vows, pop some champagne and celebrate once you’ve signed the papers.
After that, we’ll go on an adventure, often a hike with a picnic in tow; or you can plan an excursion, such as kayaking, taking a boat tour, checking out a local cafe, or simply hanging out at your campsite and playing cards by the fire while you sip local craft beer in your wedding dress. I want to make sure you have a stress-free day and beautiful images to remember it by.
If you are interested in hiring me to photograph your Gros Morne Elopement, you can contact me by using the form at the bottom of this article. I would love to walk through the process with you!
How to Legally Marry in Newfoundland and Labrador
Getting married in Newfoundland and Labrador is a pretty easy process.
- Book your photographer; you can contact me here.
- Get your license
- Have a ceremony (during which you fill out the license)
- Then you mail it and have it certified.
Book your Photographer
You should book your photographer as soon as you start to plan your elopement! Even if the date changes, hiring your photographer is usually the first step. I book elopements anywhere from a year in advance to a week before the elopement! Giving yourself 6 to 12 weeks notice to plan your trip is pretty standard, but I’m always happy to chat with couples who are planning last-minute trips, or who are very excited for a wedding that’s still far away.
Apply for a Marriage License
You must apply for a license in person with a marriage license issuer. Ideally, you want to give yourself at least 4 days before your desired wedding date so that the issuer has time to get the license to your officiant. The license costs $100. You can find a list of marriage license issuers here.
Have a Ceremony
You must find and book a marriage commissioner, or find a religious representative to perform your ceremony. The commissioner is a different person than the licenser. The fees for ceremonies vary from person to person, and you should let your commissioner know of your plans when you book them to make sure they are okay to go on an adventure! You can find a list of marriage commissioners here.
You will need two legal witnesses to your wedding ceremony. You can opt to bring some friends with you, whether they travel with you or you make pals at the local pub. My partner and I are also more than happy to be your witnesses. I have been ‘Maid of Honor’ for many an elopement!
File the Paperwork
Once your ceremony is complete, you must submit the forms to Vital Statistics. Your marriage license issuer or commissioner will often walk you through this process.
And that’s it! Voila, once you’ve found a licensee and officiant, you’re ready to get married. Once married, the day is yours; plan a picnic, go for a hike, kayak the fjord, or settle in for the evening by the campfire.
Timing: When to Get Married in Gros Morne
Time of Year
While you can elope in Gros Morne any time of the year, June through September is the time of year when you are guaranteed the best weather and the most activity options. Much of the park shuts down after Thanksgiving weekend (second week in October) and it can be more difficult to find accommodations and places to eat outside of the summer months.
Time of Week
The best time of the week to elope is Monday to Thursday, as the park will be less busy on weekdays. However, if you are intending to visit shops or restaurants, some places have odd hours and are open only for the weekend. It’s a good idea to plan for at least a week in the park; spend your weekend supporting local businesses, and your weekdays hiking and getting married.
Time of Day
Sunset in the park is magical! If you can, plan your elopement to hit around sunset. Early in the summer this is around 9pm; later in the season, around 6pm. Planning for sunset also means that there are fewer people around, as most folks tend to do their hikes earlier in the day.
Weather in Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne often has nice but somewhat cool weather. In the summer, average daytime temps range from 16 to 25 degrees Celsius. It’s always smart to plan for rain, wind, and chilly weather when travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador. All weather makes for gorgeous photos and tells your story; I love shooting moody portraits in in fog, rain and snow.
Best places to Elope in Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park is really large; the park spans 1800 square kilometres. The major highlights are Gros Morne Mountain, the Tablelands, Western Brook Pond Fjord,and Lobster Cove Lighthouse. There’s also lots of sweet, colourful little towns, beaches, and hikes. The Long-Range Traverse is an intense hike that takes many days, and Green Gardens is a trail that is currently closed to the public for safety reasons.
I recommend planning your elopement by picking an area of the park in which we can explore. For example, The Tablelands, Lomond, and the town of Trout River are all close enough that you can go to all three in an afternoon. I’m happy to create a customized itinerary with you when you book based on what you like to do and what sort of day you’d like to have.
Here Are a Few of My Top Locations for Elopement Photos:
Western Brook Pond Fjord
The short, easy walk into Western Brook Pond Fjord is a gorgeous walk; the view at the end is simply spectacular.
Lomond is an area of the park that is quiet with gorgeous scenery. Forests and beaches nestled into a fjord, it’s a perfect place for a peaceful stroll.
The Tablelands are just wild. It feels a little bit like Mars was dropped in the middle of Gros Morne National Park.
Trout River is one of my favourite Newfoundland towns, period. Adorable colourful houses line the beach; lobster and crab pots line the streets. People will stop and wave as they drive by on their ATVs. It’s precious.
How Long Does it Take to Hike Gros Morne Mountain?
Hiking Gros Morne Mountain takes approximately 6-8 hours to hike the 16km loop. The views at the top are spectacular; but keep in mind that it is a strenuous hike that will take the whole day, and finding an officiant to take the journey with you can be more challenging than the hike itself. Unless you bring your own officiant, planning to get married at the top of Gros Morne Mountain is not recommended.
Park Permits and Fees
To enjoy the park, you will need a park pass for your vehicle. These fees go towards maintaining Parks Canada services. You can either get a year-long or daily pass. Daily passes are $10 per adult, year passes are $50.08 per person. Family, senior, and child discounts are available. You can purchase park passes at many locations in the park, including all campgrounds.
How to Get to Gros Morne
To get to Gros Morne from outside of the province, you have two options: flying or taking the ferry.
You can fly into Deer Lake airport, which is less than 30 minutes from Gros Morne National Park. The cost of flying into Deer Lake from Toronto is approximately $650 per-person each way. You’ll want to rent a car in Deer Lake as the park is vast, and walking around is not ideal. There are lots of car rental options at the Deer Lake airport.
You can take the ferry across from North Sydney to Port Aux Basques. The cost is approximately $200 each way for two people and a vehicle. The ferry takes approximately 9 hours to cross the channel. Once in Port Aux Basques, it is a 3-hour drive to Gros Morne National Park.
If you are already on the island of Newfoundland, Gros Morne is approximately a 7-hour (very scenic) drive from St. John’s, our capital city. Making a trip of Newfoundland is well worth the drive, as there are many beautiful spots along the way, such as Twillingate, Cape Spear, and Bonavista.
Where to Stay in Gros Morne
Gros Morne National Park has tons of accommodation options, from camping to gorgeous hotels.
If you’d like to camp, the Lomond campground is great. Nestled in a fjord, you can’t beat the views! Gros Morne offers oTENTiks in many parks, including Gros Morne. OTENTiks are a mix between tent and cabin; a cozy abode for those who like to camp but may not be able to travel with all their typical gear.
Neddie’s Harbour Inn is a lovely hotel right on the water in Norris Point. They have a beautiful sunroom full of books and games overlooking the harbour, and the food at the Black Spruce Restaurant is some of the best in the park.
Winterhouse is a stunning eco-friendly home. If you are looking for luxury and want a place that’s big enough to accommodate a small crowd, this is hands-down the best place to stay!
If you like the look of Winterhouse but it’s just the two of you, The Little Wild is a miniature version that’s just as gorgeous.
Venue Options in Gros Morne
One of the best parts of eloping is that you can get married anywhere you’d like!
I’m always happy to suggest my favourite ocean-side locations for your elopement ceremony.
If you are bringing a few guests with you and you would like a more traditional ceremony and reception location, Neddies Harbour Inn has hosted quite a few intimate weddings and they do a great job. They have a full hotel and restaurant, along with a beautiful outdoor ceremony location.
Where to Eat in Gros Morne
For me, travelling is all about the food.
The Black Spruce is always my go-to when I’m in the park! Nestled in Neddie’s Harbour, the food is absolutely fabulous and almost all local.
Seaside Restaurant in Trout River is also amazing. The fish is caught fresh and served up in authentic Newfoundland fashion. You can get herring, cod tongues, and all kinds of local delicacies that you don’t often find on menus. Sitting right on the beach, it can feel like you’re eating on a boat.
I haven’t visited The Old Store Cafe yet, but I have only heard good things. This seems like a great spot to take a break and have a coffee and snack.
Things to do in Gros Morne National Park
Hike Gros Morne Mountain
Hiking Gros Morne Mountain is a feat that most people want to try while they’re in the park! Plan to take a lot of water and wear comfy shoes. The views are worth the journey!
Western Brook Fjord Boat Tour
Bontours offers a great tour of the land-locked fjord in Western Brook Pond. To get to the fjord, a groomed trail takes you approximately 3km through a marshland, at the end of which is a snack bar and boat launch. The tour takes a couple of hours and is a sweet family activity with great photo opportunities.
Visit The NL Insectarium
If the weather keeps you from hiking, it doesn’t have to keep you from nature! The insectarium is a cool way to spend a rainy or cold day. There’s a butterfly house and a glass honeybee hive.
Walk the Tablelands
The Tablelands, where you can see the Earth’s mantle in an ancient ocean bed. The landscape looks like another planet; on one side of the highway lies an orange, mountainous desert; on the other side a lush green forest.
Take the water taxi from Norris Point to Woody Point
Also offered by Bontours, the water taxi between Norris Point and Woody Point is not only a great way to get between the towns, but a scenic trip! You can book the water taxi at The Cat Stop in Norris Point.
Drink at the Cat Stop
Talking of The Cat Stop … The Cat Stop Pub and Grub is a pub on a wharf. It’s great. I have had many a pint of Iceberg while listening to fabulous local musicians. On nice nights, my friends and I wander outside to witness the bioluminescence in the ocean below the wharf.
Check out The Discovery Centre
The Discovery Centre in Woody Point is where you’ll find everything you never knew you wanted to know about Gros Morne. Wildlife, geology, and all kinds of information on what makes Gros Morne so special! The Parks Canada staff are friendly and helpful.
Kayak in Rocky Harbour
Kayak tours are offered in Rocky Harbour through Gros Morne Adventures. I’ve taken them before and they’re a lot of fun! You go around the harbour in your own kayak exploring all the nooks and crannies with a small group.
Ready to Plan? Here’s Your Next Steps
I hope this guide was useful! If you’re ready to start planning your Gros Morne Elopement, you can contact me by using the contact link below. We will set up a time to walk through what you’d like out of your day, and come up with an itinerary for your dream elopement in Gros Morne National Park.