The Ultimate Guide to Planning an Adventure Elopement

March 27, 2019 | juliette

photo by Hana Alsoudi Photography

Adventure elopements have been growing in popularity over the years, and we must admit we’re loving this trend! An adventure elopement is all about getting out into nature, being active, and finding the most breathtaking scenery. The possibilities are only limited to your adventurous imaginations! Still, as with any big life event, there is a bit of planning required to ensure your special day goes off without a hitch. Here’s a complete guide to everything you need to know about planning an adventure elopement, from choosing your attire to hiring vendors to deciding if/how to involve your loved ones.

photo by The Kitcheners

Choosing an Epic Location

One of the most important parts of planning an adventure elopement is choosing the perfect location. From mountaintops to oceanfront cliffs to sandy deserts, there are so many places incredible places and they will all photograph beautifully. So, how do you choose? Our number one tip is simple: choose a place that is meaningful. It could where your partner proposed, your first vacation destination, or a location that’s been on your bucket list for years. As tempting as it might be to pick an elopement location just because it’s pretty, saying “I do” at a meaningful location is guaranteed to make your day much more special.

If you’re still having trouble narrowing down the list, think about what outdoor activities you enjoy and go from there. Love hiking? Find a location that requires you to strap on your boots and hike to your vow exchange spot. The possibilities are endless!

photo by Kensie Webster Photo + Video

Practical Tips for Choosing a Location

Use your favorite season as a guide — Because you’ll be out in nature, you should choose a date in which you feel comfortable outside! If you want to get married in the mountains but hate cold weather, opt for a summer wedding. If you love the idea of a desert adventure elopement but don’t want to break a sweat, choose a fall or winter date when temperatures are cooler. When doing your research on seasons in specific regions, be sure to look at average temperatures, rainfall averages, and so on. While you can’t guarantee the weather on your elopement day, you’ll have a better chance of getting ideal weather if you plan ahead!

Research the best time(s) to visit — Beyond making sure you’ll have nice weather, you’ll want to check things like peak seasons and local holidays. If you’re going to a remote location, crowds might not be much of a concern, but local holidays — especially in smaller towns or villages — could make it harder to find accommodations, food, and so on. If you’re going to a place that’s guaranteed to have lots of adventure-loving tourists, we recommend looking into a date in the shoulder season so you’ll have a better chance of securing the location — and tourist-free photos — you want.

Have a vow exchange spot in mind — By their very nature, adventure elopements are more spontaneous and carefree than traditional weddings or elopements, but that doesn’t mean you should leave everything up to fate. We highly recommend having at least one spot for your vow exchange scoped out so you and your photographer know what to expect. Even better: have two or three spots picked ahead of time so you can make a day-of decision in case your first choice doesn’t work out.

Location Inspiration

Still need a little inspiration? Check out our lists of the best destination wedding locations for 2019 and the best 2018 honeymoon destinations for some epic elopement location ideas!

Note: If you’re planning to get married in a U.S. National Park, you’ll need to get a permit and pay a fee prior to your wedding day. You can check each park’s requirements on the National Park Service website.

photo by Alex Lasota Photography

Making Your Look Adventure-Ready

When it comes to wedding day attire for an adventure elopement, comfort is key! That being said, we don’t think you should give up your personal style — or your dream wedding outfit — entirely. Some simple modifications could be all you really need the create an adventure-ready look.

For brides, that might mean choosing a wedding dress without a train or adding a bustle so you can tie it up as you walk to your location and let it down for the vow exchange and portraits. If you’re worried about damaging or dirtying your dress, though, you could also go with a less-expensive option, like one of these wedding dresses that’s under $200!

For grooms, that might mean opting for a light-weight suit rather than a tuxedo, or even a more casual ensemble, so you can move easier throughout the day. If you need a little inspiration, take a peek at our 2018 groom style trends and these unique groom style ideas for well-dressed guys.

photo by Cassandra Michelle Photography

The key to a perfect adventure elopement look, whether you’re a bride or groom, is your shoes. Choose shoes that are sturdy and slip-resistant — and bonus if they are waterproof! But, again, you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for function. We’ve got tons of shoe inspiration to help you finish off your adventure-ready look in style (and comfort):

Bridal Boots for Trekking Through Mud and Mountains

Wedding Wedges That are Both Stylish and Comfortable

Wedding Flats for Comfy Brides

Lastly, think about the elements you might need protection from and buy accessories that complement your look. The most obvious ones are a coat, scarf, gloves, and hat for wintry elopements. (You can find the prettiest winter bridal accessories here!) But you might also need a light jacket or sunglasses for a summer elopement, or a change of shoes if you want to go from wading in a river to hiking up a mountain. It’s best to plan your accessories as you’re choosing your wedding day looks so that you can coordinate everything.

photo by Cassandra Michelle Photography

Documenting the Day

Because you won’t be spending much money on decor, food, or a venue, we highly recommend spending some of that money you’re saving on a photographer and a videographer. You’re embarking on one of the most epic adventures of your life, and we guarantee you won’t regret being able to relive that day with both photos and film!

When researching photographers and videographers, make sure to read their website, look at galleries, watch their films, scroll their Instagram and Pinterest, and read client reviews. This will help you select a team that not only matches your aesthetic but has experience shooting adventure elopements. Why is finding a photographer and videographer with adventure elopement experience important? They will know what to be prepared for, they can offer planning tips and ideas, and they will know how to get those swoon-worthy shots you want.

Our vendor gallery features the world’s best wedding photographers and the world’s best wedding videographers. You can see their portfolios, look at their featured work on our real weddings blog, and contact them directly from our website. So, grab a glass of wine and start exploring!

photo by Tu Nguyen Wedding

Deciding on the Guest List

Chances are, if you’re having an adventure elopement, you won’t be inviting many guests. In fact, that’s one of the best parts of an elopement! You get to focus on just the two of you and doing exactly what you want to do, exactly the way you want to do it. But, if you’re looking for a way to have your nearest and dearest with you without taking away from the intimate elopement feel, simply give each guest a role. Ask your best friend to be your officiant, your sister to be your hair and makeup stylist, or your mom to be your coordinator for the day. This way, you can have the people you love around you without needing to also make space for vendors.

photo by Amy Bluestar Photography

Adding Personal Touches

Just because you’re having an adventure elopement doesn’t mean you can’t add some personal touches and traditional wedding flair! One of the easiest wedding elements to incorporate is a bridal bouquet. Tell your florist where your elopement will take place, what you’re wearing, and any other details you’ll be including in your day so they can pick flowers to complement it all. Keep it simple and ask your florist to use native plants so your bouquet matches the natural landscape.

Some other elements you could incorporate into your adventure elopement include:

  • An antique rug to stand on for your vow exchange
  • Custom vow books
  • A pretty ring box
  • Shot glasses and flask for a totally unique unity ceremony
  • A bottle of champagne for a post-“I do” toast (no glasses needed!)

Ready to get the ball rolling on your adventure elopement? Head to our wedding vendor directory to start putting your dream team together!

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  1. Firstly I would like to say that photography is very beautiful. Everything seems to be just perfect at this wedding.
    Loved it

  2. Yes, I do agree that a meaningful location is guaranteed to make your day much more special.
    You did a great job. Keep it up!

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