For elopers with a soft spot for history, Savannah is a timeless gem. The Spanish moss dripping from its live oaks and mansions-turned-inns are reminders of its age (it’s the oldest city in Georgia), as is the warm southern hospitality you’ll feel at every turn (it isn’t called the Hostess City for nothing). But a refreshing surge of new development—including a bright reimagining of the city’s riverfront warehouses—and its coastal-cool vibes make Savannah particularly hip to elopements. You’ll find decades-old lodging with modern amenities (take the Mansion on Forsyth Park), as well as brand-new accommodations that nod to nostalgia (like the industrial-chic Alida Hotel). A burgeoning food scene deliciously blends old and new, too: Enjoy a post-elopement feast at nouveau hotspot, The Grey, which churns out such unique delicacies as blue crab-stuffed beignets, or go classic with fried green tomatoes and crab cakes at Vic’s on the River. The city’s historic district with its shady, stroll-friendly green spaces is practically made for an outdoor ceremony, which is delightful much of the year thanks to a mild southern climate. What’s more: You won’t run up against open-container laws in Savannah, so you’re always free to toast your elopement in real time (did someone say, “bubbly?”).
Best Time of Year to Visit
March - June
With its scenic historic district situated around 22 landscaped squares, Savannah is best experienced on two feet. And spring brings excellent weather for walking—and snapping elopement portraits—with sunny days and nighttime dips that just require a light jacket. The city’s green spaces are all the more, well, green, and blooming shrubs and trees like azaleas, dogwoods, and magnolias add color to the Spanish moss-filled backdrop. Because of the similarly mild temps, fall is a close second; for arts and culture enthusiasts, events like the Savannah Jazz Fest, SCAD Film Festival, and Savannah Food & Wine Festival may give this season an edge. The other two seasons are less desirable for eloping: Summer comes with humidity and unpredictable thunderstorms, while winter is often just cold and gray enough to make the city appear dreary.
Pro tip: Savannah’s robust Irish community has hosted a St. Patrick’s Day celebration since the mid-1800s, and it’s only grown in size and splendor since. It’s typically one of the biggest in the country, filling the city with tourists—and the color green (even the water in Forsyth Park’s famous fountain is dyed emerald). Unless you’d like to partake in the festivities, avoid eloping in the week leading up to the holiday, and you’ll spare yourselves crowds and high lodging prices.
If there’s one naturally elope-friendly destination Savannah is best known for, it’s Forsyth Park—the largest in the city’s historic district. While its 30 green acres are home to grassy fields and sports courts, playgrounds, and an event space, a Saturday farmer’s market and even a fragrant garden for the blind, its most breathtaking landmark is a statue-flecked fountain modeled after the Fontaine des Mers in Paris. Revel in its romantic beauty by tying the knot in its surrounding courtyard. You’ll just want to aim for a weekday or an early morning to steer clear of snap-happy tourists (or host a quick ceremony, and enjoy the cheers of your de facto audience.) Looking for something lower key? Forsyth Park has many quiet corners shrouded in the city’s signature Spanish moss-laden oaks. And you can marry sans permit in any of the above spaces—again, assuming you’re okay with some tourist onlookers. If not, or if you’re planning an affair requiring a few chairs (say, for 15 to 20 guests), complete this application for a permit at least 90 days ahead of your wedding, or call 912-351-3837 for more information.
Don your finest empire-waist dress, and elope in Bridgerton style at this Queen Anne Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast. Just across the street from its namesake park, the circa-1893 Forsyth Park Inn offers a best-of-both-worlds elopement: You can marry in a quaint walled courtyard with all the accoutrements of a hotel wedding, then wander over to the city’s most beloved landmark (the park’s fountain) for portraits galore—only to return to your private garden cottage, where champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries await. Not to mention the inn’s 11 other period-furnished rooms, should you wish to extend the invite to your inner circle. More specifically, the elopement package (which allows for up to 10 guests in attendance and starts at $1600) includes a ceremony in either the garden or parlor, a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere, and an 8-inch wedding cake and cake-cutting reception after you exchange “I do’s,” or whenever you return to the property for the evening.
An ornate estate built in 1873 for Savannah’s Alderman, a jeweler and later the head of the local power and light company, Hamilton-Turner Inn has a colorful history. Just take one of its recent managers, Joe Odom, known for hosting raucous Gatsby-like affairs made famous by the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. And speaking of evil, it’s locally known as a ghost haunt. But make no mistake: Its reputation among inn dwellers of Savannah is unfettered. Not only is the service solid and the space impeccably clean, but the inn’s style drips with Victorian-era elegance. Rooms sport brocade wallpaper alongside clawfoot tubs and fireplaces. Immerse yourselves in antique charm for a two-night stay as part of the elopement package, which includes an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake, and bottle of champagne with two Hamilton-Turner Inn flutes (inquire with the hotel for pricing). As at most B&Bs in the area, you can also expect a gourmet breakfast each morning; wine and hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon; and cookies and port for a delightful nitecap.
Some of the most pleasant, picturesque spots to marry in Savannah are also perhaps the most obvious: the 22 grassy plazas dotting the historic district. Known as historic squares, they stand as humble odes to the area’s vibrant flora, brick pathways, and oak-shaded park benches. Each square has its own personality and purpose—like Troup Square, with its spherical sundial statue—but a few are particular standouts for eloping. If you’re Forrest Gump fans, choose Chippewa Square, which was home to the movie’s famous park-bench scenes; it’s also where you’ll find the nine-foot statue of general James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founder. For a bit more privacy, consider quiet Lafayette Square, with the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in the background and a gorgeous turquoise fountain at its center. As with Forsyth Park, you can marry in any of these locales without a permit, so long as your group consists of just a few people, and you won’t be setting up chairs; otherwise, fill out this application for a permit at least 90 days ahead of your wedding, or call 912-351-3837 for more information.
It’s tough to find an accolade that this Renaissance-Revival-mansion-turned-B&B hasn’t won, from best of the south by Southern Living to top romantic inn in the country by TripAdvisor. Although the glowing reviews highlight the property’s friendly, all-encompassing service (think: cookies with turndown service, individually sanitized and wrapped toiletries), the Kehoe House’s historic beauty is its real draw. Its brick and white-columned facade overlooks Columbia Square, and several of its 13 classically furnished rooms have access to verandas for taking it all in. Say your “I do’s” on one of them, in the garden courtyard, or inside the music room or parlor along with four guests when you book the elopement package (from $1,400 on Sundays to Thursdays, and $2,100 on Fridays and Saturdays); it also includes an officiant, bridal bouquet and boutonniere, bottle of champagne with two Kehoe House flutes, and a two-night stay in a king room. (If the Kehoe House isn’t available for your dream date, ask about a similar program at its equally beautiful sister property, the Marshall House.)
At its roots, Savannah is a port city, and there’s no truer way to soak in her majesty than from the river that put her on the map. Sure, the eye-catching red, white, and blue paddlewheel riverboats of Savannah Riverboat Cruises beckon tourists aplenty, but in this case, the camera-clad travelers are onto something. These triple-decker ships depart right from Savannah’s eclectic River Street—a strip of old cotton warehouses converted into chic antique shops, galleries, and brewpubs—and pass by the city’s shipyards and beloved Waving Girl statue. Book the elopement package, and an open-air top deck will serve as the breezy setting for your ceremony officiated by the riverboat captain and with up to 10 guests (for pricing, submit an inquiry here). You’ll also receive a rose bouquet and matching boutonniere, a set of two etched Riverboat flutes, an 8-inch cake and bottle of champagne, and two tickets to a dinner cruise, so you can keep the celebrations rolling (or should we say, sailing) into the night.
You’ve heard of “island time,” but on this particularly charming island off Georgia’s northeastern coast, the mellow vibes are so real, the locals have their own name for it: Tybee Time. A 30-minute drive east of Savannah, Tybee Island matches the city’s warm southern hospitality with a slew of quaint, cozy inns of its own. But the prime real estate is its three miles of wide, soft-sand beaches, several of which sport incredible sunsets—a rarity on the East Coast afforded by the barrier island’s west-facing curve. You can elope on almost all of Tybee’s beach locales (keeping in mind a few rules preventing foot traffic on sand dunes or rock jetties); just mark down your date with the island’s facilities coordinator, Robyn Rosner, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Satisfy your post-nuptials appetites with a feast of low-country specialities—like freshly caught peel-and-eat shrimp at Bubba Gumbo’s—and kick off your honeymoon mere steps from the ocean at the DeSoto Beach Hotel.
The process for getting legally married in Savannah is about as straightforward as it gets: There’s no waiting period once you’ve received your license (or expiration date for the license), nor is there a witness requirement for the ceremony. To get the license, you’ll just need to provide proof of your age (typically in the form of a driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate) and complete the application form for the county of Chatham. (Note that if neither of you is a Georgia resident, you’ll need to apply for your license in the county where you’re going to have your ceremony; for Savannah, that would be Chatham. If at least one of you is a Georgia resident, you can apply in any county in the state.)
Because of a change in processing due to Covid, you’ll need to email the application form and color copies of your IDs to email@example.com, along with a signed divorce decree or death certificate for any previous marriage(s). Once the above is received, the court will email you a link to schedule an appointment for both of you to appear in person and receive your license. The fee is $66, or $26 if you’ve completed a premarital education course from a qualifying program with at least six hours of instruction. For more information on marriage requirements in Savannah, visit the Chatham County probate court’s website.